Pope Francis delivered, on June 29, 2019, to the archbishop of Telmissos, a relic of St. Peter as a gift to Patriarch Bartholomew, Vatican News reported.
It is a reliquary that Pope Paul VI had placed in the chapel of the papal apartments.
The archbishop of Telmissos is part of the delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, present in Rome from June 27 to 29 for the celebration of the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul.
The relic was delivered to Bartolomé on Sunday, June 30, by Monsignor Andrea Palmieri, Assistant Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the Unity of Christians in that city.
In statements to the aforementioned Vatican media, Telmisso’s archbishop, Job, said that this gesture by the Pope constitutes an “extraordinary and unexpected event”, since the relics of St. Peter have always been found in Rome and, therefore, the city It was a place of pilgrimage for the Orthodox.
There had been relics in Istanbul before, “but they were relics taken by the Crusaders, who, after the good relations established with the Orthodox community after the Second Vatican Council, made their ‘return’ to their homeland,” Job described.
In this way, these are the first relics that arrive in Constantinople to stay, “another gigantic step towards concrete unity,” the Orthodox archbishop stressed.