New Greek archbishop visits Patriarchate in Constantinople

Prior to his February election as archbishop, the 70-year-old Ieronymos was bishop of Thebes in central Greece where he was appointed in 1981. He is regarded as a moderate, very active and energetic and in favor of good relations with the Patriarchate Patriarch Bartholomeos has stressed tolerance and reconciliation throughout his ministry.

Constantinople has had an unusual visitor this past weekend - Archbishop Ieronymos of Greece and Athens who was elected head of the Orthodox Church of Greece last February following the death of Archbishop Christodoulos. He came as the guest of Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomeos.

The Archbishop of Athens and Greece Ieronymos was on a three-day official visit to the Fener Patriarchate, his first visit to the Patriarchate since he was elected archbishop. Speaking at the reception, Archbishop Ieronymos said, "Conditions have ripened now and we have all understood that we should put the differences behind us. I want to assure you that I will do everything in my power together with my brothers, the archbishops, to achieve an absolute coexistence with you. Rest assured, your Holiness, that from today, we will plow deeply into the ecclesiastical field to cultivate the church, unity, coexistence and cooperation in our common route." Bartholomeos spoke highly about the personality and morality of the new archbishop. He also underlined the close ties that have existed between the Church of Greece and the Patriarchate for over 12 centuries and stressed that the church does not accept divisions.

On Sunday both participated in the Holy Liturgy at the Church of the Balikli Monastery. Balikli was originally named Zoodochos Pege, the life-giving spring, an epithet of the Holy Virgin. One legend has it that the Byzantine Emperor Justinian had a vision of it with a chapel and many people around it. Balikli Church was once one of many built in the area by Byzantine emperors where on Ascension Day the emperor and members of his court used to come to worship. The present church was built in 1833. Yesterday was the feast day of Zoodochos Pege so it was appropriate to attend worship service there.

Photo: Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomeos (right) with Archbishop Ieronymos at the Patriarchate in Constantnople (Fener, Istanbul). (Photo: Nikolaos Manginas)

For the www.spc.yu transformed story of GÜL DEMİR- Turkish Daily News