#7 - JRL 7245
Pope Again Reaches Out to Orthodox Church
June 30, 2003
VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope John Paul II again reached out to the Orthodox Church on Sunday, saying his efforts at reconciliation weren't just ``ecclesiastic courtesy'' but a sign of his profound desire to unite the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches.
John Paul made the comments during his regular appearance to pilgrims and tourists in St. Peter's Square. Later Sunday, he welcomed a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople at a traditional Mass marking the feast day of St. Peter and St. Paul.
``The exchange of delegations between Rome and Constantinople, for the respective patron feasts, goes beyond just an act of ecclesiastic courtesy,'' the pontiff said. ``It reflects the profound and rooted intention to re-establish the full communion between East and West.''
John Paul has made improving relations with the Orthodox Church a hallmark of his nearly 25-year papacy, visiting several mostly Orthodox countries and expressing regret for the wrongs committed by the Catholic Church against Orthodox Christians.
Despite his efforts at healing the 1,000-year-old schism, he hasn't yet visited Russia because of objections from the Russian Orthodox Church.
During the Mass on Sunday, 42 new archbishops received the pallium, a band of white wool decorated with black crosses that symbolizes their bond with the Vatican. Two of the archbishops received the pallium in their home parishes; the rest took part in the Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.