DAILY CATHOLIC    TUESDAY     November 16, 1999     vol. 10, no. 217

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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SYRIAN ORTHODOX LEADER INVITES POPE TO DAMASCUS

        VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- The Syrian Orthodox Patriarch Mar Ignace Zakka I has invited Pope John Paul II to visit Syria, praising the Holy Father as "the foremost among the illustrious fathers of the Church who have sought for unity among the Christian churches in this century."

        The Orthodox leader, who is the Patriarch of Antioch, based in Damascus, told reporters in Genoa, "We hope that His Holiness can visit Damascus." He made his remarks at an inter-religious meeting in Genoa, organized by the St. Egidio community, which had drawn together over 1300 representatives of different Christian churches.

        "John Paul has made many pastoral visits, to many places in the world, always bearing the light of the Gospel just as the Apostle Paul did," the Patriarch said. "His first and last preoccupation is unity among Christians and brotherhood among peoples."

        So Patriarch Ignace Zakka I issued his invitation for the Pope to visit "Damascus, the town of the Apostle Paul, and Syria, the cradle of Christianity." He noted that the Holy Father has indeed indicated a desire to visit Damascus during the Jubilee Year.

        Relations between the Syrian Orthodox Church and the Holy See have been very close and warm in recent years. In June 1984, Pope John Paul and Patriarch Ignace Zakka signed a common declaration, affirming that the two churches profess the same faith, as formulated by the Nicene Creed, and that the causes of subsequent schisms "do not involve the substance of the faith."


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November 16, 1999       volume 10, no. 217
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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