Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Archbishop of Canterbury join together for the first time in urgent appeal for the future of the planet

For the first time, the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and the Anglican Communion have jointly warned of the urgency of environmental sustainability, its impact on poverty, and the importance of global cooperation. Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Justin Welby urge everyone to play their part in ‘choosing life’ for the future of the planet.

In a joint statement, the three Christian leaders speak against injustice and inequality and call on people to pray, in this Christian season of Creation, for world leaders ahead of COP26 this November, to make meaningful sacrifices for the sake of the planet, working together and taking responsibility for how we use our resources, and to choose people-centred profits and lead the transition to just and sustainable economies.

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Forum on Ecumenical Initiatives for the Protection of the Environment and Culture

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew inaugurated on 4 September 2021 the Forum on Ecumenical Initiatives for the Protection of the Environment and Culture, organized by the European Center of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Monuments in collaboration with the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the Consulate General of Greece in Istanbul.

In his opening remarks, His Holiness said that humanity continues to experience the painful environmental and social effects of the global ecological crisis, and made particular reference to the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s environmental initiatives, which aim to raise awareness of globalization and the direction of the protection and preservation of the Creation of God as a whole. “The ecological initiatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate have inspired parliaments, universities, ecological organizations, other Churches and religions” said the patriarch. The efforts of the Ecumenical Patriarchate contributed to the integration of ecological issues into ecumenical and interfaith dialogues.

His All-Holiness and the participants were welcomed by Mrs. Georgia Sultanopoulou, Consul General of Greece, and addressed by Professor Natalia Poulou, Chairman of the Board of the European Center of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Monuments, by Dr. Flora Karagianni who presented the program “Monuments in Nature. A Creative Co-existence”, in the framework of which the Forum took place and Dr. Charalambos Hotzakoglou, Chairman of the Board of the Society for Cypriot Studies. Two exhibitions were launched under the title: “Nature in Art”. The proceedings of the Conference continued at the Theological School of Halki.

Synaxis of the Hierarchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew convened the Synaxis of the Hierarchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate from from 1st to 3rd September 2021. More than 130 hierarchs from all over the world gathered at the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the Divine Liturgy celebrating the beginning of the new ecclesiastical year (Indiction) and then met at the Hilton hotel in Istanbul to discuss major issues afflicting mankind, especially the ongoing pandemic of coronavirus, which was addressed not only by the episcopate, but also by the prestigious professor of medicine Dr. Sotirios Tsiodras. Among other issues discusses were the proclamation of the Gospel in the 21st century, the modern geopolitical constituencies and the role of the Church in it, the inter-Christian and inter-religious relations, the pastoral care at all levels of the people of God and the role of monasticism.

Protecting the Vulnerable: Addressing the Sin of Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery

Globally recognized for his prescience in advocating for responsible stewardship of the natural environment over the last three decades, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has recently called upon his flock to take a much more critical look at the ways in which modern society fails to safeguard the dignity of the human person. Toward this end, His Eminence Archbishop Nikitas was appointed coordinator for the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Task Force on Modern Slavery and has been consulting and working with specialists from around the world to raise awareness of the complexities and challenges surrounding modern forms of enslavement.

Inspired by the visionary pastoral initiatives of the Ecumenical Patriarch and under the direction of Archbishop Nikitas, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain is pleased to present its own contribution to these efforts in the form of an informational booklet entitled Protecting the Vulnerable: Addressing the Sin of Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery. This collection of five reflections is not an exhaustive treatment of modern slavery, but a valuable introduction to the topic gathered from the diverse personal experience and professional expertise of five different members of the Archdiocese. We pray that each of the perspectives in this offering will educate, awaken, and refine our spiritual senses toward the hidden subjugation and suffering taking place all around us.

Historic Visit of the Ecumenical Patriarch to Ukraine

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch recently visited Ukraine on 20-24 August, at the invitation of the President of Ukraine, Mr. Volodymyr Zelensky, and the Primate of the Church of Ukraine, His Beatitude Metropolitan Epiphanios of Kiev and All Ukraine to partake in the celebrations of the 30th anniversary of Ukrainian Independence.

Upon his arrival at the Kyiv International Airport, having received the prescribed honors, the Ecumenical Patriarch was welcomed by the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Mr. Denys Shmyhal, His Beatitude Metropolitan Epiphanios of Kiev and All Ukraine and a number of State, Government and Ecclesiastical officials as well as by the Ambassador of Greece to Ukraine, Mr. Vassilios Bornovas.

His All-Holiness was accompanied by their Eminences Metropolitan Elder Emmanuel of Chacedon, Metropolitans Amphilochios of Adrianople, Stephanos of Philippi, Neapolis and Thassos, the Very Reverend Archimandrite Grigorios, Chief Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod, the Very Reverend Grand Synkellos Iakovos Krochak, the Very Reverend Patriarchal Deacon Ieronymos, Mr. Nikolaos Papachristou, Director of the Patriarchal Office of Press and Communication, and other associates.

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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew celebrated 60 years of priesthood

His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew celebrated 60 years of his ordination as a deacon in his hometown of Imbros on 13 August 2021 with the participation of their Beatitudes the Pope and Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria and All Africa and the Metropolitan Epiphanios of Kiev and All Ukraine, as well as the representatives of the Churches of Cyprus and Greece, Metropolitans Nektarios of Kiti and Panteleimon of Maronia and Komotini respectively, with the presence of their Eminences Metropolitans Elders Emmanuel of Chalcedon and Apostolos of Derkoi, Metropolitans Chrysostomos of Myra, George of Guinea, Paul of Drama, Eustratios of Chernihiv and Nizhyn, Bishop Adrianos of Halicarnassus, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate under the leadership of Mr. Athanasios Martinou, Political Commander of Mount Athos, the Consul General of Greece in the City Mrs. Georgia Sultanopoulou, the Mayor of Imbros Mr. Alnal Çetin, and many of his compatriots and friends of Imbros.

Before the Dismissal, His All-Holiness performed a memorial service for the rest of the soul of his Elder and benefactor, the late Metropolitan Elder Meliton of Chalcedon, who resided in the Holy Diocese of Imbros and Tenedos for thirteen years and had ordained His All-Holiness to the fist degree of priesthood in 1961.

Evidently moved, the Ecumenical Patriarch addressed his brothers the Primates, the hierarchs, the clergy and the faithful, thanking all those who honored with their presence this important day in the course of his life as a clergyman of the Holy Church of Christ. His Holiness was then addressed by the Primates of the Churches of Alexandria and Ukraine. The Metropolitans Metropolitans Nektarios of Kiti and Panteleimon of Maronia and Komotini read respectively the congratulatory letters of their Beatitudes Archbishops Chrysostomos of Cyprus and Jerome of Athens and all of Greece, while the Chief Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod, Archimandrite Grigorios read the message sent by His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel of Romania. The Mayor of Imbros also congratulated His All-Holiness with warm words, who described as important it is for the island to have a descendant at the head of the first Throne of the Orthodox Church.Afterwards, a festive banquet was held in the gardens of the Palace of the Metropolis. In the afternoon, His All-Holiness, together with the Primates, the hierarchs and many Imbriotes and visitors attended a festive concert.

The Delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the Thronal Feast of the Church of Rome

The Delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, consisting of Their Eminences Elder Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon, Metropolitan Iosif of Buenos Aires, and the Reverend Patriarchal Deacon Varnavas Grigoriadis, traveled to Rome to participate in the Thronal Feast of the Church of Rome. On 28 June, they took part in the conversations with the members of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, during which they discussed current issues of the two Churches. They were received by His Holiness Pope Francis in a private audience, in the presence of His Eminence Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, His Excellency Bishop Brian Farrell, Secretary of the Pontifical Council, and Monsignor Andrea Palmieri, Under-Secretary of the Pontifical Council.

At the audience, Elder Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon read the letter from His All-Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, addressed to His Holiness Pope Francis. His Holiness Pope Francis responded with his address. The delegation was then received for lunch by His Holiness Pope Francis. On 29 June, the members of the delegation will attend the Solemn Mass for the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul at Saint Peter’s Basilica.

President of North Macedonia visited the Ecumenical Patriarchate

The President of the Republic of North Macedonia, Stevo Pendarovski, visited the Ecumenical Patriarchate on 19 June 2021. The president, who was accompanied by high-ranking officials of the Presidency and the Consul General of Northern Macedonia in Istanbul, Aktan Ago, were welcomed by the Grand Protosyncellus Theodoros and Archimandrite Grigorios, Chief Secretary of the Holy Synod, along with the clergy of the Patriarchal Court.

Afterwards, Mr. Pendarovski and the members of his delegation visited the patriarchal church, and were then received by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who expressed his delight at the president’s visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Pendarovski said he had been to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the early 2000’s, accompanying the then president of his country as a member of his staff.

The meeting, which took place in a cordial atmosphere, was attended by Elder Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon, Grand Protosyncellus Theodoros, Archimandrite Grigorios, Chief Secretary of the Holy Synod, and Grand Syncellus Iakovos, as well as the president’s associates. It was followed by a private meeting between the Ecumenical Patriarch and the president, who exchanged views on issues of mutual interest. The Ecumenical Patriarch thanked President Stevo Pendarovski for his visit and for the interesting discussion they had.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Celebrated His Name’s Day

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew celebrated His Name’s Day on 11 June 2021 at the patriarchal church at the Phanar on the feast of the Holy Apostles Bartholomew and Barnabas. The service was attended by hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne, delegations of the Autocephalous Churches of Cyprus and Ukraine, Abbots from Mount Athos, clergy, monks and nuns, archons of the Ecumenical Throne, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Greece Mr. Konstantinos Vlasis, the Ambassador of Greece in Ankara Mr. Michael-Christos Diamesis, the former Deputy Minister Mr. Antonis Diamataris, Mrs. Georgia Sultanopoulou and Mr. Oleksandr Gaman respectively Consuls General of Greece and Ukraine in Istanbul, community leaders, students of the Patriarchal Great School of the Nation together with their principal and teachers, faithful from Istanbul and pilgrims from abroad.

After the Divine Liturgy, His Eminence Elder Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon greeted His All-Holiness on behalf of the hierarchy. Then wishes were conveyed on behalf of the Greek Government by the Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. Konstantinos Vlasis. A heartfelt greeting from the President of Ukraine Mr. Volodymyr Zelenskyy was also read by the Consul General of Ukraine Mr. Oleksandr Gaman. Wishes to His All-Holiness were also expressed in writing and by telephone by Primates of Churches, Heads of State, Prime Ministers and political leaders, ministers, hierarchs, religious ministers and many personalities, as well as many believers of all nationalities from all over the world.

Informal Talks between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Anglican Communion

The informal talks between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Anglican Communion took place online on 8 June 2021. The delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate consisted of Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain, Metropolitan Athenagoras of Belgium and Exarch of the Netherlands and Luxembourg (Orthodox co-chair of the International Commission of the Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue), Archbishop Job of Telmessos and Protopresbyter Christos Christakis (Orthodox co-secretary of that Commission). The Anglican Communion was represented by the Anglican co-president, Archbishop Richard Clarke (Anglican co-chair of the International Commission of the Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue), Bishop Graham Usher, Reverend Sarah Rowland Jones, Reverend Dr. Will Adam and Reverend Neil Vigers. The two delegations dealt with the current issues of both the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Anglican Communion as well as other theological and social issues of common interest.