"As a nation, we have been through worse times, under more difficult conditions, but we managed. I hope that this time, too, with national unanimity, under the leadership of your government, it will be able to 'cross over the river', as the saying goes. We will always be at your side, with our prayer," said the Ecumenical Patriarch, who is in Athens for the Special Olympics.
Greeting Bartholomew at his office in parliament, the Greek premier said that in these difficult times the country is going through "the Ecumenical Patriarchate gives us strength", while he also expressed appreciation for the Ecumenical Patriarch's efforts for Orthodoxy.
"We are inspired by your own struggle, a hard and perpetual struggle not only for the Ecumenical Patriarchate but for all of Orthodoxy and its just rights. A struggle you are waging with the cooperation among cultures and, of course, for the great cause of climate change," Papandreou told Bartholomew, who is known as the "green Patriarch" for his environmental activities.
"We are at your side, and your presence here in Greece gives us the strength we need for Greece to get out of the crisis and for the Greek people to be able to prosper," Papandreou told the Ecumenical Patriarch.
Immediately after the meeting, Bartholomew and Papandreou went to parliament where they addressed a special session devoted to the Special Olympics, which are being hosted in Athens.