Statement of Archbishop Christodoulos, Primate of the Church of Greece, upon the election of Pope Benedict XVI
With sentiments of joy and optimism we received the news of the election of His Eminence, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, as the new Pope and Bishop of Elder Rome and successor to the late Pope John Paul II.
We look towards the new spiritual Leader of the Roman Catholic Church to continue the journey along the path of rapprochement and reunion of the Churches for which his illustrious predecessor so arduously laboured.
The deep theological erudition and the devout commitment to Ecclesiastical Tradition of the new Roman Pontiff, in conjunction with his excellent knowledge of history and the many other charismata with which God has endowed him, constitute assurances for a very successful Ministry which we trust will be beneficial not only for the Roman Catholic Church but for all of Christianity as well.
Moreover, it is our belief that the coinciding of the election of the new Primate of the Roman Catholic Church with the 40th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the issuance of the significant text Unitatis redintegratio, by which it made known its intention to set Christian unity and the improvement of Christian relations as one of its leading priorities, is not a chance occurrence. Rather, it signals the beginning of a new period in the relations between the Churches of East and West. We wholeheartedly pray that during this period the Theological Dialogue which has come to a halt over the thorny matter of the Unia, will begin again, and that the existing obstacles will be overcome, so that, God willing, it will end with unity in love and truth.
Until such time, we are called to relate to one another in equality, with absolute respect and honour, labouring to increase mutual understanding and collaboration on burning issues of common concern affecting present-day society.
We pray that God will grant to the new Pope Benedict XVI many years in health and divine wisdom so that he may successfully meet the great challenges of our times and the high expectations of mankind.