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Turkey-Russia: President Putin’s phone call to Patriarch Bartholomew, “thanks for your efforts in advancing Orthodox unity”

On Tuesday evening, the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, who is currently in Ankara for the closed-door Summit on Syria with Hassan Rohani and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, made a phone call to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew. This is according to a statement released on the website of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in English. Mr Putin expressed his gratitude for the congratulatory wishes he had received from the Patriarch on the occasion of his re-election as President of the Russian Federation. He also thanked the Patriarch for “all of his efforts in advancing Orthodox unity” and “for the canonical permission granted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which allowed for an Orthodox Chapel dedicated to St. Andrew to be built within the compounds of the Russian Federation’s Embassy in Ankara, as well as for the warm reception that the President enjoyed during his two visits to the Holy Mountain of Athos”. During the phone call, the Russian President mentioned, in particular, “the great respect that the Russian people have for the Mother Church of Constantinople” and conveyed the “fraternal greetings” of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, mentioning as well “Patriarch Kirill’s readiness to strengthen the bond between the two Churches”. He then concluded with wishes for a “joyous Holy Pascha”. Patriarch Bartholomew reciprocated “wholehearted Paschal wishes” to the President and extended his sympathy for the recent tragedy in Kemerovo, Siberia. He thanked Mr Putin for his support to the Orthodox Church, emphasizing that the Ecumenical Patriarchate will continue to fulfill its role of service as the “coordinating Center of Pan-Orthodox unity”. He also added that the “Patriarchate —in accordance with its canonical and pastoral responsibility— also cares for the spiritual and religious needs of the Orthodox faithful of Russian descent residing in Turkey”. During the phone call, the two leaders also discussed other issues and Mr Putin expressed his desire to visit the headquarters of the Ecumenical Patriarchate during a future visit to Turkey.


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