Pope John Paul II has attended an Orthodox liturgy on the final day of a three-day visit to Romania. It is the first time a pope has ever attended an Orthodox service. He embraced the head of the Romanian Orthodox Church in Bucharest's Union Square before a congregation of 50,000 worshippers. In doing so, the 78- year-old pontiff made history as the first pope ever to attend an Orthodox service.
This is also the first time in one thousand years a pope has visited a mostly orthodox country. Eighty per cent of Romanians declare themselves orthodox. However the church has lost much support in the ten years since the fall of communism.
Today the Pope and the Romanian Patriarch prayed for peace in Yugoslavia and appealed for a resumption of negotiations there. Following the service the two men joined in a Catholic mass attended by around 200,000 Romanian pilgrims.