On May 1, 2004 CNN.com posted an Associated Press article that reported, "The spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians has suspended relations with the head of Greece's Orthodox Church -- a move that could lead to severed ties between the two churches. The decision by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I followed a dispute over control of dioceses in northern Greece with Greek church leader, Archbishop Christodoulos. The patriarch made the announcement after a meeting of 41 international bishops...to assert his authority. 'We have exhausted all our efforts for peace and unity,' Bartholomew said. 'So today we have taken this unanimous decision with pain in our souls.' Bartholomew, a Turkish citizen, is the spiritual leader of about 300 million Orthodox Christians. He directly controls several Greek Orthodox churches around the world, including the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. He is also considered the head of 14 autonomous Orthodox churches, including those of Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Russia and Serbia. Christodoulos has disputed Bartholomew's control over more than 30 dioceses in northern Greece and on Aegean Sea islands."