Bishops, in Istanbul, talk peace

The three northern Greek bishops at the heart of an acrimonious dispute between the Church of Greece and the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate were full of smiles yesterday following a meeting in Istanbul with Patriarch Vartholomaios. Although the turf war formally ended on June 4, when Vartholomaios agreed to recognize the three after the Church of Greece accepted his suzerainty over 36 northern Greek bishoprics, relations remained tense. Matters only cooled down three days later, when Vartholomaios ostentatiously abandoned his rejected demand that the bishops should apologize to him in person, declaring instead that he was seeking their forgiveness, «because we saddened them in exerting our responsibilities.» Yesterday, Chryssostomos, Bishop of Eleftheroupolis, responded in kind. «As human beings, we may have saddened [Vartholomaios] in some way,» he said, «but he did not raise the question.» «We came to submit our respects and to seek his blessing.»