Meeting of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken | VIDEO & PHOTOS (upd)

Biden offers support to Orthodox leader amid Turkey tensions

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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, 81, went ahead with talks following a night in a Washington hospital after feeling unwell, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese said.

Bartholomew was holding a closed-door meeting with President Joe Biden after talks with Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

„The United States stands strongly for the principle of religious freedom,“ Blinken said as he met Bartholomew.

Bartholomew voiced gratitude for US support to the patriarchate and „its ideas and values which we try to protect, struggling at the same time to survive in our historic city, Istanbul.“


WASHINGTON, DC — His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken this afternoon, October 25, 2021, in the James Monroe Conference Room of the State Department. This is the first time that the Ecumenical Patriarch has met personally with the Secretary of State.  Also in attendance were Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, Elder Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon and senior members of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. 

His All-Holiness informed Secretary Blinken about various issues of concern to Orthodox Christians in the United States and throughout the world as well as about the vision and ministry of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to promote inter-religious dialogue and environmental awareness. In particular, the Ecumenical Patriarch raised concerns about the plight of Christians in the Middle East and Northern Africa, expressing his hope for stability and religious freedom in the region. He also addressed the urgent need for immediate political action in response to the climate crisis, underlining the responsibility of all leaders to fulfil their promises to address climate change. Finally, he emphasized the vital importance of inter-religious cooperation among all faith leaders for the sake of mutual tolerance and peaceful coexistence around the globe. 

In a statement, media spokesman Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis noted: “The Ecumenical Patriarch and the Secretary of State held an extended and productive discussion on a number of issues.  His All-Holiness raised concerns about the plight of Christians in the Middle East and Northern Africa, addressed the urgent need for appropriate political action in response to the climate crisis, and emphasized the role of inter-religious dialogue for mutual tolerance and peaceful coexistence.” 

Blinken, however, “reaffirmed that the reopening of the Halki Seminary remains a continued priority” according to State Department spokesperson Ned Price’s summary of their meeting later on Monday.

“They discussed the U.S. commitment to supporting religious freedom around the world and opportunities to work with the Orthodox Christian community worldwide on issues of shared concern, as well as with religious minorities in Turkey and the region,” Price said.

Blinken also praised the “remarkable leadership” Bartholomew, sometimes known as the “green patriarch,” has shown in calling for solutions to the climate crisis.

All news related to the official visit of the Ecumenical Patriarch to the United States (October 23 – November 3, 2021).



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