Reporters on the Job

In the Footsteps of Erik the Red: When correspondent Colin Woodard arrived in Qassiarasuk, Greenland, last month he wasn't alone. The sheep-farming village of 56 was playing host to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, spiritual leader of the world's 250 million Orthodox Christians, who was hosting a shipboard environmental conference. The church leader came ashore with 150 delegates including the Princess of Denmark, a Catholic cardinal, UN weapons inspector Hans Blix, a gaggle of scientists, government ministers, and yes, journalists.

As bemused villagers looked on, the entourage walked up a dirt road to a grassy field, the site of the first Christian church built in the Americas. It was built by Erik the Red's Norse settlers in the late 10th century (see story). "The Patriarch was dressed in his black robes, with staff and miter, standing on a hillside above icebergs floating in a beautiful fjord and conducting the rituals of a lost empire on the site of this lost colony," says Colin. "It was moving, but entirely surreal."

– David Clark Scott
World editor

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