Patriarch Bartholomew's Visit Due to Start Wednesday
Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch, will begin a weeklong visit to Estonia on Wednesday during which he will meet various national and Tallinn city leaders.
Bartholomew will meet President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, Tallinn Mayor Edgar Savisaar and church representatives, the Foreign Ministry said.
He will also visit Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church congregations throughout the country, which have been allied with Eastern Orthodoxy since 1922.
The church has 20,000 adherents in Estonia, many of them descendants of Estonians who converted in the 1800s. The visit comes three months after a visit by Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church, whose church counts close to 200,000 faithful in the country.
Relations between the two churches continue to be strained over a variety of territorial and property issues rooted in the Soviet occupation.