Patriarchal Statement during the Press Conference after the Meeting
with His Excellency President Alar Karis
(Office of the President, Kadriorg, September 12, 2023)
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Your Excellency, Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We ascribe all glory, honor, and worship to the Father of Lights, and to His Son our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the All Holy, Good and Life-creating Spirit, Who has vouchsafed us to arrive in safety and serenity, after sailing the waters of the Baltic Sea from your dear friend, Finland, to this wondrous land of Estonia.
We come replete with blessings from the Mother Church of Constantinople, to partake in the celebration of the One Hundredth Anniversary of the granting of the status of autonomy to the Orthodox Church of Estonia by the Mother Church of Constantinople.
And we come in the sure and certain knowledge of the strength, vibrancy, and faithfulness of the Estonian Orthodox People, who have embraced their identity and their autonomy with Christ-like love.
One hundred years ago, our Ecumenical Patriarchate, which serves the whole of Orthodox Christianity in peace and wisdom, recognized the aspirations for independence and self-actualization of the Orthodox faithful in Estonia. In the midst of the political, economic, social, and indeed – spiritual – convulsions of the aftermath of the First World War of the early Twentieth Century, the Mother Church made special provision for the ecclesial continuity of the Orthodox People of Estonia.
Now, a century later, we see in your shining faces the magnificent increase and harvest that God has wrought in your midst. We behold the miracle that God has accomplished in you, knowing, as the Psalmist sings:
God is wondrous in his Saints! The God of Israel; He will giver power and strength unto His People. 
We rejoice to be with you during these sacred and extraordinary days, praying that the Lord will grant unto all of you, and unto the righteous Government of Estonia, tranquility, prosperity, and above all, the grace to live your lives in accordance with the greatest commandment to “love one another.” 
Mr. President, we wholeheartedly thank you for your gracious invitation and for this great honor to officially receive us and our honorable entourage upon our arrival to this blessed land of Estonia.
May God’s infinite mercy always cover this land, and bless all of you – now and always, and unto the ages of ages. Amen!
 Psalm 67:35 (LXX)
 John 13:34.
Statement by President Alar Karis
at his joint press conference with
His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople
12 September 2023
Your Holiness, dear journalists and quests,
It is my greatest pleasure to welcome You, Your All-Holiness to Estonia and congratulate the Orthodox Church on the 100-year anniversary of its autonomy. We are grateful for Your personal contribution in building up the Orthodox Church in Estonia.
Much like the Orthodox Church of Estonia, Estonia itself has gone through many trials throughout its history. Although the Church in Estonia has been separated from the state, they have always supported each other in difficult times.
The Orthodox Church has played an important role in preserving and promoting the long traditions of Estonian-language orthodox faith in Estonia and in exile during the years of Soviet occupation.
In recent decades, the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church has been restored. The Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church, under the leadership of Metropolitan Stephanos of Tallinn and All Estonia, has contributed greatly to the cohesion of Estonian society and to catering for the spiritual needs of the faithful, which is of enormous importance for the mental health and resilience of our people.
I would also like to highlight the Church’s indispensable efforts in maintaining and strengthening the identity of the Seto people of south-eastern Estonia.
The Orthodox Church of Estonia upholds essential values and shapes our ethics and culture. I welcome the academic cooperation between the University of Tartu, Volos Academy for Theological Studies and the Orthodox Church of Estonia. The study program “Orthodox Church and Contemporary Challenges” significantly enriches our theological diversity.
Your All-Holiness, I am deeply impressed by Your unwavering commitment in helping Ukraine in this brutal and unjustified war that Russia started. Russia’s war is not only a war against the people, culture and territory of Ukraine. It is a war against the common values and virtues of all peace-loving and free societies around the world.
It is thus imperative that we collectively join forces and maintain our comprehensive support for Ukraine. We highly appreciate your efforts in Ukraine, where the Orthodox faithful can now celebrate the liturgy in the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
The Orthodox Church of Ukraine does not only play a powerful role in helping the people of Ukraine to keep their spirit, deal with the sorrow and pain and endless grieving. Its efforts will also be essential in helping the people and the society to rebuild and recuperate, once the war has been won.
I also admire your decades-long personal leadership on environmental issues. I have vivid memories from the Baltic Sea symposium held in Estonia in 2003, which was patronized by His All Holiness.
The well-being of our environment and sustainability remains high on our agenda. In Estonia, we strive to use technological innovation to better protect the environment. We understand the magnitude of the triple crisis – climate change, loss of biodiversity, and pollution. Therefore, we are accelerating our energy transition, nature restoration, and support the green transitions and United Nations climate goals.
We hope that the international community will designate Estonian initiative the Global Cleanup Day as an official UN day, acknowledging our efforts to keep our environment cleaner. Nature and environmental protection are ingrained in our national DNA, and as such we highly appreciate your dedication as the Green Patriarch.
Your Holiness, I cordially thank you once again and I am convinced that Your visit to Estonia will further facilitate our already excellent relations.