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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew introduces Archdiocesan delegation to Pope Benedict

During his apostolic visit to the Vatican on Saturday afternoon, June 28, 2008, His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew introduced the accompanying Patriarchal delegation, which was sponsored by the FAITH Endowment, to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI during a private reception. Among those was His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America who led the delegation in commemoration of the Apostles Peter and Paul. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew introduced the pilgrims, saying:

June 28, 2008

Your Holiness,

In attendance at this great and joyous occasion of the Patronal Feast of the Church of Rome are, in addition to ourselves and our Patriarchal entourage, beloved children of the Ecumenical Patriarchate from our Eparchy in the United States of America, who have traveled to Rome to participate in this Feast and whom we are pleased to present to You in order that they might duly pay their respects.

They comprise, Your Holiness, faithful children of the Church, highly distinguished in diverse areas of life in the United States and enjoying renown among their compatriots. They are particularly proud of their cultural heritage, inherited from their forefathers, as well as their Greek Orthodox identity, which they zealously treasure and preserve within the multi-faith and multi-cultural environment where they live. They are also well aware of the Christian roots of the city of Rome, the blessing of the greatest of the Apostles Peter and Paul, along with the glorious history of the Catacombs and Coliseum. Indeed, their presence this evening in the sacred Church of St. Paul outside the city walls may be characterized as a pious pilgrimage to the first and greatest of the Apostles, whose Epistles always enhance their spiritual formation, as well as to his other peer among the Apostles, namely St. Peter, upon whose rock of confession regarding the divinity of Jesus Christ they and their children firmly stand.

Pray, then, Your Holiness, that this pilgrimage of our beloved spiritual children to the elder Rome may truly prove to be a renewal of their baptismal vows through the life-giving waters of this ancient Church, whose glory has been enriched by persecution, martyrdom and the blood of its own children, together with the confession of Peter, the mission of Paul to the Gentiles, the godly zeal of the Apostle Andrew, as well as the holy net of salvation inherited through all of the Apostles!

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