POPE JOHN PAUL II AND THE EAST


design from Haghia Triada Greek Catholic Cathedral, Athens, Greece

Alongside his many Letters, speeches, homilies, travels and symbolic gestures dealing with the Christian East, the late Pope John Paul II gave a series of Angelus addresses in which he explicitly invokes the East and its irreplaceable gifts to the Universal Church. Here are some excerpts from these papal messages:

Church Venerates Fathers of East and West

Pope John Paul II
Angelus, August 4, 1996

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. A great element of unity between Christianity of the East and the West is our common veneration of the Fathers of the Church. This expression refers to those saints of the early centuries, pastors for the most part, who by preaching and theological reflection defended the faith from heresies and had a decisive role in the encounter between the Gospel message and the culture of their time. The Church considers them distinguished witnesses to tradition. Some of them are authentic "giants" in the history of Christian thought and universal culture.

The fascination of the Fathers' era is also due to the fruitful exchange that occurred then between East and West.

Mosaic of Sts John Chrysostom and Ignatius of Antioch, Haghia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

Particularly influential were two schools that both arose in the East: at Alexandria in Egypt and at Antioch in Syria. In the one scriptural exegesis was conducted mainly according to the allegorical method, while in the other the historical and literary method was preferred. As a result the two schools developed two complementary viewpoints in their reflection on the truths of the faith and, in particular, on the mystery of the Incarnation. In Alexandria, where Origen's genius left an indelible mark, the stress fell on the glory of the Word made man; in Antioch, the true humanity he assumed was emphasized. Both perspectives are essential to understanding the identity of Jesus Christ as it is professed by the Church's faith.

2. Most of this thinking reached the Christian West, giving rise to a vital exchange between the Eastern and Latin communities. Thus it would have been difficult in those centuries to distinguish clearly between the two traditions, and to set one against the other would have been forcing the issue. The Church willingly draws on both.

Among the great figures of the East suffice it to recall the three holy "Hierarchs": St Basil the Great, St Gregory Nazianzen and St John Chrysostom. They made an invaluable contribution to deepening the Christian vision of God, stressing that by his ineffable nature he is beyond all our thoughts but, at the same time, he is the One who became close to us in the history of salvation, revealing to us the secrets of his Trinitarian life, giving himself to us in the Incarnate Word and in the outpouring of his Holy Spirit. It was at once a discourse about God and a discourse about the dignity of man, formed in the image of the Creator and called to live in Christ as a son in the Son.

icon of the Three Hierarchs

The great fathers and doctors of the West, from St Ambrose to St Augustine, from St Jerome to St. Gregory the Great, continued the journey, becoming no less praiseworthy in penetrating the mystery. They were different but converging voices, at the service of the one Christian truth. Patristic thought was truly a great symphony of thought and 1ife.

3. Dear brothers and sisters, let us allow the Blessed Virgin to lead us to a rediscovery of this immense and ever timely patrimony. The Fathers still speak to us and deserve to be employed to ever greater benefit in theology and in Christian formation. True imitators of the Mother of God, they give us the example of an understanding which was never arid speculation but was joined with prayer and holiness. By following their teaching, it will be easier to hearken to the Spirit of God who forcefully calls believers to achieve the vision of full ecclesial unity.


Eastern theology has enriched the whole Church

Pope John Paul II
Angelus, August 11, 1996

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. Continuing my reflection on Eastern Christianity, today I would like to focus attention on the development of Eastern theology, which, even in the centuries that followed the age of the Fathers and the sad division with the Apostolic See, led to profound and stimulating perspectives at which the whole Church looks with interest. Although there is still disagreement on this point or that, we must not forget that what unites us is greater than what divides us.

An important doctrinal development occurred between the eighth and ninth centuries after the "iconoclast" crisis unleashed by several Byzantine emperors, who decided radically to suppress the veneration of sacred images. Many were forced to suffer for resisting this absurd imposition. St John Damascene and St Theodore the Studite come to mind in particular. The victorious outcome of their resistance proved decisive not only for devotion and sacred art, but also for a deeper understanding of the mystery of the Incarnation. Indeed, in the final analysis the defense of images was based on the fact that God truly became man in Jesus of Nazareth. It is therefore legitimate for the artist to endeavor to portray his face, not only with the aid of his talent, but especially by interior docility to God's Spirit. The images refer to the Mystery that surpasses them, and they help us feel its presence in our life.

2. The hesychast controversy marked another distinctive moment in Eastern theology. In the East, hesychasm means a method of prayer characterized by a deep tranquility of the spirit, which is engaged in constant contemplation of God by invoking the name of Jesus. There was no lack of tension with the Catholic viewpoint on certain aspects of this practice. However, we should acknowledge the good intentions which guided the defense of this spiritual method, that is, to emphasize the concrete possibility that man is given to unite himself with the Triune God in the intimacy of his heart, in that deep union of grace which Eastern theology likes to describe with the particularly powerful term of "theosis", "divinization".

Frescoes from Haghia Triada Greek Catholic Cathedral, Athens, Greece

Precisely in this regard Eastern spirituality has amassed a very rich experience which was vigorously presented in the famous collection of texts significantly entitled Philokalia (love of beauty") and gathered by Nicodemus the Hagiorite at the end of the 18th century. Down the centuries until our day, Eastern theological reflection has undergone interesting developments, not only in the classical areas of the Byzantine and Russian tradition, but also in the Orthodox communities scattered throughout the world. One need only recall, among the many studies worthy of mention, the Theology of Beauty elaborated by Pavel Nikolaievich Evdokimov, which is based on the Eastern art of the icon, and the study of the doctrine of "divinization" by the Orthodox scholar, Loth Borovine.

How many things we have in common! It is time for Catholics and Orthodox to make an extra effort to understand each other better and to recognize with the renewed wonder of brotherhood what the Spirit is accomplishing in their respective traditions towards a new Christian springtime.

3. Let us ask Mary, Mother of Wisdom, to teach us to recognize promptly the infinite expressions of God's presence in the history of mankind. May she help us to concentrate on the positive rather than the negative, and to use all the creativity of mutual understanding for engaging in fruitful dialogue, even on points where differences remain. For this reason, may the Holy Spirit grant us the wisdom of heart so dear to Eastern spirituality and essential to any genuinely Christian experience.


Love of Mary Shared by East and West

Pope John Paul II
Angelus, August 18, 1996

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. In a special way the light of Christ shines out in the saints and illumines the face of the Church (cf. Lumen gentium, n. 1). Their veneration is a bridge vitally linking the Churches of the East and West, fostering the exchange of spiritual gifts and the way to full unity.

Mosaic of the Dedication, Haghia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

One could say then that Western and Eastern Christians "compete" in their love for the Blessed Virgin recognizing in Mary, Mother of the Redeemer and of the Church, the synthesis and culmination of the marvels worked by God for man. A few days ago we celebrated her Assumption into heaven. In the East where this solemnity is also known as the "Dormition" of Mary it is considered the greatest Marian feast, for which the faithful prepare with eight days or more of fasting and prayer.

Indeed, one aspect of the Christian vision emerges from Mary's Assumption, which is justifiably emphasized in the Eastern tradition: if every human person is created in the image and likeness of God, Mary, full of grace, is the one who "resembles him the most". In her is fulfilled the plan of God, who desires to raise man to the level of his Trinitarian life. Mary was raised to the peak of the "vision of God". This is not only because like a true Mother, she gave her flesh to the Word of God, but above all because she cherishes him in her heart forever, as the Znamenie icon splendidly portrays. The famous Akathistos hymn to the Mother of God presents Mary as "a compendium of the truths of Christ".

Icon of Our Lady of the Sign

2. Together with Mary, the saints are the Church's great treasure in the East as in the West. They are the splendor of the Redemption brought about by Christ. Their death is remembered as their "birth in heaven", and the liturgy commemorates several of them each day. Many of the saints are common to both traditions, especially those of the biblical era and the first Christian centuries. Countless hymns of praise have been dedicated to them. Art has made them the subject of splendid depictions. The people consider them patrons and models of life.

If the Eastern and Western liturgies are compared, an obvious complementarity can be noted. Here too, it is necessary to become better acquainted and to have greater appreciation of one another. In this regard, I am pleased to recall the case of St Gregory the Great: the great Pope who had been apocrisiarius in Constantinople understood that his ministry as Successor of Peter was that of being "servant of the servants of God". He was appreciated by Eastern Christians and they remember him with the unusual epithet of "Gregory the Dialogist". While this evocative expression calls to mind a famous work by the great Pontiff, it also serves as the inspiration for a programme of holiness and ministry in which resolute service to the truth always walks in step with the ability to listen and the intense quest for communion among the brethren.

3. Let us entrust to Mary's intercession the ecumenical journey to which Christians are committed and which was given a decisive impetus by the Second Vatican Council. If we turn to the past beneath the gaze of our common Mother and in the light of the saints, it will be easier to build a future of holiness and, with it, a future of unity. Unfortunately, the history of East-West relations has been marked by serious shadows. But today more than ever, as the third millennium rapidly approaches it is necessary to look ahead. May Mary Most Holy, model of the Church and the living icon of her mystery, guide and sustain our steps.


Fathers of East knew how to listen to Spirit of God

Pope John Paul II
Angelus, September 8, 1996

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. Among the signs of hope of our time, so rich in lights and shadows, there is certainly the repeated demand for spirituality, which is making headway despite the advanced process of secularization. Man sees that science, technology and economic well-being do not suffice. The goods produced by industrial civilization can make our life more comfortable, but they do not satisfy the needs of the heart. Television and computer science, in a certain sense, bring the world into our home. But this does not always ensure depth and serenity in human relations.

In this context many people feel a pressing need to return to their roots, an intimate desire for silence, contemplation, the search for the absolute. A word of life is sought among so many words that are often misleading and empty.

To this need Christianity has always offered a response which springs from biblical revelation and is supported by the experience of numerous saints. Today I wish to stress the contribution which comes from Eastern Christianity whose spirituality deserves to be increasingly well known, not only in its external features but especially in its deep motivations.

2. The Fathers of the East start with the awareness that authentic spiritual commitment can not be reduced to an encounter with oneself, to an even necessary recovery of interiority, but must be a journey of docile listening to the Spirit of God. In fact, they maintain, man is not completely himself if he is closed to the Holy Spirit. St Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, who because of his origins and formation can be considered a bridge between East and West, saw man as made up of three elements: body, soul and Holy Spirit (cf. Adversus haereses 5, 9, 1-2). Certainly he did not intend to confuse man with God, but he was concerned to emphasize that man reaches his fullness only by opening himself to God. For Aphraates of Persia who echoes St Paul's thought, the Spirit of God is offered to us in such an intimate way as to become almost part of our "self" (cf. Demonstrationes 6, 14). In the same sense, a Russian spiritual author, Theophane the Recluse, reached the point of calling the Holy Spirit "the soul of the human soul" and saw the purpose of the spiritual life in a "gradual spiritualization of the soul and of the body" (cf. Letters on Spiritual Life).

The true enemy of this interior ascent is sin. It must be overcome in order to make room for the Spirit of God. In him, not only the individual but the whole cosmos is, as it were, transfigured. It is not an easy journey: but the goal is a great experience of freedom.

3. Let us raise our eyes to Mary whose Nativity we are joyfully celebrating today. The Blessed Virgin is the exemplary image of a human being inhabited by the Holy Spirit. She immediately accepted him at the Annunciation and thus became Mother of the Redeemer. She then received him at Pentecost, together with the Apostles, being in their midst as Mother of the Church. May she now awaken in each of us a great desire of the spiritual life, helping us to develop this basic dimension of our heart in full docility to the Spirit of God.


Eastern Spirituality Emphasizes the 'Heart'

Pope John Paul II
Angelus, September 29, 1996

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. A certain trend in humanistic culture has led many men and women of our time to turn away from God. But with the decline of the great ideologies it has become dramatically clear that when man becomes "bereft of God", he loses the meaning of his own life and in some way becomes "bereft" of himself.

Who is man? Christianity, in its twofold tradition of East and West has always taken this question seriously. It has given rise to a profound, harmonious anthropology based on the principle that the ultimate truth of the human being is to be sought in the One who created him.

Eastern spirituality makes a specific contribution to authentic knowledge of man by insisting on the perspective of the "heart". Christians of the East love to distinguish three types of knowledge. The first is limited to man in his bio-psychic structure. The second remains in the realm of moral life. The highest degree of self-knowledge is obtained, however, in "contemplation", by which man returns deeply into himself, recognizes himself as the divine image and, purifying himself of sin, meets the living God to the point of becoming "divine" himself by the gift of grace.

Detail of icon of the Annunciation (School of Kastoria), 15th century

2. This is knowledge of the heart. Here, the "heart" means much more than a human faculty, such as affectivity, for example. It is rather the principle of personal unity, a sort of "interior space" in which the person recollects his whole self so as to live in the knowledge and love of the Lord. Eastern authors are referring to this principle when they invite us to "come down from the head to the "heart". It is not enough to know things, to think about them; they must become 1ife.

It is an important message, which applies not only to specifically religious experience but to human life in its totality. Today's prevailing scientific culture puts an enormous quantity of information at our disposal; but every day it is apparent that this is not enough for an authentic process of humanization. We have greater need than ever to rediscover the dimensions of the "heart", we need more heart. A renewed encounter with Christian perspectives, in their particular Eastern and Western riches, offers a very valuable contribution in this regard.

3. Dear brothers and sisters, let us be guided by Mary most holy to discover ourselves in ever greater depth. In order to stress the Virgin's meditative attitude towards the events of her life, the Gospel says that Mary "kept all these things in her heart" (Lk 2:51).

May the Mother of God teach us the way that leads from the fringes of our existence to our inner depths, in the mysterious sanctuary where we can talk intimately with that God who welcomes us and loves us.


Beauty has important role in Eastern spirituality

Pope John Paul II
Angelus, November 3, 1996

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. In the last few days the Solemnity of All Saints and the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed have enabled us to feel the intimate communion linking us to our brothers and sisters who have already entered eternity. They are now having a deep experience of God; they sing his mercy; they celebrate his love. The liturgy we celebrate on earth is a mysterious participation in this heavenly liturgy.

The Pantokrator, dome of the Haghia Triada, Greek Catholic Cathedral, Athens, Greece

The sense of liturgy is particularly vivid among our Eastern brothers and sisters. For them, the liturgy is truly "heaven on earth" (Orientale lumen, n. 11). It is a synthesis of the whole faith experience. It is an involving experience which touches the whole human person, body and soul. Everything in the sacred action aims at expressing "the divine harmony and the model of humanity transfigured": "the shape of the church, the sounds, the colors, the lights, the scents. The lengthy duration of the celebrations itself and the repeated invocations express the progressive identification with the mystery celebrated with one's whole person" (cf. ibid).

The special care that Easterners devote to the beauty of form is also at the service of mystery. According to the Kiev Chronicle, St Vladimir is supposed to have been converted to the Christian faith also because of the beauty of worship in the churches of Constantinople.

Haghia Sophia, the Great Church, Istanbul, Turkey, to left

An Eastern author has written that the liturgy is "the royal gate through which one must pass, if one wishes to grasp the spirit of the Christian East (cf. Fr Evdokimov, The Prayer of the Eastern Church).

2. But in addition to its liturgical expression, prayer in the East as in the West has many other expressions. Spiritual authors have a particular partiality for the prayer of the heart, which consists in knowing how to listen to the voice of the Spirit in profound and receptive silence.

The so-called Jesus prayer is held in particular esteem and is popular in the West through the Russian text known as "The Way of the Pilgrim". It is the invocation "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner". Repeated frequently, in these or similar words, this rich invocation becomes, as it were, the soul's very breath. Man is thus helped to feel the Savior's presence in everything he encounters, and he experiences being loved by God despite his own weaknesses. Although recited interiorly, it also has a mysterious community radiance. This little prayer, the Fathers used to say, is a great treasure and unites all those praying before the face of Christ.

3. Let us be guided by the saints, venerated with equal love in the East and West, to rediscover the value of prayer. Above all, may the Blessed Virgin Mary be our teacher. Her "Magnificat" gives us a glimmer of the unique liturgy that she celebrated, adoring the Word made flesh in her womb. May she guide us to the depths of Christian prayer, so that our life may become an everlasting liturgy of praise.


Icons Show the Human Face of God

Pope John Paul II
Angelus, November 17, 1996

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. In recent months my Sunday reflections have frequently focused on our Christian brothers and sisters of the East. Wishing as it were to embrace their rich tradition of faith in a single glance, today I would like to refer once again to the sense of mystery which is apparent in their icons. The East and the West vie with each other to put their art at the service of the faith. But from the East, where icons had to be defended with bloodshed in the iconoclast crisis of the eighth and ninth centuries, comes a particular call jealously to preserve the religious nature of this art. It is based on the mystery of the Incarnation, in which God chose to assume a human face. In the last analysis, sacred art seeks to transmit something of the mystery of that face.

Mosaic of Christ the Teacher from Haghia Sophia, Istanbul

This is why the East firmly insists on the spiritual qualities which must characterize the artist, to whom Simeon of Thessalonica, the great defender of Tradition, addresses this important exhortation: "Teach with words, write with letters, paint with colors, in conformity with Tradition; the painting is true, as is the writing of books; and the grace of God is present in them, because what is represented there is holy" (Dialogue against Heresies, 23: PG 155 113). By contemplating icons in the whole context of liturgical and ecclesial life, the Christian community is called to grow in its experience of God, and to become more and more a living icon of the communion of life between the three divine Persons.

The East and West intend to walk towards this goal. Looking to the forthcoming Jubilee, in the Apostolic Letter Orientale lumen I wrote: "We cannot come before Christ, the Lord of history, as divided as we have unfortunately been in the course of the second millennium. These divisions must give way to rapprochement and harmony" (n. 4).

2. It is my task as Bishop of Rome "to search constantly for ways that will help preserve unity" (ibid., n. 20). I would like to express to our Orthodox brothers and sisters--to whom I am joined by special ties of affection-my intense desire to walk together, with renewed trust, on the path of unity.

Icon of Sts Peter and Andrew, brothers, representing the Church of Rome and the Church of Constantinople, embracing in the kiss of peace

I know that they too are deeply aware of this same need. In the history of the second millennium, there has been no lack of noble efforts in this direction, according to the perceptions of the time. I am thinking of the unity re-established at the Council of Lyons in 1274. It brought good fruits for Christian awareness, even if the effect was not lasting. Another moment of hope was the commitment to reconciliation made during the Council of Florence in 1439. The particular unions achieved later were viewed differently by East and West. But it is time now to listen to the voice of the Spirit, who makes Christ's invocation: "Father, that they may be one in us" (cf. Jn 17:21), re-echo with new force in our hearts. The spiritual riches of the Church, in the East and in the West, cannot shine before the eyes of contemporary man in their full splendor without this witness of full reconciliation.

3. Let us entrust this great cause to the intercession of the Mother of God. Let us ask her to implore, at the throne of mercy of her beloved Son, this grace of graces which is the gift of unity. Christ told us the secret of effective witness when he said: "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (Jn 13:35). May this love shine forth, witnessed to by disciples who have returned, like the first Church in Jerusalem, to being fully of "one heart and soul" (Acts 4:32).


GENERAL AUDIENCE 

Pope John Paul II
Wednesday April 12, 2000 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. The reading just now proclaimed takes us to the banks of the Jordan. Today we pause spiritually at the side of the river that flows through the two biblical Testaments, to contemplate the great epiphany of the Trinity on the day when Jesus is brought into the limelight of history, in those very waters, to begin his public ministry.

Christian art will personify this river as an old man looking with awe at what is happening in his watery depths. (As seen in the Arian Baptistery in Ravenna to right). For, as the Byzantine liturgy says, "Christ the Sun is washed" in it. This same liturgy, at Matins on the day of the Theophany or Epiphany of Christ, imagines a dialogue with the river:  "What did you see, O Jordan, that disturbed you so deeply? I saw the Invisible One naked and I trembled. How can one not tremble and draw back before him? At his sight the angels trembled, the heavens leapt for joy, the earth shook, the sea turned back with all the visible and invisible beings. Christ appeared in the Jordan to bless all waters!".

"This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased'

2. The presence of the Trinity at that event is clearly affirmed in all the Gospel accounts of the episode. We have just heard the most complete one, Matthew's, which includes a dialogue between Jesus and the Baptist. At the center of the scene we see the figure of Christ, the Messiah who fulfills all righteousness (cf. Mt 3: 15). He is the one who brings the divine plan of salvation to fulfillment, humbly showing his solidarity with sinners.

His voluntary humbling wins him a wondrous exaltation:  the Father's voice from heaven resounds above him, proclaiming:  "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased" (ibid., v. 17). This statement combines two aspects of Jesus' messianism:  the Davidic, by evoking a royal hymn (cf. Ps 2: 7), and the prophetic, by citing the first song of the Servant of the Lord (cf. Is 42: 1). In this way Jesus' deep bond of love with the heavenly Father and his investiture as the Messiah are revealed to all humanity.

3. The Holy Spirit appears on the scene in the form of a "dove" "descending ... and alighting" on Christ. Various biblical references can be cited to explain these images:  the dove that indicates the end of the flood and the dawn of a new era (cf. Gn 8: 8-12; 1 Pt 3: 20-21), the dove in the Song of Songs, symbol of the beloved woman (cf. Sg 2: 14; 5: 2; 6: 9), the dove that is like a coat of arms to indicate Israel in several Old Testament passages (cf. Hos 7: 11; Ps 68: 14).

Also significant is an ancient Jewish comment on the passage in Genesis (cf. 1: 2) which describes the Spirit moving over the primeval waters with motherly tenderness:  "The Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters like a dove that hovers over her little ones without touching them" (Talmud, Hagigah 15a). The Holy Spirit descends on Jesus as the power of superabundant love. Referring precisely to Jesus' Baptism, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:  "The Spirit whom Jesus possessed in fullness from his conception comes to "rest on him'. Jesus will be the source of the Spirit for all mankind" (CCC, n. 536).

4. The whole Trinity is therefore present at the Jordan to reveal this mystery, to authenticate and support Christ's mission and to indicate that with him salvation history has entered its central and definitive phase. It involves time and space, human life and the cosmic order, but first of all the three divine Persons. The Father entrusts the Son with the mission of bringing "righteousness", that is, divine salvation, to fulfillment.

Chromatius, a fourth-century Bishop of Aquileia, says in a homily on Baptism and the Holy Spirit:  "Just as our first creation was the work of the Trinity, so our second creation is the work of the Trinity. The Father does nothing without the Son or the Holy Spirit, because the Father's work is also the Son's and the Son's work is also the Holy Spirit's. There is but one and same grace of the Trinity. Thus we are saved by the Trinity, since in the beginning we were created by the Trinity alone" (Sermon 18A).

5. After Christ's Baptism, the Jordan also became the river of Christian Baptism:  in a tradition dear to the Eastern Churches, the water of the baptismal font is a miniature Jordan. This is shown by the following liturgical prayer:  "To you we pray, O Lord, that the purifying action of the Trinity may descend upon the baptismal waters and give them the grace of redemption and the blessing of the Jordan in the power, action and presence of the Holy Spirit" (Great Vespers of the Holy Theophany of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Blessing of the Waters).

St Paulinus of Nola also seems to have been inspired by a similar idea in some verses he composed as an inscription for the baptistery:  "From this font, which gives life to souls in need of salvation, flows a living river of divine light. The Holy Spirit comes down from heaven upon this river and joins the sacred waters with the heavenly source; the stream teems with God and from the eternal seed gives birth to holy offspring by its fruitful waters" (Letter 32, 5). Emerging from the regenerative waters of the baptismal font, the Christian begins his journey of life and witness.

Pope John Paul II in Cairo, Egypt, Feb. 2000

 

It was with great sadness that the Society of St. John Chrysostom of  Aya Triada Rum Katolik Kilise followed the declining health and falling asleep in Christ of His Holiness John Paul II, whose efforts to restore Church unity are only in small part reflected above. In tribute to him we are maintaining this page.

May his memory be eternal!

    Copies of Vatican and NY Times photos depicting the "panachyda"

    Memorial Services of the Eastern Catholic Churches at the Funeral of Pope John Paul II

You may also link here to the homily of the Maronite Patriarch given at the Divine Liturgy offered on the occasion of the 7th day of the Novendiali memorial for Pope John Paul II.

 We will dedicate a new page to the unity efforts of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, who seeks to carry on the work of his predecessor.

 

return to Byzantine Spirituality Page