From the Washington Post
Pope Benedict and the leader of the Cypriot Orthodox Church pledged on Saturday to work for peace in the Middle East, saying they feared a widening crisis with “disastrous consequences.”
In a joint declaration following a visit to the Vatican by Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus, the two leaders said they would “intensify the quest for full unity among all Christians.”
Chrysostomos II said earlier this week he would be willing to mediate to try to arrange a meeting between the Pope and the Orthodox patriarch of Moscow, Alexiy II, which would be the first meeting between a Pope and a Russian Orthodox patriarch.
Despite “centuries old divisions, diverging roads and … the hard work of closing painful wounds, the Lord has never ceased to guide our steps on the path toward unity and reconciliation,” the Pope said.
Chrysostomos called on the European Union to lodge a formal complaint against Turkey to halt the destruction of Orthodox churches in the Turkish part of Cyprus.
He said Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi had promised to raise the issue at the next meeting of EU leaders and German Chancellor Angela Merkel had also given him her full support.
In their joint statement Chrysostomos and Pope Benedict called for greater respect for the environment and expressed “serious concern” about bioethical issues, saying that certain genetic techniques could end up “damaging the dignity of man.”