.- The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople (Istanbul), Bartholomew I, met with Pope Benedict XVI this morning at the Vatican, the third such meeting for the two.
Over the last three years the two church leaders have met every year. The first time the two met was when Benedict XVI visited Istanbul for the Feast of St. Andrew in November 2006. In October of last year, Bartholomew traveled to Naples to participate in an International Meeting for Peace, where he met up with the Pope for the second time.
Both Benedict XVI and Bartholomew I have made the healing of the divisions between their respective Churches a priority. This fact was highlighted by the presence of Ioannis of Pergamo, who is the Orthodox president of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
According to news reports, Benedict and Bartholomew concluded their meeting today in the Urban VIII Chapel of the Apostolic Palace with the recitation of the Our Father and Hail Mary in Latin.
This afternoon, Patriarch Bartholomew is scheduled to preside at an academic function at Rome's Pontifical Oriental Institute, where he himself gained his doctorate, for the 90th anniversary of its foundation.