Andrew Blinken meets with the Patriarch of Constantinople

Blinken meets with the archbishop of Constantinople

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of Eastern Orthodox Christians, was discharged from a Washington hospital Monday morning after an overnight stay early in his 12-day visit to the United States.

Bartholomew, 81, met Monday afternoon with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and was scheduled to meet with President Joe Biden later in the day at the White House.

In his meeting at the State Department, Blinken thanked Bartholomew for his leadership on climate change and the global “focus” that he’s brought to the issue, particularly as world leaders prepare to head to the U.N. climate conference in Scotland.

Bartholomew is the patriarch of Constantinople, based in Turkey. He is considered first among equals among Eastern Orthodox patriarchs.

He directly oversees Greek Orthodox and some other jurisdictions, although large portions of the Eastern Orthodox world are self-governing under their patriarchs.

According to the Greek Orthodox archdiocese, Bartholomew was brought to George Washington University Hospital on Sunday night after he felt “unwell” due to the long flight here on Saturday and the busy schedule of events. The hospitalisation was recommended by his doctor “out of an abundance of precaution,” the archdiocese said.

Making the latest of several trips to the country during his 30 years in office, Bartholomew is expected to address concerns ranging from a pending restructuring of the American Greek Orthodox archdiocese to his church’s minority status in his homeland, Turkey. His schedule Monday includes a visit to the embassy of Turkey in Washington.

Today, Bartholomew is to give a speech via videoconference for the Museum of the Bible in Washington, according to the latest schedule released by the archdiocese. An earlier version of his program included an in-person visit.

In the evening, he is scheduled to attend a dinner at Georgetown University hosted by its president, John DeGioia, and Cardinal Wilton Gregory, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Washington, D.C.