NEW YORK - 20090407 – His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew had a private meeting today with President Barack Obama. The meeting took place at the Conrad Hotel in Constantinople (modern day Istanbul ) at approximately 9:45 in the morning.  His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America and the White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, were present at the meeting.

The meeting and ensuing discussion were marked by a spirit of warm cordiality and mutual respect.  The substance of the discussions included President Obama’s mention of the issue of the Theological School of Halki in his speech before the Turkish Parliament, and his further discussion of the same with the President of the Turkish Republic , Abdullah Gul. The President said that he would follow up on the issue with a view to a favorable solution for the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew made reference to the following points:

1. He made a convincing and passionate argument for the speedy re-opening of the Theological School of Halki, a basic need for the education and preparation of Clergy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
2. He emphasized the importance of religious liberty and the guarantee of same for all minorities of Turkey .
3. He stated his well-known and long time support for the efforts of Turkey to join the European Union.
4. He noted the significance of efforts made on behalf of the environment, adding information on his own upcoming Ecological Symposium in the U.S.A. ( Mississippi River ) in October of 2009.
5. He thanked President Obama for this meeting and for his active interest in the pressing issues of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

His All Holiness mentioned that he had sent to the President, through the local U.S. General Counsel, an icon of the Prophet Baruch (patron of the President) with a handwritten inscription. He also congratulated the President for the championship victory of the University of North Carolina ’s Basketball Team, which the President had chosen to win.

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Christ is Risen!

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and to those in the tombs bestowing life! (Troparion)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Although You descended into the tomb, O Immortal One, * You destroyed the power of Hades; * You arose as the victor, O Christ God, * proclaiming to the myrrh-bearing women: “Rejoice!” * And granting peace to Your Apostles, * O, You, Who gives resurrection to the fallen. (Kontakion)

Teachings of Christ

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." (John 3:16-18 ESV)

Random Proverb

"The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing." (Proverbs 9:13 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Monasticism itself is a perpetual labor of conquering passions and uprooting them in order that, being in a pure and immaculate state, one may preserve oneself before the face of God. This, then, is your task! Give your attention to it, and direct all your powers towards it.

St. Theophan the Recluse