Communiqué N° 03-08 of the Archidiocesan Office

A delegation from the Archdiocese to the Ecumenical Patriarcat

On 29 January - 1 February 2008 Archbishop Gabriel of Comana travelled to Istanbul accompanied by Bishop Basil of Amphipolis, Michel Sollogoub (Secretary of the Archdiocesan Council) and Archpriest Alexander Fostiropoulos (a member of the Archdiocesan Council). The purpose of their visit was to meet with His All-Holiness Bartholomew the Ecumenical Patriarch and consult with the Commission for Dioceses outside Turkey. They were able to have lunch and speak with the Patriarch briefly on Wednesday, after the celebration of the Divine Liturgy for the Feast of the Three Holy Hierarchs (the relics of two of whom are now in the Patriarchal cathedral) and before he left to preside at the funeral of the newly-departed Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens.

On Thursday the delegation held a lengthy meeting with the members of the Commission to discuss in detail the development of the Archdiocese and the ways in which it can best relate to the other work of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Western Europe.

On Friday the delegation was privileged to accompany His All-Holiness, who had by now returned from Athens, as he visited one of the Orthodox churches in Istanbul, dedicated to the Virgin Mary and situated not far from the Belgrade Gate in the Theodosian Walls of the former Byzantine capital. After the Divine Liturgy there was an opportunity to meet the congregation during light refreshments and to hear the Patriarch and Archbishop Gabriel address the faithful. After lunch and a further short meeting with His All-Holiness the delegation returned to Paris and to London.

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