Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met on Sunday with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of the Eastern Orthodox Christians worldwide, on the sidelines of an international summit for peace in Ukraine, held in Bürgenstock, Switzerland.

The summit, attended by 101 leaders and representatives of states and governments, notably excludes Russia, while China did not respond to the invitation. The world conference was also attended by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, who had a meeting with Greek prime minister.

During the meeting, Mitsotakis and Bartholomew discussed issues concerning the Ecumenical Patriarchate and expressed satisfaction with the positive developments regarding the prospect for a reopening of the Theological School of Halki, the Patriarchate’s main seminary on the same-name Marmara Sea island.

Closed by the Turkish government in 1971, the Halki Seminary has been unable to educate or train clergy, posing a significant obstacle to the survival of the now tiny Greek Orthodox community in Turkey.

Mitsotakis informed Bartholomew of his intention to visit Istanbul soon to further discuss matters concerning the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Greek diaspora.

On Saturday, Mitsotakis participated in the first plenary session of the conference and then had a one-on-one meeting with European Parliament President Roberta Metsola. This meeting was in preparation for the EPP leaders’ summit on Monday in Brussels, ahead of the informal EU leaders’ dinner to discuss the European election results and key appointments.