Thursday, 25 January 2001
I am very pleased to have this moment of fellowship, which gives me the welcome opportunity once again to express my gratitude to each of you, venerable and dear Brothers, who wished to take part in today's celebration.
Dear Brothers, I am pleased to spend this time of fellowship with you and to take the opportunity to thank you for your cordial presence at this celebration for the close of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
Our common prayer at the tomb of the Apostle Paul has been a source of great joy for me. I give thanks to the Lord for this moving sign of our commitment to Christian unity at the beginning of the third millennium. In a very special way, then, I wish to express my gratitude to each of you for your presence today. May Christ, "the way, and the truth, and the life", continue to guide and sustain us in fidelity to his will that all may be one.
I am delighted that we have been given this time of fraternal fellowship, after having earlier brought our petitions to God in shared prayer.
I would like to thank in particular:
- the Delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, representing His Holiness Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch;
- the Delegation from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, representing His Beatitude Petros VII, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa;
- the Delegation from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, representing His Beatitude Ignace IV Hazim, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East;
- the Delegation from the Patriarchate of Moscow, representing His Holiness Alexei II, Patriarch of Moscow and All the Russias;
- the Delegation from the Patriarchate of Serbia, representing His Beatitude Pavle, Serbian Patriarch;
- the Delegation from the Orthodox Patriarchate of Romania, representing His Beatitude Teoctist, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church;
- the Delegation from the Orthodox Church of Bulgaria, representing His Beatitude Maxim, Metropolitan of Sofia and Patriarch of Bulgaria;
- the Delegation from the Orthodox Church of Greece, representing His Beatitude Christódoulos, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece;
- the Delegation from the Orthodox Church of Poland, representing His Beatitude Sawa, Orthodox Metropolitan of Warsaw and All Poland;
- the Delegation from the Orthodox Church of Albania, representing His Beatitude Anastas, Archbishop of Tiranë, Durrës and All Albania;
- the Delegation from the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, representing His Holiness Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St Mark;
- the Delegation from the Orthodox Patriarchate of Ethiopia, representing His Holiness Abba Paulos, Patriarch of Ethiopia;
- the Delegation from the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, representing His Holiness Mar Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East;
- the Delegation from the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, representing His Holiness Mar Baselios Marthoma Mathew II, Catholicos of the East;
- the Delegation from the Armenian Apostolic Church, representing His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians;
- the Delegation from the Catholicosate of Cilicia for Armenians (Antelias, Lebanon), representing His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of Cilicia;
- the Delegation from the Assyrian Church of the East, representing His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos and Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East;
- the Delegation from the Anglican Communion, representing His Grace George L. Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of the Anglican Communion;
and lastly, the Delegations from:
- the Lutheran World Federation;
- the World Alliance of Reformed Churches;
- the World Methodist Council;
- the Baptist World Alliance;
- the World Council of Churches.
I also express deep gratitude to the Abbot General, to the Abbot and monastic community of St Paul, who once again have generously and willingly offered us their hospitality. May the Lord bestow his blessings on each of you and fill your communities with his gifts.
At the end of our meeting, I ask the Lord to bless you and your communities, so that each day we may all bear ever greater witness to the risen Christ.
May the Lord bestow his abundant blessings upon each of you and upon the communities which you represent.
Dear Brothers, may the Lord shine his light upon you and grant peace and salvation to your communities.
Let us hope that I can complete the journey I undertook in the footsteps of Abraham after this Jubilee Year.
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