Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on Thursday received the new US ambassador to Turkey, Francis Ricciardone at the Patriarchate seat in the Fanar district of Istanbul.

"It was a very great honor to come here on my first day back in Istanbul after being away from Turkey for many years. It was very moving, of course, to meet His All Holiness (Bartholomew). The last time I had yet him had been with Mrs. Clinton in 1996. We discussed issues of concern to the Church and also to the United States, the concern to support religious freedom everywhere in the world," Ricciardone said, adding:

"We both discussed with great pleasure modern Turkey's ambition to serve as an example of freedom and democracy. As always I conveyed the greetings of Secretary Clinton, the good-wishes of the United States, the people and government of the United States and my respect for the Ecumenical Patriarchate and for its community.