NEW YORK - His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, traveled to Washington, DC yesterday in order to dialogue with government officials on the continuing crisis over the Theological School of Halki. The Archbishop was accompanied by Bishop George of Kommanon, who serves as a Public Affairs Representative of the Archbishop in Washington, Mr. John Catsimatidis (Vice Chairman of the Archdiocesan Council), Mr. Andrew Manatos, Mr. John Mavroudis, and clergy of the Archdiocese.
After a productive meeting at the headquarters of Amnesty International, where arrangements were made for a representative of Amnesty to visit the Patriarchate next week, the Archbishop, accompanied by Bishop George, Mr. Catsimatidis and Mr. Manatos, held an extensive meeting with White House Chief of Staff John Podesta. The discussion focused on the immediate situation at Halki and the steps that the United States Government has taken to alleviate it. There was a mutual agreement that the position of the United States was the most constructive possible, and there were sincere hopes that relief would be forthcoming.
Following the meeting at the White House, the Archbishop led his full delegation in discussions and a briefing at the State Department. The meeting took place in the Executive Suites of the State Department and was led by the Archbishop and Assistant Secretary of State Marc Grossman (who is a former Ambassador to Turkey). Joining the meeting from the State Department were Acting Assistant Secretary of State, Gare Smith and Special Representative of the Secretary of State for International Religious Freedom, Bob Seiple.