Vatican City: In June 2019, the Pope gifted a relic of Saint Peter to the leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church. As an explanation to this gesture, the Pontiff in a letter to Bartholomew 1 of Constantinople explains that the decision to give the relic was born out of prayer and intended as a sign of the ongoing work and prayer towards visible communication between the orthodox and catholic churches. This act had created controversy among some Catholics back in time. Therefore the pope’s letter came in, as an explanation to his act. Pope gave the relic to a member of the delegation from the ecumenical patriarchate of Constantinople on June 29th the feast day of Saints Peter and Paul. the delegate had attended a mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica on the said date. Following the holy mass of Francis brought Eastern orthodox archbishop to Chapel and presented the relics as a gift. As per reports, the box contains 9 fragments from what are believed to be the bones of Saint Peter. until then the reliquary was preserved Saint Peter’s Basilica.
According to Pope Francis, “this just is intended to be a confirmation of the journey that our churches have made in drawing closer to one another: a journey at times demanding and difficult, yet one accompanied by evident signs of God’s grace.” He further continued to say, “I sensed that this thought came to me from the Holy Spirit who in so many ways prompts Christians to regain that full communion for which our Lord Jesus Christ played on the eve of a glorious passion. Hence, in the peace born of prayer, I sensed that it would be highly significant were some The fragments of the relics of the apostle Peter to be placed beside the relic of the apostle Andrew, who is venerated as the heavenly Patron of the church of Constantinople.”
Orthodox Archbishop Job called the gesture “another gigantic step towards concrete unity.” Pope Francis wrote that the joining of the relics of Andrew and Peter can serve “as a constant reminder and encouragement that, on this continuing journey, our divergences will no longer stand in the way of our common witness and our evangelizing mission in the service of a human family that today is tempted to build a purely secular future, a future without God.”