MANILA, Feb. 25, 2015–Over a month after Pope Francis’ successful apostolic trip, the “primus inter pares” of the worldwide Orthodox family, is coming to the Philippines to attend a forum on climate change.
It will be the second visit of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople to the biggest Catholic nation in Asia.
French state visit
According to an announcement issued by the French Embassy in Manila, the Orthodox head will be in the country as part of the delegation of French President François Hollande during the latter’s official two-day state visit to the country on Feb. 26 to 27.
An environmentalist, Bartholomew is expected to give a speech at a climate change forum in the Philippine capital.
Joining him are a dozen personalities known for their environmental advocacies like actors Jeremy Irons, Marion Cotillard, Mélanie Laurent, and high-profile officials from various international organizations.
French businessmen and representatives from various French higher educational institutions will also be travelling with the group.
In an interview with CBCP News, Fr. James Doronela, parish priest of the Annunciation Orthodox Cathedral in Parañaque City, said his office has no information yet whether the patriarch’s coming will include visits to the local Orthodox community.
The Greek Fener Orthodox Patriarchate, however, has confirmed French Metropolitan Emmanuel Adamakis and Dr. John Chryssavgis will accompany Bartholomew on the trip.
In a press release, the Patriarchate says it is sensitive about climate change and has contributed much on the issue, prompting Bartholomew to accept the French president’s invitation.
Since becoming leader of the Orthodox world in 1991, Bartholomew has earned the nickname the “Green Patriarch” for his concern for the environment.
First trip to PH
Besides hobnobbing with his Asian flock, UCANews reported the patriarch last visited the Philippines in 2000 during which he donated US$10,000 for a seminar on rivers and received an honorary degree from Adamson University, citing him for his “work in the field of ecology and his achievements in working for peace and harmony among people of different ethnic groups.”
The climate change forum in Manila is organized ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 21) to be held in Paris between Nov. 30 and Dec. 11, 2015. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)