Among the most notable leaders of the Greek Orthodox Church is the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. As such, it is not surprising that the Patriarch has had a great influence on the lives of people around the world.
Founder of the Greek Orthodox Church
Founded by apostles of Jesus Christ in the eastern Mediterranean, the Greek Orthodox Church is one of the three major branches of Christianity. They claim an unbroken historical existence.
Orthodox Christianity is a faith that focuses on leading all peoples to a dynamic spiritual relationship with God. Their teachings are similar to those of ancient Judaism. They also emphasize the intercession of saints. They believe that Christ was resurrected on the third day. They also believe in the power of the Holy Spirit. They believe that Jesus will return in glory.
The Church is hierarchical, with archbishops and metropolitans. It also accepts the doctrine of seven sacraments, which include baptism, confirmation, penance, Holy Orders, Eucharist, and Holy Anointing.
The Greek Orthodox Church is part of the ecumenical patriarchate of Constantinople. The Ecumenical Patriarchate has a permanent representative at the World Council of Churches in Geneva. His Eminence Joachim III is the Ecumenical Patriarch. The Church has numerous dioceses in the diaspora.
Founder of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
During the period of Ioakeim III’s service, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople underwent a major internal change. The institution was faced with a new phenomenon of nationalism that threatened imperial ecumenism. The great families of the Phanariots were financially devastated, and their power was politically discredited.
In the early 1860s, the Patriarchate’s General Regulations, passed by the Greek government, began to regulate its administrative system. These Regulations were intended to establish the right of lay members to participate in the election of the Ecumenical Patriarch. They also aimed to abolish the system of gerontism. The clericalist aristocracy called the Gerontes limited the competence of the Ecumenical Patriarch.
During the 19th century, the Patriarchate was threatened by nationalism in the central, eastern, and south-east European countries. The Ottoman Empire was weakened and new nation-states were formed in its territory. The great families of the Phanariots dominated the social level before the Greek War of Independence.
In the 1830s, most members of the Patriarchate left Constantinople, and the Patriarchal institution was splintered into two factions. The reformers’ party sought to limit the role of the craft guilds in the administration of the Patriarchate.
His all holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
During his official visit to the United States this fall, His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will officially bless the Saint Nicholas National Shrine. This landmark Greek Orthodox Church was destroyed by terrorists in September 2001 and was repaired by AJC in 2006. Patriarch Bartholomew will lead an opening doors ceremony and will raise a cross on the rebuilt church.
The Ecumenical Patriarch is the head of the world’s second-largest Christian faith community. The Ecumenical Patriarchate spans every nation and ethnic group in the world. He is a living witness to the inherent dignity of humankind. He is also an advocate for environmental awareness. His All Holiness has led efforts for reconciliation among Christian churches. He is known as “the Green Patriarch” because of his concern for the environment.
He has received honorary doctorates from prestigious academic institutions. He speaks Turkish, Greek, Italian and German. He was born in the village of Aghioi Theodoroi on the island of Imvros. He attended undergraduate studies at Theological School of Halki in Istanbul, and pursued graduate studies at the Pontifical Oriental Institute of the Gregorian University in Rome.
Patriarch of Constantinople’s role in the world
During the 19th century the Ecumenical Patriarchate began its transformation from a purely national institution into a world interchurch Christian center. This transformation had its roots in the efforts of a few bankers to control the rise of a clericalist aristocracy. Afthonidis proposed to create a mixed commission of priests and seculars to oversee Church affairs, but the proposal failed.
During this period of the Ecumenical Patriarchate 12 different prelates assumed office. Most of these prelates were nationalists, including the metropolitans of Amaseia Germanos Karavangelis and Ainos Ioakeim. These prelates opposed patriarch Nikolaos Karavangelis.
The issue of the General Regulations was used as a means of putting pressure on the patriarchs. The new Synod upgraded the role of the provincial prelates, thereby making it easier to intervene with them. The Synod also increased the role of the lay members in the election of the Ecumenical Patriarch.
At the time the Patriarchate of Constantinople was the spiritual center of the Roman Empire. It also had nominal jurisdiction over several dioceses in northern Greece. The Patriarchate of Constantinople was governed by holy canons and decisions of ecumenical councils. The Patriarchate of Constantinople has the duty to initiate actions among the Churches and to coordinate them.