Pope John Paul II will return the relics of two of the Great Doctors of the Church, Saint John Chrysostom and Saint Gregory Nazianzen, to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, who will travel to Rome on November 26 to receive them.
The relics, which were carried to Rome by crusaders after the sacking of Constantinople in 1204, will be handed back to the Patriarch during a ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica on November 27, and will be accompanied by Vatican officials on their trip to Istanbul (formerly Constantinople), according to reports by James Helicke of Associated Press.
Patriarch Bartholomew, who is the first among equals among the Orthodox patriarchs, asked for the relics when he met the Pope in June.
"This is a high point of friendship between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches," said the Patriarch, who has engaged with the Holy Father in dialogue of reconciliation between Orthodox and Catholics. "This is truly historic," he said.