Concluding his visit to Lithuania, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew expressed his gratitude to the authorities and emotion for its hospitable people and referred to the conspicuous absence of Metropolitan Innocent of the Patriarchate of Moscow.
In his message, he expressed his warm thanks to the President of the Republic of the country, the Prime Minister, and the Speaker of the Parliament for the meetings as well as the Catholic Archbishop of Vilnius for the feelings of love with which he welcomed Patriarch Bartholomew.
“I regret that similar feelings were not expressed on the part of Metropolitan Innocent of the Moscow Patriarchate in Lithuania. I heard that through an announcement he suggested that I visit the Monastery of the Holy Spirit. However, I never received a relevant invitation, nor did he appear these days in order to welcome the Ecumenical Patriarch”, said the Ecumenical Patriarch characteristically.
Read the Ecumenical Patriarch’s statement at the end of his visit to Lithuania
“It is with special emotion that we say goodbye today to hospitable Lithuania and its people, who throughout the ages fought vigorously for their independence and the preservation of their identity, and who to this day defend high ideals, principles, and values, such as respect for the human person, religious freedom, the prevalence of peace in the world.
We would especially like to express our warm thanks to the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, and the honorable Government of Lithuania, the President of the Parliament, for the meetings we had, their welcoming feelings, the constructive communication and cooperation between us, and in general for the honor they showed, these days, in every way, to our Ecumenical Patriarchate, and in particular to me and to the members of my entourage.
We also express our thanks to the Ambassadors of Turkey, Greece, and the USA for the meetings we had.
We thank our brother Roman Catholic Archbishop Vilnius, President of the Council of Roman Catholic Episcopal Assemblies of Europe, for the respect and feelings of love with which he welcomed the Ecumenical Patriarch, for his kind invitation to visit the holy pilgrimage of Our Lady Ostrobramska, as well as for the reception in the Episcopal Palace.
I regret that similar sentiments were not expressed on the part of Metropolitan Innocent of the Moscow Patriarchate in Lithuania. I heard that through an announcement he suggested that I visit the Monastery of the Holy Spirit. However, I never received a relevant invitation, nor did he appear these days to welcome the Ecumenical Patriarch.
We, for our part, had the pleasure of welcoming to the jurisdiction of our Ecumenical Patriarchate the five recently restored Orthodox clergy. We met them, we blessed them fatherly, and we strengthened them spiritually to continue the valuable ministry of our Orthodox brothers in Lithuania for the Church.
And we rejoice because during our stay here, our Orthodox Lithuanian brothers and sisters, as well as the Greeks, Ukrainians, Romanians, and Belarusians living here, welcomed us and expressed their feelings of love and respect for the Orthodox Church.”