CWNews.com - Pope Benedict XVI has sent a message to the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, saluting him for “your wise efforts for the good of Orthodoxy and for the promotion of Christian values in many international contexts.”

The Pope’s message to the world’s leading Orthodox prelate was hand-delivered on November 30 by Cardinal Kurt Koch, the president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity. Cardinal Koch led a Vatican delegation joining the Orthodox Patriarch for the celebration of the feast of St. Andrew, the patron of Constantinople.

Each year on November 30 the Holy See sends representatives to attend the Divine Liturgy at the patriarchal church in Phanar, just as the Ecumenical Patriarch sends his own representatives to Rome for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. In 2006, Pope Benedict himself timed his visit to Turkey for the feast of St. Andrew.

In his message to Patriarch Bartholomew, Pope Benedict said that “we must continue along the path toward full communion, showing that we have already united our strengths for a shared witness of the Gospel before the people of our time.”

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Dormition

O Mother of God, in giving birth you preserved virginity; * and in falling asleep you did not forsake the world. * You are the Mother of Life and have been transferred to life, * and through your prayers you deliver our souls from death. (Troparion - Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Neither the tomb nor death could detain the Mother of God, * who is unsleeping in her prayers and our unfailing hope in her intercession; * for He Who dwelt in her ever-virgin womb, * transferred to Life the Mother of Life. (Kontakion - Tone 2)