Friday, December 18, 2009

The Patriarch Speaks

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Istanbul-based leader of the Orthodox Church, will be featured this Sunday on CBS News's "60 Minutes" show. The CBS News website has synopsis of the segment and a short viewable version of it here.

The Patriarchate has clearly decided to ramp up its public relations operation. In his interview, the Patriarch doesn't mince words. Asked by the show's Bob Simon why, despite the problems it faces and the constraints put upon it by the Turkish state, the Patriarchate stays in Istanbul, Bartholomew says:
"This is the continuation of Jerusalem and for us an equally holy and sacred land. We prefer to stay here, even crucified sometimes," says Bartholomew. Asked by Simon if he feels crucified, His All Holiness replies, "Yes, I do."
(For some more on the Orthodox community in Turkey, take a look this article of mine from the Christian Science Monitor, and at this Eurasianet photo essay about Gokceada (or Imroz), the Aegean island where the current Patriarch was born.)

(photo -- Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew leading a service in a chapel on the island of Gokceada (Imroz), where he was born. Photo by Yigal Schleifer)

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