Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis and his Istanbul counterpart Ekrem Imamoglu on Friday visited the Patriarchate in the Phanar district, where they were received by Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios.
“The Patriarchate always sees itself as a bridge of friendship, peace and solidarity,” Vartholomaios said and hailed the political symbolism of the joint visit.
In his comments, Bakoyannis said that the city was “blessed to be the undisputed seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.”
“This is a gift of history which strengthens the dialogue between cultures, bolsters interfaith relations and guarantees the peaceful coexistence between different peoples,” he said.
Imamoglou, who comes from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said both sides had “a historic responsibility to build a bridge of peace between Athens and Istanbul.”