Bush Welcomes Patriarch Bartholomew at White House

WASHINGTON, D.C., MARCH 6, 2002 (Zenit.org).- U.S. President George W. Bush on Tuesday met Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, spiritual leader of the world´s Orthodox Christians, who talked about his peace efforts during a recent visit to Iran.

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Afterward, the patriarch said he and Bush also discussed the status of Middle East peace efforts, Bartholomew said, according to the Associated Press.

«He said that much hatred exists there, and that he will continue his efforts until he is able to bring peace there and worldwide,» the patriarch told reporters at the White House.

Bartholomew is the spiritual leader of 14 autonomous Orthodox Christian churches, including those of Greece and Russia.

During his visit to Iran, Bartholomew told Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders that they must promote dialogue and peaceful coexistence, especially since Sept. 11.

Another member of the delegation at the White House, Archbishop Dimitrios, said Bush displayed «real love, real appreciation, for what the ecumenical patriarch does» in fostering «universal peace and universal friendship.»

Bartholomew was wearing a pair of American flag cufflinks that he said caught Bush´s eye. «He liked it,» the patriarch said.

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