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Presidential couple meets Constantinople patriarch

On the second day of their visit to Turkey, the Polish presidential couple met with Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople. “The Patriarch is a symbol for all the faithful of the Orthodox Church, also in our homeland,” president Andrzej Duda said.

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During the Tuesday meeting, president Duda thanked the patriarch for inviting him to the place which is “the eternal capital of the Church and Christianity and the eternal capital of the Eastern Church.” Andrzej Duda also thanked Bartholomew I for prayers and spiritual support during the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic.

Poland’s head of the state stressed that although he and his spouse are of a Catholic profession, “a visit to our brothers is a great spiritual and friendship experience for us.”

He pointed out that for him, as the Polish President, it was also an important moment, as he represented all his compatriots who are faithful to the Orthodox Church in Poland.

“It is also a special time when, together with our compatriots, Poles, but also our fellow citizens of Belarusian origin, we pray for peace, we pray that the faithful may live peacefully in Belarus,” president Duda said.

Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople stressed that he agreed with the Polish President on the fact that faith and religion are the basis of culture. “I greatly appreciate the fact that the president attaches importance to the institution of the family and to family bonds, which also form the foundation of culture,” he added.

Earlier on Tuesday, at the Ferikoy Cemetery, President Duda unveiled a plaque commemorating Wojciech Rychlewicz – the Consul General of Poland in Istanbul, who during WWII was involved in issuing false Catholic certificates to thousands of Polish Jews. This enabled them to travel to Palestine and to several North and South American countries.

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