ANONYMOUS (Greece) Bust Portrait of Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople (1886-1972) 1962 Phanar - x +
PHOT1962athe

CN: PHOT1962athe

MT: silver print on paper, matted and glazed within original frame (22x17 / F:33x24x2)

PR: P. Pyrlas Collection, Athens

DN: Mr. Megakles Rogakos - 2008

CM: Athenagoras I was the 268 th Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople from 1948 to 1972. § Patriarch Athenagoras was born Aristocles Spyrou on 25 March 1886 in Vasilikon, near Ioannina, Epirus, Greece, the son of the village doctor. His mother died when he was only 13. He attended the Patriarchical Theological School at Halki, Turkey, graduating in 1910. Upon graduating he was ordained to the diaconate taking the name Athenagoras. He served as archdeacon of the Diocese of Pelagonia before becoming the secretary to Archbishop Meletius (Metaxakis) of Athens in 1919. He was raised to the episcopacy as the Metropolitan of Corfu in 1922 while still a deacon. § Returning from a fact-finding trip to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in America in 1930, Metropolitan Damaskinos recommended to Patriarch Photios II that he appoint Metropolitan Athenagoras to the position of Archbishop of North and South America as the best person to bring harmony to the American diocese. The Patriarch made the appointment on 30 August 1930. § When Archbishop Athenagoras assumed his new position on 24 February 1931, he was faced with the task of bringing unity and harmony to a diocese that was racked with dissension between Royalists and Venizelists who had virtually divided the country into independent dioceses. To correct this he centralized the ecclesiastical administration in the Archdiocese offices with all other bishops serving as auxiliaries, appointed to assist the archbishop, without dioceses and administrative rights of their own. He actively worked with his communities to establish harmony. He expanded the work of the clergy-laity congresses and founded the Holy Cross School of Theology. Through his capable leadership he withstood the early opposition and gained the love and devotion of his people. § On 1 November 1948, Archbishop Athenagoras was elected Patriarch of Constantinople. He was honored to be flown to Istanbul to assume his new position in the personal airplane of the American President Harry Truman. As Patriarch, he was actively involved with the World Council of Churches and improving relations with the Bishop of Rome. § He died in Istanbul (Constantinople) on 7 July 1972. § His meeting with Pope Paul VI in 1964 in Jerusalem led to rescinding the 1054 excommunications of the East-West Schism. This was a significant step towards restoring communion between Rome and Constantinople. It produced the Catholic-Orthodox Joint declaration of 1965, which was read out on 7 December 1965, simultaneously at a public meeting of the Second Vatican Council in Rome and at a special ceremony in Istanbul. The declaration did not end the 1054 schism, but showed a desire for greater reconciliation between the two churches, represented by Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I. Nevertheless, not all Orthodox leaders at the time were happy with this Catholic-Orthodox Joint declaration, e.g., Metropolitan Philaret's 1965 epistle to the Patriarch. § Equally unpopular to both Orthodox and the Papacy was his acceptance of the special relationship that exists between the Orthodox, specifically Greek, and the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, wherein the Melkites never severed their ties with the Orthodox[citation needed], and consider their church an especially unique bridge between the separated Churches due to its Patriarchal nature, and the culture of the Near East where the East-West Schism is treated by the laity and many clergy as if it had never happened. [Megakles Rogakos 08/2008]

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