Archbishop Elpidophoros Meets With Pompeo on Hagia Sophia, East Med Tensions

Archbishop of the Americas Elpidophoros and American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the State Department on Thursday. Credit: Elpidophoros/Facebook

Elpidophoros, the Greek-Orthodox Archbishop of the Americas, met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday at the State Department.

Discussing issues ranging from the takeover of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul to peace in the Mediterranean, the talks were the first time that the two had met after the Byzantine cathedral had been reconverted by the Turkish government in July.

Elpidophoros later Tweeted remarks about the meeting, saying he was “grateful to Secretary Pompeo for his ready ear to listen to concerns around security for the Ecumenical Patriarchate, peace in the Mediterranean, and the seizure of Hagia Sophia.

“The US must uphold rule of law, rights of minorities in Turkey, and peace for Greece, Cyprus and Turkey,” the Archbishop added.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Elpidophoros also said that he expressed his “grave concerns about Turkey’s aggressive stance in the Eastern Mediterranean.”

“I also had occasion to express the ever-increasing apprehension and deepest concern of the Greek-American community over an ever-increasing aggressive stance of Turkey against Greece and Cyprus. I sought from the secretary of state the support of the American government for the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Greek community in Turkey and for all religious minorities in Turkey,” Elpidophoros added in a statement issued after meeting.