Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople

Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople

Infobox Patriarch of Constantinople
honorific-prefix =
name = Bartholomew I
honorific-suffix =

caption =
ordination =
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enthroned = November 2, 1991
ended = Incumbent
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predecessor = Demetrios I
successor =
other_post =
birth_name = Demetrios Arhondonis
birth_date = birth date and age|1940|02|29|df=y
birth_place = Imvros (Gökceada), Turkey
death_date =
death_place =
buried =
nationality =
religion =
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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I (Greek: Οἰκουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαῖος Α', Turkish: Patrik I. Bartholomeos) (born 29 February 1940) is the Archbishop of Constantinople - New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch [John Meyendorff, John Chapin, Nicolas Lossky(1981), "The Orthodox Church: its past and its role in the world today", Crestwood, N.Y. : St Vladimir's Seminary Press, p.132 ISBN 0913836818] , and thus "first among equals" in the Eastern Orthodox Communion, since 2 November 1991. He is thus the spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians around the world. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: insights into an Orthodox Christian worldview (2007) John Chryssavgis International Journal of Environmental Studies, 64, (1);pp: 9 - 18] [citenews|title=Ecumenical Patriarch of the Worldwide Orthodox Christian Church Meets with American Bible Society Leaders|date=July17, 2007|publisher=Religious News Service|url=] [citenews|title=American Bible Society Sees Potential in Blossoming Greek Orthodox Relations|date=July23, 2007|publisher=The Christian Post|url=] [citenews|title= The Patriarch|publisher=Time|date=July 29, 2007|url=,9171,860404,00.html]

Early life and career

Bartholomew I was born in the village of "Aghios Theodoros" (Άγιος Θεόδωρος in Greek, in Turkish Zeytinli köyü) in the island of Imbros (Ίμβρος "Imvros" to its Greek inhabitants, modern Gökçeada), son of Christos and Merope Archontonis. His secular birth name is "Dimitrios Arhondonis" (Δημήτριος Αρχοντώνης, "Dimítrios Archontónis"). By citizenship his nationality is Turkish, but belongs ethnically to the small remnants of the Greek community in Turkey.

Dimitrios Archontonis attended elementary school in his native Imvros and continued his secondary education in the famous Zographeion Lyceum in Istanbul. Soon afterwards, he studied Theology as an undergraduate at the Patriarchal Theological school or Halki seminary, from which he graduated with highest honours in 1961, and was immediately ordained deacon, receiving the name Bartholomew. Bartholomew fulfilled his military service in the Turkish army as a reserve officer between 1961 and 1963. From 1963 to 1968, Bartholomew pursued his postgraduate studies at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey in Switzerland and the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich in Germany. His doctoral research was on the Canon Law. The same year he became a lecturer in the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

After returning to Istanbul in 1968, he took a position at the Patriarchal Theological Seminary of Halki, where he was ordinated priest in 1969, by Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I. When Demetrius I became Ecumenical Patriarch in 1972 and established the Patriarchal Office, he selected Bartholomew as its director. On Christmas of 1973, Bartholomew became Metropolitan of Philadelphia, and was renamed as director of the patriarchal office until his enthronement as Metropolitan of Chalcedon in 1990. From March 1974 until his enthronement as Ecumenical Patriarch, he was a member of the Holy Synod as well as of many Synodical Committees.

He speaks modern Greek, Turkish, Italian, German, French and English; he is also fluent in classical Greek and Latin.

Accomplishments as Ecumenical Patriarch

As Ecumenical Patriarch, he has been particularly active internationally. One of his first focuses has been on rebuilding the once-persecuted Eastern Orthodox Churches of the former Eastern Bloc following the fall of Communism there in 1990. As part of this effort he has worked to strengthen ties amongst the various national Churches and Patriarchates of the Eastern Orthodox Communion. He has also continued the reconciliation dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church started by his predecessors, and initiated dialogue with other faiths, including other Christian sects, Muslims, and Jews [ Patriarch Bartholomew I: Texts and Speeches (1991-1992) (1998) George C. Papademetriou; Journal of Ecumenical Studies 35] [Recent Patriarchal Encyclicals on Religious Tolerance and Peaceful Coexistence (2002) George C. Papademetriou Journal of Ecumenical Studies, 39] .

Perhaps most unusually, he has gained a reputation as a prominent environmentalist, putting the support of the Patriarchate behind various international environmental causes. This has earned him the nicknames "the Green Patriarch" and "the Green Pope" and in 2002 he was honored with the Sophie Prize. He has also been honoured with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award which may be bestowed by the Legislative Branch of the United States government.

Bartholomew I,after his attempts to celebrate the Liturgy in remote areas of the country, thereby renewing the Orthodox presence, which was absent since before 1924, has now come under intense pressure from Turkish nationalist elements. The patriarchal Seminary of Halki in the Princes' Islands remains closed since 1971 on government orders.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew's tenure has been characterized by inter-Orthodox cooperation, inter-Christian and inter-religious dialog, as well as by formal trips to Orthodox and Muslim countries seldom previously visited. He has exchanged numerous invitations of Church and State dignitaries. His efforts to promote religious freedom and human rights, his initiatives to advance religious tolerance among the world’s religions has been widely noted.

During his trip to Turkey in November 2006, Pope Benedict XVI traveled to Istanbul on the invitation of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I. The Pope participated in the feast day services of St. Andrew the First Apostle, the patron saint of the Church of Constantinople. This was the third official visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate by a Pope of Rome (the first being by Paul VI in 1967, and the second by John Paul II in 1979).

In an interview published on November 19, 2006 in the daily newspaper "Sabah", Bartholomew I addressed the issues of religious freedom and the upcoming papal trip to Turkey. He also referred to the closing of the Halki seminary by saying: "As Turkish citizens, we pay taxes. We serve in the military. We vote. As citizens we do everything. We want the same rights. But it does not happen. [...] If Muslims want to study theology, there are 24 theology faculties. Where are we going to study?" He also addressed the issue of his Ecumenical title and its not being accepted by the Turkish government: "We've had this title since the 6th century. [...] The word ecumenical has no political content. [...] This title is the only thing that I insist on. I will never renounce this title." [cite web|url=|title=Derin devlet açtırmıyor|accessdate=2007-05-24|language=Turkish] [ [ in English] ]


Infobox Patriarchstyles
name = Patriarch Bartholomew I

dipstyle = His All Holiness
offstyle = Your All Holiness
relstyle = Patriarch
deathstyle = NA
The official title of the Ecumenical Patriarch is:

His All Holiness, Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch;

in Greek:

Η Αυτού Θειοτάτη Παναγιότης ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Κωνσταντινουπόλεως Νέας Ρώμης και Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος Α'

Honours and distinctions

He has been awarded honorary doctorates by a number of universities and educational institutions around the world, among them: National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Democritus University of Thrace, University of Crete, University of Ioannina, University of the Aegean and University of Thessaly in Greece, Moscow State University in Russia, University of Iaşi in Romania, City University of London, Exeter University and University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, St. Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute and Université de Provence Aix-Marseille I in France, University of Bucharest in Romania, Flinders University in Australia, Adamson University in the Philippines, St. Andrew’s College and Sherbrooke University in Canada, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Georgetown University, Tufts University, Southern Methodist University, Yale University, Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in the United States.

In April 2008, he was included on the "Time" 100 most influential people in the world list. [ [,28804,1733748_1733757_1735535,00.html Bartholomew I] by Archbishop Rowan Williams Time (magazine) Retrieved on May 1, 2008]

ee also

*List of Ecumenical Patriarchs of Constantinople
*Mount Athos
*Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
*Eastern Catholic Church
*History of the Eastern Orthodox Church
*Church of St George, Istanbul
*Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
*Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople


*August 13, 1961, Diaconate, receiving the ecclesiastical name Bartholomew
*October 19, 1969, Priesthood
*Christmas 1973, Metropolitan of Philadelphia (Asia Minor)
*January 14, 1990, Enthronement as Metropolitan of Chalcedon
*October 22, 1991, Elected 270th Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch
*November 2, 1991, Enthronement in the Patriarchal Cathedral in the Phanar


External links

* [ Official biography]
* [ "A Patriarch in Dire Straits"] by John Couretas, director of communications at the Acton Institute and executive director of the American Orthodox Institute.
* [ Religion, Science & the Environment]
* [ Official website of the Papal visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate]
* [ Orthodox Research Institute]
* [ List of most patriarchates]
* [ Orthodox Tradition and the Liturgy]
* [ Eastern Orthodox Christianity]
* [ Directory of Orthodox Internet Resources]
* [ Orthodox Library: History, Doctrine, Practices, Saints]
* [ Background information on the Orthodox Church]
* [ Orthodox Life Info Portal: catalog of resources]

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