Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople

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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I (Greek: Οἰκουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαῖος Α', Turkish: Patrik I. Bartolomeos) (born 29 February 1940) is the Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch,[1] and thus "first among equals" in the Eastern Orthodox Communion, since 2 November 1991.[2][3][4][5] Named one of the 2005 Champions of the Earth.


Early life and career

Bartholomew I was born in the village of Zeytinli (Άγιος Θεόδωρος) in the island of Gökçeada (Ίμβρος Imvros in Greek), son of Christos and Merope Archontónis. His secular birth name is Dimitrios Arhondonis (Δημήτριος Αρχοντώνης, Dimítrios Archontónis). By citizenship his nationality is Turkish and he belongs ethnically to the small remnants of the native Greek community in Turkey.

Dimitrios Archontonis attended elementary school in his native Imvros and continued his secondary education in the famous Zographeion Lyceum in Istanbul. Soon afterwards, he studied Theology as an undergraduate at the Patriarchal Theological school or Halki seminary, from which he graduated with highest honours in 1961, and was immediately ordained deacon, receiving the name Bartholomew. Bartholomew fulfilled his military service in the Turkish army as a reserve officer between 1961 and 1963. From 1963 to 1968, Bartholomew pursued his postgraduate studies at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey in Switzerland and the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich in Germany. His doctoral research was on the Canon Law. The same year he became a lecturer in the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

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