Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens will ring to hallelujahs instead of hockey fans’ enthusiasm May 31 as 20,000 Orthodox Christians pack the building for a divine liturgy celebrated by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, spiritual leader of the world’s 300 million Orthodox.
Bartholomew I Known in Europe as the `Green Patriarch’ for his conservationist concerns, Patriarch Bartholomew arrives in Ottawa May 25 at the start of a cross-Canada tour, during which he will meet Prime Minister Chrétien, Governor-General Romeo LeBlanc and religious leaders.
From Ottawa, he will travel to Winnipeg, London, Niagara Falls, Toronto and Montreal before returning to the Patriarchal See in Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey). Services will be attended by Orthodox Christians of all ethnic origins.
In Montreal, a service at the Church of the Annunciation will be followed by a street procession. The Ecumenical Patriarch is the 270th successor to the Apostle Andrew and is `first among equals’ of the bishops of the Orthodox Church.