Washington, D.C., October 21, 2021
Nearly half of the U.S. Senate has banded together to praise Patriarch Bartholomew as a prominent advocate for peace, ecumenism, and the environment.
In a letter to President Biden, 48 Democrat and Republican Senators express their concern to ensure that the Patriarch be given a welcome befitting “the spiritual leader of the second largest Christian Church in the world and a person of his many valuable achievements.”
Аs seen in an article published by the Middle East Institute on Tuesday, the Patriarch’s meeting with President Biden is seen as an opportunity to further cooperate against Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church.
Pat. Bartholomew is scheduled to arrive in America on Saturday, for the first time in 12 years. His visit coincides with the 30th anniversary of his election as Patriarch of Constantinople and the 100th anniversary of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in America.
He will arrive in Washington, D.C., where he will be welcomed “at the highest level of diplomatic and ecclesiastical dignity.”
The letter reads:
With our many constituents in the Orthodox Christian community across the country, we are looking forward to your welcome of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew the last week of October, 2021. We are hopeful that this trip to Washington, DC will be met in the extraordinary manner and appropriate protocol with which you hosted him as Vice President in 2009. This year marks the 30th Anniversary of his election as Ecumenical Patriarch. As you know, an exceptional welcome is appropriate for the spiritual leader of the second largest Christian Church in the world and a person of his many valuable accomplishments.
The Senators also praise Pat. Bartholomew for his work in promoting peace through interfaith dialogue, and for his work on environmental issues:
We appreciate the fact that His All Holiness, a world-leading advocate for interfaith dialogue and peace, was the first to motivate Muslim leaders to condemn the 9/11 attack on America as an anti-religious act. We value his historic dialogue and prayer for peace with Pope Francis at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem in 2014. This brotherly gathering was with the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Pope who are viewed as the brother-Apostles Andrew and Peter’s 269th and 265th direct successors, respectively. We know that Peter began his Church and ministry in Rome and Andrew began his in what is today Turkey, the locale of His All Holiness’ headquarters and Ecumenical Patriarchate.
We admire the high regard within which Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is held as a preeminent international environmental leader, sometimes known as the “Green Patriarch.” We are pleased that his recognitions include our Congress’ highest honor – the Congressional Gold Medal – which we understand you helped secure in 1997.
This visit is an excellent opportunity for our Congress and your Executive Branch to follow in the Ecumenical Patriarch’s footsteps and demonstrate our mutual desire for the spirit of peace and cooperation. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
During his visit, the Patriarch will also attend an ecumenical event at Notre Dame and inaugurate the St. Nicholas Church-shrine at Ground Zero.