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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: “The visit of the Greek Prime Minister to Halki has a special symbolism”

His All-Holiness addresses the faithful following the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at the Church of the Virgin Mary of Belgrade, in Istanbul.

Addressing the faithful after the Divine Liturgy at the Church of the Virgin Mary of Belgrade in Istanbul on Friday, February 1, His All-Holiness spoke, among other things, about his forthcoming meeting with the Greek Prime Minister, Mr. Alexis Tsipras, in Halki. 

The Ecumenical Patriarch spoke of the special symbolism of the visit of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to the Holy Theological School of Halki, “silent” since 1971. He celebrated the Divine Liturgy on Friday, February 1, the day on which the memory of Saint Trypho, Protector of Gardens, is commemorated, in the Church of the Virgin Mary of Belgrade in the city. In his address to the faithful in the Community Hall of the Church, the Ecumenical Patriarch also expressed his hope that the visit of the Prime Minister of Greece and his meeting with the President of the Republic of Turkey, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, would make a catalytic and decisive contribution to the improvement of relations between Greece and Turkey.

“One of the first pleasant occasions of this month is that on Wednesday, when we celebrate the memory of St. Photios, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, who is the founder of the Monastery of the Holy Trinity, at the Halki Theological School, the Prime Minister of Greece, Mr. Tsipras, will visit us. He will be the official guest of the President of the Republic of Turkey, Mr. Erdogan, in Ankara on Tuesday. The next day we will have our festive meeting in Halki. We will celebrate the Feast Day of St. Photios and discuss our common problems, and we hope that this visit of the Greek Prime Minister will contribute in a catalytic and decisive way to the relations of Greece and Turkey, and that these relations will be improved for the good of both sides. That the visit of the Prime Minister of Greece to the Ecumenical Patriarch takes place this time not in the Phanar, but in Halki, has a special symbolism, because we all know how much we want and how much we need the reopening of our Theological School, almost half a century since its operation was unfairly suspended.”

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