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Mayor meets Patriarch Bartholomew at City Hall

On September 14th, Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart hosted His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at Tallinn Town Hall. The meeting encompassed Tallinn's good relations with the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church, environmental issues, and the city's initiatives as the European Green Capital, among others.

According to Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart, Tallinn has maintained strong relations with the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church. "The Patriarch's visit holds great symbolism as it aligns with the centenary of the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church's autonomy declaration and the thirtieth anniversary of its restoration, in which His All-Holiness played a pivotal role. We discussed what has changed in Tallinn and the world during these years, and what challenges await us in the context of climate change and the Ukraine war," Kõlvart said.

Given Patriarch Bartholomew's advocacy for environmental protection and Tallinn's status as the European Green Capital in 2023, the meeting also delved into environmental and climate-related issues. Mayor Kõlvart stated, "The title of European Green Capital has brought the delicate balance between our natural environment and the impact of human activitity into focus. Preserving and increasing biodiversity in our city is one of our main objectives, not only for this year but also in the long term." Patriarch Bartholomew also acknowledged the importance of global initiatives such as "World Cleanup Day," which originates in Estonia, in promoting sustainable lifestyles and changing people's perspectives on environmental responsibility.

Both Patriarch Bartholomew and Metropolitan Stephanos thanked the city for its support in the renovation of churches. Tallinn's commitment is demonstrated through the city’s "Church Renaissance" initiative, which provides support for the restoration of culturally significant churches under the protection of cultural heritage. The program has contributed to the restoration of the Orthodox Church of Estonia’s St. Simon's Church and Church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord in Tallinn. Additionally, Tallinn has provided assistance to Christian schools through cooperation with the Estonian Council of Churches.

Patriarch Bartholomew's fourth visit to Estonia will continue until September 20th.