Ecumenical Patriarch Pays a Visit to Ireland
By Patsy McGarry - The Irish Times
DUBLIN - The first ever visit to Ireland by an Ecumenical Patriarch, Archbishop of Constantinople and spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians was celebrated in a well-attended liturgical welcome at Dublin's Pro-Cathedral on February 1.
His All Holiness Bartholomew I met President McAleese and Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern.
He has been in Ireland to attend the World Faith Development Dialogue meeting at Dublin Castle. On the evening of January 31, he attended vespers at the Orthodox Church in Dublin's Arbour Hill, where large numbers welcomed him with great emotion.
Greeting him in the Pro-Cathedral on February 1, Archbishop of Dublin Dr. Diarmuid Martin, expressed the wish that the gathering, made up of Christians of many denominations and members of the diplomatic corps, "be a sign of what unites us, and a sign of our appreciation of the presence among us of so many of our Orthodox brothers and sisters who make up such an important part of our ecumenical community" in Ireland.
In a homily, the Ecumenical Patriarch expressed his thanks for the welcome: "Many of our fellow beings appropriate the will of God and act as if He were seeking the destruction of their enemies and the salvation solely of their nation, and of those only that believe in their own religion. Regrettably, they form an idea of God that conforms to their aims, and that serves their egocentric or nationalist racist views in their failure to appreciate the words of God declaring that He wishes that all people be saved and arrive to the knowledge of the truth," Bartholomew said.
Among the large number of clergy of many denominations present were Cardinal Desmond Connell, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, Papal Nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Lazarotto, Bishop Martin Drennan, Bishop Eamonn Walsh and Ven David Pierpoint, the Church of Ireland's Archdeacon of Dublin.
The Irish Times published the above on February 2. The original headline is, "Ecumenical Patriarch Gives Homily