His Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeos, born Dimitrios X. Archontonis, was born in Agioi Theodorou, Imbro, on February 29, 1940. He attended the circular courses at the Primary School of his village, the Zografieo Gymnasium-Lyceum of Constantinople and the Central School of Imbro. He then studied at the Holy Theological School of Chalkis, the Institute of Oriental Studies in Rome (Gregorian University), the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey (Switzerland) and the University of Munich. He speaks seven languages.
He was ordained Deacon in 1961, priest in 1969 and Metropolitan of Philadelphia in 1973. In 1990 he was promoted to Metropolitan Bishop of Chalcedon; and on October 22, 1991 he was elected Ecumenical Patriarch.
Between the years 1961-1963 he fulfilled his mandatory military service.
He was the Director of the Special Office of His immediate predecessor, Patriarch Dimitrios, throughout His Patriarchate (1972-1991).
Since His election as Ecumenical Patriarch, he has been working to strengthen pan-Orthodox unity and cooperation. For this purpose, he established Synods of the Orthodox Primates and made many visits to them, as well as inviting them and welcoming them to His Holy See in Fanari. He convened the Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church, which took place in Crete in June of 2016, and presided over its work. It also promotes ecumenical dialogue with the other Christian Churches and Confessions, visiting their headquarters and participating in inter-Christian conferences and anniversary events.
During his Patriarchate he was received by many heads of State and government, many of whom officially visited His Holiness at the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He was invited and gave speeches at the European Parliament (1994, 2008), the Council of Europe (2007), UNESCO, the Forum 2000 in Prague (2019), the World Economic Forum in Davos (1999, 2020) etc.
He has been awarded the highest honors of many States, including the Gold Medal of the American Congress, as well as the title of honorary doctorate from many University Institutions of the world.
From the year 2004, he expanded the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, extending an invitation to the Hierarchs of the Throne outside Turkey to participate in it. Furthermore, he convened several Synods of the Hierarchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
He also established regular pilgrimage visits to Cappadocia and other "extinguished lights" in Asia Minor and Eastern Thrace, where, after many decades, holy Liturgies were held, culminating in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy in the historic Monastery of Panagia Sumela (15.8.2010), which continued until 2015.
He visited most provinces throughout the world, blessing and strengthening the pastoral work being carried out in them. Also, following His proposal, new Metropolias were established by the Holy and the Patriarchate.
Upon His initiative, the "Anniversary of the Ecumenical Patriarchate" has been published since the 1990s, and the official information magazine of the Mother Church "Orthodoxia" was also republished.
Immediately after his election, he arranged for the reopening of the Theological School of Halki, which has remained "silent" since 1971; and for the achievement of this righteous goal he continues his efforts unabated.
At the same time, His Holiness works systematically in the context of the interest of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, since the time of Patriarch Dimitrios, to raise the awareness of States and peoples with the aim of preserving Creation and protecting the natural environment, convening, among other things, ecological seminars in Halki and many international Symposia oversees in various parts of the world.