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Mike Pompeo Former United States Secretary of State at Conference of Archons in Athens

The second day of the 4th International Conference of Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on Religious Freedom in Zappeion featured keynote speaker Mike Pompeo, the 70th US Secretary of State.

John Catsimatidis, Archon Notarios and chairman of the Religious Freedom Committee of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in America, introduced Mr. Pompeo. Mr. Catsimatidis emphasised the critical role of the US in global stability, stating, “If the US does not stand up strongly, there will be no Europe. Russia is aligned with China and Iran, and this is a terrible problem for the whole world. Our country must survive so that the rest of the free world can survive.”

In his speech, Mike Pompeo highlighted his positive relationship with the Orthodox community in the US and praised His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, whom he visited in Constantinople despite Turkey’s “mild reactions, to put it diplomatically.”

Addressing the Russian Orthodox Church’s involvement in the Ukraine conflict, Pompeo declared, “This war is not sacred, it is not religious. It is a war of conquest. We must speak the language of truth, as the Ecumenical Patriarch did in 2019 when he granted the Tomos of Autocephaly to Ukrainians.”

He recounted an incident where the US State Department was hesitant to issue a statement on the matter, believing it to be an internal ecclesiastical issue. “But it is not,” Pompeo asserted. “America had an obligation to do so. The US continues to support Ukraine. It is the government of Moscow, not Kyiv, that uses the Church to justify the war. Citizens deserve better than this.”

Pompeo also condemned the conversion of the Chora Monastery into a mosque in Constantinople, calling it “a sacred place, a historical place, a unique monument of UNESCO. There’s no reason to do that.” He described the act as a provocation and criticised President Erdogan, expressing hope that the people of Turkey will eventually elect leaders who respect religious freedoms. “This is a great challenge,” he concluded.