His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew met with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi at the Capitol today, October 26, 2021.
Also present at the meeting were Elder Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon and Archbishop Elpidophoros of America.
During the meeting, His All-Holiness recalled the honor of receiving the Congressional Gold Medal during his first official visit to the United States in 1997, adding how proud he is to share this honor now with the honorable United States Capitol Police and those who protected the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
The Ecumenical Patriarch also expressed appreciation to President Biden and Speaker Pelosi for the ongoing commitment of the United States to religious liberty and freedom of conscience around the world.
He further discussed with Speaker Pelosi the urgent need of supporting developing nations to secure vaccines for their populations.
After the meeting, Speaker Pelosi hosted a luncheon in the Rayburn Room, attended by a bipartisan group of Members of Congress. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) delivered remarks on the Apostolic Visit of His All-Holiness.
Earlier in the day, the Ecumenical Patriarch, Archbishop Elpidophoros, and the Official Delegation attended an ecumenical reception at the United Methodist Building, hosted by the National Council of Churches in honor of the Apostolic Visit.
His All-Holiness was greeted by NCC President and General Secretary Jim Winkler as well as Chair of the NCC Governing Board Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton from the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.
The NCC offered a tribute to the 30th Anniversary of the Ecumenical Patriarch’s Enthronement, presenting him with a special Proclamation and Pectoral Cross. His All-Holiness then delivered an address entitled “The Future of Ecumenical Dialogue.”
Later tonight, His All-Holiness will attend a reception for Orthodox Young Professionals hosted by Former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.
The visit will continue tomorrow with stops in Weirton, WV and South Bend, IN.
Chuck Schumer, a member of the Democratic Party, had some gracious and heartfelt remarks for the visit of Ecumenical Patriarch.
“Thank you Madame Speaker for your introduction, and for bringing us together for this remarkable occasion.
On behalf of the United States Senate, on behalf of my home state of New York, and on behalf of the American people—I want to welcome his All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew to the United States Capitol.
Thank you also to His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America for joining us as well.
To your All-Holiness: it is always a joyful occasion to welcome guests to this temple of Democracy—but it is a rare honor and a blessing to welcome the spiritual leader of the world’s Eastern Orthodox Christians.
New York is a proud home to hundreds of thousands of Orthodox Christians, and we all join together celebrating your visit to our country.
And furthermore, I take his All Holiness’s visit as nothing less than a sign of God’s grace, for as both Houses of Congress work to finalize historic legislation to fight climate change, it is only fitting that “Green Patriarch” himself should pay us a visit!
Throughout your Patriarchal tenure, you have been one of the world’s foremost leaders in environmental stewardship and protecting God’s creation. Today I join my colleagues in thanking you for raising the consciousness of humankind, as you have said, in pursuit of this goal.
Protecting our planet is more important now than ever before. It is an obligation that we all carry and for which we all must answer for. We here in Congress look to your example to guide us as we endeavor to honor that responsibility.
In closing, I wish your All-Holiness the very best on your trip within the United States, which I understand includes a visit to my home state of New York.
I am grateful that even after thirty years serving as Patriarch, you have returned again and again to our great country, and we stand ready—with open arms—to welcome you when you return yet again.
Thank you, your All-Holiness, for honoring us with your presence and your leadership.”