ISTANBUL (AP) — The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate says the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians will attend the pope's inauguration Mass in Rome, the first such presence in nearly 1,000 years.
Rev. Dositheos Anagnostopoulos, the spokesman for the Istanbul-based Patriarchate, says Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, is traveling to Rome on Monday to take part in Pope Francis' installation. He is the first ecumenical patriarch to take part since the Great Schism between their two churches in 1054.
Pope Benedict XVI had made uniting all Christians and healing the split a priority of his pontificate.
Anagnostopoulos says the decision to take part in the mass was "the fruit" of the growing dialogue between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches.
Francis is to be installed as pope on Tuesday.