by Ilber Ortayli, Professor
Archbishop Elpidophoros is the son of Istanbul. He was the metropolitan of Bursa; Since there was no congregation in Bursa, he was the dean of the Seminary of the Clergy in Heybeliada. He preserved this school as if it were alive, on behalf of the Patriarchate, which did not give up hope of opening it. He was elected as the archbishop of the congregation of the Americas and appointed patriarch Bartholomew.
In recent days, he was attacked by some bigots, most notably by the Foreign Ministry of Cyprus and Greece, for attending the opening of the Türkevi. I don’t think he cared. Although the Orthodox Church interferes in politics, it does not mix politics with itself. It is clear that he is one of the representatives of this principle. He knows Turkish well, loves Turkey, and is a cleric and scholar who understands very well that conflict with Turkey is not for the benefit of Orthodoxy. He knows this country. He knows his friends. He speaks many languages, his knowledge of history and philosophy is excellent.
Some of our circles need to adopt a similar understanding. The center of the Orthodox world is Istanbul. We cannot abandon this principle. This is the continuation of Turkey‘s historical role. The clergy who understand this are also sane and friendly, understanding clergy. The principled and mature behavior of Archbishop Elpidophoros as a Turkish citizen should be seen as an example and celebrated.