Orthodox Church in America Denounces Bombing Attack

Just after midnight on December 3, 1997 a powerful explosion rocked the complex of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople. According to combined news sources, an explosive device, believed to be a home-made bomb or grenade, was thrown over the wall of the Patriarchate from the direction of buildings above the compound. “It didn’t go off immediately…Then it was like a sonic boom,” a Church official told Reuters.

Damage was sustained to the roof of the Patriarchal Church, windows of the Patriarch’s offices were damaged, and fallen masonry and broken glass were scattered over a stone staircase. His All Holiness, Patriarch BARTHOLOMEW was not in residence at the time.

The third of the Patriarchal deacons, Nektarios Nikolou, who was working in his office at the time, was severely injured by the blast and taken to the city’s American Hospital where surgery was immediately performed to remove shrapnel and glass.

The Orthodox Church in America, in a statement issued yesterday by Metropolitan THEODOSIUS to Patriarch BARTHOLOMEW, condemned the attack against the sacred grounds of the Patriarchate. “We lament these on-going attempts by religious fundamentalists who continue their onslaught against the Phanar,” wrote the Metropolitan. “I have communicated with officials at the Turkish Embassy in Washington over previous attacks, and sincerely hope that proper authorities will bring an end to this aggression,” he concluded.

We pray for the speedy and complete recovery of Deacon Nektarios.