Our Spiritual Leader
His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
Elected in 1991, the tenure of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has been characterized by intra-Orthodox cooperation, intra-Christian and inter-religious dialogues. He has worked to defend religious freedom and human rights and advances initiatives that foster tolerance amongst the world’s religions, including Muslims and Jews. For nearly 30 years, he has hosted, and visited numerous religious and world leaders. His efforts to promote ecological justice and the protection of the environment have been widely noted, earning him the title, “The Green Patriarch”.
During his life long diakonia, he has enhanced the relationship between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches with the goal of reconciliation. The ongoing personal relationships with Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and the current Pope Francis led to remarkable ecumenical accomplishments, including the return of sacred relics of Saints John Chrysostom and Gregory the Theologian, his holy predecessors on the Throne of Constantinople. In 2016, for the first time since the Great Councils, under Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s leadership, the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church was convened in Crete. Then in 2019, the Ecumenical Patriarchate granted autocephaly to the Orthodox Christian Church in Ukraine. When his story is written a generation from now, he will be seen as one of the longest serving and progressive Patriarchs the Christian world has ever known.
However, in spite of his many notable accomplishments, the Ecumenical Patriarchate faces many challenges.
Religious freedom ought to be a right. But, for the Ecumenical Patriarchate today, it is a daily struggle. The Theological School has been closed for half a century, and Church properties are continually threatened with seizure. We know these are attempts to extinguish the light which shines from the Phanar.
A Globally Recognized Leader
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is internationally recognized.
President Joe Biden
Ecumenical Patriarch welcoming Joe Biden to the Phanar.
Recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal with record number of votes.