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Rome-Orthodox ties warming as Europe cools to religion

Receiving an Orthodox delegation from Athens on Monday, Pope John Paul II suggested "the hour of collaboration has struck" between the Catholic and Greek churches.

Observers say there is an apparent thaw in icy relations between the Holy See and the Greek Orthodox Church, as it becomes more evident that East-West ecclesial cooperation is needed to bolster Christianity's contribution to the building of a new Europe.

The European Convention, which will shape the future of the European Union, began on 28 February. The alleged marginalisation of Christians in this process appears to be the catalyst in closer Rome-Orthodox relations.

John Paul II invited his Greek guests, who were led by Metropolitan Panteleimon of Attikis, to walk together toward the "ecumenism of holiness, which with God's help will finally lead us to full communion, which does not mean absorption or fusion, but a meeting in truth and love."

The Holy Father proposed a "deepening of our collaboration and working together to make the voice of the Gospel resound forcefully in this Europe of ours, in which peoples' Christian roots must be revived."

Delegation of Holy Synod of Greek-Orthodox Church Visits Rome (Vatican Press Office)


13 Mar 2002