Patriarch Bartholomew I
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I (born Demetrios Archontonis on February 29, 1940) has been the Patriarch of Constantinople, and thus "first among equals" in the Eastern Orthodox Church, since November 2, 1991.
He was born on Imvros (Turkish Gökçeada), an island in the Aegean Sea belonging to Turkey. By citizenship he is Turkish, but belongs ethnically to the small remnants of the Greek community in Turkey (see Istanbul Pogrom).
As Ecumenical Patriarch, he has been particularly active internationally. One of his first focuses has been on rebuilding the once-persecuted Eastern Orthodox Churches of the former Eastern Bloc following the fall of Communism there in 1990. As part of this effort he has worked to strengthen ties amongst the various national Churches and Patriarchates of the Eastern Orthodox Communion. He has also continued the reconciliation dialogues with the Roman Catholic Church started by his predecessors, and initiated dialogues with other faiths, including Christian, Muslim and Jewish sects.
Perhaps most unusually, he has gained a reputation as a prominent environmentalist, putting the support of the Patriarchate behind various international environmental causes. This has earned him the nickname "the Green Patriarch".
|Patriarch of Constantinople