November 30, 2006

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

The following, in it's entirety, is a copyrighted transcript of the Vatican Information Service.

SUMMARY OF POPE'S APOSTOLIC TRIP TO TURKEY: NOVEMBER 29 - 30

OTHER NEWS:


VISIT TO THE PATRIARCHAL CHURCH OF ST. GEORGE

VATICAN CITY, NOV 29, 2006 (VIS) - This afternoon, Benedict XVI departed by plane from Izmir, landing an hour later at the airport of Istanbul. From there, he travelled by car to the ecumenical patriarchate of Constantinople, center of the worldwide Orthodox Church and residence of the ecumenical patriarch, His Holiness Bartholomew I.

  The ecumenical patriarch is "primus inter pares" (first among equals) with respect to the other patriarchs of the Orthodox Church. The primacy of Constantinople serves to represent canonically the unity of Orthodoxy and to coordinate its activities. Apart from Istanbul itself, the patriarch's ecclesiastical jurisdiction includes four Turkish dioceses, as well as Mount Athos, Crete, Patmos and the Dodecanese Islands and, as a result of migrations, dioceses in Central and Western Europe, the Americas, Pakistan and Japan. Orthodox faithful in other parts of the world not subject to the direct jurisdiction of one of the other Orthodox patriarchs also depend upon the ecumenical patriarch.

  For many centuries, the headquarters of the patriarchate was the cathedral of Santa Sophia. Following the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453, it was transferred to other areas of the city. Since 1601, it has been based in the Fanar neighborhood.

  The patriarchal church of St. George, built in 1720, stands next to the patriarchate. The building has no cupola because, according to rules established by the Ottomans after their conquest of Constantinople, domes were reserved for mosques and other buildings associated with the Islamic faith. Among the relics kept in the church, are parts of St. Gregory Nazianzus and St. John Chrysostom, donated by John Paul II to the Patriarch Bartholomew I in November 2004.

  At 7.30 p.m., the Holy Father and His Holiness Bartholomew I participated in a liturgical act of prayer in the church of St. George.

  Following an address by the ecumenical patriarch, Benedict XVI made some remarks:

  "It gives me great joy," he said speaking English, "to be among you, my brothers in Christ, in this cathedral church, as we pray together to the Lord and call to mind the momentous events that have sustained our commitment to work for the full unity of Catholics and Orthodox. I wish above all to recall the courageous decision to remove the memory of the anathemas of 1054."

  After highlighting how the "new relations between the Churches of Rome and Constantinople have developed" upon a foundation of mutual love, Pope Benedict indicated how "signs of this love have been evident in numerous declarations of shared commitment and many meaningful gestures."

  "I also rejoice," he continued, "to be in this land so closely connected to the Christian faith, where many Churches flourished in ancient times. I think of Saint Peter's exhortations to the early Christian communities, ... and the rich harvest of martyrs, theologians, pastors, monastics, and holy men and women which those Churches brought forth over the centuries."

  The saints and Doctors of the Church, Gregory Nazianzus and John Chrysostom, whose relics rest partly in the Vatican Basilica and partly "in this very Cathedral," said the Pope, are "truly worthy intercessors for us before the Lord.

  "In this part of the Eastern world," he added, "were also held the seven Ecumenical Councils which Orthodox and Catholics alike acknowledge as authoritative for the faith and discipline of the Church. They are enduring milestones and guides along our path towards full unity."

  The Pope concluded his remarks by expressing "once more my joy to be with you. May this meeting strengthen our mutual affection and renew our common commitment to persevere on the journey leading to reconciliation and the peace of the Churches."

  After the ceremony, Benedict XVI went to "Casa Roncalli," where he spent the night. "Casa Roncalli" was the residence and headquarters of Msgr. Angelo Roncalli, the future Pope John XXIII, who was apostolic delegate to Turkey from 1935 to 1944.

 

ROME AND CONSTANTINOPLE SHARE THE APOSTOLIC CALL

VATICAN CITY, NOV 30, 2006 (VIS) - This morning, Benedict XVI participated in the divine liturgy at the patriarchal church of St. George, of the ecumenical patriarchate in Istanbul which today celebrates the Feast of its Patron, St. Andrew. On his arrival at the church, the Pope was greeted by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I. At the end of the liturgy, Patriarch Bartholomew pronounced an address, after which the Holy Father also delivered a talk.

  "Today, in this patriarchal church of St. George," began the Pope's English-language address, "we are able to experience once again the communion and call of the two brothers, Simon Peter and Andrew, in the meeting of the Successor of Peter and his brother in the episcopal ministry, the head of this Church traditionally founded by the Apostle Andrew. Our fraternal encounter highlights the special relationship uniting the Churches of Rome and Constantinople as sister Churches.

  "With heartfelt joy we thank God for granting new vitality to the relationship that has developed since the memorable meeting in Jerusalem in December 1964 between our predecessors, Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras," said the Holy Father. Later, on "the eve of the final session of the Second Vatican Council," Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras took another "unique and unforgettable step in the patriarchal church of St. George and the basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican respectively: they removed from the memory of the Church the tragic excommunications of 1054. In this way they confirmed a decisive shift in our relationship."

  "In that same spirit, my presence here today is meant to renew our commitment to advancing along the road towards the re-establishment ... of full communion between the Church of Rome and the Church of Constantinople," said the Holy Father. "I can assure you that the Catholic Church is willing to do everything possible to overcome obstacles and to seek, together with our Orthodox brothers and sisters, ever more effective means of pastoral cooperation to this end."

  Jesus, said the Pope, gave the Apostles Peter and Andrew "the mission of making all nations His disciples, baptizing them and proclaiming His teachings." Today, he recalled, this mission "is even more urgent and necessary," because it "looks not only to those cultures which have been touched only marginally by the Gospel message, but also to long-established European cultures deeply grounded in the Christian tradition.

  "The process of secularization has weakened the hold of that tradition; indeed, it is being called into question, and even rejected. In the face of this reality, we are called, together with all other Christian communities, to renew Europe's awareness of its Christian roots, traditions and values, giving them new vitality. Our efforts to build closer ties between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches are a part of this missionary task. The divisions which exist among Christians are a scandal to the world and an obstacle to the proclamation of the Gospel."

  "Peter and Andrew," the Holy Father reiterated, "were called together to become fishers of men. This same task, however, took on a different form for each of the brothers. Simon ... was called 'Peter,' the 'rock' on which the Church was to be built; to him ... were entrusted the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. His journey would take him from Jerusalem to Antioch, and from Antioch to Rome, so that in that city he might exercise a universal responsibility.

  "The issue of the universal service of Peter and his Successors has unfortunately given rise to our differences of opinion, which we hope to overcome, thanks also to the theological dialogue which has been recently resumed. My venerable predecessor, Servant of God Pope John Paul II, spoke of the mercy that characterizes Peter's service of unity. ... It is on this basis that Pope John Paul extended an invitation to enter into a fraternal dialogue aimed at identifying ways in which the Petrine ministry might be exercised today, while respecting its nature and essence, so as to 'accomplish a service of love recognized by all concerned'."

  As for Andrew, who spoke Greek, "he became ... the Apostle of the encounter with the Greeks. ... The Apostle Andrew, therefore, represents the meeting between early Christianity and Greek culture. This encounter, particularly in Asia Minor, became possible thanks especially to the great Cappadocian Fathers, who enriched the liturgy, theology and spirituality of both the Eastern and the Western Churches.

  "The Christian message, like the grain of wheat, fell on this land and bore much fruit," said Pope Benedict. "We must be profoundly grateful for the heritage that emerged from the fruitful encounter between the Christian message and Hellenic culture. It has had an enduring impact on the Churches of East and West."

  "In the course of history, both the Church of Rome and the Church of Constantinople have often experienced the lesson of the grain of wheat. Together we venerate many of the same martyrs. ... With them, we share the same hope that impels the Church to 'press forward, like a stranger in a foreign land, amid the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God.' For its part, the century that has just ended also saw courageous witnesses to the faith, in both East and West. Even now, there are many such witnesses in different parts of the world. We remember them in our prayer and, in whatever way we can, we offer them our support, as we urge all world leaders to respect religious freedom as a fundamental human right.

  "The divine liturgy in which we have participated was celebrated according to the rite of St. John Chrysostom. The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ have been made mystically present. ... This faith in the redeeming death of Jesus on the cross, and this hope which the Risen Christ offers to the whole human family, are shared by all of us, Orthodox and Catholics alike. May our daily prayer and activity be inspired by a fervent desire not only to be present at the divine liturgy, but to be able to celebrate it together, to take part in the one table of the Lord, sharing the same bread and the same chalice."

  At the conclusion of the liturgical celebration, the Pope and the Ecumenical Patriarch imparted the final blessing together.

 

JOINT DECLARATION OF BENEDICT XVI AND BARTHOLOMEW I

VATICAN CITY, NOV 30, 2006 (VIS) - At the end of the divine liturgy they celebrated this morning in the patriarchal church of St. George in Istanbul, Benedict XVI and His Holiness Bartholomew I, ecumenical patriarch, returned to the ecumenical patriarchate where they signed a joint declaration.

  In their declaration, the Pope and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, recall the meetings of their predecessors, "who showed the world the urgent need for unity and traced sure paths for attaining it, through dialogue, prayer and the daily life of the Church."

  "As pastors," they write, "we have first of all reflected on the mission to proclaim the Gospel in today's world. ... Moreover, we cannot ignore the increase of secularization, relativism, even nihilism, especially in the Western world. All this calls for a renewed and powerful proclamation of the Gospel, adapted to the cultures of our time. Our traditions represent for us a patrimony which must be continually shared, proposed, and interpreted anew. This is why we must strengthen our cooperation and our common witness before the world."

  The Pope and the Patriarch highlight how they "have viewed positively the process that has led to the formation of the European Union. Those engaged in this great project should not fail to take into consideration all aspects affecting the inalienable rights of the human person, especially religious freedom, a witness and guarantor of respect for all other freedoms. In every step towards unification, minorities must be protected, with their cultural traditions and the distinguishing features of their religion."

  "Our concern extends," their joint declaration proceeds, "to those parts of today's world where Christians live and to the difficulties they have to face, particularly poverty, wars and terrorism, but equally to various forms of exploitation of the poor, of migrants, women and children. Catholics and Orthodox are called to work together to promote respect for the rights of every human being, created in the image and likeness of God, and to foster economic, social and cultural development.

  "Our theological and ethical traditions can offer a solid basis for a united approach in preaching and action. Above all, we wish to affirm that killing innocent people in God's name is an offence against him and against human dignity. We must all commit ourselves to the renewed service of humanity and the defense of human life, every human life.

  "We take profoundly to heart the cause of peace in the Middle East, where our Lord lived, suffered, died and rose again, and where a great multitude of our Christian brethren have lived for centuries. We fervently hope that peace will be re-established in that region, that respectful coexistence will be strengthened between the different peoples that live there, between the Churches and between the different religions found there. To this end, we encourage the establishment of closer relationships between Christians, and of an authentic and honest inter-religious dialogue, with a view to combating every form of violence and discrimination.

  "At present, in the face of the great threats to the natural environment, we want to express our concern at the negative consequences for humanity and for the whole of creation which can result from economic and technological progress that does not know its limits. As religious leaders, we consider it one of our duties to encourage and to support all efforts made to protect God's creation, and to bequeath to future generations a world in which they will be able to live."

  Following the signing ceremony, the Pope had lunch with Patriarch Bartholomew at the ecumenical patriarchate.

  This afternoon, Benedict XVI is scheduled to visit to Museum of Santa Sophia and the Blue Mosque, the largest mosque in Istanbul. He will then go on to meet with His Beatitude Mesrob II, Armenian patriarch of Istanbul, with Filuksinos Yusuf Cetin, Syro-Orthodox Metropolitan, and with Isak Haleva, Cheif Rabbi of Turkey. This evening he will dine with members of the Catholic Episcopal Conference.

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

VATICAN CITY, NOV 30, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Fr. Gerard Pettipas C.Ss.R., pastor of St. Joseph in Grand Prarie, Alberta, Canada, as archbishop of Grouard-McLennan (area 224,596, population 120,530, Catholics 47,028, priests 14, permanent deacons 2, religious 23), Canada. The archbishop-elect was born in Halifax, Canada, in 1950 and ordained a priest in 1977. He succeeds Archbishop Arthe Guimond, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Joseph Chusak Sirisut, professor of the major national seminary and director of the center for cultural and religious research in Sampran, as bishop of Nakhon Ratchasima (area 41,148, population 5,220,430, Catholics 5,429, priests 27, religious 35), Thailand. The bishop-elect was born in Bang Nok Kwek, Thailand, in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1984. He succeeds Bishop Joachim Phaya Manisap, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Bishop Emmanuel Bushu of Yagoua, Cameroon, as bishop of Buea (area 13,410, population 957,000, Catholics 295,630, priests 59, religious 72), Cameroon. He succeeds Bishop Pius Suh Awa, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Christophe Zoa of the clergy of the archdiocese of Yaounde, Cameroon, archdiocesan chancellor, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 4,964, population 1,591,960, Catholics 700,700, priests 307, religious 794). The bishop-elect was born in Yaounde in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1991.

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