Ecumenical Patriarch Discusses Climate Change at White House

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew with President Barack Obama. (Photo by N. Manginas)

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I made a reciprocal visit to the White House on Wednesday, following up on President Obama's visit to Turkey earlier this year in April.

At the center of the more than half hour discussion was the issue of climate change, with the Patriarch thanking Obama for his initiatives on the matter, while also urging him to run an even more intensive campaign.

The President in turn commended Bartholomew for his responsibility towards the environment, mentioning specifically the Patriarch's recent symposium on preservation of the Mississippi River which followed shortly after Obama's first official visit to the Gulf Coast.

Obama also stressed his appreciation to Bartholomew for his leadership role in Orthodox Christianity, praising him for his commitment to re-opening the Theological School of Halki in Turkey.

In closing, the Patriarch assured Obama of his prayers for the President's healthcare initiatives for the sake of the poor and needy.

"The President with his kindness and openness received me and my delegation with love and honor," Bartholomew told reporters as he exited the White House.

Other scheduled meetings for the Patriarch in Washington include visits with Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi among others. The Patriarch, who resides in Constantinople, will conclude his visit to Washington and the United States on Friday.

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