Bartholomew I of Constantinople
|His All Holiness|
|Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople|
|Church||Church of Constantinople|
|Installed||2 November 1991|
|Birth name||Dimitrios Arhondonis (Δημήτριος Αρχοντώνης, Dimítrios Archontónis)|
29 February 1940|
Aghios Theodoros (Zeytinli Köyü), Imbros (Gökçeada), Turkey
|Residence||Fener, Istanbul, Turkey|
|Parents||Christos (father) and Merope (mother) Archontónis|
|Alma mater||Patriarchal Theological school (Halki seminary)|
Bartholomew I (Greek: Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαῖος Α', Patriarchis Bartholomaios A' , Turkish: Patrik I. Bartholomeos; born 29 February 1940) is the 270th and current Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch, since 2 November 1991. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, he is regarded as the primus inter pares (first among equals), and as the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians worldwide.
Born Dimitrios Arhondonis (Greek: Δημήτριος Αρχοντώνης, Dimítrios Archontónis), in the village of Agios Theodoros (Zeytinli Köyü) on the island of Imbros (later renamed Gökçeada by Turkey), after his graduation he held 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 visits to Roman Catholic, Old Catholic, Orthodox and Muslim leaders seldom previously visited by an Ecumenical Patriarch. 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, and these endeavors have earned him the title "The Green Patriarch". Among his many international positions, he currently sits on the Board of World Religious Leaders for the Elijah Interfaith Institute.
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Early life and career
Bartholomew I was born in the village of Zeytinli (Greek: Άγιος Θεόδωρος, Agios Theodoros) in the island of Gökçeada (Greek: Ίμβρος, Imvros), son of Christos and Merope Archontónis. His secular birth name is Dimitrios Arhondonis (Δημήτριος Αρχοντώνης, Dimítrios Archontónis). He is a Turkish citizen, but he belongs (ethnically) to the historically indigenous Greek community in Turkey, which today is diminished and reduced due to the 1923 population exchange between Greece and 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.
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.
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", 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."
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. 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).
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople
|Reference style||His All Holiness|
|Spoken style||Your All Holiness|
|Religious style||Ecumenical Patriarch|
The official title of the Ecumenical Patriarch is:
His All Holiness, Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch
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 Roman Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul ("Istanbul Fener Rum Patriği Birinci Bartholomeos")
Leadership and honor
Patriarch Bartholomew, due to his honorific title as the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, is "first among equals" in honor among all the Eastern Orthodox bishops, presides in person – or through a delegate – over councils of Orthodox primates and/or bishops in which he takes part and serves as a spokesman for the Orthodox communion, especially in ecumenical contacts with other Christian denominations. He has no direct jurisdiction nor authority over the other Patriarchs or the other autocephalous Orthodox Churches. His role often sees the Ecumenical Patriarch referred to as the spiritual leader, though this is not an official title of the patriarch nor is it usually used in scholarly sources on the patriarchate. The Orthodox Church is entirely decentralized, having no central authority, earthly head or a single Bishop in a leadership role, having synodical system canonically, is significantly distinguished from the hierarchically organized Catholic Church whose doctrine is the papal supremacy. His titles primus inter pares "first among equals" and ecumenical patriarch are of honor rather than authority and in fact the Ecumenical Patriarch has no real authority over Churches other than the Constantinopolitan.
His Holiness Bartholomew is the direct administrative superior of dioceses and archdioceses of Patriarchate of Constantinople and serves millions of Greek, Ukrainian, Rusyn and Albanian believers in North and South America, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and parts of modern Greece which, for historical reasons, do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Church of Greece.
Some of Patriarch Bartholomew's actions have been criticized by other Eastern Orthodox ecclesiastical bodies. In response to his promotion of closer relations with the Catholic Church, the Russian Orthodox Church released a public statement emphasizing that Bartholomew represents only his own Patriarchate, and not the whole of Eastern Orthodoxy, in his meetings with the Catholic Pope. The Orthodox Church in America, while acknowledging the Ecumenical Patriarch's role in "guiding and preserving the worldwide unity of the family of self-governing Orthodox Churches", also emphasizes that "he carries no sacramental or juridical power over bishops outside of his own Patriarchate", and further states that "it is possible that in the future this function may pass to some other church."
Awards, honours and distinctions
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.
In 2002, he received the Sophie Prize for his work on the environment.
In April 2008, he was included on the Time 100 most influential people in the world list. 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, Izmir University of Economics in Turkey, 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.
On July 27, 2013, he received Order of Liberty (Ukraine).
On December 3, 2013, he received the Global Thinkers Forum 2013 Award for Excellence in Peace and Collaboration.
Ordinations and ecclesiastical appointments
- 13 August 1961, Diaconate - receiving the ecclesiastical name Bartholomew
- 19 October 1969, Priesthood
- 25 December 1973, The Nativity, Episcopacy - Metropolitan of Philadelphia (Asia Minor)
- 14 January 1990, Enthronement as Metropolitan of Chalcedon
- 22 October 1991, Elected 270th Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch
- 2 November 1991, Enthronement in the Patriarchal Cathedral in the Phanar
- Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
- Church of St George, Istanbul
- Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
- Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
- History of the Eastern Orthodox Church
- Leaders of Christianity
- List of Ecumenical Patriarchs of Constantinople
- Mount Athos
- Orthodox Church
- Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople
- 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
- Fairchild, Mary. "Christianity:Basics:Eastern Orthodox Church Denomination". about.com. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
- "The Patriarch Bartholomew". 60 Minutes. CBS. 20 December 2009. Retrieved 11 January 2010.
- "Quick facts about the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople". Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. Retrieved 18 June 2011.
His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew serves as the spiritual leader and representative worldwide voice of some 300 million Orthodox Christians throughout the world
- "Finding Global Balance". World Bank Publications. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
His All Holiness is the spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide
- The Elijah Interfaith Institute - Christian Members of the Board of World Religious Leaders
- Kaya, Bayram (10 May 2013). "One arrested as plot to assassinate Patriarch Bartholomew uncovered". Zaman. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
- Patriarch Bartholomew I: Texts and Speeches (1991-1992) (1998) George C. Papademetriou; Journal of Ecumenical Studies 35
- Recent Patriarchal Encyclicals on Religious Tolerance and Peaceful Coexistence (2002) George C. Papademetriou Journal of Ecumenical Studies, 39
- Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: insights into an Orthodox Christian worldview (2007) John Chryssavgis International Journal of Environmental Studies, 64, (1);pp: 9 - 18
- "The Green Patriarch | Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople". Patriarchate.org. 29 August 2013. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
- Orthodox Leader Deepens Progressive Stance on Environment December 3, 2012 New York Times regarding an Encyclical
- "Derin devlet açtırmıyor" (in Turkish). Retrieved 2007-05-24.
- in English
- Pope sets tone for humbler papacy, calls for defense of the weak. Reuters. Published: 19 March 2013
- Pelowski, Alton J. (May 2013). "Our Eastern Brothers". Columbia. pp. 20–23.
- United against economic crisis and "worldly trends", Bartholomew and Francis to be in Jerusalem next year. AsiaNews.it. Published: 20 March 2013
- Pope Francis visits Lesbos. The Guardian. Published: 16 April 2016
- "Quick facts about the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople". Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. Retrieved 18 June 2011.
His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew serves as the spiritual leader and representative worldwide voice of the Orthodox Christians of Constantinople's Patriarchate throughout the world
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- "Eastern Ortthodoxy". www.religionfacts.com. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
- "Eastern Orthodoxy". about.com. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
- "How is the Orthodox Church organized and held as one worldwide Church?". Retrieved 2 August 2015.
- "Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony | Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople". Patriarchate.org. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
- "Prize Winners » 2002". The Sophie Prize. 12 June 2002. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
- Bartholomew I by Archbishop Rowan Williams Time (magazine) Retrieved on 1 May 2008
- "Ecumenical Patriarch Receives Honorary Degree". Fordham.edu. 28 October 2003. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
- "THE PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE DECORATED BY THE HEAD OF THE ROYAL HOUSE OF GEORGIA". Royal House of Georgia. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
- "Arcibiskup Bartolomej I. navštívil Bratislavu - Fotogaléria". Webnoviny.sk. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
- Указ Президента України № 393/2013 від 27 липня 2013 року «Про нагородження орденом Свободи»(Ukrainian)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople.|
- Official biography
- Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: A Passion for Peace
- A Patriarch in Dire Straits by John Couretas, director of communications at the Acton Institute and executive director of the American Orthodox Institute.
- End of Byzantium interview by Helena Drysdale from Aeon Magazine.
|Eastern Orthodox Church titles|
|Metropolitan of Philadelphia
| Succeeded by|
|Metropolitan of Chalcedon
| Succeeded by|
|Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
|Co-Head of State of Mount Athos