Ecumenical Patriarch receives AEK Athens’ water polo team
The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, His All Holiness Bartholomew I, received players and coaching staff of the AEK Athens men’s water polo team late last week.
The AEK Athens water polo side was in the Bosporus metropolis for a friendly match with a local Turkish team.
AEK has its roots in early 20th century Constantinople, with the predecessor of today’s popular Athens sports teams comprising the pre-eminent club for the ancient city’s ethnic Greeks at the time.
Members of the team gifted the Ecumenical Patriarch a water polo cap with the Patriarchate’s coat of arms on its side.
In comments to the Orthodoxia news agency afterwards, team manager Panos Michalopoulos described the visit with Bartholomew at the Fanar-district Ecumenical Patriarchate, saying
«… His His All Holiness referred to his love for AEK, and he reminded us that the team is from the City’s own ‘flesh and blood’, causing chills of emotion and pride in our players, coaching staff and officials. The Patriarch added that AEK was always the City’s team, and an eternal idea that never dies, as ideas do not die out,» in repeating the Ecumenical Patriarch’s well-known statement from several years ago.