John Paul II asked the one billion Catholics around the world to join, spiritually, the prayer vigil, which will be held in Rome on August 5, the eve of the feast of the Transfiguration, at the petition of Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople. After praying the "Angelus" with thousands of pilgrims in the patio of the summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, the Bishop of Rome explained that the purpose of the meeting was "to give glory to God, who has revealed himself fully in Christ, when he said: 'This is my beloved Son, listen to him.'"
Therefore, the Jubilee 2000 will witness an important meeting in the Eternal City, between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, whose symbol of communion is the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. With this ceremony, the Pope is responding to a proposal made by a Byzantine delegation during a visit to the Vatican for the feast of Ss Peter and Paul at the end of June. The liturgy will be held in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Rome's Cathedral, presided over by Australian Cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
In the most recent issue of the "Pilgrim's Journal," Bishop Eleuterio Fortino, under-secretary of that Vatican Council, emphasized the importance of the common celebration of the liturgical feast of the Transfiguration, which coincides in the Catholic and Orthodox calendars. This feast suggests some "essential dimensions of the Christian faith and, 2000 years after Christ's birth, highlights one of the central topics of the tradition of Eastern Christians: the "vocation to the divinization of man." Catholics and Orthodox split in 1054 on doctrinal issues of worship, although the main reason was, perhaps, the dispute between the East and West over the issue of primacy in Christianity, as well as various political disputes. (Zenit)
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