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Toast of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the U.S. Capitol

Luncheon in Honor of His All Holiness
Hosted by the Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives

U.S. Capitol – The Rayburn Room
Washington, DC

(October 26, 2021)

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Madam Speaker,
Your Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros,
Honored Guests,

We are deeply pleased to be the guest of Your Honorable Person today, Madam Speaker, especially in the Seat of the United States Government, and in this Room dedicated to the memory of your distinguished predecessor, Samuel Taliaferro Rayburn.

Just a short while ago, we shared reminiscences that took us back over twenty years to the day when the United States Congress honored our humble person with the Congressional Gold Medal. This recognition, by such an august body that you now lead with such ability and skill, is still held by us to be one of the great recognitions of our now, Thirty-Year Patriarchy.

Just as you uphold, in these hallowed halls of government, the values of that remarkable document – the United States Constitution – the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople upholds the same values of the Constitutional framework of Christianity, the common principles of canon law, stemming from the tradition of the undivided Church of the first millennium.

And just as you stand for the rule of law and against the forces of lawlessness, we also hold for the Orthodox World the proper canonical order and tradition, against autocratic forces that would seek to dominate through raw power alone.

Finally, we express our admiration for your commitment to environmental justice and responsibility. For all the years of our tenure on the Apostolic Throne of Constantinople, we have ceaselessly worked to bring about a change of consciousness and behavior toward the environment. Much like your friend, the Dalai Lama, as well as our brother His Holiness Pope Francis – with whom we just recently met on this very issue – we are committed to a realignment of societal values, to protect this one planet that we all share, our Mother Earth.

Therefore, Madam Speaker, with gratitude to you for your warm welcome and your extraordinary service to America and the world, we lift our glass in your honor, invoking the blessing of our Lord Jesus Christ upon you, and upon the Honorable Members of the United States House of Representatives.