Remarks Following a Meeting With His All Holiness, Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome, Ecumenical Patriarch

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Ecumenical Patriarchate
Istanbul, Turkey
April 21, 2013

SECRETARY KERRY: It’s such a privilege to talk with somebody who has been such a voice for tolerance, a voice for interfaith understanding, who most recently visited with His Holiness Pope Francis and was at his investiture, and who has consistently talked out about protecting rights of minorities, protecting religious rights, and who is struggling for larger understanding in the world.

He is also an ardent environmentalist and has been honored by any number of universities, including our great University of Tufts in Massachusetts, with honorary degrees. He has a great following. I have many, many of his flock that I was privileged to represent for years in Massachusetts and have attended Orthodox services in Lowell, Massachusetts and other places, in Boston.

So for me to visit here with this protector of the rights of people to practice their religion and to try to bring people together in interfaith understanding is a great, great privilege for me. And I want to thank you so much, Your Holiness.

PATRIARCH BARTHOLOMEW: Thank you, Your Excellency.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you for my reception. And he gave me a beautiful rosary that the Pope gave him that’s been blessed by the Pope and by him, and I will carry that with great, great privilege.


SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, Patriarch.

PATRIARCH BARTHOLOMEW: Thank you. So have a nice life.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, Your Holiness. Thank you very much.

PRN: 2013/T04-05