Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and a privilege to welcome to our capital city His All Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew the First, spiritual leader of all Orthodox Christians worldwide. This is indeed an historic visit for it is the first time in the history of Christianity that an Ecumenical Patriarch visits Canada.
His All Holiness is the 270th successor to the Apostle Andrew. Since his ascending to the ecumenical throne on November 2, 1991, he has tirelessly pursued the vision of his enthronement message which is spiritual renewal, orthodox unity, Christian reconciliation, interfaith tolerance and co-existence, protection of the environment and a world united in peace, justice, solidarity and love.
Known to Europe as the Green Patriarch, His All Holiness has taken the lead among all religious leaders in his concerns for the environment. We here in Canada not only applaud but support this endeavour wholeheartedly.
Time does not permit me to go on in great detail about his achievements but let me just say in closing we welcome him to Canada and I am sure his stay will be a memorable one.