Archbishop Demetrios Leads Faith Endowment Pilgrimage to Rome Joining Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at Vatican
Jun 30, 2008
Rome - Archbishop Demetrios of America led a pilgrimage, under the aegis of FAITH: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism, accompanying the official visit of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to Rome for the Feast of the Chiefs of the Apostle, Peter and Paul. On Friday evening, June 27th, Archbishop Demetrios hosted a dinner in honor of His All Holiness at the renowned Palazzo Colonni. In addition to the members of the FAITH pilgrimage attending this banquet, the Hierarchs and clergy attending the Ecumenical Patriarch, senior Hierarchs of the Roman Catholic Church, and representatives of the diplomatic corps were present.
On Saturday the 28th, while the pilgrimage was taken on a tour of St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, Archbishop Demetrios joined Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at a private reception with His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in the private Papal apartments. Later in the day, the pilgrimage attended the official opening of the Pauline Year in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls (the tomb of the Apostle Paul), at a Solemn Vespers presided over by the Pope and the Ecumenical Patriarch and at which both Primates spoke. Following the Vespers, as an honor extended to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Archbishop Demetrios and the members of the pilgrimage were received at a private audience with the Pope. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew introduced the group of pilgrims to the Pope, saying:
"Your Holiness: In attendance at this great and joyous occasion of the Patronal Feast of the Church of Rome are, in addition to ourselves and our Patriarchal entourage, beloved children of the Ecumenical Patriarchate from our Eparchy in the United States of America, who have traveled to Rome to participate in this Feast and whom we are pleased to present to You in order that they might duly pay their respects. They comprise, Your Holiness, faithful children of the Church, highly distinguished in diverse areas of life in the United States and enjoying renown among their compatriots. They are particularly proud of their cultural heritage, inherited from their forefathers, as well as their Greek Orthodox identity, which they zealously treasure and preserve within the multi-faith and multi-cultural environment where they live. They are also well aware of the Christian roots of the city of Rome, the blessing of the greatest of the Apostles Peter and Paul, along with the glorious history of the Catacombs and Coliseum. Indeed, their presence this evening in the sacred Church of St. Paul outside the city walls may be characterized as a pious pilgrimage to the first and greatest of the Apostles, whose Epistles always enhance their spiritual formation, as well as to his other peer among the Apostles, namely St. Peter, upon whose rock of confession regarding the divinity of Jesus Christ they and their children firmly stand."
On Sunday the 29th, the pilgrimage attended the Papal Solemn Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in honor of the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. At the Service, His All Holiness was seated equally with the Pope for the first part of the Mass (the Liturgy of the Word). Both Primates recited the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed in the original Greek (without the “Filioque”). Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew also delivered a homily (in Italian). During the Eucharist itself, His All Holiness was seated with the members of his Official Hierarchal Delegation. At the “Kiss of Peace”, His All Holiness shared the fraternal salutation with the Pope and at the conclusion of the Mass, blessed the congregation. In the evening, His All Holiness presided over a Patriarchal Great Vespers at the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s parish church in Rome, St. Theodore the Tyro. Archbishop Demetrios and the members of the pilgrimage were in attendance, as well as members of the diplomatic corps. After the Vespers, the members of the FAITH pilgrimage shared a farewell dinner with the Archbishop, during which everyone expressed their deep appreciation and thankfulness for the unique, as they themselves said, spiritual and cultural experience.
On Monday, June 30th, as His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew departed for the Phanar, Archbishop Demetrios departed Rome for Athens, in order to participate in the Annual AHEPA Conference and the concert by the Children’s Metropolitan Choir of the Archdiocese.
Contact: Stavros Papagermanos