Pope Benedict XVI has sent a formal greeting to delegates, visitors and staff attending the Edinburgh 2010 anniversary event commemorating the World Missionary Conference held at Edinburgh in June 1910 - which many see as the start of the modern ecumenical movement.
The pontiff of the 1.2 billion-strong Catholic Church wrote: "I send my greetings to those gathered during these days in Scotland for the centennial of the first Edinburgh Missionary Conference, which is now acknowledged to have given birth to the modern ecumenical movement. May we all renew our commitment to work humbly and patiently, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to live again together our common apostolic heritage."
During the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in January 2010, Pope Benedict welcomed representatives of other confessions to the Vatican and noted the significance of the 1910 conference in the history of common witness, dialogue and cooperation among Christian churches.
The 1910 conference was a predominantly Protestant affair with no official participation from Catholic bodies. It would be more than half a century, with new initiatives embodied in the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s, before Roman Catholics would join in international church gatherings on an equal footing with Orthodox, Protestant and other traditions of Christianity.
The Catholic delegation to Edinburgh 2010 is led by Bishop Brian Farrell of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
The official Edinburgh 2010 website can be found here: http://www.edinburgh2010.org/