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Pope Presents Relics of Early Christian Saints to Orthodox Patriarch

Pope John Paul II has presented the relics of two early Christian saints to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians.

The presentation of the relics of Saint John Chrysostom and Saint Gregory Nazianzen came during a joint service in Saint Peter's Basilica.

In remarks read by an aide, the pontiff, who is seeking closer relations between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, expressed hope that the occasion will move the churches toward reconciliation.

Patriarch Bartholomew called it proof that there are no insurmountable problems in the Church of Christ.

The two saints honored throughout Christianity as Doctors of the Church served as Bishops of Constantinople during the fourth century, before the split of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches in 1054. Orthodox scholars say Crusaders took the relics to Rome after sacking Constantinople in 1204.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.