Christian Orthodox Patriarch Visits US

March 9, 2002

Source: The Boston Globe

On March 9, 2002, The Boston Globe reported that the Orthodox Christian "Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said he sees signs of increased openness toward religious tolerance in the Muslim world... As the 'first among equals' of Orthodox patriarchs, Bartholomew claims to be the spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians... Bartholomew called the terrorist acts of Sept. 11 'exploitation of religion' and said religion must be a unifying force in society... Bartholomew's visit to the United States, which included stops in Washington, where he met with President Bush, and New York, where he is to visit ground zero today, is his first since the 1999 ouster of the wildly unpopular Greek Orthodox archbishop of America, Spyridon, whose autocratic style caused a furor in the American archdiocese. The patriarch said he is delighted to find that the church today is functioning smoothly under the leadership of the new archbishop, Demetrios... There are an estimated 6 million Eastern Orthodox Christians in the United States, including about 1.5 million adherents of the Greek Orthodox Church, many of whom are recent converts."