Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will arrive in New Orleans, on Oct. 20 to begin his Apostolic and Patriarchal Visit to the United States. The purpose of this, his sixth visit to the United States, is twofold: to convene and preside over the Eighth Religion, Science and the Environment (RSE) Symposium, and to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the enthronement of Archbishop Demetrios of America as the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
The Ecumenical Patriarch, under whose high patronage the Religion, Science and the Environment (RSE) Symposia take place, will lead a large and diverse group of theologians, scientists, policy makers, environmentalists, representatives of business and NGOs, and media for a five day Environmental Symposium entitled; “Restoring Balance: The Great Mississippi River.”
Since 1995, RSE has convened seven symposia to study the fate of the world’s waters which cover seven-tenths of our planet’s surface. These assemblies of scientists, environmentalists, policy-makers and representatives of the world’s main religious faiths have established a vibrant environmental ethics movement. Underlying RSE’s strategies is a core belief that the analytical tools of science and the spiritual messages of religion must work in harmony if the earth’s environment is to be safeguarded. The symposia take place afloat, bringing participants international and regional religious leaders, scientists, environmentalists, policy makers, media representatives and other prominent figures in politics and business directly to endangered bodies of water. Policy and planning for the symposia are developed by the Religious and Scientific Committee composed of senior international figures from religion and science, under the chairmanship of Metropolitan John of Pergamon. Representatives from countries relevant to each symposium are also part of the organizing committee. Previous symposia have been attended by heads of state, environmental ministers, ministers of economic affairs and prominent intellectual figures. (More information on the Mississippi symposium: www.rsesymposia.org)
Following the Symposium, Bartholomew will travel to New York City for week-long celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the Enthronement of Archbishop Demetrios. It will commence with the Feast Day Great Vespers of St. Demetrios the Myrrh-streamer at the Parish dedicated to the Great-Martyr in Merrick, NY. The next day, he will preside at the Feast Day Divine Liturgy at St. Demetrios Cathedral in Astoria, NY. On the evening of the 26th, he will preside at the 9th Annual Prayer service for the United Nations at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. The service is sponsored jointly by the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) and the Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Bishops in America (SCOOCH).
On Tuesday, October 27th, he will meet with the Primates of SCOBA. Under the leadership of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the worldwide Orthodox Church has moved significantly in the past year toward a canonical normalization of the Churches that exist in the so-called “Diaspora.” This opportunity for the Members of SCOBA to meet with the Ecumenical Patriarch comes at a fortuitous time in the process. Immediately after their meeting, Archbishop Demetrios is hosting the SCOBA Primates and other major ecumenical and interfaith leaders at a luncheon in honor of Bartholomew.
Later in the evening of the 27th, Fordham University will bestow and honorary doctorate in law to the Ecumenical Patriarch. In recognition of the Ecumenical Patriarch’s leadership in the fields of environmental responsibility, and interfaith and inter-cultural dialogue, Fordham is also presenting the initial volume of a three-part series of major speeches he has delivered. Among all the festivities organized by Fordham, there will be a special opportunity for the students of the local Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) to meet with and receive the blessing of the Ecumenical Patriarch.
On Wednesday, Oct. 28th, he will have meetings with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the United Nations, as well as with Jewish religious and lay leaders hosted by Rabbi Arthur Schneier, President of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation.
The Ecumenical Patriarch will also travel briefly to Atlanta, and celebrate an Ecumenical Doxology in the Annunciation Cathedral of the Metropolis. Following his return to New York City on Friday, Oct. 30th, he will attend a reception at the Museum of Biblical Art (MOBIA) which will be presenting a month-long (mid-October to mid November) exhibition in his honor and his environmental initiatives.
Following the reception at MOBIA, Bartholomew will attend a gala musical celebration at the famed and re-opened Alice Tully in New York, both in honor of his presence in the United States and in tribute to the decade of service of Archbishop Demetrios. Maestro Peter Tiboris will lead the Manhattan Philharmonic in a program and a special appearance by the Archdiocesan Metropolitan Youth Choir.
On Saturday, Oct. 31st, he will address the Archdiocesan Council and meet with the National Board of Philoptochos. In the evening of the 31st, the Order of Saint Andrew, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate will present their annual banquet in honor of the Ecumenical Patriarch. A special speaker for the evening will be the newly enthroned Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan.
On Sunday, November 1st, the Ecumenical Patriarch will preside at a Patriarchal Divine Liturgy with Archbishop Demetrios and all the Members of the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York City. In a rarely seen occasion, he will personally conduct the investiture of the new Archons of the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle.
In the evening of November 1st, the Patriarchal Delegation leaves for Washington DC. While in the DC Metro Area, Bartholomew will mark his 18th year as Ecumenical Patriarch in a Doxology service at the Sts. Constantine and Helen Church in Annapolis, MD.
Throughout the first week of November, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will meet with the highest leaders of the United States: the President, the Vice President, the Speaker of the House, the Secretary of State, and the Majority Leader of the Senate. Both Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Clinton will host dinners in his honor.
Additionally, the Ecumenical Patriarch is scheduled to speak at the Brookings Institution and at Georgetown University in a joint event sponsored by Georgetown and the Center for American Progress.