Toast at the beginning of the dinner hosted by the Apostolic Nunciature
in honour of His All Holiness Bartholomew
for the 30th anniversary of his election as Ecumenical Patriarch


(28 November 2021)


Your All Holiness,


On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of your election as Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch, many speeches have been made in your honour on your patriarchal ministry, and many more could follow due to your engagement in so many spheres. At the beginning of this dinner, I would like to take the opportunity not to make a long speech, but simply to express my own personal gratitude, and certainly of all here present, for your untiring commitment to promoting dialogue among Christians, between different religious traditions, and with the contemporary world. Many examples could be cited that illustrate this commitment, but in our context it will suffice to call to mind some of your words a few days ago in Athens when you once again sought to promote an authentic culture of understanding and encounter: “Dialogue always inspires and promotes mutual respect and reciprocal trust. Inter-Christian and interreligious dialogues, and also the exchange with the modern world, liberate creative forces within the Church and manifest the vital importance of Christian values for the present and the future of humanity”. Your All Holiness, I thank you for your courageous witness and for your precious magisterium, and express heartfelt best wishes for many further years of life and ministry.

I would like also to warmly greet all the guests, in particular Your Beatitude Sahak II. I thank you all because by your presence you have rendered visible the aspiration to foster the spirit of encounter and to grow in friendship and cooperation. In this splendid city in which Europe and Asia meet and in which diverse cultural and religious traditions have come together and have co-existed for so many centuries, it is all the more important that the different Christian communities are able to meet, to dialogue among themselves and to work together on themes of common interest.

I extend a special thanks to Monsignor Walter Erbi, the chargé d’affaires of the Apostolic Nunciature in Turkey, who organized this dinner and gathered us together to honour His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the 30th anniversary of his election.

I ask you now to raise your glasses to wish His All Holiness:

Chronia pollà, Panayotate! Ad multos annos!