On 6 October 2017,His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew made a pastoral visit to the new Orthodox Community of Ankara,Turkey.In his toast to the community at a banquet in the Divan Hotel,the Patriarch summed up the meaning of his trip:
Today marks our first visit and encounter with the Orthodox Community in Ankara.Our presence here is not an accident;but,rather,it illustrates the bond of spiritual love that unites your community with the Mother Church,and shows that the Ecumenical Patriarchate is proud of and encourages your efforts to organise a new Orthodox Community in the capital of our beautiful country.We are particularly grateful to God for the recent creation of your community,which exemplifies in many ways the vocation and mission of the Ecumenical Patriarchate by serving all the Orthodox Christians of Ankara,regardless of their origins,their ethnic background,or their nationalities.The Ecumenical Patriarchate embraces diversity like your community and is composed of a variety of Orthodox faithful.
We would also like to extend our sincere gratitude to the Catholic Church,whose help has been essential.*
We wholeheartedly welcome once again the Ambassadors representing various countries of both Orthodox and non-Orthodox traditions.Your presence means a great deal to us.You honour the efforts,the progress,and the development of this community at a time of expansion of the pastoral ministry of the Ecumenical Patriarchate,the only Orthodox Church with the canonical authority to minister to the Orthodox faithful in this country.*
Patriarch Bartholomew also greeted the Turkish friends present at the banquet and expressed his encouragement to the community and the Very Reverend Archimandrite Vessarion,who serves the new parish.
In closing,the Patriarch wished to all:
health,strength and divine guidance,so that,in unity and in harmony,we may all contribute to the spiritual dialogue,so that this beautiful Orthodox Community in Ankara may continue to glorify God and be a positive component of the religious landscape of the capital,advocating for peaceful coexistence,in mutual respect of all fellow humans sharing a common destiny.*
Also on 6 October,His All-Holiness visited the Russian Embassy in Ankara.He conducted a trisagion memorial service there at the site of a future memorial to the Hero of Russia Ambassador Andrei Karlov,who was assassinated in Ankara at a photo exhibition on 19 December 2016.Embassy staff attended the trisagion and took part in the Patriarchal Divine Liturgy at St.Therese Church in Ankara,which the Catholic Church provided to the new Orthodox Community.
Embassy press attaché Irina Kasinova said it was the first ever visit by a Patriarch of Constantinople in the history of the Soviet and Russian diplomatic mission in Ankara.