US Ambassador Warns of Russian Efforts to Undermine Patriarch Bartholomew (video)

US Ambassador Pyatt with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at a recent meeting. File photo

US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt said on Tuesday there is evidence of Russian efforts to undermine Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

Pyatt said that “we’ve seen evidence of this kind of manipulation of information in Greece. We’ve seen Russian efforts in the Church, the efforts to undermine the role of the Ecumenical Patriarch.” Pyatt made his remarks in an interview with Antenna TV as he attended an Athens conference on disinformation and the manipulation of the news.

However, Pyatt denied that he has seen evidence of Russian interference in the upcoming Greek elections.

“I cannot tell you that I have seen evidence of efforts in order to meddle in Greece’s upcoming elections, but the purpose of this event tonight is to raise awareness so that Greece’s democratic institutions, Greece’s free press — which are all quite strong — can be alert and able to respond,” he said.

“As I said, all of our open societies are vulnerable to these new tools. We learned this the hard way in the United States during our presidential election,” Pyatt added.

Russia is angry at the Patriarch Bartholomew’s decision to recognize the new autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

In a letter sent on December 30, Kirill, the Patriarch of Moscow, warned Bartholomew that if he does not reverse the decision taken in Ukraine, he can no longer be considered the “ecumenical patriarch” of all universal Orthodoxy.