Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the leader of the 300 million-member Orthodox Christian Church, feels "crucified" living in Turkey under a government he says would like to see his nearly 2,000-year-old Patriarchate die out.
His All Holiness speaks to "60 Minutes" correspondent Bob Simon for a story to be broadcast on TV this Sunday, December 20, 2009, at 7 p.m. Eastern Time, the CBS News website reports today.
History has seen the Ecumenical Patriarch and the part of his Church in Turkey -- who are Turkish citizens of Greek ancestry -- discriminated against in their traditional homeland inside what has become modern Turkey, where 99 percent of the people are Muslim. A population of Greek ancestry in Turkey -- once numbering nearly two million -- is now around 4,000.
"It is not a crime to be a minority living in Turkey, but we are treated as second class," the Patriarch tells Simon. "We don't feel that we enjoy our full rights as Turkish citizens."
Patriarch Bartholomew also said, "This is the continuation of Jerusalem and for us an equally holy and sacred land. We prefer to stay here, even crucified sometimes."