Blessed Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras had first met in Jerusalem in January 1964. Three years later, on July 25, 1967, Pope Paul visited the Phanar (Fener), where the patriarchal cathedral is located, setting a precedent followed by subsequent popes.
Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras, in turn, visited the Vatican in October 1967.
“Although their initiatives have not had a great impact on the media, they remain revolutionary milestones for the development of Christianity,” Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew wrote in an essay published on the front page of L’Osservatore Romano. He added that the meetings “remind us of the enduring power of charity and dialogue.”