Patriarch released from hospital after stenting, extends visit to US
Towards the end of his first apostolic visit to the United States in many years, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople was hospitalized on November 3 at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City to undergo a stenting.
He was released on November 5 and is expected to return to Turkey on November 7 after completing the remainder of his visit, which was extended by four days due to his hospital stay.
A press release from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America announced on November 3 that the Patriarch had undergone an examination at Mount Sinai which led to an angiogram, which determined the need for a stent to open a blocked coronary artery .
The 81-year-old Patriarch is the main spiritual leader of some 300 million Orthodox Christians around the world, and he is celebrating the 30th anniversary of his election this year.
He arrived in Washington on October 23 to begin his visit and the next day, before a scheduled service at St. Sophia’s Cathedral, he was admitted to the George Washington University Hospital where he spent the night on medical advice.
The Patriarch “felt bad about the long flight and the schedule of events upon his arrival,” said the Archdiocese.
But upon his release on October 25, he embarked on a rigorous itinerary that included meetings that day with President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House and Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the State Department as well as ‘a visit to the Turkish Embassy at the invitation of the Turkish Ambassador to the United States Hasan Murat Mercan.
The patriarch later said in a statement that he and the president had had “a warm and productive meeting,” but their discussion also involved a shared sense of urgency regarding the global climate crisis.
“During our conversation, we touched on many issues relating to world peace and the hope for increased environmental justice on this one planet we all share,” said the Patriarch.
“We note with appreciation the President’s commitment to environmental responsibility and his willingness to lead the way,” he added. “We have supported these efforts throughout our 30 years of patriarchy, and we will continue to do so.”
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Patriarch Bartholomew said he expressed to Biden “our concerns for global stability” and the role that “constructive and positive religious movements can play” in such stability.
“Our efforts to promote Christian unity and interfaith understanding and cooperation have only one principle: dialogue. We regard dialogue as the most effective means of meeting any challenge of the present or the future”, he added.
He later attended a dinner at Georgetown University hosted by John J. DeGioia, president of the university, and Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory of Washington.
As a dramatic backdrop to his visit, a new icon was on display in the chapel showing the apostles and brothers Saint Andrew and Saint Peter kissing each other – reflecting the fraternal ties between the Orthodox and Catholic churches and the friendship and the shared work of the Patriarch and Pope Francis.
Greeting the Patriarch at the University’s Copley Crypt Chapel, Cardinal Gregory said: “Your presence here today among us reaffirms our mutual commitment to dialogue and to the work of Christian unity.
The Patriarch met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., On Capitol Hill on October 26 following a reception at the United Methodist Building hosted by the National Council of Churches.
His itinerary for the remainder of the trip included a variety of events in Pittsburgh and the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, before heading to New York.
At Notre-Dame on October 28, he received an honorary doctorate, presented by Father Holy Cross John I. Jenkins, president of Notre-Dame, during an academic convocation held on the campus of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart .
“Religion must function and serve in relation to – and never independently – of science,” the Patriarch said in a speech on environmental stewardship he delivered at the convocation.
He praised Notre Dame for the steps it has taken to halve the university’s carbon footprint during this decade. “Even the general theme of your school year is focused on the global climate crisis,” he said.
Like climate change, “the global novel coronavirus crisis has asked us ultimate questions about life and death, disease and suffering, as well as healthcare and justice,” he said.
“Our response to COVID-19 is the very arena where all Christian believers – and indeed all people of good will – are called to be and to struggle. Otherwise, the truth is, we are not living in the height of our vocation as preachers of Christ … and disciples of our Lord, “said Patriarch Bartholomew.
Likewise, protecting the natural environment is neither a liberal nor a sentimental response, ”he continued. “It involves constant pain and forgiveness, a relentless preference and priority for what we truly value, for what really matters. It is the spiritual and moral response, whereby we become a healing and transforming presence among our neighbors. and on our planet. “
He also underlined “the ecumenical imperative of our response”.
“We religious leaders are called to cooperate humbly and patiently with leaders in science and academia, as well as in business and politics,” he said. “This interdependence reminds us that the earth unites us beyond any doctrinal, social or cultural difference.”
In New York, Patriarch Bartholomew received the Human Dignity Award from the American Jewish Committee on November 1.
The prize was an exact facsimile of Chapter 1 of the Book of Genesis in the Kennicott Bible, an illuminated Hebrew Bible from medieval Spain.
Rabbi Noam Marans, AJC’s director of interfaith and intergroup relations, presented the award.
He recognizes “the patriarch’s singular concern for humanity and the environment, his exceptional commitment to interreligious coexistence and the indispensable advancement of Orthodox-Jewish relations,” he declared.
On November 2, the Patriarch presided over the ceremony of “thyranoixia” or “opening of the doors” at the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas and at the National Shrine, which has been under construction for several years and is expected to end on next year.
The structure is being built on the site of the parish church which was destroyed on September 11 during the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. St. Nicholas Church was one of many buildings destroyed or damaged by debris from the collapse of the mall’s twin towers.
The new church and shrine will also honor those who lost their lives on September 11.
That evening, Patriarch Bartholomew celebrated the 30th anniversary of his election with a celebration and dinner hosted by Archbishop Elpidophoros of America and the Friends of St. Nicholas.
Patriarch Bartholomew told diners that the role of the Ecumenical Patriarch “has been and continues to be the modulating influence which firmly holds the rudder of the church ship as it sails the waters of modernity and modernity. secular change “.
“Beloved children in the Lord: the church is greater than anything we can imagine. Our holy God, worshiped in the Trinity, calls all men to fellowship and to life in Christ,” he said. -he declares.
“We were not placed here to rule anyone other than ourselves. But we are all called to serve everyone. And to serve them humbly, with righteousness and always with mercy and compassion,” said added the patriarch.