Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to meet with President Joe Biden at the White House


Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, is reportedly scheduled to meet US President Joe Biden at the White House on 23 October at White House.

According to an Al Monitor news report,  the spiritual leader of the estimated 300 million Orthodox Christians is meeting with the is having the meeting amid growing congressional scrutiny of religious freedom for minority groups in Turkey.

"Sources speaking on condition of strict anonymity told Al-Monitor that the patriarch, a Turkish citizen, would be having breakfast with Turkey’s new ambassador to Washington, Murat Mercan, during his visit to Washington. This suggests that Ankara — probably at Mercan’s urging — has opted to not have a hissy fit over the fact that the 81-year-old patriarch has been invited to the White House ahead of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Mercan will not be present at the audience, the sources said. The Greek Archdiocese of America did not respond to Al-Monitor’s request for comment."

Al-Monitor notes that since taking up office as President, Joe Biden has kept his distance from the Turkish President despite being a NATO ally, with Biden only calling Erdogan for the first time after the elections to warn him that on the April 24 anniversary of the mass slaughter of the Ottoman Armenians in 1915 he would recognise the event as a  “genocide” .