Leaders of Poland's Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant churches have expressed their regret for past mistakes at an ecumenical service attended by five European presidents.Addressing thousands of worshipers March 12 in Gniezno, in western Poland, Cardinal Jozef Glemp, leader of the Catholic Church in Poland, said that Catholics would only enjoy "freedom and happiness" through "authentic penance and genuine service." Catholics had, he added, "too often humiliated their neighbors and haughtily placed themselves in a better light than reality."At the same service, the head of Poland's Lutheran minority, Bishop Jan Szarek, said Protestants should apologize for "distorting consciences by too often calling evil good." And Metropolitan Sawa, leader of Poland's 570,000-member Orthodox church, said that Orthodox Christians had also succumbed to "egoism and illegitimacy," as well as "indifference to those who suffer."The church leaders were speaking in St Wojciech's Catholic Cathedral, in central Gniezno, during their church's first jointly-organized service. The presidents of Poland, Germany, Lithuania, Slovakia and Hungary attended the historic gathering, which took place on the same day as a service of penance in Rome, during which Pope John Paul II expressed regret for the mistakes committed by the "children" of the church.The Gniezno service was organized to mark one-thousandth anniversary of the Gniezno Congress in the year 1000 at which the German Emperor Otto III recognized the Polish state of King Boleslaw the Bold, and approved the creation of the first Polish archdiocese.Preaching in Gniezno, the Vatican's secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, said that Roman Catholics wished to promote "justice, love and solidarity" ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.