Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos expressed satisfaction after holding 30-minute talks on Tuesday with US President Barack Obama, who assured him that when he meets Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on December 7 he will stress the need for respect for the Ecumenical Patriarchate and call on him to allow the reopening of the Halki School of Theology.
“Mention was made of human rights and of our problems of the Patriarchate. Indeed, he told us that he is expecting the prime minister of Turkey in December. And he will mention all these issues to him as he had done on other occasions. As you are aware, during his visit to Turkey he raised the issue of the reopening of the Halki School of Theology at the Grand Turkish National Assembly and said that he will not cease to speak about these issues which for him are issues of religious freedom and human rights for which he is interested for all the world. This was his message. We also spoke about the Greek community here and the freedom enjoyed by the Orthodox people in America. And the president said that this is self-evident because it is anticipated by the Constitution of America,” he said.
Speaking outside the White House, Vartholomeos said that he also discussed environmental protection issues with President Obama.
“With the politeness and kindness characterising him he received us, the Archbishop of America and the other metropolitan brothers. With great politeness and kindness he referred to our first meeting in Istanbul. He said he was pleased that we were meeting again. We spoke about ecological issues, about the banquet that we had, while he is not yet sure if he will go to the world conference in Copenhagen,” he added.
The Ecumenical Patriarch was accompanied by Archbishop of America Demetrius and the three metropolitans who have travelled to the United States with him.
(source: ana-mpa, Photo: DIMITRIS PANAGOS)
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