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Joint statements of Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew following their meeting today at the Ecumenical Patriarchate
N. KOTZIAS: At today’s meeting with His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch, we praised, before anything else, the great role of the spirituality and humanitarian work of the Patriarchate. We also had the opportunity to express to His All Holiness our support for the preparations he is making for the Ecumenical Synod next year, to express once again our support for the dialogue between the Christian churches and between the different faiths; a dialogue that the Ecumenical Patriarchate is promoting with courage, prudence and wisdom. He gave us his support for the major meeting we are holding in September, for the protection of the religious and cultural communities in the Middle East, where there are those who treat diversity with barbarity.
We also talked about all of the elements that make up the uniqueness of the history, presence and future of the Church, and about Hellenism’s support for the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH: I said few words in the office, welcoming His Excellency the Minister, but if I should say a few words following our meeting and our talks, they would be words of great satisfaction and warm gratitude to the Minister for his wholehearted support – personal and from the government he is participating in, and from this great Ministry – for our Ecumenical Patriarchate and for its various initiatives and activities, which, in the final analysis, are also a contribution towards the prevailing of peace in the world, through interfaith dialogues, through our efforts to protect the environment, through all of the initiatives, like the convening of the Holy and Great Synod, which will express the unity of Orthodoxy.
Through all of these, I repeat, we send the message of Christ to the whole world and we contribute to the prevailing of peace. My feeling that we have the solidarity of the Greek government in these efforts of ours is a great support and encouragement for us.
Specifically with regard to the meeting the Minister is preparing for this fall, in Athens, for the protection of Christian populations where they are being persecuted in the Middle East, in Africa and elsewhere, I express my wholehearted support and thanks for the honor of being invited to participate on behalf of our Ecumenical Patriarchate.
It is my hope and the hope of everyone from the Mother Church that the Minister’s meetings in Turkey over the next few days have a positive outcome, including at the NATO Ministerial in Antalya, and that he return, satisfied by all his meetings, to Athens, where he can continue, at the Foreign Ministry, the invaluable work he has been assigned by the new Prime Minister of Greece.