.- On Monday, Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to meet with priests and seminarians from Greece’s Orthodox Christian Church. It is hoped that the visit, which parallels a similar trip taken by Catholic priests and seminarians to Athens last year, will foster greater knowledge and understanding between the two faiths.
The group, which arrives in Rome tomorrow and will stay until the 28th, hails from the Orthodox Theological College of "Apostoliki Diakonia."
The Vatican announced yesterday afternoon that the historic visit is being orchestrated in part by the Catholic Committee for Cultural Collaboration and the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
The group will be composed of 31 priests and seminarians from theology faculty and related disciplines at the University of Athens. It is being headed by Bishop Agathangelos, who is director general of the "Apostoliki Diakonia” as well as representative of His Beatitude Christodoulos, Archbishop of Athens and Greece.
The group is scheduled for a Monday audience with the Holy Father, as well as a visit the Vatican’s Apostolic Library, home to the famous Greek manuscript, the "Menologue of Basil II.”
Likewise, they will visit the Monastery of St. Mary at Grottaferrata outside Rome, and the city’s four major basilicas.
The group is also slated to meet priests and seminarians from the diocese of Rome, who spent five weeks last year studying in Athens and striving for a better understanding of the Orthodox faith. The trip was made at the behest of the "Apostoliki Diakonia."
The Vatican noted that both the Orthodox and Catholic groups are due to attend a liturgical ceremony which will be held in the church of St. Theodore Megalomartyr, home of the Greek-Orthodox community in Rome.