(In the photo: His
the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinopole
The Ecumenical Patriarcate is situated in Constantinople (the present Istanbul). It is also called "Church of Costantinople" or the Holy Great Church of Christ. Theologians, who are not Orthodox, and researchers usually utilize the conventional expression of "Church of the Fanar". This church was born from the preaching of the apostle Saint Andrew and therefore it is an Apostolic See. Since the foundation of Costantinople the Ecumenical Patriarcate assumed the duty of spiritual guide, the promotion of civilization and had a mondial influence. During several centuries many people and nations felt the beneficial influence of the Ecumenical Patriarcate and thanks to its quick evangelizing action "they rose in Christ". In this way many orthodox archdioceses were formed, and these, under the spiritual guide and the aegis of the Constantinopol See, defended the Christian Faith from various heresies threatening it.
The Ecumenical Patriarcate is one of the five ancient Patriarcates of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. During the first Christian millennium the Church, as it is known, was composed by the Patriarcates of Rome, Costantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem.
After the 1054 schism the undivided Church of the first millennium split into the Western Church (The Patriarcate of Rome) and the Easter Church (The remaining Patriarcates of the East). Among the latter the Patriarcate of Costantinople assumed the role of plenipontiary judge, in case of disputations, of every kind, among other patriarcates. The superiority of the costantinopolitan patriarch is already confirmed from the 7th century, when he first enjoyed the title of "Ecumenical". Such an expression indicates his first position - "primus inter pares" - both for the assumed power and for the spiritual splendour among all the eastern patriarcates.
Duties of the Costantinopol Patriarch:
After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the Ecumenical Patriarcate was recognized as "Panortodox Institution". During the Panorthodox Conference in 1961, held in the Pauline island of Rhodes, the Ecumenical Patriarchy was recognized from everybody as the spiritual leader of Orthodoxy.
Under the guide of the Ecumenical Patriarch Atenagora I', the Ecumenical Patriarchy distinguished itself, rising to a position of great prestige.
Recently under the guide of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios I', it has reached a high level of honour and respectability.
Today, following the indications of his predecessor Dimitrios I' (sanctly remembered), the Patriarch Bartholomaios I' continues the clear "path of love, peace and unity" visiting the ancient patriarcates of the Orthodox East and meeting nations as well as religious and political authorities. He gives his loving messages of peace and unity to everybody. Through these messages of Faith and Hope the Ecumenical Patriarch gets closer to the people who suffer, demonstrating with seriousness, dignity and wisdom his duty and his lively animation towards them. In this way his presence testifies his collaboration for peace-strenghtening in the world, for the ending of wars, for the respect of human rights and liberties, because human beings, being created in God's own image and likeness, hare the right to a dignities life and prosperity.
In this way the Great Mother Church of Costantinople under the untiring, careful and wise patriarch Bartholomaios I', keeps on giving its bright messages to people, nations, believers and no-believers, to encourage and heaster them, telling to everybody with devotion and fidelity the Great True: God, the common Father of all, is the father of love, mercy and forgivness. He is the God of resurrection.