On Sunday, 26 November 2023, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew received a group of Roman Catholic hierarchs and clergy from Italy, Greece and Turkey. On the previous day, the Catholic Hierarchs participated in the ordination of the new Catholic Bishop in the area of Alexandretta, Bishop Antuan Ilgit, which took place at the Catholic Church of St. Anthony of Padua in Constantinople, where the Ecumenical Patriarch attended.
Welcoming fraternally and cordially the Catholic delegation to the headquarters of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew referred to the warm welcome he received in Naples, Italy, from which he returned on Saturday, where the Pontifical Theological School of Southern Italy proclaimed him, in a special ceremony, an honorary Doctor of Theology.
“This gesture touches us deeply, as it is another proof of the strong ties that exist between our venerable traditions,” the Patriarch stressed and noted that in this spirit he also wanted to personally attend the ordination of the new Catholic Bishop. “We believe in being together, especially in times that require unity and understanding, such as this turbulent time. It is our firm conviction that the ties between our Churches, which are rooted in the common foundation of faith, serve as a beacon of hope for a world that desires peace and harmony.”
The Ecumenical Patriarch said he was convinced that the new Bishop would offer a lot to the Catholic faithful in Turkey, and expressed his sincerest wishes for his new ministry. “May yesterday’s ordination serve as a symbol of unity, fostering a deeper understanding between our Churches and communities. As we continue on the common path of faith and dialogue, let us remain committed to the ties that unite us, drawing strength from the common roots that underpin our Christian faith in the modern world,” said the Patriarch, who offered an icon of the Theotokos to Bishop Antuan Ilgit. He, in turn, offered the Ecumenical Patriarch an old Orthodox icon of Zoodochos Pigi (The life giving font), expressing once again his respect and warm thanks for his presence at his ordination service. The group of Catholic hierarchs and clergy then attended a luncheon.
Photos: Nikos Papachristou / Ecumenical Patriarchate