Patriarch Bartholomew

When we arrived in Istanbul (Constantinople) we moored “Faneromeni” at the Atakoy Marina, located on the European side of Istanbul. We came via the island of Halki (one of the Princess Islands) where we had visited the famous Theological Seminary.

Note that, when traveling, the “Faneromeni” always flies a large Greek flag on a post attached to her tiller.

In the marina we were welcomed warmly and were assisted to moor in a berth located to the left of the entrance, on the central pier where the most luxurious yachts in the marina are moored.

The next day we observed intense activity next to our caïque. Cars, policemen, well-dressed gentlemen (not the usual sailors), etc. We concluded that a new arrival, perhaps with a VIP, was expected at the spot next to us, unoccupied at that time.

Indeed, after a while a large motor cruiser moored next to our caïque. It was then obvious that “the unusual activity” had to do with her arrival.

Once the motor cruiser was moored, we saw, to our surprise, the Patriarch Bartholomew disembark. After he greeted the group of bystanders on the quay, he walked towards the “Faneromeni” with her large Greek flag and came aboard.

We reverently kissed his hand and he blessed us. He told us that he knew about our arrival because he also came today from Halki where he had gone for a visit. The abbot there, Apostolos, Bishop of Agathonikea, had informed him of our visit to the island.

We spoke for a while. The Patriarch told us that he was impressed by our trip since it is very rare for a small boat to come to Istanbul (Constantinople) all the way from Greece. He said that he admired the “Faneromeni” and that, as an islander himself (he was born and raised on the island of Imbros), he loves old traditional boats.

Then I gave him a book that was given to me by Father Konstantinos Stratigopoulos of the Church of the Assumption in Glyfada (a suburb of Athens, near my home). Father Konstantinos had come to bless the “Faneromeni” before this trip, and he entrusted this book to me so that I could give it to the Patriarch when I would visit the Patriarchate in Istanbul (Constantinople).

The Patriarch knows Father Konstantinos well because he was born and raised in Istanbul (Constantinople).

Finally, before leaving the “Faneromeni,” the Patriarch invited us to the Patriarchate and the church of Ayios Yiorgios on the next day where there was going to be a special service and a celebration honoring the day of Saint Bartholomew.

Of course I went to the Patriarchate on the following day and attended the very impressive service, something I will never forget.