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September 10, 2019

For the first time since assuming his new duties, the Greek Deputy Foreign Minister, Mr. Antonis Diamataris, whose responsibilities include ecclesiastical affairs abroad, visited the see of the Ecumenical Patriarchate today, Tuesday, Sept. 10, and was received by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

“We are very pleased to welcome you today to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. We have old ties and an old sincere and genuine friendship, and I am sure that with your new responsibilities you will always be close to the Mother Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as much as you have been active in America, the largest Eparchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, to which, as you know, we have recently sent a worthy new Archbishop. You know him and love him and appreciate him, and with the cooperation of all of us, institutions and agents, we wish the best possible outcome for the Mother Church, for our Genos and for the great Eparchy of the Throne in America,” said the Ecumenical Patriarch in welcoming the Deputy Foreign Minister. 

And His All- Holiness continued: “You have within your purview and responsibility Hellenism abroad. Of course, we, here in Constantinople, are not expatriates, we have been native here for ages, but in the exercise of your responsibilities for the rest of the places in the world where expatriates live, we wish you strength to inspire them, to support them as they live in foreign environments, and to help them keep the traditions of our Genos and our Orthodox Church. Because you are so close to the Church, I am sure you will achieve this, that is, to inspire them and to keep them firm and stable in the traditions of our forefathers. 

“I mentioned America, but as it is known, in both Australia and Great Britain the Ecumenical Patriarchate selected and sent new and worthy Shepherds. I am sure they will work with you and you with them for the good of Hellenism everywhere. I wish you now all the good things of God, power and inspiration, as well as good health and courage, to travel and meet with our expatriate brothers.”

The Deputy Foreign Minister expressed the respect of the Greek state, as well as his own  personal respect, to the Ecumenical Patriarch.  He also stated the continuing interest of his government in the centuries-old institution of the First-Throned Church of Constantinople. 

“Your All-Holiness, it is an honor and a blessing for me to be here as a representative not only for the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, but also as the Deputy Minister responsible for issues of Hellenism Abroad and the Churches outside Greece,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Diamataris, recalling his longstanding acquaintance with His All-Holiness. “On behalf of the Prime Minister of the country, I want you to know that you have his full love, respect and support. The government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis is very aware of your role and the international influence of your personality, and the least we can do is stand by your side.”

Referring to the new Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, Mr. Diamataris said that he was the most suitable person to be chosen by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and he likewise characterized as excellent the Hierarchs who were chosen to shepherd the important Eparchies of Great Britain and Australia.

During their cordial meeting, which lasted more than an hour, the Deputy Foreign Minister wanted to be informed about issues of concern to the Mother Church, the Greek Community and the Orthodox community in Turkey in general, as well as about issues related to the Ecumenical ministry of the Patriarchate.

Deputy Foreign Minister Antonis Diamataris was accompanied by Konstantinos Alexandris, the Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, Religious and Consular Affairs, as well as Mr. Emmanouil Koumbarakis and the Consul General of Greece in Istanbul, Ms. Georgia Sultanopoulou. Metropolitan Amphilochios of Adrianopolis and Konstantinos Delikostandis, Archon Didaskalos tou Genous and Professor Emeritus at the University of Athens, were also present on behalf of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.


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