Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to Join Pope Francis for Vatican Prayer Summit

NEW YORK – His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of over 300 million Orthodox Christian faithful worldwide, will join Pope Francis at the Vatican for a prayer summit on the evening of June 8, 2014 in an intensive spiritually-focused initiative for Middle East peace process. Together with the Pope and the Ecumenical Patriarch, the Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will participate in an interfaith prayer service of Jews, Christians, and Muslims for peace in the region.

During their recent Apostolic Pilgrimage to Jerusalem (May 25-26, 2014), the Pope and the Ecumenical Patriarch confirmed their commitment to continuing and expanding the dialogue between the two largest Christian Churches in the world. They also agreed to expand their conversations and relations to include non-Christian faith communities and actively engage in global peacemaking, while particularly focusing on the Middle East, the origin and source of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has expressed his strong conviction that the way to overcome the current stalemate in the peace process is by enhancing the political and diplomatic endeavors through prayer, reconciliation, and love. Thus, in solidarity with Pope Francis and Presidents Peres and Abbas, the Ecumenical Patriarch is strengthening fraternal bonds to advance peace, stability and security among the Jewish, Muslim and Christian communities of the Middle East.

His All-Holiness Bartholomew is the Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and the Ecumenical Patriarch. He is the 269th successor to the First-Called Apostle Andrew, the founder of the 2,000-year old Christian Church of Constantinople. The Ecumenical Patriarch is a living witness to the world of Orthodoxy’s painful and redemptive struggle for religious freedom and to the innate dignity of humankind. As a citizen of Turkey, His All-Holiness’ personal experience provides him a unique perspective on the continuing dialogue among the Christian, Islamic and Jewish worlds. He is known throughout the world as the “Green Patriarch” for his groundbreaking environmental initiatives and ecological theology. For his inspiring efforts on behalf of religious freedom and human rights, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was heralded as a Bridge Builder and Peacemaker and awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by the U.S. Congress in 1997.

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