Patriarch was born as Aleksey Mihajlovich Ridiger in Tallinn,Estonia on February 23, 1929 into the family of Russian emigrants , and he is a descendant of German Baltic noble family ofvon Ridiger which adopted Orthodoxy in 18th century.
Greeting by His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch BARTHOLOMEW to the Delegation of the Church of Rome3. December 2008 - 10:51
Cardinal Walter Kasper
Representative of His Holiness Pope Benedict
The Sixteenth, Bishop of Rome
Along with your esteemed entourage
With much joy and jubilation in the Lord we welcome your presence and participation in the annual celebration of the memory of the glorious Saint Andrew the First Called Disciple, founder of our Holy Church of Constantinople. From our heart we thank our very beloved brother Pope Benedict, the head of the Church in Rome, because he was well disposed to send you here, as the bearer of his brotherly message of feelings of love and honor. These feelings we also return from our hearts, wishing him and the holy sister Church of Rome every blessing and grace from God.
Decades ago, a holy practice was established encouraging the visitation of the representatives of our Churches at each other's thronal feasts. The ever-memorable heads of our Churches, Patriarch Athenagoras and Pope Paul VI established the first event. It was animated by the living desire that our Churches which had been separated for a whole millennium and, occasionally, found themselves at opposing positions that were not beneficial, finally came into a period of a dialogue of love and truth. This dialogue would have as its end the full restoration of complete unity, just as in the first millennium after Christ.
The homilies for the services and celebrations for the patron of Constantinople, St. Andrew, were centered on the certainty that the common journey toward full unity between the two sister Churches - Catholic and Orthodox - is the only answer, including to the challenges of today's world in full economic, political, and social crisis.
The celebrations were attended by a large delegation from the Church of Rome, led by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the council for Christian unity, representatives of the other Christian confessions, the diplomatic corps, and various authorities.
There are few spots on earth these days where religions mingle without rancor, or worse. But the Russian republic of Tatarstan has turned religious tolerance into its post-Soviet brand - a place where Muslims, Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics mix and respect each other's traditions.
An appeal for world peace was passed from religious leaders to children to government officials in Cyprus. With the presentation of the appeal, the International Meeting of Prayer for Peace, traditionally sponsored by the Catholic lay Sant'Egidio Community, and this year cosponsored by the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, came to an end. This 22nd annual meeting was on "The Civilization of Peace: Faiths and Cultures in Dialogue."
The Holodomor is the name given to the famine that took place in Soviet Ukraine in the 1932-1933 agricultural season, as part of a wider famine which took place in other regions of the USSR. The famine was caused by the food requisition actions carried by Soviet authorities. The Holodomor is considered one of the greatest national catastrophes to affect the Ukrainian nation in modern history where millions of inhabitants of Ukraine died of starvation in an unprecedented peacetime catastrophe. Estimates for the total number of casualties within Soviet Ukraine vary between 2.2 million (demographers' estimate) and 3-3.5 million, and up to 14 million (historians' estimate).
The address of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of the Holodomor in Ukraine to the Entire Pious Ukrainian Nation can be read below: