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Benedict XVI extends heartfelt greetings to Orthodox Church on St. Andrew's feast

Following the recitation of the Angelus, Pope Benedict noted that today marks the Feast of St. Andrew, and that his feast day highlights the relationship between the Catholic and the Orthodox Churches.

"St. Andrew is the patron saint of the Patriarchate of Constantinople; for this reason the Church of Rome feels closely connected to that of Constantinople by a tie of special fraternity,” Pope Benedict said.

Little is definitively known about St. Andrew. He was originally a disciple of John the Baptist and along with John the evangelist he became one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus.

After the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead, St. Andrew brought the Gospel to numerous parts of modern-day Turkey, including Constantinople.

St. Andrew was martyred on November 30, 60 A.D. under the reign of Emperor Nero. Instead of being nailed to a cross, historians generally agree that he was tied to the cross to prolong his sufferings.

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According to tradition, Pope Benedict said today that he had sent a delegation of the Holy See, led by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, to visit the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.

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