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Twenty-First Century Crusades?

Prediction 7:
The Pope taking radical steps to bring all sheep back into fold.

Orthodox ready to resume dialogue with Vatican
By Jeffrey Goldfarb and Cheryl Juckes

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Orthodox leaders on Thursday hailed Pope Benedict's commitment to Christian unity and said they were prepared to resume a theological dialogue that has been stalled for five years.
 

...the Pope urged the visiting Orthodox prelates to focus on what unites them with Rome rather than on millennium-old disputes.


"Our Orthodox Church shares fully the same commitment," said Metropolitan Ioannis of Pergamum, a leading Orthodox theologian, in Rome for the feast of Saints Peter and Paul.

He said their highest-ranking prelate, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, had convinced the Orthodox churches that follow him to appoint two delegates each to the international mixed religious commission.

"This will allow us to resume our theological dialogue in the near future, concentrating now on crucial ecclesiological issues concerning, in particular, the subject of the primacy" of the pope, he said.

Benedict has made reconciliation with the Orthodox, who split from Rome in 1054 in disputes including one over the pope's role, a top priority of his papacy.

The new Pope, elected in April, sent an envoy to Russia this month to see how to repair strained ties.

In a homily on Wednesday, the Pope urged the visiting Orthodox prelates to focus on what unites them with Rome rather than on millennium-old disputes.

On Thursday, he took up the theme again: "The unity that we are seeking is not one of absorption or fusion, but fully respecting the many forms of the Church."

The commission on theological dialogue was interrupted five years ago amid souring relations with Russia and a row over property.

Bartholomew met John Paul last year. On that occasion, John Paul expressed "disgust and pain" for the Catholic sacking of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade in 1204.
 

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