Patriarch refers to standing problems
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I (Vartholomeos)
on Sunday addressed an event in the northern
Greek city of Drama marking the 17th anniversary
of his enthronement, where the "Primus inter
pares" of the world's Orthodox Church leaders
expressed bitterness over continuing problems
facing the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Turkey.
Bartholomew again touched on the difficulties
faced by the ancient Patriarchate in exercising
its duties and in the preservation of the
millennia-old Christian Orthodox heritage in the
neighbouring country, an EU hopeful.
Addressing the event on Sunday evening hosted by
the Bishopric of Drama and the local prefecture
and municipality, the Ecumenical Patriarch
pointed out that "Turkey is still searching for its identity".
"Unfortunately, we suffer the consequences of the
fermentation and conflicts underway in the
country, both those out in the open and those
that take place unnoticed," the Ecumenical
Patriarch said, before reiterating his standing
support for Turkey's EU accession, despite
whatever reactions expressed by a segment of the
Turkish populations and certain institutions, as he said.
Bartholomew made a special reference to the
Church-owned orphanage on one of the Marmara Sea
islands, Büyükada or Prinkipo, the largest of the
Princes Islands. The case involving the
Patriarchate orphanage was recently adjudicated
by the European Court of Human Rights, with a
ruling handed down in favor of the Patriarchate.
The Patriarch said the Istanbul-based Ecumenical
Patriarchate will prefer to have the landmark
building returned instead of any monetary
compensation, while he also promised to seek
recourse to the Turkish courts over 24 Greek
Orthodox charitable estates (Vakufs) confiscated
by the Turkish state in previous years.
The Patriarch on Monday was set to arrive in the
western port city of Patras to attend a series of
civil and Church events in his honor.
Caption: Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is
shown during a visit to the island of Rhodes on Oct. 15, 2008. ANA-MPA