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Pope prays for them as bishops gather from 10 of 14 Orthodox churches

Our purpose is to protect our people from currently ‘prevailing errors,’ says patriarch

Patriarchs attend the opening session of Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church in Chania on the Greek island of Crete June 20. Although intended to be the first council of all the Orthodox churches in more than a millennium, the gathering opened with the absence of representatives from four Orthodox churches.

As the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church opened with only 10 of the 14 Orthodox churches represented, Pope Francis offered his prayers.

After reciting the Angelus prayer June 19, the Pope had thousands of visitors in St. Peter's Square join him in praying a Hail Mary for "all of our Orthodox brothers and sisters."

Pope Francis noted that the day was Pentecost on the Julian calendar followed by the Orthodox. "Let us unite ourselves to the prayer of our Orthodox brothers and sisters, invoking the Holy Spirit so that it would assist with its gifts the patriarchs, archbishops and bishops gathered in the council."

The Pope's daily tweet repeated his message: "Let us join in prayer with our Orthodox brothers and sisters for the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church opening today in Crete." Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, who is presiding over the council meetings, retweeted the Pope's message.

In his homily at the Cathedral of St. Minas in Heraklion, Crete, Patriarch Bartholomew insisted the Orthodox Church is united in its faith in Christ and in church doctrine. "The Orthodox Church is one, but reveals itself in the world through its individual local vines, which are unbreakably and indivisibly attached to one -- to one church, to one body," he said.

This article continues at [Catholic Register] Pope offers prayers as pan-Orthodox council opens on Crete

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