The Bridge of San Teodoro by David Carlson

The Bridge of San Teodoro

David Carlson on East Meeting West in Rome, Part II

Sometimes called pontifex maximus, “the great bridge builder,” the popes of Rome have built many bridges over the centuries, but Pope John Paul II has sought to build a bridge of a different kind, one reconnecting the western shore of Roman Catholicism with the eastern shore of Orthodox Christianity. His recent trips to Greece, the Middle East, and the Ukraine have been very visible steps in this direction, but doctrinal differences and long-remembered wounds are proving formidable challenges to overcome.

In a small Byzantine-style church on the ancient Palatine Hill of Rome, he built the bridge a few more feet. On the feast of St. Andrew, November 30, 2000, Pope John Paul II bequeathed the ancient church of San Teodoro to the ecumenical patriarchate of Constantinople for the use of Greek Orthodox Christians in Rome. The church, as early as the sixth century at the heart of the Greek community in Rome, will be the first Greek Orthodox church in Rome in nearly a thousand years.

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