Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew gave an interview to MEGA channel. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew referred to the persecutions the Greeks are still subjected to in Turkey, called on the people to be vaccinated “without reservation,” presented his museum in his birthplace, Imbros, spoke about the future of Orthodoxy in the USA but also about the natural disasters caused by the climate change.
“The suspension of the operation of the Greek Diaspora schools was what affected us the most”
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew spoke about the persecutions of the Greeks of Imbros in an interview.
“When I was a student in Imbros, the living conditions of the island were still good. The Central School, which offered education to the Imbrians, operated for only 12 years, that is, from 1952 to 1964, and they closed it. In the 1960s, it was a very tough period.
The suspension of the operation of the Greek Diaspora schools, both the Central School and the primary schools in the villages of Imbros, was what affected us the most. Our lands were also expropriated.
Since most Imbrians were engaged in agriculture and animal husbandry, they could not survive for now owning land. That was a main reason for the expatriation of the Imbrians,” noted Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
Referring to the rural prisons built by the Turkish State in Imbros, he explained that “they were built on land that was forcibly seized by the Greeks. There was a substandard price but small. Many of my compatriots did well and did not collect it.
Thus, we all remember that what belonged to us was forcibly, arbitrarily and unjustly taken away from us. The lands that were taken away from us should be returned to the old owners or their heirs.”
At the same time, the Ecumenical Patriarch said the reopening of schools in Imbros was a blessing from God “after half a century of silence.”
“There is rebirth and vibrancy. Some Imbrian families were repatriated,” he added. Finally, he described his feelings when he visited his hometown, Imbros.
“I leave aside the status of Ecumenical Patriarch and become Imbrian again. I become the child of Agioi Theodoroi again. At home, I feel that I am little Dimitris who was playing with his siblings and friends. I feel that not many years have passed. Sixty years of priesthood, 81 years old.”
“Everyone should be vaccinated without reservation”
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew sent a message in favor of COVID-19 vaccination.
“It is completely absurd and unfair for some people to be afraid to be vaccinated. There is no reasonable excuse. I call again for everyone to be vaccinated without reservation. In order to avoid possible serious dangers that will turn out to be fatal,” noted the Ecumenical Patriarch.
“As a church, as a religion, as the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in particular, we respect science, the representatives of science, the findings and discoveries of science and conform our lives to them,” he added.
Regarding the pandemic deniers and the anti-vaccination movement, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said: “They do not think reasonably and do injustice to themselves and their fellow human beings. Because they can transmit the coronavirus to their fellow human beings without realizing it. There is a great danger.”