WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 10 -- U.S. Senator George Allen (R-VA), the Chairman of the European Affairs Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Chairman of the November 9 confirmation hearing of U.S. Ambassador to Turkey-designate Ross Wilson (pictured left), asked him only one question - and it regarded the lack of religious freedom of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. U.S. Senator and Foreign Relations Committee member Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) followed-up the Chairman's question with a detailed inquiry as to how high on America's agenda would the new American Ambassador to Turkey place the problems of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Ambassador Wilson indicated that he planned to conduct himself in Turkey in a way that would make clear to the government of Turkey the American government's deep concern about the treatment of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He indicated that he would also do what he could to have US Senators and Members of Congress meeting with Turkish government officials also make clear America's desires on this matter.
In a previous post, Ambassador Wilson had an opportunity to meet Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and said the experience left him impressed and touched. The Ambassador also indicated that as soon as he is allowed to, he wants to meet with His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, the Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the United States, and also with members of the Order of Saint Andrew -- Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Other members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, such as Senator George Voinovich (R-OH), Senator Lincoln Chaffee (R-RI) and likely others, who could not be present at the confirmation hearing, are submitting written questions to Ambassador Wilson regarding the Ecumenical Patriarchate.