Photo: Then-US vice-president Joe Biden greets Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the Phanar in 2011 (Nikos Magginas/Ecumenical Patriarchate)

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Asian Catholic Bishops have expressed their “delight and pride” at the “refreshing” ascent of Joe Biden to the US presidency.

– Patriarch to president-elect: “Citizens of the entire free world” hope in you “for a better future”

Patriarch Bartholomew, the Archbishop of Constantinople and the “first among equals” of the world’s Orthodox bishops and believers, wrote a personal letter to the president-elect November 9 in which he said his “joy and enthusiasm” for Biden’s win at the polls November 3 “are not merely personal sentiments”.

Bartholomew said the sense of satisfaction at Biden’s election was spread throughout the Orthodox Church worldwide but particularly in the US.

However, the Orthodox hierarch added that “beyond our Patriarchate, there are millions of Americans, as well as citizens of the entire free world, to whom you now offer hope (I could say conviction) for a better future, where the eternal values and ideals of a civilized humanity may prevail”.

“The Ecumenical Patriarchate has for many years been preoccupied with protecting the natural environment and addressing climate change, and so it especially celebrates the initiatives that you are prepared to assume on this urgent matter, as you have already declared, with regard to adhering to the Paris Agreement and asurring a cleaner environment“, Bartholomew wrote to Biden.

The patriarch recalled that in 2011 the president-elect paid a visit to the Phanar, the headquarters of the Orthodox Church in Istanbul, and with fond memories of that encounter reminded Biden that “the world is anticipating so much from you”.

“We… are praying that the omnipotent and omniscient God may grant you strength, health, inspiration and endurance to fulfill the expectations of all”, Bartholomew told the new US commander in chief, also expressing his “affection and admiration” for the politician.

– Asian Catholic Bishops: With Biden US “enters into a new phase” in its “glorious history”

At the same time as Bartholomew’s letter to the incoming US president, the Asian Catholic Bishops also sent their “prayerful wishes and congratulations to the people of America and the president-elect Joe Biden”.

In a November 9 statement signed by their president, Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon, in Myanmar, the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) celebrated that with Biden’s win the US “enters into a new phase in their glorious history, affirming democracy and universal good”.

Recalling that the president-elect “comes from a long tradition of Catholic faith-based life”, the Asian Bishops affirmed that Biden’s “concern for the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor is a refreshing welcome”.

The prelates said that they hoped that long concern of Biden’s would now carry over into his presidency, since the world “with its poor and its climate challenges look forward to the USA fortifying the global fight against global warming and poverty”.

“With prayerful wishes we welcome him and do hope his tenure will pay greater attention to countries in the margins like Myanmar”, the Asian Bishops concluded in their salutation to Biden.

They also called on the president-elect to ensure that the US returns to “play[ing] its leadership role in the company of international organizations like the UN” and also to “seeking economic and environmental justice for all”.

Vatican News refers to Democratic candidate as ‘president-elect’, dealing fresh blow to Trump

In yet another Church reaction to the US election, the official Vatican News website referred November 9 to the Democratic candidate as “president-elect”, dealing a fresh blow to now-former president Donald Trump’s pretensions to continue as US leader.

In an editorial signed by former Holy See spokesman and now deputy editorial director of Vatican Media, Alessandro Gisotti, Vatican News said the US “now faces the test of reconciliation after the most divisive presidential elections in the country’s recent history”.

In the face of that test, Vatican News reminded “the next resident of the White House” that Pope Francis’ theology of unity can be a helpful resource.

“If politics must truly be at the service of the human person, it follows that it cannot be a slave to the economy and finance”, Vatican News quoted from Francis’ speech to a joint session of the US Congress in September 2015.

The Pope continued on that occasion:

“Politics is, instead, an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life”.

More news on Novena from the US:

Catholic women congratulate Kamala Harris on becoming US vice-president elect, hope her example will filter into Church

US Bishops congratulate Biden-Harris, call on politicians “to come together in a spirit of national unity” post-election

Analysis: Biden has won the US election. Now begins his real test – to unite the nation

Analysis: What the US Election means for the (neo)liberal world order


PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.