Day 2 of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the Federal Republic of Germany concluded with a sunset vigil of prayer at an iconic Marian Shrine that once stood behind the Iron Curtain. Veronica Scarsbrick is in Germany with the Pope and sends us this report:
A cross, cut from a section of a former barbed wire border fence. That was the symbolic gift Benedict XVI received on Friday afternoon at a Marian Shrine in Eichsfeld, a region 80 kilometres north of Erfurt.
The Pope was in this remote rural area in former Eastern Germany which until 1989 was behind the iron curtain visiting the Pilgrim’s Chapel the Wallfahrtskapelle at Etzselbach , a Marian shrine where people kept the faith alive during the harsh years of the communist regime and where as the Bishop ...»
Pope Benedict: address at Etzelsbach Marian Shrine
Friday evening Pope Benedict XVI lead a congregation of hundreds in the celebration Vespers at the Wallfahrtskapelle, or Pilgrimage Chapel of the Shrine, located in the small hamlet of Etzelsbach, outside the city of Erfurt.
Below we publish the text of his discourse:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Now I am able to fulfil my wish to visit Eichsfeld, and here in Etzelsbach to thank Mary in company with you. “Here in the beloved quiet vale”, as the pilgrims’ hymn says, “under the old lime trees”, Mary gives us security and new strength. During two godless dictatorships, which sought to deprive the people of their ancestral faith, the inhabitants of Eichsfeld were in no doubt that here in this shrine at Etzelsbach an open door and ...»
Making history in the land of Luther
Pope Benedict XVI spent much of the second day of his visit to Germany in Erfut, where the former Augustinian monk and reformer, Martin Luther lived. On Friday, the Pope met with leaders of Germany's Protestant churches and shared in an ecumenical prayer service as our correspondent in Germany, Veronica Scarisbrick reports:
The Thuringian capital , Erfurt where Pope Benedict arrived on Friday takes its name from water, and water does flow right through this city in the River Gera. But this is no backwater. Not just because it's been accepted into the "Historic Highlights of Germany" , as offering special charm, architectural brilliance and historic character .
Not just because of its landmark sandstone inhabited medieval bridge "Kramerbrucke" , or ...»
Muslim leader speaks to Pope Benedict
In a meeting with members of Germany's Muslim community in Berlin Friday morning, Pope Benedict XVI was welcomed by Prof. Dr. Mouhanad Khorchide, an Islamic scholar at the University of Muenster.
The following is the text of Dr. Khorchide's address to the Pope:
The criterion of love and mercy in Islam and Christianity
Your Eminences, Your Excellencies, Dear Brothers and Sisters in Faith,
Your Holiness, during your visit to Cologne in August 2005, you sought a dialogue with Muslims in Germany. On behalf of all the Muslims gathered here, I would lìke to thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing so on this visit also. I consider this - and I am certain that most Muslims in Germany see it in precisely the same light - as a ...»
Pope Benedict addresses ecumenical prayer service
Friday afternoon Pope Benedict took part in an ecumenical service in the church of the former Augustinian convent in Erfurt, Germany, once the home of Martin Luther. Over 300 people took part in the service, including representatives of various German Protestant communities.
Below is the translation of the pope’s homily during the celebration:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
“I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through them” (Jn 17:20). According to the Gospel of John, Jesus spoke these words to the Father in the Upper Room. He intercedes for coming generations of believers. He looks beyond the Upper Room, towards the future. He also prayed for us. And he prayed for our unity. This prayer of ...»
Pope Benedict addresses ecumenical gathering
On Friday Pope Benedict addressed representatives of the Protestant EKD (Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland), a federation of 22 Lutheran, Unified and Reformed Protestant regional church bodies in Germany, headed by Council Chair Nikolaus Schneider. The encounter took place in the former Augustinian Convent in Erfurt, which was once the home of Martin Luther.
The full text of the Pope’s remarks is published below:
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As I begin to speak, I would like first of all to thank you for this opportunity to come together with you. I am particularly grateful to Pastor Schneider for greeting me and welcoming me into your midst with his kind words. At the same time I want to express my thanks for the particularly gracious gesture that our meeting ...»
Pope Benedict meets Germany's Muslim leaders
Pope Benedict met with members of Germany's Muslim community at the Apostolic Nunziature in Berlin on Friday. Below we publish the text of his discourse:
Dear Muslim Friends,
I am glad to be able to welcome you here, as the representatives of different Muslim communities in Germany. From my heart I thank Professor Mouhanad Khorchide for his kind greeting. His words show me what a climate of respect and trust has grown up between the Catholic Church and the Muslim communities in Germany.
Berlin is a good place for a meeting like this, not only because the oldest mosque on German territory is located here, but also because Berlin has the largest Muslim population of all the cities in Germany.
From the 1970s onwards, the presence of numerous Muslim families has ...»