|Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Ieronymos at the Phanar.
Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece was officially welcomed by His All Holiness Bartholomew thus initiating a new and promising period between the Mother Church of Constantinople and the Daughter Church of Greece.
The meeting, which took place May 12 at the Ecumenical Patriarchate, marked the first official visit of His Beatitude to the Church of Constantinople since his election in February, following the death of his predecessor, the ever-memorable Archbishop Christodoulos.
During his three-day visit to Istanbul, Archbishop Ieronymos celebrated the Holy Eucharist with the Ecumenical Patriarch at the historic 1833 church of the Balukli Monastery for the feast of Zoodochou Pigis (The Church of the Life-Giving Font in honor of the Virgin Mary).
In an exchange of greetings following the service, the Ecumenical Patriarch referred to the close ties between the churches of Constantinople and Greece, commenting that the acts of 1850 and 1928 that granted the Church of Greece its autocephaly "should not be seen as uprooting the branch from the original grapevine, nor falsely presenting the limits set during the ecumenical synods and agreed upon by the Fathers of the Church."
His All Holiness added that those things that "irregularly grew from the grapevine of the Church as a 'greedy offshoot' would be considered a damaging growth" and "cast into the fire for not bearing good fruit."
In response, His Beatitude said, "Conditions have ripened now and we have all understood that we should put the differences behind us. I want to assure you that I will do everything in my power together with my brothers, the archbishops, to achieve an absolute coexistence with you. Rest assured, your Holiness, that from today, we will plow deeply into the ecclesiastical field to cultivate the church unit, coexistence and cooperation in our common route."
View photos of Archbishop Ieronymos visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
(Information in this release includes material published in the Turkish Daily News and Greek News)