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Bartholomew I's Article: 'That They May All Be One'

Written on the Occasion of Benedict XVI's Journey to Turkey

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 30, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of an article, signed by Bartholomew I, ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, which appeared on the front page of the Nov. 27-28 Italian edition of L'Osservatore Romano.

The Orthodox patriarch's article was entitled "That They May All Be One."

* * *

With great joy, we welcome the visit of our beloved brother in Christ, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, to our country and to the See of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Given that this is the first official visit of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Church of Constantinople since his election, it is a historic moment, as were the visits of his predecessors, of venerated memory, Pope Paul VI in 1967 and Pope John Paul II in 1979.

It is also a pilgrimage to the Holy Places where the Apostle Andrew took the Holy Gospel and performed many signs, and where thousands of martyrs and confessors gave witness of their faith. Here in this city and in this ancient and historical land, Christianity has been alive for 2,000 years and has survived despite all the difficulties, challenges and divisions. Indeed, it is a joy and at the same time a blessing that the two leaders of the Church should meet as Christian brothers and servants of our Lord, as the Psalm states: "Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!" (Psalm 133:1). We very much appreciate this visit of His Holiness Benedict XVI to our Church, which is an expression of the existing good relations between our two ancient Churches. It also shows our profound conviction and willingness to intensify our theological dialogue of love, truth and mutual respect through the Joint International Theological Commission.

With honor and dignity, the Ecumenical Patriarchate bears the burden of the People of God. We respond to the challenges of our time and to the appeals of many people who live in need, poverty, danger and injustice. Moreover, we are committed to opposing all forms of violence, for the peaceful coexistence of all religious communities in our country. Having lived for centuries in a predominantly Muslim environment, our Holy Church has always promoted dialogue between peoples and encouraged them to live together in peace, in harmony and in reconciliation, disregarding differences of race, religion and culture.

We consider this visit an opportunity to manifest our fraternal love to His Holiness Benedict XVI and to renew our commitment to continue on our common spiritual path toward the unity of the Church. Hoping with all our heart that His Holiness' visit will be beautiful and pleasant, we express to him our cordial welcome to our country, to our city and to our Church, and we pray fervently that the One and Triune God will continue to guide us in all that we do to fulfill his commandment: "That they may all be one" (John 17:21).

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