Thursday, May 22, 2014

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Visits Dachau

(Greek Reporter) - Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox Church, visited Dachau, a former German-nazi concentration camp, on Monday. During his visit he prayed for the memory of the victims who were killed during the nazi occupation. According to Greek news this visit was symbolic, coinciding with the eve of the upcoming European elections, which are expected to reflect the theories that created Dachau, Auschwitz, Mauthausen and the hundreds of other concentration camps that cost thousands of lives.

The Ecumenical Patriarch passed through the gates of Dachau where a chilling inscription reads: “arbeit macht frei” (work makes you free) and wandered around the camp, guided by the museum’s director.

The Ecumenical Patriarch is currently on a nine-day trip to Germany, as part of the celebrations for completing fifty years of operation of the Orthodox Cathedral. In Berlin, he was welcomed by the German government and Chancellor Angela Merkel.

He is the first spiritual leader of the Orthodox Church to visit a nazi concentration camp in Germany, while Pope Benedict XVI, representing the Catholic Church, visited Auschwitz four years ago.

On Sunday, May 25, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will meet with Pope Francis in Jerusalem.
A small Russian Orthodox Chapel, named "Resurrection of our Lord," is located just to the left of the tourist entrance into the crematoria area at the Dachau Memorial Site. It was built by members of the Russian armed forces and was dedicated on April 29, 1995, the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp by American troops. More information available here.

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