Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) led 48 of their Senate colleagues in requesting President Joe Biden receive His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in a manner befitting the spiritual leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church, the second largest Christian church in the world. His All Holiness’ trip to Washington next week comes amid the 30th anniversary of his election as Ecumenical Patriarch. 

“We appreciate the fact that His All Holiness is a world-leading advocate for interfaith dialogue and peace,” the senators wrote, specifically commending his historic dialogue and prayer for peace with Pope Francis at Christ’s tomb in Jerusalem in 2014 and noting the high regard within which the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is held as a preeminent international environmental leader. “This visit is an excellent opportunity for our Congress and your Executive Branch to follow in the Ecumenical Patriarch’s footsteps and demonstrate our mutual desire for the spirit of peace and cooperation.” 

For a full list of the bipartisan cosigners, click here

The full text of the letter is below. 

Dear Mr. President: 

With our many constituents in the Orthodox Christian community across the country, we are looking forward to your welcome of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew the last week of October, 2021. We are hopeful that this trip to Washington, D.C. will be met in the extraordinary manner and appropriate protocol with which you hosted him as Vice President in 2009. This year marks the 30th Anniversary of his election as Ecumenical Patriarch.  As you know, an exceptional welcome is appropriate for the spiritual leader of the second largest Christian Church in the world and a person of his many valuable accomplishments. 

We appreciate the fact that His All Holiness is a world-leading advocate for interfaith dialogue and peace. We value his historic dialogue and prayer for peace with Pope Francis at Christ’s tomb in Jerusalem in 2014. As you know, this brotherly gathering was appropriate as the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Pope are the brother-Apostles Andrew and Peter’ 268th and 265th direct successors, respectively.  We know that Peter began his Church and ministry in Rome and Andrew began his in what is today Turkey, the locale of His All Holiness’ headquarters and Ecumenical Patriarchate.   

We admire the high regard within which Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is held as a preeminent international environmental leader, sometimes known as the “Green Patriarch.” We are pleased that his recognitions include our Congress’ highest honor – the Congressional Gold Medal – which we understand you helped secure in 1997. 

This visit is an excellent opportunity for our Congress and your Executive Branch to follow in the Ecumenical Patriarch’s footsteps and demonstrate our mutual desire for the spirit of peace and cooperation. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,