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A late Christmas gift
Posted By Eric Sammons On March 5, 2009 @ 7:00 am In Eastern Christianity | Comments Disabled
At a ceremony March 1, the little Church of St. Nicholas in Bari was formally handed over to the Russian Orthodox. Built by Czar Nicholas II, the church became the property of the Italian government after Russia’s 1917 revolution.
This church was built originally so that Russian Orthodox pilgrims could travel to Bari to visit the tomb of St. Nicholas – the patron saint of Russia. But as the article states, it has been in the possession of the Italian goverment since the Russian revolution.
Pope Benedict used this gesture as an opportunity to speak of his great desire for unity  with the Orthodox Churches:
The Russian people has never faltered in its love for this great saint, who has always supported it in moments of joy and in difficulties. This is witnessed also by this Russian Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas, built at the beginnings of the past century, to welcome the pilgrims who, in particular in their trips to the Holy Land, made a stop in Bari, a point of encounter between East and West, to venerate the relics of the saint. How could we not recognize that this beautiful church awakens in us the nostalgia for full unity and maintains alive in us the commitment to work for union among all the disciples of Christ?
Saint Nicholas is revered in both the East and the West, and is a powerful intercessor. He would make a great patron of our prayers for the Church to breath with both lungs again.
St. Nicholas, pray for us!
Article printed from Divine Life – A Blog by Eric Sammons: http://ericsammons.com/blog
URL to article: http://ericsammons.com/blog/2009/03/05/a-late-christmas-gift/
URLs in this post:
 returned an historic Orthodox church to its former Russian Orthodox owners: http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0900956.htm
 speak of his great desire for unity: http://www.zenit.org/article-25247?l=english
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