Helsinki’s Lutheran bishop Teemu Laajasalo is due to meet Pope Francis at the Vatican on Friday as part of an ecumenical prayer week that will include representatives of different Christian churches.
Laajasalo will lead a contingent that includes members of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches in Finland, according to a press release from Finland’s Lutheran Evangelical Church.
The Helsinki cleric said that he is very grateful for the opportunity to meet the pontiff.
"The meeting is a symbol of mutual appreciation for the long-running shared theological work of our churches. It is wonderful that the pope has time for a Lutheran bishop from Finland," he commented in the statement.
The programme of activities for Pope Francis’ Week of Christian Unity includes familiarisation with the activities of the Catholic Church, a private reception with the head of the church and an ecumenical church service.
This year’s trip to the Vatican is part of an annual tradition that dates back to 1985, in which a Lutheran bishop travels to Rome with representatives of the Orthodox and Catholic churches.
Helsinki Cathedral’s Cantores Minores boys’ choir will accompany the religious leaders on the trip. They will be conducted by Hannu Norjanen.