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Patriarch Bartholomew at Erdoğan’s Dinner for Mitsotakis

Boston – The presence of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the official dinner hosted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in honor of Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, following their official meeting in Ankara on Monday, May 13, remains an enigma. The Patriarch sat at the table with the foreign ministers and directors and officials of the intelligence services of both countries, with whom he had cordial conversations.

The National Herald has learned that his attendance at the official dinner was not pre-arranged but was instead a last-minute invitation from the Turkish Presidency on Monday morning. According to sources from the Phanar, “it is unprecedented for the Patriarch to attend such a dinner during a bilateral meeting between the leaders of Turkey and Greece.” They also mentioned that “from time to time, Mr. Erdoğan invites the Patriarch to receptions and dinners in Ankara, such as for Turkey’s National Day or the Muslim Iftar, but this was the first time he was invited to such a bilateral dinner.”

The Patriarch himself has not commented on this, and no photos have been released so far from either the Phanar or the Turkish Presidency, which is usually the case.

It is noted that many knowledgeable individuals from the Phanar and Athens have provided various interpretations and analyses, emphasizing that Erdoğan “does nothing without prior calculation and benefit for Turkey.”

Meanwhile, it is reminded that in a few days, specifically from May 26 to 29, the Orders of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate worldwide, led by the Order of St. Andrew of the United States, are organizing a conference in Athens titled ‘Protecting Religious Freedom, Democracy and Human Rights, which will also address the rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

The Phanar issued the following communiqué:

“With the honorary invitation of the President of the Turkish Republic, His Excellency Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, His All-Holiness the Patriarch, accompanied by the Reverend Tertiary Deacon Mr. Barnabas, flew to Ankara on the afternoon of Monday, May 13, 2024, where he attended the dinner held at the Presidential Palace Beştepe in honor of the visiting Greek Prime Minister, His Excellency Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

“The Patriarch returned to Constantinople the same day to depart early the next morning, Tuesday, May 14, for Lisbon, to participate in the World Dialogue Forum of KAICIID, where he is a keynote speaker.

“His All-Holiness will be accompanied by His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel Geron of Chalcedon, the Reverend Grand Ecclesiarch Mr. Aetios, Director of the Patriarchal Private Office, and the Reverend Patriarchal Deacon Mr. Epiphanius Kamianovych, while in Lisbon, His Eminence Metropolitan Vissarion of Spain and Portugal will join the Patriarchal Entourage.”

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