On 9-12 September, His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Mathews III, Catholicos of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, visited the Vatican to meet Pope Francis.
It was the first official visit to Rome by the Catholicos, elected in 2021. The visit marked the 10th anniversary of the visit of his immediate predecessor, His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, as well as the 40th anniversary of the first visit to Rome by a Catholicos of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.
On Saturday 9 September, day of his arrival, His Holiness Mathews III, Catholicos of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, prayed before the tomb of St Peter. On Sunday morning, 10 September, the Catholicos celebrated a Eucharistic Liturgy - the Holy Qurbana - at the Papal Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls for the faithful of the Malankara Syrian Orthodox community living in Rome. In the evening he participated in an ecumenical prayer at the Church of St Blaise of the Armenians.
On Monday 11 September, after meeting Pope Francis, the Catholicos visited the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, where he was able to share with the Prefect and staff of the Dicastery his observations on relations between the Catholic Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. Archbishop Emidio Cipollone and the members of the Episcopal Council of the Archdiocese of Lanciano-Ortona, where the relics of the Apostle Thomas are kept, also took part in the meeting.
On Tuesday 12 September the Catholicos and his entourage visited the General Secretariat of the Synod, where they explained aspects of the Synod experience of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, which will be represented by a Fraternal Delegate at the next General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. The Catholicos then visited the Pontifical Oriental Institute, where he had studied in the 1980s.
During his stay in Rome, the Catholicos and his entourage were accompanied by Bishop Brian Farrell, Secretary of the DPUC, and Fr Hyacinthe Destivelle, OP, official of the Eastern Section in charge of relations with the Oriental Orthodox Churches.