The feast of Saints Peter and Paul is the most "Roman" of feasts. Indeed, Rome is
what it is for the universal Church because it is the place of martyrdom and tombs
of the two great apostles.
On this feast day, the archbishops appointed during
the year come to Rome to receive the "pallium" from the hands of the Pope, which they
will wear on their shoulders during liturgical celebrations as a sign of their union
with him in the leadership of their churches and care for the communion of the universal
Church. The “palli” are kept in a niche close to the tomb of Peter, under the central
altar of the Basilica, directly under the summit of the great dome, which indicates
the very heart of the communion of the Church.
Also on this feast day a delegation
from the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, come to Rome as a sign of the fraternity
between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, in the hope of a fuller communion.
for two thousand years those who pray, hope and work for the unity of the community
of believers in Christ, have looked to Rome. They come to Rome as pilgrims to find
evidence of this troubled history of passion for unity. The gaze of the apostles,
present and venerated here since ancient times - as also reflected in the very recent
discoveries in the catacombs of Saint Tecla - accompanies us on our journey. The strong
faith of the Successor of Peter, his reading of events guided by the Spirit remains
the surest reference point for those who want to follow Jesus Christ togther with
other believers, in the real story of our history.