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Portrait of a Patriarch: Bartholomew of Constantinople

The article below was written by Evagelos Sotiropoulos, our brother Archon in Canada, to celebrate the Name Day of His All-Holiness (June 11). The Order of Saint Andrew has worked closely with Archon Evagelos over the years and has written extensively on Orthodox Christianity for a number of publications. He is the editor of The Ecumenical Patriarchate and Ukraine Autocephaly: Historical, Canonical, and Pastoral Perspectives (2019) and Bartholomew in Canada: A Twenty Year Celebration (2018).

Portrait of a Patriarch: Bartholomew of Constantinople

An annual pilgrimage of Christians took place on June 11th in Turkey to celebrate the spiritual leader of the world’s approximately 300 million Orthodox faithful. His All-Holiness, Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch, celebrates his patron saint – the Holy Apostle Bartholomew – on that day.

The feast brings together hierarchs, diplomats, politicians, and simple faithful to two sacred Christian sites in the historic city of Constantinople (Istanbul): the Monastery of the Life-Giving Spring at Baloukli for Great Vespers and the Patriarchal Church of St. George the Great Martyr at the Phanar for the Divine Liturgy. This year’s festivities took on added significance as it coincided with the Sunday of All Saints.

Elected to the First Throne of Orthodoxy in October 1991, the tenure of His All-Holiness is in many ways unprecedented. He is the longest-serving Ecumenical Patriarch in the history of the 2,000-year-old local church founded by St. Andrew the First-called Apostle, which include such luminaries of Christendom as John Chrysostom, Gregory the Theologian, and Photios the Great. A leading bishop of Orthodoxy for decades, Bartholomew’s patriarchal ministry began as many traditionally Orthodox countries in Eastern Europe began to unshackle themselves from the stifling yoke of communism.

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