Churches seek better relations

Archbishop Ieronymos, the head of the Church of Greece, made his first official visit to the Phanar in Istanbul yesterday to meet with the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios, in an effort to pursue closer relations between the two churches. «I did not come here just to fulfill a duty,» said Ieronymos. «I came here to start a new and unshakable ecclesiastical cooperation… as our shared identity and our times demand.» Ieronymos’s predecessor, Archbishop Christodoulos, had shaky relations with Vartholomaios, although they improved before his death earlier this year. «The conditions, by the grace of God, have matured so that we can put aside our previous differences,» said Ieronymos. Vartholomaios is due visit Greece between the 13th and 17th of this month.