© Copyright Embassy of Greece 1996-2005. All Rights Reserved.
12 February, 2002
Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on Friday arrived in Tehran, at the invitation of the Iranian government, for a four-day visit, the first ever by an Ecumenical Patriarch to Iran and his second to an Islamic country.
He arrived in Tehran in a private jet and was met by the Iranian Islamic Republic's culture minister and Greece's Ambassador Charalambos Kougevetopoulos, as well as members of the Greek community in the city.
Vartholomeos, the "Primus inter pares" among Orthodox Patriarchs representing approximately 250 million Eastern Orthodox faithful around the world, is expected to meet in Tehran with Iranian President Mohammad Khatami and the leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Hoseini Khamenei.
The Patriarch is also scheduled to address members of the diplomatic corps serving in the Iranian capital on the issue of "Religion's Contribution to the Establishment of Peace in the Modern World", during his four-day visit in the Islamic republic.
Additionally, contacts with a delegation from the Inter-Religious Dialogue Center, other Iranian ministers and officials as well as a visit to the historic city of Isfahan are planned.
Vartholomeos' planned visit to predominately Shiite Iran comes three weeks after a high-profile "all-faiths meeting" in Brussels brought together representatives of all the world's major monotheistic religions - including several well-known clerics from the Muslim world - in a bid to increase cooperation and understanding among religious faiths.
Iran is the second Muslim nation, following Bahrain, to issue an official invitation to the Ecumenical Patriarch.
Source: Athens News Agency