İpek Yezdani – NEW YORK
The event was attended about 1,000 people, including officials from Turkey, Greece, GreekCyprus and the United States. Among the attendees was Turkey’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Feridun Sinirlioğlu.
Other attendees were the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, GreekForeign Minister George Katrougalos, members of the U.S. Congress, Mareva Grabowski Mitsotaki, the spouse of conservative New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Greece and prominent representatives of the U.S. Orthodox Greek community.
From the Turkish media, only Hürriyet newspaper was invited to observe the ceremony.
In his enthronement address, Lambriniadis acknowledged the contributions of his predecessor.
Lambriniadis was presented with the insignia of his office by Metropolitan Augoustinos of Germany, appointed by the Istanbul-based Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarch Dimitri Bartholomew as his personal representative to the enthronement.
“I convey my many thanks to especially my mother, who came all the way from the far end of the world for this ceremony. It is your love and support that made me who I am today. There is an important lesson that I have learned from our Ecumenical Patriarch [Bartholomew], and that is the importance of establishing bridges and relations between people,” he said.
Lambriniadis answered Hürriyet’s questions during a press meeting organized prior to the ceremony, saying that one of his priorities will be to work toward the reopening of the closed Halki Seminary on Heybeliada, an island off Istanbul’s coast.
“It is very important that this seminary is open. But this issue has nothing to do with other states; that this seminary opens is an obligation of the Turkish state for its citizens, and I think that the Turkish state is not cool towards this issue,” he said.
Established in 1844, the seminary was closed in 1971 under a law that placed religious and military training under state control. An international campaign to reopen the theological school is ongoing.
He had been serving as the principle of the Halki Seminary and also teaching as a professor at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece.