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Pope Speaks of Bond Between Rome, Constantinople

Vatican, Jun. 14 (CWNews.com) - At his weekly public audience on June

14, Pope Benedict XVI continued his series of talks on the Church's apostolic tradition with a meditation on the special bond between the churches of Rome and Constantinople.

The Holy Father based his remarks on the figure of St. Andrew the apostle, "the first of the apostles to be called to follow Jesus." Later in life he is credited with having brought the Gospel to the Greek world, and today he is the patron saint of the Constantinople Patriarchate. Because he was the brother of St. Peter, those two apostles had a special tie, the Pope observed, just as "the Church of Rome and the Church of Constantinople feel themselves to be sisters."

Pope Benedict will visit the Constantinople Patriarchate in November, joining the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I to celebrate the feast of St. Andrew.

On the basis of that special relationship, the Pontiff recalled, Pope Paul VI restored the relics of St. Andrew to the Greek Church in Patras, where the apostle died-- according to tradition, crucified on a diagonal cross. The Pope quoted the words that St. Andrew is reported to have said of the cross on which he died: that "before the Lord was placed upon you, you incited earthly terrors. Now, blessed with a heavenly love, you are received as a gift."

Pope Benedict urged his audience of about 35,000 to imitate St. Andrew's willingness to respond immediately to a call from Christ. He continued: "We must not be afraid to put questions to Jesus, but at the same time we must be ready to accept the teaching He offers us." Finally, the Pope said, Christians must recognize suffering as a means to identification with Christ.

Having spoken about the role of St. Peter in previous Wednesday audiences, the Pope turned to St. Andrew as the second apostle in rank. He said that he would continue his series of talks with thoughts about the other apostles.

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