Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios, the spiritual leader of Eastern Orthodox Christians, Friday dismissed refuted rumours that he planned to resign due to health reasons.
In a meeting with senior Turkish-based clerics in Istanbul, the primate expressed his deep gratitude to them for their respect, love and support, as well as flowers and sweets, upon his return from his trip to the United States.
On behalf of the hierarchy, Metropolitan Apostolos of Derkoi, who deputized during the absence of Vartholomaios, thanked God for returning the patriarch to full health.
Earlier, Vartholomaios received the Austrian ambassador to Ankara, Johannes Wimmer, with whom he had a discussion on issues of mutual interest.
Last week, the 81-year-old patiarch underwent successful stent surgery in New York during his visit to the US.