Orthodox Christian Leader Hospitalized at Beginning of US Visit

Greek Orthodox officials say the spiritual leader of 200 million Eastern Orthodox Christians has been hospitalized in Washington on the first day of his 12-day visit to the United States.

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America said Ecumenical Chief Bartholomew was preparing to attend a service at a cathedral in the nation’s capital when he felt unwell due to the “long flight and busy schedule.”

The Archdiocese said Bartholomew was advised by his doctor to rest and to a local hospital for observation.

Later, the Archdiocese said the condition of the 81-year-old man had improved and was expected to be discharged from the hospital on Monday (25/10).

Bartholomew’s schedule of activities is very tight, which includes discussions on religious, political and environmental issues. He is scheduled to meet with President Joe Biden and attend several interfaith ceremonies and activities.

A 2017 Pew Research Center report found there are about 200 million Eastern Orthodox adherents worldwide. Pew reports there are about 1.8 million Orthodox in the US, and nearly half of whom are Greek Orthodox. [vm/jm]

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