Archbishop Christodoulos, the new head of the Greek Orthodox Church, conducted a joint service with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world's 300 million Orthodox Christians.

The meeting was a goodwill gesture to mend ties strained by his predecessor, Archbishop Seraphim, who often hinted that Bartholomew was trying to become a popelike figure with absolute power.The ecumenical patriarch, based in Istanbul, is considered "first among equals" with the other Orthodox patriarchs. But the Greek Orthodox Church is independent.

At the end of the service, Bartholomew told the congregation that ties between the two churches would strengthen and good relations would help the "unity of the Orthodox world."

Seen as a reformer, Christodoulos, 59, became head of the church in May following Seraphim's death.