30 Nov 2014

Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew I

The successor of the Apostle Peter and the successor of the Apostle Andrew, together in prayer. Pope Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I prayed for the unity of the Churches at the Patriarchal Church of St. George in Istanbul.nPope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew attended a celebration of the Divine Liturgy on the Feast of St. Andrew at the Church of St. George at the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. Sunday is the third and last day of Pope Francis’ apostolic visit to Turkey.

The most powerful moment came when Pope Francis made this request to the Patriarch - "I ask you a favor, to bless me and the Church of Rome."

After such a symbolic gesture, they prayed together the Lord's Prayer in Latin.

During the gathering both religious leaders addressed each other. The Patriarch said he welcomed Pope Francis with joy, honor and recognition. He added that he hopes his visit will help both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches come closer.

Pope Francis answered to the Patriarch's address explaining that they are "brothers in hope."

"Andrew and Peter heard this promise; they received this gift. They were blood brothers, yet their encounter with Christ transformed them into brothers in faith and charity. In this joyful evening, at this prayer vigil, I want to emphasize this; they became brothers in hope. What a grace, Your Holiness, to be brothers in the hope of the Risen Lord! What a grace, and what a responsibility, to walk together in this hope, sustained by the intercession of the holy Apostles and brothers, Andrew and Peter!”

After the prayer vigil, they had a brief meeting in private, that was followed by a gift exchange. Pope Francis also signed the book of honor of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I is the spiritual leader of roughly 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide .

Text of Address by Pope Francis HERE.

Text of Address by Patriarch Bartholomew I HERE.

Vatican Radio - Pope Francis’s gift to the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I, during their meeting in Istanbul, was a mosaic reproduction of the image of Christ depicted in the confession of St. Peter inside the Vatican basilica. The mosaic is taken from the image of Christ depicted in the Confession of St. Peter, that is of his tomb, where the Sacred Pallia are kept, under the papal altar of St. Peter’s Basilica.

The mosaic is originally attributed to the Ninth Century and some parts of it are retraceable to this period, for example the face, while other parts prove to have been successively altered. This image is certainly a representative element of the Constantinian Basilica, which has since remained in its original place. It is the Christ, blessing and Teacher, while holding out the Book of the Gospel open at the words: “EGO SUM VIA VERITAS ET VITA QUI CREDIT IN ME VIVET”

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