Ecumenical Patriarch to visit Athens, ushering in new era with Greek Church - Kathimerini

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is set to visit Athens on Wednesday, in move that is expected to usher in a new era in relations between the Church of Greece and the İstanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate, Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported.

The visit by the spiritual leader of the world’s 250 million Orthodox Christians follows a long period of sour relations between the sides and will prove a significant step in doing away with differences, the newspaper said.

Greek Archbishop Ieronymos is slated to express the backing of the Church of Greece for the decision earlier in the year by the Ecumenical Patriarchate to grant independence to the Church of Ukraine from Russia, to the chagrin of Moscow, the newspaper noted.

A Church of Greece committee is scheduled to weigh in on the issue of the Ukrainian Church’s independence on the same day, Kathimerini said.

The Istanbul-based Ecumenical patriarch in October recognised the autonomy of the Ukrainian Orthodox church amid pressure and backlash from the Moscow Patriarchate. 

The Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul, which is recognised as first among equals in the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Moscow Patriarchate have been rivals for centuries, dating back to the time of the Byzantine and Russian empires. 

The Turkish government does not recognise the “Ecumenical” status of the Patriarch and in Istanbul and treats the patriarchate as a religious institution, which is serving only Turkey’s Greek Orthodox community.
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