LAST UPDATE 14:25
US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt on Friday met Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Athens and discussed the Patriarch’s upcoming visit to Washington in the autumn, while highlighting his important role as a religious leader.
“It is always a great honour for me to see his All-Holiness. This was an especially important conversation between us because we were able to discuss the plans for welcoming his All-Holiness in Washington D.C. this autumn,” Pyatt said in statements after the meeting.
“This will be the first visit by the Ecumenical Patriarch to the United States in about a decade and it will come at particularly important moment in the life of the Church. Of course, there will be a new archbishop in North America and I was able to convey to his All-Holiness the great enthusiasm for the arrival of Elpidophoros as the new Archbishop of North America and our commitment at the governmental level to doing all that is appropriate to help him begin his mission successfully in the United States,” he added.
The ambassador said they were also able to talk about “the critically important role that the Ecumenical Patriarch plays as a religious leader on a variety of other issues, in the Middle East, of course in the Ukraine where the voice of his All-Holiness is so important, and across the wider Orthodox world.”
Pyatt stated on his twitter account that he is “grateful as always to meet his All Holiness and to express his strong US support for his efforts on religious freedom, the Ukrainian aytocephaly and the new US Archbishop Elpidophoros.”
Grateful as always to meet His All Holiness @EcuPatriarch and to express strong U.S. support for his efforts on religious freedom, Ukrainian autocephaly, and the new U.S. Archbishop @Elpidophoros. pic.twitter.com/qvOY7ScGkb
— Geoffrey Pyatt (@USAmbPyatt) May 24, 2019
Gavroglou: Ecumenical Patriarch is a wise man
Afetrwards, Ecumenical Patriarch met the Minister of Education, Research and Religious Affairs Konstantinos Gavroglu.
At the end of the meeting, Gavroglu stressed that he had the opportunity to welcome the Ecumenical Patriarch in the country, on behalf of the government and the prime minister.
“I have been informed of various developments in ecclesiastical and educational matters and we informed him about various current developments too,” he noted.
He also said that he once again sent “our congratulations on the very good selections for the Archbishops of America and Australia. We had the pleasure to hear the Ecumenical Patriarch’s thoughts on various issues. As you know, he is a wise man.”
Special mention was made by the Minister of Education at the meeting between Bartholomew and Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece.
As he stressed, “what really fills us with great optimism is the discussions that have taken place with Archbishop Ieronymos. We understand that this is a new phase in the relations of the Ecumenical Patriarchate with the Church of Greece, a period of spiritual unity, and we can but applaud it.”