Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of the world’s 300 million Orthodox Christians sent a congratulatory letter to President-elect Joe Biden, sharing his “joy and enthusiasm” for his electoral victory.
Bartholomew and Biden share a deep friendship and respect for each other.
As Vice President, Biden visited Istanbul, Turkey in 2011 and spent a considerable amount of time at the Phanar with Bartholomew. He was accompanied on that trip by then-archbishop Demetrios of America, who together with the Synod of Bishops of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, gave Biden a tour of the compound and shared its rich history as the center of world Orthodoxy.
At the time, Biden commented to the press that lighting a candle at St. George Cathedral was “one of the biggest honors of his life.”
Bartholomew, who hand wrote his letter in Greek, also sent a full English translation, which was shared with President-elect Biden. (See gallery below for images of the hand-written letter)
The fill text of the letter follows:
Dearest Mr. President-elect,
Since you are well aware of my sentiments for you throughout the years of our friendship, you can only imagine my great delight and pride for your successful election as 46th President of your prominent nation, the United States of America.
The joy and enthusiasm for your electoral success are not merely personal sentiments. They are also shared by our Ecumenical Patriarchate and its eparchies across the world, and above all by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America with its commendable Shepherd, Archbishop Elpidophoros – and I remain grateful for the love and esteem with which you have embraced him. But beyond our Patriarchate, there are millions of Americans, as well as citizens of the entire free world, to whom you now offer hope (I could say conviction) for a better future, where the eternal values and ideals of a civilized humanity may prevail.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate has for many years been preoccupied with protecting the natural environment and addressing climate change, and so it especially celebrates the initiatives that you are prepared to assume on this urgent matter, as you have already declared, with regard to adhering to the Paris Agreement and assuring a cleaner environment.
Mr. President, since the world is anticipating so much from you, we at the Phanar – which you honored with your presence – are praying that the omnipotent and omniscient God may grant you strength, health, inspiration and endurance to fulfill the expectations of all.
Those looking to you are those who thirst for religious freedom, those whose human rights are trampled, and those who yearn for freedom and justice. And there are so many of them! They also include the historical religious communities of the Middle East, who aspire to peaceful coexistence.
Mr. President, may God be with you! We have always prayed and will continue to pray for you and your beloved wife, Jill, with much affection and admiration.
At the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the 9th of November, 2020
Your friend and supplicant before God,
Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome
and Ecumenical Patriarch
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