Washington, DC.- (Photos:GOA/D. PANAGOS)
Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios has been hospitalized on Sunday for “medical observation” in Washington D.C. after feeling unwell.
Vartholomaios felt unwell shortly before leaving for the service at St. Sophia Cathedral Sunday, due to the long flight and the busy schedule of events that followed immediately after his arrival in the United States Greece’s state agency AMNA reports.
His doctor advised him to rest and for precautionary reasons he was taken to George Washington Uninversity Hospital.
The Ecumenical Patriarch arrived in Washington Saturday night to a warm reception by members of the Greek American community and church members, his first visit since 2009. His plane landed at Andrews Air Force Base.
Vartholomaios has scheduled meetings with President Joe Biden, Secretary State Antony Blinken and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
According to a statement by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, “prior to today’s service at the Cathedral of Saint Sophia, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew felt unwell — due to the long flight and schedule of events upon arrival. His doctor, out of an abundance of precaution, advised that he be taken to the George Washington University Hospital for observation.
His All-Holiness is feeling well. At the doctors’ recommendation, he will spend the night in the hospital for monitoring and is expected to be released tomorrow morning.”
Greeting of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Upon His Arrival in the United States, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, October 23, 2021
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Your Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros,
Madame Acting Chief of Protocol, Asel Roberts,
Most Reverend Metropolitans of the Holy Eparchial Synod,
Beloved Children in the Lord,
With a heart filled with gratitude and great enthusiasm, we speak words of blessing and benediction for all of you, and for the great American Nation. It has been twelve years since we last visited the Holy Archdiocese of America, her devout clergy and the many friends in government that have become close to us during our Thirty-Year Patriarchal tenure.
We begin again, as we did in 1997, and we come with the same message we imparted on that day, October Nineteenth:
“We come to you in love, beholding you as the newly planted branch of the ancient vine of Christ’s first called disciple Saint Andrew. You, our most beloved daughters and sons, have transplanted the faith of the Apostles upon this blessed continent. America recognizes your deep commitment to living that faith fully, for she has enshrined in her Constitution the fundamental principles upon which the lasting qualities of the Church are founded.”
Those words are as true today, as they were nearly a quarter century ago. Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the True Vine, reached out through the First-Called Branch and Disciple, the Holy Apostle Andrew, to establish upon the cusp of Europe and Asia, the God-ordained City of Constantinople. Despite the vicissitudes of history, the See of Andrew has endured, to provide for the Universal Church a “canon of faith and an image of meekness,” as we sing of the Holy Wonderworker Nicholas of Myra in Lycia.
Thus, our time with you over these coming days is a God-given opportunity to reaffirm the unbreakable bonds between us. We give thanks for our spiritual son, His Eminence Elpidophoros, who has restored stability to this Archdiocese and energized this precious Eparchy of the Ecumenical Throne, even in the time of the pandemic.
Yesterday, we celebrated in the Queen of Cities the Thirtieth Anniversary of our election to the See of the First-Called Apostle Andrew. Not many days hence, here in America, we will observe the Cities the Thirtieth Anniversary of our Enthronement upon the upon the Cathedra of Saints Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom.
Our heart is filled with deep and abiding thanksgiving to the Lord of All, that He has granted us these three decades to serve in the Patriarchal ministry of reconciliation and restoration.
We also express our thank to the Acting Chief of Protocol of the United States, Asel Roberts, and through her the Honorable President of the United States, for the warm and encouraging welcome. We feel blessed indeed to be back in the United States once again.
We look forward in the coming days, to sharing with you and celebrating with you, as we receive the great grace to serve all of you, by the infinite mercy and ineffable compassion of our Holy God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Who is glorified unto the ages of ages. Amen!
Welcome of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America to His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Upon His Arrival in the United States
The St. Regis Hotel, Washington, D.C.
October 23, 2021
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Your All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew,
Esteemed members of the Patriarchal Delegation,
Your All-Holiness’ arrival and presence here today fills Your American faithful of the Sacred Archdiocese of America, as well as the entire plenitude of the Church, with unspeakable joy.
We, the devout children of the Mother Church of Constantinople, welcome You with open hearts into our midst for the seventh time in Your historic and renowned Patriarchal ministry.
First, in 1997, for a month-long, nationwide tour of our country — for the first time as our Ecumenical Patriarch.
Next, in 2000, for a brief, four-day voyage to Detroit and New York City.
Thereafter, in 2002, for a significant visit intertwined with the 80th and 65th anniversaries of our Sacred Archdiocese and Hellenic College & Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, respectively.
Afterward, in 2004, for a week-long journey to New York and New Jersey, during which I had the distinct honor and privilege to accompany Your All-Holiness as Your deacon.
Once more, in 2006, for the festivities surrounding the feast of Theophany in Tarpon Springs and the greater Tampa Bay area, as well as New Orleans.
And most recently, in 2009, when Your august presence was last enjoyed by Your pious sons and daughters here in America.
Of course, Your All-Holiness, since then, we have longed for Your return. And like the true father that You are, You have come once again to visit Your Vineyard, planted upon these shores.
We are overcome with deep emotion and much joy, because we behold in Your venerable person the embodiment of the Holy Great Church of Christ, which You have now led for thirty years — the longest Patriarchal tenure in history.
Indeed, we await with great eagerness Your sage guidance, paternal wisdom and wise Patriarchal counsel, as we strive to live the life of our Orthodox Christian faith in the very heart of America.
The coming days will certainly hold many experiences that we will all cherish, and which will inform our vision of the life of Christ in this land.
We look to You, then, Your All-Holiness, to show us the way, and to give to us a renewed and inspired vision for the faith of the saints and the Apostles that You know so well.
Your All-Holiness comes bearing the blessing of the Queen of Cities, where our faith resounds through the millennia. And we receive this special benediction with a sense of profound thanksgiving and deep appreciation.
And so, we stand before Your All-Holiness as loyal, faithful and devoted children, welcoming You — our father in Christ — into our midst, and praying that Your visit will be most pleasing to You in every way.