Ecumenism: Pope Meets Patriarch

On his historic three-day trip to Israel and Jordan at the end of this week, Pope Paul VI plans to meet Athenagoras I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and first among equals of the world's Orthodox bishops. The encounter will be the first between a Pope and a Patriarch of Constantinople since the Council of Florence in 1439, when the breach between the eastern and western branches of Christendom—then 400 years old—was momentarily healed.

"They will meet in a spirit of Christian fraternity," said a Vatican official, meaning no more than that. After Paul announced, at the closing of the Vatican...

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