950 Years Later, 2 Churches May Reunify

Catholic, Orthodox leaders draw up road map to end schism
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2007 12:26 PM CST
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, left, spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians takes a part in mass in a chapel in the Bulgarian capital Sofia, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2007. (AP Photo/Petar...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Nearly a millennium after they split, the Catholic and Orthodox churches have published a joint document outlining first steps towards reunification. The Ravenna Document imagines a reunified church with the Pope at its head and proposes a new council composed of Catholic and Orthodox bishops that could formally end the schism of 1054, the London Times reports.

Pope Benedict XVI has made the reunification of the Catholic Church one of his top priorities, and the document acknowledges that "elements of the true Church are present outside the Catholic communion." The Orthodox church's membership is divided on possible reunification, and disputes between the leadership in Constantinople and Moscow might prevent a complete healing of the rift.