Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met Archbishop Elpidophoros on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Friday, seemingly putting behind the spat caused by the Archbishop’s participation at a Turkish event earlier in the week.
They discussed issues of the Greek diaspora, and ways of cooperation for the optimal support of the Archdiocese’s work, government sources said. They also reaffirmed the close, historical ties of mutual trust and cooperation that bond the Archdiocese and its flock with Greece.
At the meeting, the Archbishop presented the timetable for the full reopening of new St. Nicholas chapel at Ground Zero, the original of which was destroyed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
A Greek government official told the Athens-Macedonia News Agency that the issue is now “considered closed.” He added that what is now important is the unity of Hellenism and the further strengthening of the relationship between the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America with Greece.
The meeting took place shortly before Mitsotakis’ scheduled appearance at the UN where he addressed the General Assembly. Mitsotakis and Archbishop Elpidophoros also met with Albert Bourla, Chairman and CEO of Pfizer.
Among those present at the meeting were Ambassador of Greece to the United States Alexandra Papadopoulou, Permanent Representative of Greece to the UN Maria Theofili, and Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras as well as members of the media.
Elpidophoros expressed regret on Thursday
Archbishop Elpidophoros apologized on Thursday for the controversy he caused in Greece and Cyprus with his presence at the ceremony for the opening of the Turkevi Center (Turkish House).
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan presided over the ceremony, held on Monday in New York City, while Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar was also present.
“I sincerely regret the pain I inadvertently caused to my Cypriot and Greek-American brothers,” the Archbishop said on Twitter.
On Tuesday, the President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, cancelled a scheduled meeting with Archbishop Elpidophoros in New York.
According to state broadcaster CyBC, the official reason given for the cancellation of the meeting was Anastasiades’ tight schedule, but reports said it was actually because the Archbishop had attended the opening of the Turkevi Center.
Athens had also expressed irritation over Elpidophoros’ presence. Government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou, said on Thursday: “We were disturbed by the actions of the Archbishop. The Greek government expresses its dissatisfaction.”