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Patriarch Bartholomew I

His All Holiness
Bartholomew I
Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
Church Church of Constantinople
Diocese Constantinople
Installed 2 November 1991
Term ended Incumbent
Predecessor Demetrios I
Personal details
Birth name Dimitrios Arhondonis (Δημήτριος Αρχοντώνης, Dimítrios Archontónis)
Born (1940-02-29) 29 February 1940 (age 74)
Aghios Theodoros (Zeytinli Köyü), Imbros (Gökçeada), Turkey
Denomination Eastern Orthodox Church
Residence Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, Fener, Istanbul, Turkey
Parents Christos (father) and Merope (mother) Archontónis
Spouse None
Children None
Occupation Ecumenical Patriarch
Profession Theologian
Alma mater Patriarchal Theological school (Halki seminary)

Patriarch Bartholomew I (Greek: Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαῖος Α', Turkish: Patrik I. Bartolomeos; born 29 February 1940) is the Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch,[1] and thus "first among equals" in the Eastern Orthodox Communion, since 2 November 1991.[2][3][4][5]

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. Among his many positions, he currently sits on the Board of World Religious Leaders for the Elijah Interfaith Institute[6]

Early life and career

Bartholomew I was born in the village of Zeytinli (Άγιος Θεόδωρος) in the island of Gökçeada (Ίμβρος Imvros in Greek), son of Christos and Merope Archontónis. His secular birth name is Dimitrios Arhondonis (Δημήτριος Αρχοντώνης, Dimítrios Archontónis). He is a Turkish citizen and he belongs (ethnically) to the small remnants of the native 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 non regular 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 ordained a 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. Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople attended Pope Francis installation, the first time in history that a Bishop of Constantinople has attended the installation of a Bishop of Rome.

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

Bartholomew I's name appeared in an assassination plot which was planned to take place on May 29, 2013.[7] One suspect has been arrested with an ongoing search of two others.[7]

Accomplishments

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.[8][9]


He has also gained a reputation as a prominent environmentalist, putting the support of the Patriarchate behind various international environmental causes. This has earned him the nicknames of "the Green Patriarch" and "the Green Pope",[2][10][11] 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.

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 (the first being by Paul VI in 1967, and the second by John Paul II in 1979).

In an interview published on 19 November 2006 in the daily newspaper Sabah, Bartholomew I addressed the issues of religious freedom and the then 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 it 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."[12][13]

He attended the inaugural Mass of Pope Francis on 19 March 2013, paving the way for better Catholic-Orthodox relations. It was the first time that the spiritual head of Orthodox Christians had attended a papal inaugural Mass since the Great Schism in 1054.[14][15] After, he invited Pope Francis to travel with him to the Holy Land in 2014 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the embrace between Patriarch Athenagoras and Pope Paul VI. Pope Francis was also invited to Constantinople for the feast day of Saint Andrew (30 November).[16]

Titles

Styles of
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople
Reference style His All Holiness
Spoken style Your All Holiness
Religious style Ecumenical Patriarch
Posthumous style N/A

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'

The official title recognized by the Republic of Turkey is:

Bartholomew I, Patriarch of the Fener Rum Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul

Awards, honours and distinctions

In 1997, Bartholomew received the Congressional Gold Medal. The Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom are the highest civilian awards given by the United States.[17]

In 2002, he received the Sophie Prize for his work on the environment.[18]

In April 2008, he was included on the Time 100 most influential people in the world list.[19] In 1999 he was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of the Star of Romania; in 2004, by Federal President Thomas Klestil, the Great Golden Medal with Ribbon for Services to the Republic of Austria and on 13 March 2007, the third anniversary of the death of Cardinal Franz König, Bartholomew was awarded in Vienna's St. Stephen the "Cardinal König Prize" Foundation "Communio et Progressio".

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, TEI of Kavala, Democritus University of Thrace, University of Crete, University of Ioannina, University of the Aegean, University of Western Macedonia 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 October 2009, he received an honorary doctorate from Fordham University in the United States.[20]

On October 22, 2011, he received the Grand Collar of The Order of the Eagle of Georgia and the Seamless Tunic of Our Lord Jesus Christ by HRH Prince David Bagrationi of Mukhran in a ceremony at St. George's chapel.[21]

On May 27, 2013, he received Order of the White Double Cross by Ivan Gašparovič, president of Slovak republic. [22]

Ordinations and ecclesiastical appointments

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

See also

References

External links

  • Official biography
  • Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: A Passion for Peace
  • by John Couretas, director of communications at the Acton Institute and executive director of the American Orthodox Institute.
  • interview by Helena Drysdale from Aeon Magazine.
Orthodox Church titles
Preceded by
Unknown
Metropolitan of Philadelphia
1973–1990
Succeeded by
Meliton (Karas)
Preceded by
Meliton (Hadjis)
Metropolitan of Chalcedon
1990–1991
Succeeded by
Joachim (Neradjoulis)
Preceded by
Demetrius I
Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
1991–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Demetrius I
Co-Head of State of Mount Athos
1991–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
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