We are neither emigrants, nor foreigners nor guests in this country”. The spiritual leader of the Orthodox world, Patriarch Bartholomew making the opening speech at the conference entitled, “An Istanbul Encounter: Today and Tomorrow”, organised by the Graduates Association of the Zographian Lycee, stated that they would not abandon their ecumenical rights. He said, “As Turks, Greeks and from a minority, we are entering a critical period from the perspective of the European Union. We are criticised for trying to protect our ecumenical rights."
Adding that, "However, we insist that our responsibilities do not lie merely within the borders of this city or this country. The Istanbul Patriarchate is the religious centre for all those who are of the Orthodox faith the world over. We are not guests, emigrants or foreigners here. We are fully aware of the historical legacy we are taking on.”