Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Pope, The Foreign Minister and Turkey

Greek foreign minister speaks with Pope about restrictions on Orthodox in Turkey

Vatican, Jul. 4, 2007 ( - Pope Benedict XVI met on July 4 with Greek foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis, for a conversation that included a discussion of the problems facing the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

After her meeting with the Holy Father, Bakoyannis said that she was happy to have the occasiont to speak with Pope Benedict about "the need for international support for the Ecumenical Patriarchate at a time that is particularly difficult, in the wake of the Turkish court's decision." Late in June a Turkish court ruled that Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople does not have the right to the title "Ecumenical Patriarch"-- a decision that restricts the freedom of the Orthodox patriarchate in Turkey.

The Greek foreign minister told reporters that Pope Benedict expressed a keen understanding of the difficulties that the court decision created for the Orthodox leadership.

During her visit to the Vatican, Bakoyannis also met with her counterpart at the Holy See, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti.

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