Residents of Argos (Greek: Άργος, Árgos) in the Peloponnese (Greece) on Saturday 19.01.2008 welcomed a delegation of Vatican clerics who returned the relics of their town’s patron saint, missing since the 15th century after a Catholic bishop took them to Rome. The relics were taken to Rome during the occupation of the Peloponnese by the Venetians on 1388-1463. Local churchmen, who began searching for the relics of Saint Peter of Argos in the early 1990s, finally traced them ostensibly kept for centuries in St Mark’s Basilica in Rome. In 1465-70 St Mark’s Basilica was reconstructed by the Pope Paul II, when the inside and the outside of the church were restyled according to the Renaissance taste. In that occasion the church was assigned to the Venetian people living in Rome, Paul II being a Venetian of birth.
Relations between the Orthodox and Catholic churches, frosty for centuries, have improved in recent years, with both sides taking steps toward rapprochement. The Roman Catholic Church decided to relinquish the relics identified with Argos' patron saint following coordinated efforts by Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos and Metropolitan Iakovos of Argolida prefecture. “We had looked everywhere for them,” local Bishop Iakovos said. Thousands of faithful thronged the streets and church bells sounded as the relics were carried into the local cathedral and put on display.