The Illness of the Ecumenical Patriarch

The news dropped like a bomb this past Sunday morning. The Ecumenical Patriarch was admitted to a hospital in Washington, DC, where he has been visiting since Saturday afternoon. Initial reports confirm that there was no serious medical reason, but it was decided to admit him to the hospital on a ‘just in case’ basis. (He has since been released from the hospital and is following his planned program.)

And of course, it was the right decision. No one should play games with health issues – regardless of the patient’s age.

The news itself, however – The Patriarch in the Hospital – exploded like a bomb partly because the Patriarch’s health, so far, has been very good – as I had the opportunity to observe firsthand a few months ago – but mainly because of the importance of his role, both at the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as well as in the Orthodox Christian world in general.

As I noted a few days ago, Patriarch Bartholomew is a dynamic and world-renowned leader, whose presence at the helm of Orthodoxy fills us with confidence and a sense of security.

It is an indisputable fact that none of us is irreplaceable. And the fate of all people is the same.

It is also an indisputable fact, however, that some people are more difficult to replace than others. And Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is in this category.


 There were elements borrowed from the enthronements of sultans: After Erdogan was accorded the highest honors and worshiped as a patriarch of the Turkish nation, he was enthroned in his vast palace in Ankara in the presence of dozens of foreign dignitaries.

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