*This blurb from a longer article covers the new church for Orthodox worship in Rome, Turkey in the EU and an invite for the Pope to visit…they covered a lot of ground-- the full article contains much more on “unity”. :gopray:
On the morning of 1 July the re-established tie between the Churches of the First and Second Rome on their way to full communion was shown in stable and concrete form in the handing-over of the church on the Palatine dedicated to the martyr Teodoro Tirone.
Bartholomew expressed his thanks to the Pope and his collaborators, speaking of the concession for use of the «ancient temple» also in the prospect of the «agreement on important points pleasing to God, agreement that will bring about the desired sacramental union».
Appointment in Istanbul (via Ankara)?
Bartholomew kept his surprise to himself till his last hours in Rome…he confided to a group of journalists that he had taken advantage of the occasion to invite the Pope to Istanbul for the feastday of Saint Andrew next 30 November. «And since», he added, «the Pope is a head of State, he will first go to Ankara, the capital, and then will come to us
. Bartholomew also mentioned the possibility that on the still hypothetical trip to Phanar, the Pope may bring back to the Golden Horn the precious relics of the patriarchs Saints John Chrysostom and Gregory Nazianzen which disappeared from Constantinople in the sack of 1204. «According to our research», Bartholomew made known, «they should be preserved in Saint Peter’s. They told us in the Vatican that they will look for them. When they have found them, I shall send a letter asking for them to be restored to us».
… For this reason the role played by Bartholomew in the jockeying for Turkey’s entrance into the European Union is all the more interesting.
n his press conference the Patriarch spoke highly of the steps taken by Erdogan’s government to conform with European legislative standards («Some Kurdish members of parliament have been released, they have begun television broadcasts in Kurdish: the death penalty has been abolished, whereas it is still in force in some States of the US»). He confided that, with Turkey in mind, he had insisted there be reference to the need for dialogue between Europe and Islam in the joint declaration signed with the Pope. He also announced the permission given by the moderate Islamic Turkish government to the reopening of the patriarchal Theological School of Halki, the Orthodox academy closed in the ’seventies by the rigid secularism of Kemal-like legislation («We expect to get going with the next academic year»).
A meeting between the Pope and Erdogan, directed by Bartholomew, only a month before the meeting of the Council of Europe that in December is to debate the thorny question, and despite the many, even ecclesial, objections to Turkey’s entry into the EU (advanced, no doubt, by appeal to the Christian roots of Europe), would be a neat stroke if nothing else.