Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Visits Italy

FLORENCE – His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew made an official visit to Italy for which Pope Francis of Rome sent him the following telegraph:

“His Holiness the Archbishop of Constantinople Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Your Holiness, beloved brother in Christ, The visit of Your Holiness to some cities in Italy and to their local Churches offers me the pleasant opportunity to express to You my cordial and fraternal closeness. I thank you warmly, because with this visit you are promoting the culture of meeting and strengthening the fraternal relations that already exist between Roman Catholics and Orthodox. Wishing you a blessed stay in Italy, I exchange with Your Holiness an embrace of peace.

Vatican City, May 3, 2023


His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew holds a piece of the holy relics of Apostle and Evangelist Matthew.
(Photo: Fos Fanariou)

The Patriarch visited the Basilica of Saint Lawrence of Florence, the city’s first cathedral and the first place of Christian worship was established in the city of the Medici. It was the first seat of the bishops of the city, from where the evangelization of the wider region of Tuscany began. The church was consecrated by Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, who dedicated it to Archdeacon and Martyr Laurentios (Lawrence).

The Ecumenical Patriarch and his entourage were received at the entrance of the Basilica by Archbishop of Florence Cardinal Giuseppe Betori, by the Superior of the Basilica (Priore Mitrato della Basilica di San Lorenzo), and Mons. Marco Domenico Viola.

After the customary prayer, the Ecumenical Patriarch and the members of his entourage had the opportunity to take a tour of the interior of the Church and the Chapel Cappelle Medicee, where the burial complexes of the Medici family are located.
An official dinner was then held in honor of the Ecumenical Patriarch and the members of his entourage.

Also, at a special ceremony held in Florence, Patriarch Bartholomew was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree of the Theological School of Central Italy.

The Archbishop of Salerno gave to Patriarch Bartholomew a piece of the holy relics of the Apostle and Evangelist Matthew.


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