Alexios, Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Atlanta, joined Roman Catholic Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory on May 6 for an “Evening of Prayer and Unity” service at Atlanta’s Cathedral of Christ the King in honor of the Jubilee Year of St. Paul. Archbishop Gregory graciously welcomed Orthodox Christians to the service. “Our Orthodox brothers and sisters represent a fraternity in the Lord that we cherish and long to strengthen in the Holy Spirit,” he said.
According to The Georgia Bulletin, a diocesan newspaper, the “prayer service blended together Eastern and Western traditions with song, prayer and words of wisdom from shepherds of each of the churches.” The paper said that members of the Choir of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation in Atlanta and the Chanters of the Cathedral of the Annunciation then sang “Phos Hilaron.” The Cathedral Choir of Christ the King also sang the hymn, this time in English, “again linking the two traditions together in Christ.”
Metropolitan Alexios, in his remarks to those at the prayer service, issued a plea for unity:
“Thank you for taking the initiative (to call for this service),” Metropolitan Alexios told the archbishop. “The spirit of St. Paul is with us this evening.”
He thanked the clergy and laity present and said the event was an important step in bringing the communities together. “The thing that has separated us is not the faith,” he said, indicating that the reason was a political issue and a weak moment in the history of the two churches.
But all of these things that are happening now, he said, are signs that the two churches have to do something together. “I pray for a unity … to let the spirit of understanding, the spirit of the Lord prevail,” he concluded.