Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — The spiritual leader of Eastern Orthodox Christians was recovering well in a New York hospital Thursday after a medical procedure delayed his return home to Turkey at the end of a U.S. visit, according to a doctor who treated him.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was in good spirits and feeling “very spiffy” after having a stent installed Wednesday to open up a clogged coronary artery, said Dr. George Dangas, a cardiologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

Bartholomew, 81, had been scheduled to return home Wednesday at the end of a 12-day U.S. itinerary, his first visit to the country in several years.

He was hospitalized previously in Washington on Oct. 24 soon after his arrival, when he reported feeling “unwell,” church officials said. That episode prompted him to seek follow-up treatment in New York at the end of the trip, Dangas said.

“He’s recovering well, and he is essentially having a day of rest today," Dangas said.

Dangas said the patriarch would probably stay at Mount Sinai overnight again but should be able to return home soon. He will be prescribed medication and receive recommendations on lifestyle modifications, cholesterol intake and other health monitoring.

Bartholomew's trip included a visit with President Joe Biden, meetings with Orthodox and other faith groups and a ceremonial blessing at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine near the World Trade Center, which is replacing a church that was destroyed on 9/11.

As patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew is considered first among equals among Eastern Orthodox patriarchs, which gives him prominence but not the power of a Catholic pope. He does oversee Greek Orthodox and some other jurisdictions, although large portions of the Eastern Orthodox world are self-governing under their own patriarchs.


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