Over at Ad Orientem, John wonders about the Green Patriarch’s pending trip (HT: George M.)
By my count H.A.H.’s itinerary includes…
6 liturgical functions + 1 prayer service at the UN
8 functions at which he will be honored or given some form of award
3 excursions that appear to be mainly sight seeing
2 functions where he will be speaking but do not appear to be aimed at honoring the EP and…
24 dinners, or private receptions in his honor with VIPs (excluding private meetings with Orthodox clergy). Many of these dinners and receptions will be taking place in 5 star establishments such as the Waldorf Astoria where H.A.H will be staying for much of his visit.
I am very glad to see that His All Holiness will be fed decently during his visit.
Still I wonder…
How many poor people could be fed off the collective bills from all of those formal receptions? Couldn’t they have just had one really nice dinner for him and let the man dine alone or among monastics after that? What exactly is the purpose of this visit? What exactly does he hope to accomplish hob-nobbing with high ranking politicos? Does he think he is going to convert them? Does he think he might persuade the United States to pressure the Turks to stop bullying the Church?
I am of course deeply honored when someone of the stature of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and New Rome visits the faithful in America. And it is nice to see a high ranking hierarch speaking out on things like the environment which are surely important. I guess it’s just the whole tone of the visit which seems to have more the characteristics of a state visit by royalty than a pastoral one. If we Orthodox ever wanted a Pope of our own he would seem to have the role down rather well, although Benedict XVI has revived the old Roman custom that the Pope dines alone.