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Bartholomew Prays That Arab Spring Will Not Deteriorate Into Fall

Upon arrival at Tallinn Airport yesterday, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I gave a press conference in which he discussed, among other things, the Syrian civil war.

"We follow with anxiety, especially in these days, the negotiations about Syria, and we pray for peace, I repeat, there and in Egypt and other tragic situations going on and in all the other Arabic countries. And we pray that the Arab Spring remains a true spring and not becomes [sic] a fall and a winter,“ Bartholomew said.

It is the third time Bartholomew has visited Estonia, this time coming for a week-long stay that will coincide with the 90th anniversary of the autonomy of the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church, ETV reported.

Arriving on the invitation of the Estonian president, Bartholomew will meet with the country's leaders and visit churches across the country, including on the islands of Kihnu and Saaremaa.

On Wednesday, he also stopped by Estonian Public Broadcasting for a TV interview, which is to be aired today. A video of his arrival at the ETV building is shown above.

In June, the Moscow Patriarch, who heads the other major Orthodox Christian denomination, also visited Estonia. The two churches have not always been on good terms, but both sides hinted a meeting could take place between Constantinople and Moscow representatives during Bartholomew's stay.

"There is a possibility we meet with his eminence Metropolitan Kornelius. I'm not quite sure. If there is anybody who wanted to see me during my stay in Estonia I am quite open and I am ready to receive anybody,“ Bartholomew said on Wednesday.

The Moscow Patriarchate in Estonia confirmed to ETV that a meeting could take place on Saturday at the Aleksander Nevski Cathedral.

There are around 175,000 Orthodox Christians in Estonia, only 20,585 of whom belong to the Constantinople denomination. The 2011 population census stirred debate earlier this year when it showed that Lutheran was for the first time a minority religion in Estonia, with 108,513 followers.

Bartholomew departs from Estonia on September 11.

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