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Pope renews Olympic truce appeal

Pope John Paul II has repeated an appeal he made jointly with the leader of the Orthodox Church of Greece for an Olympic Truce during the 2004 Olympic Games.

Meeting with Greece's new Vatican ambassador in September, the Holy Father said the Games are an opportunity "to overcome hatred and to bring peoples together."

Almost a year after the September 11 attacks on the US, John Paul said we live in a "troubled and uncertain world". He called for a "durable truce against all violence, so that the peaceful spirit and healthy stimulation of the Olympic Games are spread throughout society and across the continents."

In May, 2001, John Paul and Archbishop Christodoulos, head of the Orthodox Church of Greece, issued a joint plea for a truce from the Areopagos, the spot on the Acropolis where the Apostle Paul delivered his Sermon on the Mount.

They said they "are anguished to see that wars, massacres, torture and martyrdom" are a "terrible daily reality for millions" of people around the world. They also said they "are pleased" to add their voices to those "around the world which have expressed the hope thatin 2004 the ancient Greek tradition of the Olympic Truce will be revived".

The spokesman of the Catholic Church in Greece, Nikos Gasparakis, says the Church supports Greece's efforts to see the truce become a reality. He also says the joint declaration by the Pope and the Archbishop, like John Paul's visit to Greece, may have had a conciliatory effect on the strained relations between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches in Greece.

Greece Now

Athens 2004
Catholic Church in Greece


Cardinal Walter Kasper, the president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, will travel to Greece next week for meetings with Greek Orthodox leaders.

Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens, the leader of the Greek Orthodox Church, issued the invitation that prompts Cardinal Kasper's visit. That invitation is regarded by Vatican officials as an unusually promising development.

Prior the visit by Pope John Paul II to Greece in May 2001, relations between the Vatican and the Greek Orthodox hierarchy were extremely cool. But since that visit, ecumenical relations have improved significantly. Cardinal Kasper will be returning a visit made to Rome by a delegation of Orthodox officials in March 2002.

Catholic World News

Pope praised for healing Greek visit (7/5/01)

30 Jan 2003