The Ecumenical Patriarch

biographical profile

His All Holiness
Patriarch Bartholomeos I, by the grace of God,
Archbishop of Constantinople,
New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeos I (Dimitrios Archontonis) was born in Hagioi Theodoroi, Imbros island (Gokceada - Turkey), on the 29th of February 1940.

He attended Primary School in Imbros and High School (Zografion Lycee) in Constantinople (Istanbul). He received his Diploma of Theology from the Theological School of Chalki (Hons) 1961, and entered the Priesthood in Imbros as a Deacon on 13th of August 1961.

For two years, from 1961 to 1963, he fulfilled his military obligations as a Turkish citizen, serving as an Officer in the Turkish Army.

As an Ecumenical Patriarchate's scholar from 1963 to 1968, he undertook postgraduate studies at the Ecumenical Institute of Eastern Studies in Rome, the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey in Switzerland and at the University of Munich, specialising in Canon Law.

In 1968, he gained his Doctorate with the Institute of Rome at the Gregorian University, submitting his thesis on "Concerning the codification of the Holy Canons and Canonical Decrees in the Orthodox Church".

On returning to Constantinople in 1968 he served as Sub-Dean of the Greek-Orthodox Theological School of Chalki.

He was ordained a Priest in Constantinople on the 19th of October 1969, and six months later he was elevated to the rank of Archimandrite.

In 1972, Archimandrite Bartholomeos was appointed Director of the Private Patriarchal Office of his predecessor Patriarch Demetrios I, of blessed memory.

In 1973, he was unanimously elected, by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as Metropolitan of Philadelphia and consecrated as a Bishop at Christmas 1973 in the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. George, Constantinople.

Since March 1974, he served the Church in the capacity of a Member of the Holy Synod.

On the 14th of January 1990, he was elected Metropolitan of the historic city of Chalcedon.

On the 2nd of November 1991, after the late Patriarch Demetrios I slept in the Lord, the Holy Synod unanimously elected Metropolitan Bartholomeos as Archbishop of Constantinople - New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch.

His All-Holiness is a fluent speaker of Greek, Turkish, Italian, Latin, English, French and German.

He is founding-member of the Society of the Canon Law of the Eastern Churches and served as its Vice-President for several years.

For 15 years (8 years as Vice-President), he served as a member of the Faith and Order Committee of the World Council of Churches and participated in three General Assemblies of the W.C.C. (the 4th, Uppsala 1968, the 6th, Vancouver 1983, and the 7th, Canberra 1991). He was elected a Member of the Central Committee and the Executive Committee of the W.C.C. at the 7th Assembly.

Patriarch Bartholomeos I has paid official Apostolic visits to the Holy Mount Athos (Greece), to the Church of Crete (Greece), to the Patriarchates of Alexandria (Egypt), Antioch (Syria and Lebanon), Jerusalem, Moscow and all Russia, Belgrade and all Serbia, Bucharest and all Rumania (twice), Sofia and all Bulgaria, Tbilisi and all Georgia, to the Orthodox and the Lutheran Churches of Finland, as well as to the Eastern Orthodox Church of Ethiopia, the Lutheran Church of Sweden, the Roman Catholic Church (Vatican), the Ecumenical Council of Churches, the Roman Catholic and the Evangelical Churches of Germany, the Anglican Church (U.K.), the Roman Catholic Church of France and several Sees of his own Ecumenical Throne.

Patriarch Bartholomeos convened extraordinary meetings of the Heads of all the Autocephalous and Autonomous Orthodox Churches in Constantinople in 1992 and on the historic Greek island of Patmos in 1995.

Additionally, he convened special meetings of all the Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in both 1992 and 1994, in Constantinople.

He has been awarded Doctorates of Theology (H.C.) by the University of Athens, the Theological Academy of Moscow and the Holy Cross Theological College of Boston U.S.A. Also awarded Doctorates of Philosophy (H.C.) by the City University of London, the University of Crete, and the Department of the Environment of the Aegean University, Mytilene.

He is also a Fellow of the Orthodox Academy of Crete and an honorary member of the Pro Oriente Institute in Vienna.

His All-Holiness accepted a special invitation from the President of the European Parliament and addressed its members in 1994.

Patriarch Bartholomeos has participated in numerous inter-Orthodox, inter-denominational and international meetings, conventions and congresses.

The Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomeos I, takes a particular interest in environmental issues and has initiated a number of strategies for the protection of Creation.

The graphics on this page are from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America website.

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