- Dec 10, 2019
The search for Christian unity must involve all aspects of the churches’ lives, including their different church laws, Pope Francis said.
Praising the fidelity of Eastern Catholics, Pope Francis also urged them to be more active in the search for Christian unity, especially unity with their Orthodox counterparts.
Pope Francis said giving fragments of St. Peter’s bones to the head of the church founded by Peter’s brother, St. Andrew, was meant to be a reminder and encouragement of the journey toward Christian unity.
In many ways, the southern Italian city of Bari is already the flagship of Pope Francis’s ecumenical efforts, but in the future it might also become ground zero for a new face of Europe.
In what Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople described as a “brave and bold” gesture, Pope Francis gave the patriarch a famous reliquary containing bone fragments believed to belong to St. Peter.
Catholic and Greek Orthodox clergy hope to continue on a path of collaboration between their two churches with the momentum from the June 22 enthronement of Archbishop Elpidophoros of America.