On October 22, 1991, Patriarch Bartholomew was elected to the Ecumenical Throne.
His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is the spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide.
On the 29th Anniversary of His Election to the Ecumenical Throne, the Director of the Press and Communication Office of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Nikos Papachristou, published a message.
Today is “a day of milestones, not only for the Patriarchate itself – which is the oldest living institution in this historic city, at this crossroad of the planet – but for all Orthodoxy,” Papachristou said.
“A day that reminds us of the contribution of Patriarch Bartholomew in the course of inter-Christian and inter-religious dialogue, in raising awareness for the protection of the natural environment and the Creation of God in general, but also in a number of social issues, such as refugee crisis, human rights and religious freedoms, issues raised by the Ecumenical Patriarch with his speech and initiatives throughout this period, since his election.”
“May God grant His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew strength and health to continue his work for the benefit of the Church and all mankind,” he concluded.
Born Dimitrios Arhondonis on the island of Imbros (Turkey) on 29 February 1940, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew graduated from the Theological School of Halki (Turkey) in 1961, and continued his studies at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, where he got a doctorate on Canon Law in 1968. He also pursued post-graduate studies at the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey (Switzerland) and at the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich (Germany). He was ordained a deacon in 1961, a priest in 1969 and became the Metropolitan of Philadelphia in 1973. He was elected Ecumenical Patriarch on 22 October 1991 and enthroned on 2 November 1991.
As Pope Francis has written in his encyclical Laudato si (2015), “Patriarch Bartholomew has spoken in particular of the need for each of us to repent of the ways we have harmed the planet. (…) At the same time, Bartholomew has drawn attention to the ethical and spiritual roots of environmental problems, which require that we look for solutions not only in technology but in a change of humanity; otherwise we would be dealing merely with symptoms. He asks us to replace consumption with sacrifice, greed with generosity, wastefulness with a spirit of sharing” (Laudato si, 8–9).