The apostolic visit of His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to the United States of America has been ridiculed by some as just a photo op with prominent members of the American political class. Indeed, often when leaders of all stripes go on such tours it is an opportunity to take pictures with great fanfare, but this trip was no ordinary trip and the leader, the Ecumenical Patriarch, is everything. except a passive spectator.
This apostolic visit also has a different meaning from the previous ones, and it has everything to do with the Ecumenical Patriarch himself but also with the occupant of the White House, whom he knows personally. The latest request to reopen the Halki Seminary and a reflection on the Turkish aggression in the Eastern Mediterranean from the mouth of the Ecumenical Patriarch in the United States of America carries a different weight, considering not only its title, but also the fact that the seat of the Orthodox Christian Church and those who determine its destiny are in today’s Turkey, making the question of Turkish-Greek relations both a conceptual and deeply personal problem which is a daily concern. The Ecumenical Patriarch and President Biden are both from the same generation, and they share liberal ideas designed to challenge and change their respective institutions which they hold with such respect. Greeks are often dismissive and not easily impressed, but we must recognize that we are witnessing a new climax in American relations with the Hellenic world.