In a letter to Bartholomew I of Constantinople, Pope Francis has explained the unexpected gifting of a relic of St. Peter to the leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church in June, a gesture which generated controversy among some Catholics.
Pope Francis greets Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople outside the Basilica of St. Nicholas in Bari, Italy, July 7, 2018. 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. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
The Documents Speak:
In the context of the study undertaken by the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the granting of the ecclesiastical status of autocephaly to Ukraine, various opinions have been formulated—even by representatives of official institutions—expressing misgiving about the canonical prerogative of the Church of Constantinople to proceed with such an act. The principal argument proposed in this regard is that Ukraine “constitutes the canonical territory of the Patriarchate of Moscow” and that, consequently, such an act on the part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate would comprise an “intervention” into a foreign ecclesiastical jurisdiction.