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John Paul sends message to Greek government.

Athens -- In a message sent to Greece's new ambassador to the Vatican, Pope John Paul II asked that the minority Catholic Church in Greece be given full recognition of its rights as it has in the rest of the European Union.

Ninety-seven percent of the 10.6 million Greek population is of the Greek Orthodox faith, and Orthodoxy is the official state religion. There are 200,000 Catholics in the country, including 50,000 ethnic Greeks.

The Christian roots of Greece date back to the first century A.D. when St. Paul the Apostle preached in Thessalonica, Athens, and Corinth. Pope John Paul recalled these roots when, in 2001, he undertook a pilgrimage following in the Apostle's footsteps. Among those who received him then was Orthodox Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens. (See C.I. July/August 2001, pp. 33-34.)
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Title Annotation:Greece
Publication:Catholic Insight
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EUGR
Date:May 1, 2005
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