Fordham University will present an honorary degree to His All Holiness, Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch, in a ceremony on Oct. 27.
The Ecumenical Patriarch, the 270th successor of the 2,000-year-old Christian Church founded by St. Andrew, will receive a doctorate of laws,honoris causa, at a ceremony to be held at the University Church on Fordham’s Rose Hill campus.
“We are honored, of course, to receive the Ecumenical Patriarch here at Fordham,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham. “His All Holiness instructs us in ecumenism and tolerance, in stewardship of the Earth and in fearless defense of faith. Therefore, we welcome Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and look forward to ever-stronger ties between the Orthodox Christian and Catholic churches.”
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will be visiting the United States between Oct. 17 and Nov. 5, beginning in Memphis, Tenn., leading his Eighth International Environmental Symposium, this time addressing the needs of the Mississippi River. He then will travel to New York City, where he will celebrate several liturgies before receiving an honorary doctorate from Fordham. Following his New York stay, His All Holiness will visit Atlanta and Washington, D.C.
The Ecumenical Patriarch has occupied the First Throne of the Orthodox Christian Church since 1991. He is the spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians throughout the world, and has worked in close and brotherly association with two Popes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
A citizen of Turkey, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s personal experience provides him a unique perspective on the continuing dialogue among the Christian, Islamic and Jewish worlds. He works to advance reconciliation among Catholic, Muslim and Orthodox communities, such as in the former Yugoslavia, and is supportive of peace-building measures to defuse global conflict in the region.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew co-sponsored the 1994 Peace and Tolerance Conference in Istanbul, which brought together Christians, Muslims and Jews. His efforts in environmental awareness, including the organizing of several environmental seminars, are highly noted, earning him the title “Green Patriarch.”
These endeavors, together with his inspiring efforts on behalf of religious freedom and human rights, rank Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew among the world’s foremost apostles of love, peace and reconciliation for humanity, a reason for which he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by the United States Congress in 1997.
Fordham is the only university in the United States to offer an interdisciplinary minor in Orthodox Christian studies, and has the only theology department in the country with two graduates from an Orthodox seminary on its faculty.