This time, the pope and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople met in the Vatican. Bartholomew traveled to Rome on a pilgrimage to venerate the relics of the apostles Philip and John and to participate in the Centesimus Annus Foundation meeting.
'Thanks for the visit.'
'Thanks for the brotherly welcome, as always.'
In the exchange of gifts, the patriarch presented the pope with a small image of the Blessed Mother and Child, an icon of St. Francis of Assisi, a book on the Patriarchate and even some chocolates.
Then, the pope gave him a bronze reproduction of the Holy Door and his last apostolic exhortation, Gaudete et exsultate, which he signed for Bartholomew on the spot. It was the first time that Pope Francis gave his new document out to one of his visitors.
They spoke for a half hour during which the pope, among other things, asked about the health of the Patriarch. He had been hospitalized for a few days due to a series of dizziness spells.
It is very likely that Pope Francis and Bartholomew will meet again soon in Bari, where on July 7 the pope has summoned the Christian leaders to pray for peace in the Middle East.