Pope Francis Presents Relics of Apostle Peter to Ecumenical Patriarch (Video)

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew venerates the holy relics of Apostle Peter that Pope Francis gave it as a gift to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Photo Ecumenical Patriarchate-Nikos Manginas.

CONSTANTINOPLE – Pope Francis sent a part of the Holy Relics of Apostle Peter, founder of the Church of Rome, to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

In the context of a visit to Rome of an official delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Pope Francis of Rome took the initiative to offer the Church of Constantinople an ornate reliquary.

His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew presides at the Throne at the Divine Liturgy in the Church of the 12 Apostles at the Ferikoy neighborhood of Şişli. During the Service the Patriarch venerated the sacred relics of the Apostle St Peter, which were offered by His Holiness Pope Francis to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Posted by Ecumenical Patriarchate on Sunday, June 30, 2019

The relics, which were kept in the Papal Chapel, were handed over by Pope Francis to Archbishop Job of Telmessos, head of the Patriarchal Delegation, Bishop Maximos of Melitene auxiliary Bishop at the Metropolis of France, and Deacon Vosporios Magafas, Codex Writer of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

The official reception of the Holy Relics of St. Peter the Apostle in Constantinople took place on Sunday, June 30, the day when the Church celebrates the Synaxis of the Holy Twelve Apostles, at the nave of the Ferikioi neighborhood of Constantinople, where His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew officiated at the Divine Liturgy.

Archbishop Job of Telmessos (center), head of the Patriarchal Delegation, Bishop Maximos of Melitene auxiliary Bishop at the Metropolis of France, and Deacon Vosporios Magafas, Codex Writer of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, with high ranking Vatican officials.
Photo Ecumenical Patriarchate/Nikos Manginas

Patriarch Bartholomew in his sermon said that “Pope Francis made this huge brotherly and historic gesture to give us from the Papal chapel of Paul the Sixth, some small pieces of the Holy relic of Apostle Peter founder of the Church of Rome, which I venerated a while ago, and I was very touched. It was a brave and bold initiative on behalf of the Pope towards the Church of Constantinople, for which we express to him our great gratitude.”

The Patriarch also made reference to the relations between the Churches of Rome and Constantinople, to the dialogue of love that followed the meeting of Pope Paul the Sixth and Patriarch Athenagoras in 1965, and the lifting of the anathemas in 1965, as well as to the Theological Dialogue that is taking place between the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Church.

9 Comments

  1. Metropolitan Emmanuel read a letter to Pope Francis from the Ecumenical Patriarch during a private audience. Part of this letter is quite revealing, as the EP, in clear unguarded language lays out why the issue of his own “primacy” within the Orthodox Church (defined by Elpidophoros as “First Without Equals”) has been so forcefully proclaimed:

    The acceptance of “First Without Equals” primacy by the larger body of the Orthodox Church would be for the EP, the decisive step to full- communion with Rome.

    EP in his own words:

    “Indeed, reflecting together on this important topic is essential in order to restore communion between our Sister Churches…

    “Our common participation in the Eucharistic synaxis presupposes that we are progressing together on the same path. In fact, walking together (synodos) is another image of the Church, or rather, another definition of the Church.

    “Your Holiness [as the EP addresses the Pope] has repeated on several occasions that the path of synodality is the way that God expects of the Church in the third millennium…synodality is mutually interdependent on primacy.

    “In times of trouble in the world and within our respective Churches, reflecting on primacy and synodality is extremely important not only for restoring communion between our sister Churches, but also for the stability of our respective Churches.”

  2. Thank God for small favors1.
    However,I have no idea why Bishop Maximos Paris was a part of this delegation, unless he had a craving to eat Italian.

  3. Beware of Popes bearing gifts! The EP’s letter read before this Pope:

    Your Holiness,

    Once again, the light of the feast day of the holy, glorious and all-praiseworthy Chiefs of the Apostles, Peter and Paul, has dawned. Therefore, we join in the celebration of our sister Church of Rome, “who presides in love,” (St. Ignatius, To the Romans) conveying our fraternal congratulatory wishes to Your Holiness, expressed in person through our Patriarchal Delegation, which is sent on the occasion of the Thronal Feast of your Church in accordance with the established blessed tradition.

    Today, the Church of Rome, where the Chiefs of the Apostles have received the crown of martyrdom, is filled with light. As Saint Gregory Palamas once said on this feast, “the appearance to us this day of both these luminaries together brightens the Church, for their meeting produces a wealth of light, not an eclipse. […] Light is not produced by one and received by the other in such a way that the latter’s radiance would vary sometimes depending on the distance between them. Rather, both share equally in Christ, the everlasting Source of eternal light, and have attained the same height, glory and radiance. That is why the coming together of these lights signifies their solidarity and support for one another, illuminating the souls of the faithful twice over.” (Homily 28, 4)

    The solemnity of today is indeed a synaxis, a gathering, a coming together inviting our sister Churches to embrace in…

  4. …charity.

    Unfortunately, due to various difficulties of our common history, the light of today’s synaxisis darkened by the fact that our sister Churches cannot yet share in the common cup of the Eucharistic synaxis. Nevertheless, the restoration of communion between our Churches remains our sincere hope, the main object of our prayers and the goal of the dialogue of truth established between our Churches.

    We are delighted that the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between our Churches, which is now working for almost forty years, has progressed on a meaningful document on “Primacy and Synodality in the Second Millennium and Today.” As we are informed, the Coordinating Committee that met last November at the hospitable Monastery of Bose fulfilled an important step forward, and we pray that the future meeting next November will succeed in finalizing a text to be discussed at the next plenary of the commission. Indeed, reflecting together on this important topic is essential in order to restore communion between our Sister Churches.

  5. Our common participation in the Eucharistic synaxis presupposes that we are progressing together on the same path. In fact, walking together (synodos) is another image of the Church, or rather, another definition of the Church. For this reason, synodality derives its origin from the very depths of the mystery of the Church. It is not merely a matter of canonical tradition, but of fundamental theological and ecclesiological truth. Without synodality, the unity of the Church is severed, the sanctity of its members is reduced to mere individual morality and articulation about virtue, catholicity is sacrificed in favor of particular individual, collective, national and other secular interests or intentions, and the apostolic message falls prey to various heresies and ruses of human reason.

    Your Holiness has repeated on several occasions that the path of synodality is the way that God expects of the Church in the third millennium.

    1. But as the Ravenna document of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue underscored, synodality is mutually interdependent on primacy. This means that synodality must be considered in the context of primacy, just as primacy must be considered in the context of synodality. (Ravenna Document, 43)

      In times of trouble in the world and within our respective Churches, reflecting on primacy and synodality is extremely important not only for restoring communion between our sister Churches, but also for the stability of our respective Churches. As your illustrious predecessor in the see of Rome, Pope Benedict, once formulated, “if the Church in the very depth of her being coincides with the Eucharist, then the presidency of love carries with it a responsibility for unity, which has a significance within the Church yet, at the same time, a responsibility for distinguishing what is Christian as against worldly society.” (J. Ratzinger, Pilgrim Fellowship of Faith: The Church as Communion, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2005, p. 233-234)

    2. In this spirit, we were glad to join you last July in Bari with the heads of the Christian Churches of the Middle East, where we gathered together to pray and reflect on peace and reconciliation. The location of Bari, where the relics of Saint Nicholas of Myra, venerated by both the Catholics and Orthodox, are kept, was certainly a symbol of this strong desire for unity. And as the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church underlined, “True peace is not achieved by force of arms, but only through love that “does not seek its own” (1 Cor 13.5). The oil of faith must be used to soothe and heal the wounds of others, not to rekindle new fires of hatred.” (Encyclical, 17)

    3. Your Holiness, dearest Brother Francis, as we celebrate today the Thronal Feast of the Church of Rome, we reiterate our commitment for our common advancement on “the coming together” of our Churches. We pray that internal problems within our respective Churches may neither harm nor stop this blessed goal. In this sense, may our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ grant you health, strength and perseverance in your primatial ministry.Conveying to Your Holiness, the venerable Hierarchs and the Christ-loving faithful of your Church, our warmest greetings, we embrace you fraternally, and remain with much love and honorin Christ our God, whom we beseech to strengthen our common efforts and lead us towards unity.

      At the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the twenty-ninth of June, 2019

      Your Holiness’ beloved brother in Christ,

      + Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch

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