During his pastoral visit to Sweden on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Holy Metropolis of Sweden and All Scandinavia, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew visited the Lutheran Church of Sweden and addressed the Church of Sweden General Synod, where he was the guest of honor, on 1 October 2019. On that occasion, he has awarded the Plaque of St Erik by Church of Sweden Archbishop Dr Antje Jackelén for his commitment to religious freedom, human rights and care for creation.
The citation reads: “His All Holiness, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome & Ecumenical Patriarch. For his efforts to promote religious freedom and human rights, for calling the attention of the world to the needs of refugees and for across the globe showing that care for creation is an ecumenical and spiritual responsibility.”
The Church of Sweden Archbishop presents the St Erik award to Church leaders and others who have made an impact through their work for the unity of the Church, humanitarian assistance and support to Swedes living abroad. Awarded since 1996, it also recognizes engagement for peace, gender justice and combatting discrimination.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is the 25th recipient of the Plaque of St Erik. Previous recipients include South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1999) and Church of England Archbishop Rowan Williams (2006). In 2007 the award went to Rev. Dr Ishmael Noko, former General Secretary of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF), and Walter Cardinal Kasper, then President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.