[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Sunday, 29 May, 2005, 12:50 GMT 13:50 UK
Benedict XVI on first papal visit
Pope Benedict XVI
The Pope is continuing to reach out to non-Catholics
Pope Benedict XVI has made the first trip of his papacy by heading to the southern Italian city of Bari.

Benedict follows in the footsteps of the late John Paul II, the most travelled pope in history, but his first visit lasted only three hours.

More than 200,000 people attended the Mass he celebrated in the city on the Adriatic coast.

The Pope's first foreign trip will be to Germany to attend World Youth Day celebrations in August.

Reconciliation

Tight security was in place as the Pope was driven through Bari in the popemobile.

I want to repeat my desire to work with all my energy towards the re-establishment of full, visible unity among the followers of Jesus Christ
Pope Benedict XVI

Hundreds of police patrolled the streets, large parts of the centre were closed to traffic and private vessels were banned from coastal waters.

Speaking to the crowd gathered near the city's seafront, Pope Benedict XVI reiterated his commitment to patching up rifts between Christians.

"I want to repeat my desire to work with all my energy towards the re-establishment of full, visible unity among the followers of Jesus Christ," he said.

The Pope did not specify which split in the history of the Church he was referring to, but symbolic emphasis in his message was about reconciliation with the Orthodox churches, the BBC's David Willey says.

Bari is home to the relics of St Nicholas of Mytra, an important saint both for Catholics and Orthodox faithful, and John Paul II once called the city a "bridge to the East".

Benedict XVI has announced he will spend the summer months at the papal residence of Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, as popes have been doing for centuries.


RELATED BBC LINKS:

RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific