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To Patriarch Bartholomew

· On the occasion of his 70th birthday ·

Pope Benedict XVI sent a Message of good wishes to His Holiness Bartholomaios I, Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch, for his 70th birthday. The following is the English text of the Pope's Message, published on 28 February.

To His Holiness Bartholomaios I

Archbishop of Constantinople

Ecumenical Patriarch

Your Holiness,

The happy occasion of your Seventieth Birthday offers me a welcome opportunity to give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Giver of every good gift, for the abundant blessings which he has bestowed upon Your Holiness, and at the same time to convey my warm good wishes.

These fervent and fraternal good wishes are accompanied by my prayers that our One Lord will sustain you with his strength and grace as you carry out your high ministry of Pastor, Preacher of the Gospel and Teacher of the spiritual life.

With pleasant memories of our meetings, particularly my Visit to the Phanar for the Feast of the Apostle Andrew, Peter's brother, I exchange with Your Holiness a holy embrace, while expressing my prayerful confidence that the Spirit of God will continue to enlighten and guide our path towards the full communion willed by Christ for all our disciples.

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St. Peter’s Square

Sept. 20, 2019

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