EcumenicalPatriarch Bartholomew I will meet with President Biden at The White House Monday, according to a spokesperson for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
The White House has not yet confirmed the meeting as of Monday afternoon. Tom Costa, a spokesman for the Greek Orthodox Church, informed The Washington Times via email that the patriarch will also meet Secretary of State Anthony Blinken at Georgetown University Monday afternoon.
The 81-year-old “first among equals” of the world’s Orthodox Christian leaders spent Sunday night at George Washington University Hospital under observation, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America said in a statement. They added that he was released Monday morning.
The patriarch participated via Zoom at the ceremonies at the District Museum of the Bible, where he made remarks at the opening of the expanded “History of the Bible”, exhibit that now includes artifacts loaned from the EcumenicalPatriarchate and demonstrating the Orthdox Church’s role in the preservation of the canon of Scripture.
“All of the seven churches of the Apocalypse are in our sphere,” Bartholomew said. “Our constant memory allows us share the Scripture in worship, liturgy and in its original .”
Bartholomew arrived Saturday at Joint Base Andrews, where the ambassadors of Cyprus, Australia, Greece and Ukraine, as well as American Orthodox officials, greeted him. He spoke in front of the St. Regis Hotel in the District, offering a blessing on the United States at the start of what is supposed to be a 12-day visit.
” “With a heart full of gratitude and great enthusiasm we speak words of blessings and benedictions for all of you and for the great American Nation,” he stated, according to a news release issued by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. He was also a guest at the dinner hosted by the Greek ambassador Saturday evening.
On Sunday, the situation changed, as church officials stated: “Prior to today’s service at the Cathedral of Saint Sophia, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew felt unwell — due to the long flight and schedule of events upon arrival. His doctor advised that he should be taken to George Washington University Hospital for observation .”
Bartholomew was scheduled Monday to meet with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and then Mr. Biden in the afternoon. Despite no official statement from the White House, the State Department or the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese regarding this, both events seem to have been cancelled.
Mr. Biden are expected to discuss privately the situation in Ukraine. The patriarch and bishop are expected to discuss the situation, as the patriarch has been replaced in occupied Crimea by clerics who are more friendly to Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to several observers.
Elder-Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon was a stand-in for Bartholomew at a Greek Orthodox Church dinner Sunday evening, the archdiocese noted.
Bartholomew’s visit to the U.S. is slated to include stops in West Virginia and New York City, where he would hold what The Associated Press described as “a ceremonial door-opening” at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine in New York City, which replaced a parish church near the World Trade Center that was destroyed in the 9/11 attacks.
Bartholomew also is slated to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, during a visit to the Roman Catholic school.
Religion News Service, which first reported Bartholomew‘s hospital stay, said the patriarch had been vaccinated against COVID-19 in January and supports vaccination for others.