Ecumenical expectations were high at the start of the celebration of the 2,000th anniversary of Paul’s birth last June (July 2008, "Why Paul matters now"). Looking back now on this observation called for by Pope Benedict XVI that concludes June 29, one is able to point to a range of extremely significant ecumenical impulses that did emerge.
• The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew invited all the primates of the Orthodox Church to a Pauline symposium in October for the enrichment of their pastoral care and work. The symposium began in Istanbul (Constantinople), followed by a pilgrimage to places connected with the life and work of Paul. It included lectures by New Testament scholars representing Lutheran, Anglican, Roman Catholic and Orthodox traditions.
Afterward the ecumenical patriarch flew to Rome to pray with Pope Benedict in the Sistene Chapel, becoming the first Orthodox leader to conduct a service there and marking the heightened ecumenical collaboration between the churches.
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