Eastern Orthodox nuns recently made a papal tiara for the Holy Father. It’s interesting not only in the fact that the last time a pope wore a papal tiara was Blessed Paul VI and it wasn’t until Benedict XVI that another pope possessed a papal tiara, but also who gave it to him.
What’s significant is not so much the tiara itself but the symbology behind this gesture. Is this an acknowledgement of the pope’s authority (which the tiara represents)? Does this mean reconciliation is about to happen among a significant number of Eastern Orthodox? Reconciliation was supposed to happen back in the 13th and 15th centuries but as Thomas Madden notes in “Concise History of the Crusades, it was short-lived. A number of Byzantine emperors and patriarchs became Catholic as a result of the Second Council of Lyons and the Council of Florence, but soon after the schism followed. Oddly enough soon after the schism continued, Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Empire.
Sure, Catholics and Orthodox have done bad things to each other: there was the Sacking of Constantinople and before that the Massacre of the Latins. Yet over all Catholics and Orthodox seem to get along for the most part.
It is in my prayers that the Apostolic Sees of Saints Peter and Andrew will one day be in full communion. This is the prayer of Our Lord: “That they may be one, as you are, Father, are in me” (Ut omnes unum sint, sicut tu Pater in me).