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Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Bulgarian Orthodox Leader Affirms Desire for Unity

Bishop Tichon at the Church of SS. Vincenzo e Anastasio by the Trevi Fountain in October

On October 22, Zenit reported the recent visit of Bishop Tichon of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church to Pope Benedict, which took place as the Orthodox-Catholic Dialogue was due to meet in Cyprus to discuss Primacy in the Church, following the positive experience of discussions in 2008 at Ravenna.
A Bulgarian Orthodox prelate has told Benedict XVI of his desire for unity, and his commitment to accelerate communion with the Catholic Church.

At the end of Wednesday's general audience, Bishop Tichon, head of the diocese for Central and Western Europe of the Patriarchate of Bulgaria, stated to the Pope, "We must find unity as soon as possible and finally celebrate together," L'Osservatore Romano reported.

"People don't understand our divisions and our discussions," the bishop stated. He affirmed that he will "not spare any efforts" to work for the quick restoration of "communion between Catholics and Orthodox."

Bishop Tichon said that "the theological dialogue that is going forward in these days in Cyprus is certainly important, but we should not be afraid to say that we must find as soon as possible the way to celebrate together."

"A Catholic will not become an Orthodox and vice versa, but we must approach the altar together," he added.

The prelate told the Pontiff that "this aspiration is a feeling that arose from the works of the assembly" of his diocese, held in Rome, in which all the priests and two delegates from every Bulgarian Orthodox parish took part.

"We have come to the Pope to express our desire for unity and also because he is the Bishop of Rome, the city that hosted our assembly," he stated.


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