Leaders of the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches have begun a dialogue aimed at ending nearly a thousand years of division between the two bodies Thirty high prelates from each church are attending the meeting which began with an Orthodox service on the Aegean island of Patmos.
SV Cardinals and bishops landing in Patmos
SV Flag flying over Monastery of St. John
SV Archbishops and cardinals listening to outdoor service
CU INTERIOR ZOOM OUT Religious leaders taking service
SV Representatives of Catholic Church taking part in Service (2 shots)
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Background: Leaders of the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches have begun a dialogue aimed at ending nearly a thousand years of division between the two bodies Thirty high prelates from each church are attending the meeting which began with an Orthodox service on the Aegean island of Patmos.
SYNOPSIS: The two churches split in Ten fifty four, over the issue of Papal primacy. They chose Patmos to celebrate the beginning of a new dialogue because it's there that St. John is said to have received the "Revelation". But the islanders are treating the historic meeting with indifference, perhaps reflecting the mistrust with which the Orthodox church faces the dialogue with the Vatican. The Orthodox representatives have no authority to endorse joint decisions without first consulting Athens.
Cardinal Jans Wildebrand of the Netherlands heads the Roman Catholic groups and Bishop Stylianos, Primate of the Orthodox Church of Australia, leads the Orthodox delegation.
After the ceremonies the delegations moved to Rhodes for three days of talks. Ironically the meetings occurred on the anniversary of a previous ill-fated attempt at a reunion in fourteen fifty three. and although this dialogue has been sponsored by the Pope and the Orthodox patriarch there is little optimism about success this time. The most conservative Orthodox churches are fearful of any move towards unity with the Catholic Church.
The conservatives feel that the price of an east-west union would be the loss of the individuality of the Orthodox churches. But cardinal Wildebrands emphasised that the diversity that existed among local churches was gift of God, and should be preserved even in unity. But the main stumbling block to unification remains the question of papal primacy or infallibility--the issue which caused the original split nearly a thousand years ago.