NEW YORK – The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople announced that it received a fragment of the Holy Relic of Saint Peter the Apostle, from the Church of Rome.
The presentation of the Holy Relic fragment took place during the visit of the official delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to Rome for the Thronal Feast of the Church of Rome.
The announcement of the Ecumenical Patriarchate states:
His Holiness Pope Francis presented a fragment of the Holy Relic of Saint Peter the Apostle, founder of the Church of Rome, to His His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the 270th successor of Saint Andrew the Apostle, founder of the Church of Constantinople
The Holy and Great Church of Christ glorifies the name of God and announces to the faithful that His Holiness Pope Francis of Rome, during the visit of the official delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on the occasion of the Thronal Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul had the initiative to present to the Church of Constantinople a fragment of the Holy Relic of Saint Peter, the most prominent among the Apostles, in a small ornate reliquary.
The fragment of the Holy Relic, that was kept in the Papal Chapel, was handed over by Pope Francis to Archbishop Job of Telmessos, the head of the Patriarchal Delegation, comprised also by Bishop Maximos of Melitini and Deacon Vosporios, the Codecographer of the Holy and Sacred Synod.
The official welcome of the Holy Relic of Saint Peter the Apostle took place on Sunday, June 30, the Feast of the Synaxis of the Holy Twelve Apostles, in the Church of the Holy Apostles in Feriköy, with His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew officiating at the Divine Liturgy. The Holy Relic was accompanied by the Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Msgr. Andrea Palmieri.
Following the Divine Liturgy His All-Holiness stated: “Pope Francis made this grand, fraternal, historical gesture of giving us fragments of the relic of Saint Peter, the founder of the Church of Rome, that I venerated just a moment ago and I was deeply moved. It was a brave and daring decision taken by Pope Francis to the Church of Constantinople, for which we express our gratitude to him.”
The Patriarchal Delegation to the Vatican was received in a private audience by the Pope of Rome on Friday, June 28. Archbishop Job of Telmessos presented him with a Patriarchal message from His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew along with an icon of Panagia.
The Churches of Rome and Constantinople have established the exchange of reciprocal visits of official delegations on their Thronal feasts since the 1960’s.