The inexplicable transfer of St Peter’s relics to Constantinople


Catholic Herald, 25 July 2019

The decision to send the relics of St Peter from the private chapel of the papal apartment to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is still in need of explanation. The manner in which it was done remains inexplicable.

On June 29, the feast of Ss Peter and Paul, Pope Francis gave to the delegation representing Bartholomew, the primus inter pares of the Orthodox Church, a reliquary containing nine bone fragments of Peter the Apostle. While the majority of Peter’s relics are under the high altar of St Peter’s Basilica, St Paul VI had taken the fragments to be kept in the private chapel of the papal apartment, a source of comfort, strength and intercession for Peter’s successors. Upon consigning the relics to the Orthodox delegation for conveyance to Constantinople, Pope Francis told the archbishops that the idea had occurred to him the previous evening.

“I no longer live in the Apostolic Palace, I never use this chapel, I never serve the Holy Mass here, and we have St Peter’s relics in the basilica itself, so it will be better if they will be kept in Constantinople,” Pope Francis said. “This is my gift to the Church of Constantinople. Please take this reliquary and give it to my brother Patriarch Bartholomew.”

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