The installation of Pope Francis i on March 19 will serve as one more step toward healing the breach between Catholics and Orthodox Christians. The ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew i, the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, will attend the service. It will be the first time the spiritual leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church has attended the inauguration mass for a pope in almost 1,000 years.
The last time such a meeting occurred was before 1054—the year that the Great Schism took place. The Great Schism saw the dividing of the Catholic Church into east and west. The western branch was situated in Rome and held the name of the Roman Catholic Church. The Eastern Church had its headquarters in Constantinople. Constantinople is now known as Istanbul, the former capital of Turkey.