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Remarks and Toast of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the Breakfast Hosted by His Excellency Hasan Murat Mercan, Ambassador of Turkey to the United States of America

Embassy of Turkey
Washington, DC

October 25, 2021

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Your Excellency Ambassador Mercan,
Your Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros,
Your Eminences, Excellencies,
Honored Guests,

We are glad to have this opportunity today to enjoy the hospitality of Your Excellency, and we thank you for honoring us and our company with this welcome meal. This is our Third Official Visit to the United States, and every time we have had this joyful experience, a visit to this Embassy has been an integral part of our itinerary. As I noted on my last time here, “the enduring presence of the Ecumenical Patriarchate within the Republic of Turkey comprises a history of great complexity and depth, and it constantly presents new opportunities and challenges.”

The sensitivity and skill of diplomacy are needed now more than ever, in a world that is often heated by rhetoric and ideologies that lead to extremes. Your Excellency is a prime example of the kind of leadership and counsel that engages true diplomacy, which is seeing the same conditions in the world through the eyes of another. We appreciate your sensitivity and skill in this regard very much.

As ever, the mission of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is purely spiritual, and demonstrates how Turkey can be – not only an inclusive society, but a bridge-builder between East and West, a much needed role in the world today.

In the realm of interfaith and inter-cultural dialogue, it is the the Ecumenical Patriarchate that is at the forefront of building bridges of understanding and mutual respect. Our position in our own City, where Europe and Asia meet, gives us a unique perspective and opportunity for doing such significant peacemaking work.

The welcome of Your Excellency to us and our company is a reminder that it will always be dialogue and respect that are the foundation of all true diplomatic labors. We thank you once again and lift our glass in your honor, invoking the blessing of the One True God upon you and the people of the Republic of Turkey, whom you so ably represent in this capital of the United States.