US Secretary of Commerce and officials meet with Patriarch Bartholomew

Istanbul, September 9, 2019

© NIkos Magginas / Ecumenical Patriarchate © NIkos Magginas / Ecumenical Patriarchate     

The US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross visited Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople in the Phanar on Sunday, September 8.

Mr. Ross was accompanied by his spouse, the new U.S. Ambassador to Ankara, David Satterfield, Commerce Department officials, and other U.S. government officials, reports

According to the Union of Orthodox Journalists, the U.S. government representatives had a long discussion with the Patriarch on the life and initiatives of the Patriarchate, as well as issues of the Greek diaspora, and Orthodoxy in Turkey.

Romfea also noted what it described as “the recent election of the new Archbishop of America, as well as the initiatives of the Mother Church in inter-Christian and interfaith dialogue” as being key topics of discussion.

Patriarch Bartholomew has frequently held meetings with U.S. officials who deal with religion and those who don’t.

The U.S. government has strongly backed and supported the Patriarchate of Constantinople in the 20th century, not only in the form of support for religious freedom, but actively championing the initiatives of the Patriarchate in the sphere of internal Orthodox theological issues.

The U.S. State Department has said multiple times that it backs Ukraine’s “fight” for autocephaly, even though Constantinople’s actions in Ukraine caused great harm for Orthodox unity, especially in America.

One of the leaders of the schismatic movements backed by Constantinople in Ukraine, Makary Maletich, declared that Patriarch Bartholomew only granted “autocephaly” because he had U.S. support in the matter.

Highly respected U.S.-born Orthodox pastors such as Archpriest John Whiteford have noted how very seriously Constantinople’s actions have hindered Orthodox missionary work, and parishes as far as Lubbock, Texas have already been divided by this crisis.

Matfey Shaheen

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