New York, NY -- His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, condemned last night's bombing in Istanbul which seriously injured a clergyman and severely damaged the roof of the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. George and offices of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
"Six weeks after he received the Congressional Gold Medal, the Ecumenical Patriarch was threatened by a bomb blast directed at him and his Church. This is unacceptable said, His Eminece Archbishop Spyridon. "It is inconceivable that the basic human rights, such as freedom of worship, the ability to live a peaceful life according to the law of one's own country, and the freedom to live with the constant fear of having one's life and property destroyed without cause,are still abused and denied in countries such as Turkey."
The Patriarchate is the seat of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew,spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide, who completed a one month visit to the United States on November 19th. The trip which began in Washington,DC, included meetings with President Clinton, Vice President Gore, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and religious,academic and political leaders in 16 cities.
The most recent attack on the Patriarchate took place early this morning severely injuring Deacon Nektarios who was working in his office. He is expected to recover following three hours of surgery at the American Hospital in Istanbul.
A grenade attack in September 1996 also damaged the Church of St. George but no one was injured.