Τhe US Ambassador in Athens, George Tsounis, held a reception in honor of the 30 years of the ministry and service of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
In his remarks Mr. Tsounis referred to Bartholomew, stressing that “through your service and mission, you taught us the importance of love and tolerance.
You have taught us how to make this world a better place.”
The American ambassador also commented that today, we are at a critical juncture. “We are facing unprecedented challenges to our values. We are at the forefront of the struggle between democratic values and the voices of tyranny and authoritarianism”, he noted.
Tsounis said ”Our unity is more important now than ever before. Our collective response today will determine the future of our world tomorrow.”
We have an obligation to stand united against these forces of darkness that seek to overturn the international rules-based order upon which our collective security and prosperity is based.
As the US Ambassador stated, ”The Ecumenical Patriarch has devoted his life to making the world in which we live a better place. He has devoted himself to the message of tolerance, holding regular dialogues with other Christian churches, as well as with Muslims and Jews”.
He added ”When I think of His All-Holiness, I am always reminded of the Mark Twain quote that “kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can read.”
And he went on to say: As a native New Yorker, I will never forget the September 11 attacks. A small Orthodox church was also destroyed that day. It was the only house of worship destroyed in the attacks.
My fellow archons and I worked for years to rebuild Saint Nicholas Church. And last year, on November 2, 2021, His All-Holiness officially reopened the church on the same day as the 30th anniversary of his enthronement.”
Finally, he referred to the efforts and initiatives of the Ecumenical Patriarch to preserve our planet. His efforts to support environmental causes have earned him the nickname the “Green Patriarch.”
“We are thrilled to recognize and honor you tonight and underscore the United States’ unwavering friendship with the Greek Orthodox Church. Congratulations on 30 remarkably successful years of ministry. And we wish you many more to come!”, said the Ambassador.
I was tremendously honored to welcome His All-Holiness @EcuPatriarch Bartholomew to Athens for a reception celebrating his leadership and 30 years of ministry and service to others. The US is committed to our friendship w/ the Orthodox Church. My remarks: https://t.co/3QMjssuKbF pic.twitter.com/fFAT8WixCr
— George J. Tsunis (@USAmbassadorGR) June 18, 2022