“Thank you Madame Speaker for your introduction, and for bringing us together for this remarkable occasion.
On behalf of the United States Senate, on behalf of my home state of New York, and on behalf of the American people—I want to welcome his All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew to the United States Capitol.
Thank you also to His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America for joining us as well.
To your All-Holiness: it is always a joyful occasion to welcome guests to this temple of Democracy—but it is a rare honor and a blessing to welcome the spiritual leader of the world’s Eastern Orthodox Christians.
New York is a proud home to hundreds of thousands of Orthodox Christians, and we all join together celebrating your visit to our country.
And furthermore, I take his All Holiness’s visit as nothing less than a sign of God’s grace, for as both Houses of Congress work to finalize historic legislation to fight climate change, it is only fitting that “Green Patriarch” himself should pay us a visit!
Throughout your Patriarchal tenure, you have been one of the world’s foremost leaders in environmental stewardship and protecting God’s creation. Today I join my colleagues in thanking you for raising the consciousness of humankind, as you have said, in pursuit of this goal.
Protecting our planet is more important now than ever before. It is an obligation that we all carry and for which we all must answer for. We here in Congress look to your example to guide us as we endeavor to honor that responsibility.
In closing, I wish your All-Holiness the very best on your trip within the United States, which I understand includes a visit to my home state of New York.
I am grateful that even after thirty years serving as Patriarch, you have returned again and again to our great country, and we stand ready—with open arms—to welcome you when you return yet again.
Thank you, your All-Holiness, for honoring us with your presence and your leadership.”