Introduction of Cardinal Koch to message of Pope Francis for the feast of St Andrew

30 November 2018


Your All Holiness,

Once again this year, together with a delegation from Rome, I have the honour of celebrating with you on the feast day of Saint Andrew, patron saint of the Church of Constantinople, and of worshipping together the Triune God. It is always a great joy for us to be present in the Divine Liturgy with silent prayer in our hearts, and at the end to convey to Your All Holiness the warmest greetings and blessings of your dear brother, Pope Francis. From their heavenly homes, Saint Peter greets Saint Andrew in brotherly love. And as their successors, the Bishop of Rome Francis greets the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew. Since Peter and Andrew are brothers, Constantinople and Rome can understand each other and live as sister churches. Therefore, their hope of praying and seeking to regain unity and to confirm ecclesial love in Eucharistic love, is the same hope that your venerable predecessor, His All Holiness Athenagoras, expressed exactly fifty years ago in his telegram on 25 October 1968 to Pope Paul VI. On the occasion of the first anniversary of his visit to Rome, he expressed his heartfelt words: “Notre coeur ... prie ardemment le seigneur pour la préponderance de sa volonté et l'aurore de son jour glorieux où nous glorifierons son nom en liturgie commune et intercommunion sacramentelle” (“Tomos agapis”, No. 231). It is with this aspiration and hope that I now wish to convey to you the blessings of the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis, and to read out his message to you, beloved All Holiness, in brotherly love and deep friendship, and to all the brothers and sisters gathered here today in the Cathedral of Saint George.