THE FIRST Greek ambassador to the Holy See met Pope John Paul last Thursday.
The Pope told Mr Stephanos Stathatos that the decisive progress in relations between the Holy See and Greece "should be accompanied by a larger and deeper comprehension and friendship between the Roman Church and the Greek Orthodox."
During their formal meeting, the Pope also referred to the problem of Cyprus. "I would like to renew the wish. which the Holy See has formulated on other occasions, for a rapid and just solution to the painful problems of the Republic of Cyprus to which Greece has rightly attached so much importance," he said.
The establishment of diplomatic relations has come only after bitter constitutional wrangles in Greece over the position of the Orthodox church in relation to the state.
Now, in preparation for Greece's entry into the EEC in January, Archbishop Serafim of Athens has written to European Catholic and Protestant leaders
proposing a European Community inter-Christian centre to promote a 'I '.uropean conscience' based on ancient Greek roots and Christianity.
While Greece and the Holy See have been exchanging ambassadors. talks aimed at healing the split between Catholics and Orthodox have met with success during their first session at the islands of Patmos and Rhodes.
The talks have so far merely set up methods and agenda for real dialogue in the future, as well as allowing 30 leading Churchmen from each side to talk on equal footing.
The first topic for the commission, headed by Cardinal Willebrands and Archbishop StyHarms, has been set as "The mystery of the Church and the Eucharist in the light of the mystery of the Holy Trinity."
This topic is not far from the controversial questions of the theology of the Second Person of the Frinity and Papal Infallibility. which the senior Orthodox bishop, Metropolitan Meliton has suggested an ecumenical council is needed to iron out.