At the conclusion of the commemoration of the sixth anniversary of the meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, on 12 February 2022 a celebration was dedicated to the veneration of the holy Crown of Thorns kept in the church of Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois in Paris, with the participation of Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and Metropolitan Hilarion, President of the Department for External Church Affairs of the Moscow Patriarchate.
The celebration was also attended by Archbishop Georges Pontier, Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Paris; Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Apostolic Nuncio; Monsignor Patrick Chauvet, Rector‒Archpriest of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris; Reverend Miguel Desjardins, Director of the national service for Christian unity; and Reverend Jérôme Bascoul, Episcopal Vicar for ecumenism for the Archdiocese of Paris.
In his address [FR], Cardinal Koch expressed his aspiration that “our shared pilgrimage to the crown of thorns may reignite our hope to receive, at the end of our earthly pilgrimage, the crown of life promised to those who love God […] May it strengthen our conviction that it is precisely by moving closer to Christ that we move closer to one another, sustained by the prayer of all the saints and martyrs of our Churches, who are already united among themselves in their suffering in the name of Christ and who already wear the 'crown of justice' (2 Tim 4:8)”.
The delegation of the PCPCU, which in the morning had taken part in the Divine Liturgy celebrated at the Cathedral of the Three Saints Doctors, was led by Cardinal Koch, accompanied by Reverend Jaromír Zádrapa and Reverend Father Hyacinthe Destivelle, OP, staff members of the Eastern Section of the Dicastery.
The delegation of the Moscow Patriarchate comprised Metropolitan Hilarion together with Metropolitan Antonij, Patriarchal Exarch for Western Europe; Reverend Archimandrite Filaret (Bulekov), Vice‒President of the Department for External Church Affairs of the Moscow Patriarchate; Reverend Hieromonk Stefan (Igumnov), Secretary for relations among Christians; and Mr Ivan Nikolaev, official of the Department.
Photos © Daniel Naberejny / Séminaire orthodoxe russe en France et © Yannick Boschat / Diocèse de Paris