His All Holines Patriarch Bartholomew I His All Holiness BARTHOLOMEW 1
His All Holiness
Patriarch Bartholomew 1

is All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew 1, the 270th successor to the Apostle Andrew and spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians, was born February 29, 1940, in the village of Aghioi Theodoroi on the Aegean island of Imvros. His parents, Christos and Meropi Archontonis, christened him Demetrios.

Following his schooling at Imvros and Constantinople, he enrolled in the Theological School of Halki at Constantinople and graduated in 1961. He immediately was ordained a deacon at the cathedral of his birthplace, August 13, 1961, by his elder, Metropolitan Meliton (then of Imvros and Tenedos and later Elioupolis and Chalcedon) and took the name Bartholomew.

From 1961-63, he fulfilled his military obligations as an officer in the Turkish Army.

From 1963-68, Patriarch Bartholomew pursued post-graduate studies on a scholarship from the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the Institute of Eastern Studies of the Gregorian University in Rome and earned his doctorate. His Dissertation topic was "On the Codification of the Holy Canons and the Canonical Regulations in the Orthodox Church."

He pursued further studies at the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, Switzerland, and the University of Munich, specializing in ecclesiastical law.

When he returned to Constantinople in 1968, Patriarch Bartholomew was appointed assistant dean of Halki Theological School and in 1969, was ordained a priest at the school's chapel by Metropolitan Meliton. A few months later, Patriarch Athenagoras elevated him to the position of Archimandrite.

In 1972, when Demetrios 1 was elected Ecumenical Patriarch, he established his patriarchal office and named the young Archimandrite Bartholomew as its director. He promoted him the following year (Christmas 1973) to Metropoitan of Philadelphia after consecration as a bishop. Patriarch Bartholomew remained in charge of the patriarchal office until his promotion to Metropolitan of Chalcedon in January 1990.

In March 1974, a synodical seat was left vacant with the death of Metropolitan Dorotheos of Pringiponnisos, and the Holy Synod voted Metropolitan Bartholomew to fill that seat.

Since then, and until his election of Ecumenical Patriarch, he continued as a member of the Synod, contributing to its responsible and holy work and to the many synodical committees of the Phanar with his knowledge and zeal.

Following the death of of Metropolitan Meliton, Patriarch Bartholomew was unanimously elected to succeed him as Metropolitan of Chalcedon. He was enthroned on January 14, 1990.

In addition to Greek, the Patriarch speaks English, Turkish, Italian, Latin, French and German.

A prolific writer, he has written many articles, monographes, and speeches.

He is a founding member of the Society of Law of the Eastern Churches of which he served as vice chairman for many years.

From 1975 to the present, he has been a member of the Committee of Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches, serving as its vice chairman for eight years.

His All Holiness has represented the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the general conferences of the World Council of Churches: 4th at Uppsala, Sweden (1968): 6th at Vancouver, Canada (1983) and the 7th in Canberra, Australia (1991). At the later he was elected to the WCC Executive and Central Committees.

He also served as the Ecumenical Patriarchate's representative to many conferences, both inter-Orthodox and inter-Christian, in official delegations to the Turkish government: to other churches (Orthodox and non-Orthodox), to Eparchies of the Throne and to Mount Athos, for which his love and admiration is renowned.

In 1990, he presided over the Inter-Orthodox Preparatory Committee at Chambesy (Geneva), Switzerland, which examined the subject of Orthodox diaspora.

Patriarch Bartholomew accompanied former Patriarch Dimitrios on his holy travels of love, peace, and unity and in every trip he took abroad, offical and unoffical.

Following invitations, he gave many lectures on current subjects in differant cities such as Athens, Thessalonkik, Louvain, Madrid, Vienna, Rome and others.

In November, 1990, the University of Athens Theological School presented him with an honorary doctorate. Abother honorary doctorate was bestowed upon him by the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Theological School in Brookline, Massachusetts.

He is a member of the Orthodox Academy of Crete and an honorary member of the Pro-Orient Institute of Vienna.

The new patriarch is distinguished for his love and faithfulness towards the Church, by his tireless work schedule, his humanitarian love for individuals regardless of age or social standing, for his helpfulness, simple ways, and his social consciousness.

During the 19-year ministry of Dimitrios 1, Patriarch Bartholomew was his most trusted aide, assisting in every facet of his patriarchal ministry, for which he soon earned the Patriarch's love and respect.

(Source: "A Short History of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople"., Editor and Compiled by Rev. Dr. Milton B. Efthimiou and Archon Christo Daphnides., Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America., New York, 1993., pp. 3-4)

of His All Holiness Ecumenical
Patriarch Batholomew

Lord, our God,
we pray for length of days of His All Holiness and Most Venerable Master and Bishop our Ecumenical Patriarch BARTHOLOMEW. Safeguard Him for many years, for many years, for many years.



A Brief Note On Its History And Its Role Today


His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon
of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

The Ecumnical Patriarchate is also known as the Patriarchate of Constantinople, or as the Great Church of Christ in Constantinople. Its creation goes back tot the year 38, the year in which the Church was founded in the ancient city of Byzantium by Saint Andrew, the "First-called among the Apostles".

Located for centuries next to the great and masterful Cathedral of Saint Sophia (and for this reason also called the Great Church), the Patriarchal See was moved to various parts of the city following the Fall of Constantinople in 1453. Since 1601, the headquarters of the Patriarchate have been in the ancient district of the Fanar.

The Patriarchate of Constantinople is the spiritual center of the Orthodox Church. It is seen as the Mother Church by the ancient Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, by the younger autocephalous Churches of Russia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Cyprus, Greece, Poland, and Albania, and by the autonomous churches of Czechoslovakia, Finland and Estonia.

The Patriarch of Constantinople is considered as the highest authority of the Orthodox Church. Since the sixth century he bears the title of Archbishop of Constantinople, the New Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch. As "primus" (first) bishop of the Orthodox Church, the Ecumenical Patriarch undertakes various initiatives of Pan-Orthodox character, while coordinating relations between the other Churches of the Orthodox Communion, as well as relations between Orthodoxy as a whole and other Christian Churches or World Religions. Thus, he convokes and presides over councils and Pan-Orthodox meetings; consecrates the Myrrh (chrism) for all Orthodox Churches; grants autocephalous status to local churches which have become mature enough to be elevated to that ecclesiastical rank.

The ecumenicity of the Patriarchate of Constantinople has been ratified by two Ecumenical Councils: the second (Constantinople, 381) and the fourth (Chalcedon, 451). The primatial privileges of the Patriarch of Constantinople were also solemnly reconfirmed by the Council of Troullo in 691. These primatial prerogatives grant the Patriarchate of Constantinople the jurisdiction over all Orthodox Christians who live in countries where there is not a canonical, autonomous or autcephalous, Orthodox jurisdiction.

Other than the Archdiocese of Constantinople, the Ecumenical Patriarchate today comprises four other dioceses in Turkey (Chalcedon, Derci, Princes' Isles, Imbros and Tenedos). In Greece, the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate extends today ove the Islands of the Dodecanese, Crete, Mount Athos, and, spiritually, over the diocese of Nothern Greece. Moreover, following the recent emigration of Orthodox Christians from their native countries, this jurisdiction extends over various new dioceses created in Western Europe, the Americas, Australia and New Zealand.

The Ecumenical Patriarchate has performed a notable missionary task over the centuries, stretching from the conversion of Kievan Russ' in the tenth century to the many missionary initiatives undertaken in the Far East during this century.

The Ecumenical Patriatchate is one of the most active centers of the modern ecumenical movement. As soon as 1902, it took the initiative of inviting all Orthodox Churches to take a secound stand on the possibilty of renewing their contacts with other Christian bodies, including the Church of Rome, the Anglican Church and other Protestant denominations. As of then, contacts between the Patriarchate of Constantinople and non0Orthodox Churches have become both numerous and frequent.

This attitude of openness culminated in the historic Encyclical of 1920 sent by the Ecumenical Patriarchate to all Christian Churches, calling their leaders to establish a closer relationship with each other. The concrete aim of this Encyclical was to promote the cause of Church unity by creating an organism called the League of the Churches of Christ, modeled after the League of Nations. It is generally recognized that the Encyclical of 1920 constituted one of the major factors which later brought to the creation of the World Council of Churches in 1948.

In the last decades the Ecumenical Patriarchate has promoted in particular the dialogue with the Church of Rome. Thus, today the Patriarchate, among other dialogical initatives, leads the theological dialogues in progress with the Ancient Oriental Churches, the Church of Rome, the Churches of the Anglican Communion, the Churches of the World Lutheran Federation, the Reformed Churches, as well as with the monotheistic religions of Judaism and Islam.

Moreover, the Ecumenical Patriarchate performs an intense activity within the framework of the recent ecological-environmental movement through the promotion of noteworthy Pan-Orthodox and ecumenical initiatives aiming at sensitizing its own faithful, and the world as well, on this important issue.

(Source: "DIOCESAN NEWS FOR CLERGY AND LAITY., Greek Orthodox Diocese of Denver., Volume 4, Number 9., page 5., September 1996)

Humbly Compiled By Father Demetrios Serfes

Let Us All Humbly Pray For Our Patriarch Bartholomew
Glory Be To GOD For All Things!