Everything was reminiscent, with minor differences, of one of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s visits to America.
People from the Phanar. People from America. The lawn. The cars. Almost the same. However, it was a reception that took place in Athens, on a Saturday night, and specifically at the residence of the American ambassador, whose resident at this time, as is well known, is our compatriot, George Tsunis.
The manicured lawn was full of people, including some ministers from the Mitsotakis government who responded to the Ambassador’s invitation to a reception in honor of the Ecumenical Patriarch, who was visiting the Greek capital for a few days.
The joy and warmth were pervasive, mainly among the Greek-Americans, many of whom met on Greek soil for the first time.
How do we do it? We Greek-Americans have a special bond among us…
In addition to the Patriarch, whom everyone rushed to greet and to kiss his hand as he entered the garden, the person of the night was, of course, the new American ambassador.
There is no historical precedent – from what I can recall – for an American ambassador who is a Greek-American to host a reception for the Ecumenical Patriarch. And with so many of his guests also being Greek-Americans or Greek.
Something similar happened later at the dinner that the ambassador hosted – with a limited number of guests – at the beautiful Lighthouse, the venue atop that architectural and national masterpiece, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center.
We live in very interesting times.