Church leader to visit Vatican
Archbishop Christodoulos yesterday displayed composure, and even humor, following a bomb hoax that disrupted a session of the Holy Synod in Athens as Church sources revealed that he is preparing for a visit to the Vatican aimed at bridging the divide between the Orthodox and Catholic churches.
An anonymous telephone call, warning that a bomb had been planted at the church of Moni Petraki in Kolonaki, where the Synod was in session, initially provoked panic and caused attendant clerics to evacuate the building until police turned up, searched the area and established that the call had been a hoax. Christodoulos subsequently quipped that the disturbance had probably been caused by someone anxious to set off on the long weekend.
Meanwhile, Church sources said that the archbishop has been diligently preparing for a visit to the Vatican later this year. They also revealed the contents of a letter sent by Christodoulos to Pope Benedict XVI in answer to an invitation from the latter. “The exchange of visits between our churches have convinced us that there is the common desire for unity among Christians,” the letter said.
In the same missive, the archbishop welcomes the appointment of the new pope last year, remarking, “It has filled us with great hopes that our common course toward the rapprochement and reunification of our churches will not only continue but... yield a positive outcome.”