The successor of the Apostle Peter and the successor of the Apostle Andrew, together in prayer. Pope Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I prayed for the unity of the Churches at the Patriarchal Church of St. George in Istanbul.
The most powerful moment came when Pope Francis made this request to the Patriarch.
"I ask you a favor, to bless me and the Church of Rome."
After such a symbolic gesture, they prayed together the Lord's Prayer in Latin.
During the gathering both religious leaders addressed each other. The Patriarch said he welcomed Pope Francis with joy, honor and recognition. He added that he hopes his visit will help both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches come closer.
Pope Francis answered to the Patriarch's address explaining that they are "brothers in hope.”
"Andrew and Peter heard this promise; they received this gift. They were blood brothers, yet their encounter with Christ transformed them into brothers in faith and charity. In this joyful evening, at this prayer vigil, I want to emphasize this; they became brothers in hope. What a grace, Your Holiness, to be brothers in the hope of the Risen Lord! What a grace, and what a responsibility, to walk together in this hope, sustained by the intercession of the holy Apostles and brothers, Andrew and Peter!”
After the prayer vigil, they had a brief meeting in private, that was followed by a gift exchange. Pope Francis also signed the book of honor of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I is the spiritual leader of roughly 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide .