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One significant VIP is the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I. His presence at the installation is the first from the Istanbul-based Patriarchate in nearly 1,000 years since the Great Schism divided the church in 1054.
In a gesture to the East, the Gospel will be sung in Greek as opposed to Latin and eastern rite Catholic prelates will join Francis at an initial prayer at the tomb of St. Peter under the basilica’s main altar, the Vatican said Monday.
In all, some 33 Christian delegations will be present, as well as representatives of Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh and Jain communities.
The Vatican also released details of Francis’ coat of arms and official ring, both of which are in keeping with his style and priorities: The coat of arms is the same Jesuit-inspired one he used as archbishop of Buenos Aires, featuring symbols of Mary, Jesus and Joseph, albeit with the papal trappings of a bishop miter and the crossed keys of the Holy See. The ring was once offered to Pope Paul VI, who presided over the second half of the Second Vatican Council, the church meetings that modernized the church.
Francis will officially receive the ring and the pallium, a wool stole, during Tuesday’s installation Mass, which is drawing six sovereign rulers, 31 heads of state, three princes and 11 heads of government to the Vatican.
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