Bartholomew I was born as Arhondonis (Dimitrios Greek: Δημήτριος Αρχοντώνης, Dimítrios Archontónis), in the village of Agios Theodoros on the island of Imbros (later renamed Gökçeada by Turkey). Chalcedon
After his graduation, he held a position at the SeminaryPatriarchal Theological of Halki, where he was ordained a priest. Later, he served as metropolitan of Philadelphia and and he became a member of the Holy Synod as well as other committees, prior to his enthronement as ecumenical patriarch.
The ecumenical patriarch is the archbishop of Constantinople–New Rome and primus inter pares among the heads of the several autocephalous churches which compose the Eastern Orthodox Church. The ecumenical patriarch is regarded as the representative and spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians worldwide