Bartholomew I of Constantinople

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His All Holiness
Bartholomew I
Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
Bartolomew I.jpg
Church Church of Constantinople
Diocese Constantinople
Installed 2 November 1991
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', Patriarchis Bartholomaios A' , Turkish: Patrik I. Bartolomeos; born 29 February 1940) is the 270th and current Archbishop of Constantinople - New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch, since 2 November 1991.[1] As such, he is "first among equals" in the Eastern Orthodox Church, and thus regarded as the spiritual leader of the world's 300 million Orthodox Christians.[2][3][4][5]

Born Dimitrios Arhondonis (Δημήτριος Αρχοντώνης, Dimítrios Archontónis), in the village of Zeytinli, Turkey, after his graduation he served a position at the Patriarchal Theological Seminary of Halki, where he was ordained a priest. Later, he served as Metropolitan of Philadelphia and Chalcedon and he became a member of the Holy Synod as well as other committees prior to his enthronement as Ecumenical Patriarch.

Bartholomew's tenure has been characterized by intra-Orthodox cooperation, inter-Christian and inter-religious dialogue, as well as by formal trips to Catholic, 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, as well as his efforts to promote ecology and the protection of the environment, have been widely noted. Among his many international positions, he currently sits on the Board of World Religious Leaders for the Elijah Interfaith Institute.[6]

Early life and career[edit]

Bartholomew I was born in the village of Zeytinli (Άγιος Θεόδωρος/Agios Theodoros) 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.

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[edit]

Bartholomew celebrating the Divine Liturgy.

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]

United States President Barack Obama meets with Bartholomew I.

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 Papal inauguration 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 Eastern Orthodox Christians had attended a papal inauguration 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 the Patriarchate for the feast day of Saint Andrew (30 November).[16]

Titles[edit]

Styles of
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople
Constantinople coat of arms.PNG
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[edit]

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]

On July 27, 2013, he received Order of Liberty (Ukraine).[23]

On December 3, 2013, he received the Global Thinkers Forum 2013 Award for Excellence in Peace and Collaboration.

Ordinations and ecclesiastical appointments[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ John Meyendorff, John Chapin, Nicolas Lossky(1981), The Orthodox Church: its past and its role in the world today, Crestwood, N.Y. : St Vladimir's Seminary Press, p.132 ISBN 0-913836-81-8
  2. ^ a b Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: insights into an Orthodox Christian worldview (2007) John Chryssavgis International Journal of Environmental Studies, 64, (1);pp: 9 - 18
  3. ^ "Ecumenical Patriarch of the Worldwide Orthodox Christian Church Meets with American Bible Society Leaders". Religious News Service. July 17, 2007. 
  4. ^ "American Bible Society Sees Potential in Blossoming Greek Orthodox Relations". The Christian Post. July 23, 2007. 
  5. ^ "The Patriarch". Time. 29 July 2007. 
  6. ^ The Elijah Interfaith Institute - Christian Members of the Board of World Religious Leaders
  7. ^ a b Kaya, Bayram (10 May 2013). "One arrested as plot to assassinate Patriarch Bartholomew uncovered". Zaman. Retrieved 10 May 2013. 
  8. ^ Patriarch Bartholomew I: Texts and Speeches (1991-1992) (1998) George C. Papademetriou; Journal of Ecumenical Studies 35
  9. ^ Recent Patriarchal Encyclicals on Religious Tolerance and Peaceful Coexistence (2002) George C. Papademetriou Journal of Ecumenical Studies, 39
  10. ^ "The Green Patriarch | Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople". Patriarchate.org. 29 August 2013. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  11. ^ Orthodox Leader Deepens Progressive Stance on Environment December 3, 2012 New York Times regarding an Encyclical
  12. ^ "Derin devlet açtırmıyor" (in Turkish). Retrieved 2007-05-24. 
  13. ^ in English
  14. ^ Pope sets tone for humbler papacy, calls for defense of the weak. Reuters. Published: 19 March 2013
  15. ^ Pelowski, Alton J. (May 2013). "Our Eastern Brothers". Columbia. pp. 20–23. 
  16. ^ United against economic crisis and "worldly trends", Bartholomew and Francis to be in Jerusalem next year. AsiaNews.it. Published: 20 March 2013
  17. ^ "Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony | Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople". Patriarchate.org. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  18. ^ "Prize Winners » 2002". The Sophie Prize. 12 June 2002. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  19. ^ Bartholomew I by Archbishop Rowan Williams Time (magazine) Retrieved on 1 May 2008
  20. ^ "Ecumenical Patriarch Receives Honorary Degree". Fordham.edu. 28 October 2003. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  21. ^ "THE PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE DECORATED BY THE HEAD OF THE ROYAL HOUSE OF GEORGIA". Royal House of Georgia. Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  22. ^ "Arcibiskup Bartolomej I. navštívil Bratislavu - Fotogaléria". Webnoviny.sk. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  23. ^ Указ Президента України № 393/2013 від 27 липня 2013 року «Про нагородження орденом Свободи»(Ukrainian)

External links[edit]

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
Incumbent
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Demetrius I
Co-Head of State of Mount Athos
1991–present
Incumbent