.- The Holy Father and the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I together gave thanks to God for the fraternity and signified by their meeting, and for the confirmation of their commitment “to make decisive progress toward full unity between Catholics and Orthodox,” during the Patriarch’s farewell visit to the Pope yesterday afternoon.
“There is great need for these signs of communion, as well as for the words that accompany them and explain them which we have written in the joint declaration,” said John Paul II.
“Another important event during these days, which has been a motive for special joy for me, is to have had the opportunity to grant the ecumenical patriarchate use of the church of St. Theodore on the Palatine Hill in the heart of ancient Rome,”said the Holy Father.
He continued :“This will allow the faithful of the Greek-Orthodox archdiocese in Italy to have a significant and continuing presence close to the tomb of the Apostle Peter. All of this, we know, is a gift from God. And it is beautiful that brothers and sisters live together in this common recognition.”
The Holy Father thanked His Holiness Bartholomew I and the members of his entourage. He concluded by saying: “With the memory of these days of grace, and today's meeting, may we remain in communion in prayer and fraternal charity.”
Patriarch Bartholomew departed from Rome at noon today.