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ROME – Pope Francis is pushing through with an unusually high-powered month of outreach to other Christians, celebrating 50 years of Catholic dialogue with the Anglican Church in between important visits to Orthodox and Lutheran leaders.
Francis joined the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, for a vigil prayer service Wednesday at Rome's church of St. Gregory. The church is named for the 6th-century pope who dispatched missionaries to England to spread Christianity.
The celebration comes days after Francis returned from Georgia, where he tried to improve relations with the Georgian Orthodox Church, one of the most conservative and hostile to Rome. Francis will shortly travel to Sweden to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.
Catholic-Anglican relations have been strained by issues including female bishops and same-sex marriage.