Within the framework of the traditional exchange of delegations for the respective feast days of their Patron Saints, on 29 June in Rome for Saints Peter and Paul and on 30 November in Istanbul for Saint Andrew, Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, led a delegation of the Holy See to Constantinople for the feast of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Cardinal Koch was accompanied by Bishop Brian Farrell, Secretary of the Dicastery, and Monsignor Andrea Palmieri, Under-Secretary. The Apostolic Nuncio to Turkey, Archbishop Paul F. Russell, joined the delegation in Istanbul.
The Holy See's delegation took part in the solemn Divine Liturgy presided over by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and by the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria Theodoros II. After a private meeting with the Ecumenical Patriarch, the delegation held talks with the Synodal Commission responsible for relations with the Catholic Church.
In his address, Cardinal Koch conveyed to His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew I a hand-signed message of the Holy Father, which the Ecumenical Patriarch read publicly at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy. In his address to the members of the Holy See's delegation, His All Holiness Bartholomew I expressed gratitude for their presence and renewed his gratitude for the recent gift of relics of Saint Peter to the Church of Constantinople. These relics of Saint Peter were placed alongside the relics of his brother Saint Andrew in front of the iconostasis during the celebration.
Photos: Nikolaos Manginas