StampNews.com received information that the Philatelic and Numismatic Office of Vatican commemorates this pilgrimage of Paul VI with the issue of an aerogramme featuring an image of that historic encounter with the then Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Athenagoras I. This philatelic release is to be unveiled on the 21st of November.
At the conclusion of the second session of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI announced that "after careful reflection and much prayer" the Bishop of Rome would travel for the first time to the places where Jesus Christ was a man among men "with the intention of reliving in person the principal mysteries of our salvation". From 4-6 January 1964 he visited the Holy Land where in three days he went to 15 different places.
Among the most powerful moments of the journey, as Paul VI himself recalled, was when he visited the Holy Sepulchre. Visibly moved, he gave his own personal prayer: "We are here, Lord Jesus. We have come like the guilty who return to the site of their crime. We have come like the one who followed you, but who also betrayed you, so often faithful and unfaithful. We have come to recognize the mysterious relationship between our sins and your Passion, our work and your work. We have come to strike our breasts and to ask for your forgiveness and beg for your mercy. We have come because we know that you can and you want to forgive us since you have redeemed us. You are our redemption and our hope".
This year Pope Francis journeyed to the Holy Land where he embraced Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew, a gesture which recalled the one made 50 years ago by his predecessor.