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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew tests positive for COVID-19

A Patriarchate statement said that 'his general condition is good.'

FILE - Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew leads the official door-opening ceremony of lower Manhattan's St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. The spiritual leader of Eastern Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, was released from a New York hospital Friday, Nov. 5,  and is expected to fly home to Turkey on Sunday after the completion of a U.S. visit that was extended for a medical procedure. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey, File)

ISTANBUL (AP) — Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, has tested positive for COVID-19 and is displaying mild symptoms, the Istanbul-based Patriarchate said Friday.

A Patriarchate statement said that “his general condition is good.”

Bartholomew, who is 81 and recently had heart surgery, is fully vaccinated and on Friday once again urged the faithful to get their shots and follow the recommendations of doctors, the statement said.

It also conveyed his Christmas wishes to all.

In late October Bartholomew was hospitalized overnight in the United States and later had a stent installed to open up a clogged coronary artery.

Bartholomew is considered first among equals among Eastern Orthodox patriarchs, which gives him prominence but not the power of a Catholic pope.

Large portions of the Eastern Orthodox world are self-governing under their own patriarchs.

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