In a message to the Ecumenical Patriarch today, the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America condemned the September 30, 1996 bombing of the patriarchal complex in Istanbul by Islamic fundamentalists, and offered the prayers and support of his Church to all those affected by the early morning attack.
According to published reports, an organization known as the Islamist Front of Fighters of the Great East (IBDA-C) has claimed responsibility for the explosion that rocked the complex housing offices and worship areas for the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul.
In a letter to His All Holiness, Patriarch BARTHOLOMEW, Metropolitan THEODOSIUS expressed his grave concern over the unprecedented bombing, and offered his thanks to God that no one was seriously injured by the grenade. The explosion did, however, create noticeable damage to the newly renovated Cathedral of St. George and to private monastic quarters. “We can only be thankful today,” said THEODOSIUS, “as we celebrated the Feast of the Protection of the Theotokos, that She has extended her heavenly veil upon the Phanar and has protected Your All Holiness and members of your staff from injury…”
The Ecumenical Patriarchate has been the locus of numerous vocal attacks from political and religious leaders in this Moslem country in recent times. In a related move, religious fundamentalists are now striving to restore the ancient and highly revered Hagia Sophia in the city to a working Mosque.