A leader of the Eastern Orthodox church, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, offered his support for peace on the Korean Peninsula during a Dec. 3-8 visit to South Korea for the 50th anniversary of the St. Nicholas Cathedral in Seoul. He also visited the sensitive border area with North Korea and attended an international symposium. Patriarch Bartholomew
is regarded as the first among equals in the Eastern Orthodox Church and as the spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide. Patriarch Bartholomew had lunch on Dec. 6 with other religious leaders in South Korea after the congratulatory anniversary Mass joined by Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung
. During the lunch, Patriarch Bartholomew and Cardinal Yeom prayed together for peace on the peninsula. The patriarch presented a pectoral cross to the cardinal as a token of his respect. Patriarch Bartholomew said: "I pray to our merciful Lord of Peace for the peace and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula
. I also pray for the end of the Korean War and the divided families to meet and for two Koreas to exchange freely." Patriarch Bartholomew spoke to an international symposium on the environment held at the Grand Hilton Seoul Hotel on Dec. 7. "All the acts contaminating and destroying the ecology are going against God's will," he said.