ISTANBUL, Turkey — Pope Benedict XVI and the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians prayed together in an Istanbul church Thursday, a service intended to underline their commitment to healing the 1,000-year-old rift between the two churches.
Benedict went to St. George Church at the start of his third day in Turkey and embraced Ecumenical Patriarch Barthlomew I — called the “first among equals” of the Orthodox leaders.
Their meeting was watched with suspicion in Turkey for possible challenges to state-imposed limits on Christian minorities and others. Benedict has declared a “fundamental” commitment to try to close rifts between the two ancient branches of Christianity, which split nearly 1,000 years ago over disputes including papal authority. (AP)
While commentators on EWTN noted this was not a “concelebration” the Pope was vested as a hierarch at the beginning of the liturgy and then censed before he took his place in the altar. NFTU