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Turkish official's visit confirms new status of Orthodox Patriarchate

Catholic World News - January 07, 2011

Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople met on January 6 with the deputy prime minister of Turkey. It was the first meeting between the Ecumenical Patriarch and a Turkish government official since 1952.

For years the government of Turkey has refused to recognize the Patriarchate of Constantinople as anything more than a local religious community. But in November, a landmark court ruling required the government to recognize the Ecumenical Patriarchate as a legal institution with international standing.

Bulent Arinc, the official who met with Patriarch Bartholomew, said that he hoped the visit would “mark the beginning of a new era.” He said that the government looked upon the Orthodox hierarchy at Phanar as an important group of Turkish citizens “who have a centuries-old presence in these lands."

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