Pope's greetings to new Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch
At a time when the Middle East is so unstable and prone to violence, “it is increasingly
urgent that the disciples of Christ offer an authentic witness of their unity, so
that the world may believe the Gospel message of love, peace and reconciliation.”
These are the words of Pope Benedict XVI, in a message of fraternal greetings in Christ’s
love, to the new Greek-Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, John X Yazigi.
The new Patriarch was elected on December 17 by the Holy Synod, meeting at the monastery
of Our Lady of Balamand, north of Beirut. He succeeds Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim,
who died December 5 at the age of 92 years.
“We have a responsibility,” says
the Pope, “to continue together along our path to show in a more visible way the spiritual
reality of communion which, although still incomplete, already unites us.”
XVI expresses his hope that the relationship between Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate and
the Catholic Church might continue to develop through forms of fruitful cooperation
and ongoing efforts to resolve the issues that still divide the two communities. He
especially recommended active and constructive participation in the work of the Commission
Joint International theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox
Church as a whole.
The Pope, finally, assures the new Patriarch of his prayers,
and asks Christ to bring healing to those who are victims of violence in the Middle
East and to inspire acts of peace.