YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The Head of the Greek Orthodox Church and Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinopole–His Holiness Bartholomew I–arrived in Yerevan Monday on what was the first visit of the Ecumenical Patriarch to Armenia. His visit was described by Catholicos of All Armenia’s–Karekin I–as "a new golden bridge linking the Constantinopole Patriarchy–the Greek Orthodox Church and the Armenian Church–the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin."
"My wish is that good relations between Armenia and Greece–as well as Turkey–should continue to develop," His Holiness Bartholomew I said at a news conference at the Zvartnots airport in Yerevan.
Asked if the ecumenical movement could result in the unification of Christian churches–the Ecumenical Patriarch answered–"not at once–not tomorrow–but we are hoping that day will come soon."
"We are also sorry to hear about the hasty decision of the Georgian Church," Bartholomew I added–referring to the Georgian Orthodox Church’s May 20 decision to quit the World Council of Churches as instructed by the Synod.
The Catholicos-Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church–Ilya II said during his recent visit to Armenia that elemen’s of Protestantism observed in the ecumenical movement had forced the Georgian Church to quit the Council.
"There is no doubt that some things the Orthodox churches do don’t agree with the World Church Council. But we must be there to correct those mistakes," the Ecumenical Patriarch said.
Bartholomew I hoped the problems the Georgian Church was facing which had given rise to its decision to leave the Council would be resolved and the Georgian Church would once again return to the World Church Council.