Patriarch in northern Greece for Mount Athos celebration

Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios, the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians, arrived in Thessaloniki on Tuesday and headed to Mount Athos, where he is to lead a service on Wednesday to mark 100 years since the semi-autonomous monastic community became part of the Greek state.

“I feel lifted spiritually every time I visited Mount Athos,” he told reporters on his arrival at Makedonia Airport, where he was met by dignitaries.

Vartholomaios will return to Thessaloniki on Saturday and will then spend several days attending events in the northern city and wider region.