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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Warmly Received During New York Visit

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Nov 16, 2000

New York, NY – His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide, was warmly received during a short visit to New York City on November 13. His All Holiness arrived in New York City late Sunday evening, November 12th, following a two day pastoral visit to Detroit which was highlighted by an Archierarchal Liturgy in Compuware Arena attended by some 3500 faithful.

His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America and Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in America, accompanied His All Holiness to Detroit and welcomed him to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese headquarters on Monday morning, November 13th. His All Holiness presided at a Divine Liturgy at St. Paul Chapel, attended by the Archdiocese staff. In addressing the staff, His All Holiness emphasized:

“You serve the Church in positions of great importance and responsibility, therefore, the zeal, speed and precision with which you perform your duties reflect upon the whole Church….The Lord said, ‘Let your light so shine before others, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.’ These words are meant for all of us. They are addressed, however, in a particular way to those who represent the Church, those with whom people interact when they come for whatever reason to the offices of the Church.”

At a luncheon attended by some 300 people including Governor George Pataki and William K. Reilly, former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, SCENIC HUDSON, Inc. presented its “International Visionary Award for Environmental Achievement” to the Patriarch for his pioneering environmental work on the Black Sea and the Danube River and for promoting an ecological ethic worldwide. In accepting the honor, His All Holiness said:

“For many years, the Orthodox ecumenical Throne has devoted itself to the service of the protection of the environment. With great interest and sincere anxiety, we have followed the efforts to address the destructive side effects of humanity upon the world of nature….With much fear we realize the dangerous consequences of human apathy concerning the survival of Creation, including the survival of humankind itself.

It is for this reason that I accept this award in the name of my illustrious predecessor, Patriarch Dimitrios. He is the one who invited the entire world to offer, together with the Holy Great Church of Christ, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, prayer of thanksgiving, but also of petition regarding the protection of God’s gift of Creation. Thus, as of 1989, the beginning of the new ecclesiastical year, September 1, has been designated for all Orthodox Christians as a day of prayer for the protection of the environment.”

Following the luncheon, over 100 clergy and presvyteres met at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. for a Doxology and a meeting with His All Holiness. Following an Exhortation by His All Holiness there was an opportunity for questions, followed by a personal blessing for all those present.

The day long visit concluded with the opening of the Mary and Michael Jaharis Galleries of Byzantine Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Speaking to over 500 guests gathered at the dinner, Philippe de Montebello, director of the Metropolitan Museum said, “Mary and Michael Jaharis have made possible the proper installation of a collection that inspired two of the Museum’s greatest exhibitions – ‘The Age of Spirituality in 1978 and The Glory of Byzantium in 1997.

In his remarks, His All Holiness said, “Through the addition of the ‘Mary and Michael Jaharis Byzantine Galleries’ you (Mary and Michael) have given a full expression of Hellenism, namely Hellenism’s uninterrupted continuity from antiquity through Byzantine times to highest evolution in today’s civilization

…We thank God for the inauguration of the beautiful Exhibit and all those who toiled and contributed to its realization, as well as those whom we honor with their presence at this ceremony. The Byzantines immortalized two of God’s attributes, namely, wisdom and peace, in two of our biggest monuments, i.e., Saint Sophia and the Church of St. Irene. We wholeheartedly wish that the Lord reward you and yours with His wisdom and peace and His very essence, which is love.”

In commenting on the visit of the Ecumenical Patriarch, Archbishop Demetrios said: “This has been an outstanding opportunity for the Orthodox faithful to personally meet the Patriarch, to listen to him, to pray with him and to receive his paternal blessings. At the same time, His All Holiness was obviously touched by seeing the Orthodox people in Detroit and New York. He wholeheartedly congratulated them for their achievements on the religious, cultural and social levels, a generous congratulatory gesture that coming from a Patriarch like Patriarch Bartholomew constitutes a powerful inspiration and motivation for further development ahead.”

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