"I ask you to join me in praying that this important meeting will help the journey toward full communion between Catholics and Orthodox and that we could soon share the same chalice of the Lord," Pope Benedict said.
Members of the dialogue commission are meeting from October 8-15 in Ravenna, Italy, to continue work begun a year ago on a document on the sacramental nature of the church and its consequences for the structure of the church and church decision-making, theCatholic News Service reported.
The Roman Catholic delegation met separately from the 16 Orthodox delegations on October 9, to prepare for the joint working sessions.
During the Orthodox meeting, Russian Orthodox Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria told the other Orthodox delegates that his delegation would leave the meeting if they did not ask the Estonian Orthodox delegation to leave.
A participant at the dialogue told Catholic News Service that both Catholic and Orthodox representatives were "a bit shocked" at Bishop Hilarion's ultimatum and decision to leave, but the Catholic position was that it was an internal Orthodox matter.
The dialogue participant said delegations expect to be able to complete work on their document, "The Ecclesiological and Canonical Consequences of the Sacramental Nature of the Church: Ecclesial Communion, Conciliarity and Authority in the Church."
The document, he said, will look at the biblical foundations for seeing the church as a sacramental presence in the world and at how responsibility and authority are exercised on the local, regional and universal level.
The Catholic News Service also reported the Vatican had announced Archbishop Paul Cordes, head of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, would meet Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow on October 18.
Archbishop Cordes, whose office promotes and coordinates Catholic charitable activity, will visit Russia to participate in a meeting of Catholic charities, which often work in cooperation with Orthodox charitable institutions, the announcement said.
Pope asks for prayers after Russian Orthodox walk out of dialogue (The Catholic News Service, 10/10/07)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Wikipedia, Russian Orthodox
The Holy See - media
Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
Russian Orthodox church
Papal primacy still stumbling block in Orthodox talks (CathNews, 26/09/06)
Catholic-Orthodox talks restart after six years (CathNews, 20/09/06)