At the invitation of the Romanian Orthodox patriarch Teocist, who had visited Rome 10 years earlier, the pope came to Romania in May 1999. After meeting with the Catholic bishops there, he also met with the 36 Orthodox bishops of that country. These attempts at reconciliation with the Eastern Christian world were undertaken with hope, and also with a realistic sense of the historical events that have kept these churches separated for nearly a thousand years. The sense of hope was well expressed in the welcoming remarks of Patriarch Teocist: "The second millennium of Christian history began with a painful wounding of the unity of the church; the end of this millennium has seen a real commitment to restoring Christian unity."
Pope Benedict XVI on a pastoral visit to Bavaria, Germany, shortly after his election to the papacy in April 2005. Pope Benedict XVI was born in 1927 in the diocese of Passau in Germany. The pope is continuing ecumenical dialogue and moves toward unity with the Orthodox Church.
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