Bartholomew I, the head of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, recently shared his opinion on current issues in the global social and political landscape.
In a report by The Pillar, Bartholomew told the news outlet via email about his views on ongoing socio-political matters, including the Russia-Ukraine war and his planned trip to Britain.
'The Green Patriarch'
The religious leader became the figurehead of close to 300 million Orthodox Christians in 1991 and has since earned the moniker "Green Patriarch" for this staunch environmental protection crusade.
Bartholomew's Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is linked with the Apostle Andrew, dubbed the "Apostle of the Greek world" by former Pope Benedict XVI.
The website said Bartholomew is scheduled for a trip to London from Oct. 21-25 for the 100th anniversary of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain.
The Ecumenical Patriarch revealed that the archdiocese's name comes from the ancient church mentioned in the Book of Revelations. He added that the archdiocese is the Patriarchate's "second Eparchy."
This makes the Great Britain Ecumenical archdiocese among the oldest in Western Europe, with several saints from Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales.
During his London visit, Bartholomew said he would seek audiences with different youth, community leaders, and members to discuss their growth. The Patriarch mentioned Archbishop Nikitas as providing spiritual guidance to the Ecumenical flock in London.
The report said the archdiocese is traditionally linked with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Church of England, the Royal Family, and the various student populations in the UK's prestigious universities.
Thoughts on the Russia-Ukraine War
Bartholomew also expressed his views on the raging armed conflict between Eastern Orthodox Christians in Russia and Ukraine. As its spiritual leader, he explained that the war between the two countries had been bothering them for months.
Bartholomew told the news outlet that the ongoing "Orthodox fratricide" has affected not just Eastern Orthodox Christians but Catholics and other religious faiths. He acknowledged that the war's effects have also been felt globally.
"What is still more painful to us is the fact that the Patriarchate of Moscow has stooped to the level of submitting to political ambitions of the Russian Federation, even endorsing and seemingly blessing this cruel invasion and unjustifiable bloodshed. We have repeatedly condemned the aggression and violence, just as we have fervently and fraternally appealed to the Patriarch of Moscow that he separate himself from political crimes, even if it means stepping down from his throne," he told The Pillar.
On European Crises, Cooperation
On the various crises hounding Europe, including poverty, war, environmental destruction, and refugees, Bartholomew mentioned the importance of 'facing them in a spirit of love' to prevail.
He added that the Ecumenical Church seeks to address such problems jointly with Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church.
"If our churches are as yet unable to claim full communion, we can at least proclaim our resolve to address the world's crisis in solidarity of faith and action," Bartholomew explained.