Sunday, September 26, 2021

The Return of the Skull of the Apostle Andrew to Patras as a Fruit of the Dialogue With the Roman Catholic Church


In the book by the theologian Aristides Panotis Peacemakers: Paul VI - Athenagoras I (Athens 1971) we read the following very interesting things about the return of the Honorable Head of the Apostle Andrew the First-Called from Rome to Patras on September 26, 1964:

"The story of the return of the head of Saint Andrew began in February 1963 at a meeting of Orthodox and Catholics in Athens. The relevant suggestions are made in Rome, with positive results. The Metropolitan of Patras, Konstantinos, is indicated by the writer the path he must follow. The text is written and sent. The answer is most desirable. In the middle of May, John Willebrans comes to Patras, for secret consultations with Metropolitan Konstantinos, who writes a personal letter to Pope Paul VI. Pope Paul VI responds in the affirmative to the request. But he wants the head to be returned "with a new reliquary worthy of its contents", which he would pay for himself, because the original reliquary, with which Thomas Palaiologos handed it over to Pope Pius II in 1462, had been replaced with a newer one, and the traces of the old one were lost in a Sacristy. Reliquary designs are requested from Athens, of the Orthodox type, but at the same time research is being done to discover the original reliquary. It is discovered. It was in the museum of the homeland of Pope Pius II. It is golden and its scientific examination by eminent archaeologists and Byzantine scholars proves that it is a rare work of art of the pre-iconoclast period (7th century) and thus has great artistic value. After this responsible opinion, the Pope decides to make a double gift to the Metropolis of Patras, the head and the ancient reliquary. They repair it and add only a base of precious stones, "blue" (lapis lazuli) with the inscription "in the spirit of concord and as a sign of great love". In this unique reliquary, with a relevant ceremony, in the presence of the Orthodox Observers, the Pope encloses the sacred relic and seals it and in this manner it is handed over to the Metropolitan of Patras Konstantinos, on 26 September 1964."
 
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.
 
Pope Paul VI with the ancient reliquary and skull of the Apostle Andrew.



Metropolitan Konstantinos of Patras with the skull of the Apostle Andrew.


Cardinal Bea and Archbishop Willebrans meet in Athens with Professor Aristides Panotis, acknowledging his contribution to the success of the first approach of the Holy See with the Metropolis of Patras. Aristides Panotis was also honored by the Metropolitan of Patras Konstantinos with the relevant medal for this great event for the lMetropolis of Patras and for the completion of the new Church of the Apostle Andrew in Patras.

 
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