Visit of delegation of Ecumenical Patriarchate for Feast of Saints Peter and Paul

29 Jun 2019

Within the context of the traditional exchange of delegations for their respective patronal feasts (on 29 June in Rome for the Apostle Saints Peter and Paul, and on 30 November in Istanbul for the Apostle Saint Andrew), a delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate visited Rome from 27–29 June 2019.

The delegation was led by Archbishop Job of Telmessos, representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the World Council of Churches and Co–President of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. Archbishop Job was accompanied by Bishop Maximos of Melitene and Deacon Bosphorios Mangafas.

On Friday 28 June, the delegation was received in audience by Pope Francis. At the conclusion of his address, the Holy Father affirmed: “As Bishop of Rome I wish to reaffirm that, for us Catholics, the purpose of dialogue is full communion in legitimate forms of diversity, not a monotonous levelling, much less absorption.”

The message of Patriarch Bartholomew focused on the relationship between synodality and primacy, the theme currently being reflected upon by the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. “In times of trouble in the world and within our respective Churches, reflecting on primacy and synodality is extremely important not only for restoring communion between our sister Churches, but also for the stability of our respective Churches,” affirmed the Ecumenical Patriarch.

On the same day, the delegation took part in conversations with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. During the meeting they discussed current issues of the two Churches as well as future steps of the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. The next meeting of the Coordinating Committee is planned for this coming November at the Monastery of Bose (Italy) to continue the study of a text entitled "Primacy and Synodality in the Second Millennium and Today".

On Saturday 29 June, the delegation participated in the solemn Eucharistic celebration presided over by the Holy Father in honour of the Apostle Saints Peter and Paul. After the celebration, Pope Francis offered to Archbishop Job a reliquary containing relics of Saint Peter, asking him to convey it to Patriarch Bartholomew. Pope Francis later wrote a letter to His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew to explain more fully the significance of the gift of some fragments of the relics.


Photos © Servizio Fotografico - Vatican Media