|Posted on August 9, 2010 at 12:25 PM|
Non-Catholics don’t have anything like a Pope, right? That’s what I thought until last night’s 60 Minutes (watch). I was introduced to "His All Holiness, Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome Ecumenical Patriarch". How’s THAT for a title? Despite that, he seems very humble and down to earth. When the CBS reporter asked him how to best address him, and he said, with a smile and a twinkle in his eye, “Bartholomew.” I’m not an Orthodox Christian, and he’s technically their leader, but we must share many, if not all of our beliefs. I should have at least heard of him before age 35. Ecumenical means universal, so why don’t mainstream Western Christians know more about Orthodox Christianity and the Ecumenical Patriarch? My goodness, he resides where the Christian Church was centered for centuries.
He’s a Santa/Dumbledore/Gandalf look-alike with a quick smile, clear intelligence, and a love for all mankind. Even though the Turkish government seems to want to get rid of any vestige of Christianity in that country, he still works to make peace with everyone. He is faced with hatred and danger, but he keeps on speaking God’s love. Amazing.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s roles as the primary spiritual leader of the Orthodox Christian world and a transnational figure of global significance continue to become more vital each day. He co-sponsored the Peace and Tolerance Conference in Istanbul (1994) bringing together Christians, Muslims and Jews. Most noted are his efforts in environmental awareness, which have earned him the title “Green Patriarch.” He has organized environmental seminars in co-sponsorship with His Royal Highness Prince Philip, and international environmental symposia on Patmos (1995) and around the Black Sea (1997). …These endeavors, together with his inspiring efforts on behalf of religious freedom and human rights, rank Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew among the world’s foremost apostles of love, peace and reconciliation for humanity, a reason for which he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by the U.S. Congress. (Source)
I’m not saying that I want to become an Orthodox Christian, but this man has impressed me enough that I at least want to learn more about orthodoxy in general and him in particular.