THE FEAST OF THE APPEARANCE OF THE SIGN OF THE PRECIOUS CROSS IN THE HEAVENS AT THE PATRIARCHATE

On Monday morning, May 7/20, 2019, the commemoration of the appearance of the sign of the Precious Cross in the Heavens was celebrated with the Divine Liturgy in Golgotha, led by the Most Reverend Metropolitan Joachim of Helenoupolis.

Regarding this wondrous event, St. Cyril of Alexandria, Archbishop of Jerusalem has delivered the witness to the Church, according to which, during the 3rd hour, which is 9 in the morning, on 7th May 351 A.D. the Cross appeared in heavens like a star, shining more than the sun rays and was visible from Golgotha to the Mount of Olives. A large crowd of people witnessed this at the time, praising and glorifying Christ, who was crucified on the Cross for our salvation.

After the Dismissal of the Divine Liturgy, the congregation came down from Golgotha and a procession began from the Deposition slate to conclude after three rounds about the Holy Sepulchre, with a large participation of the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood.

After the procession the officiating Metropolitan read the Gospel narrative of the Resurrection of the Lord and the aforementioned letter of St. Cyril.

At the end of the service the Episcopal entourage returned to the Patriarchate Headquarters and paid their respects to H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos.

From Secretariat-General




HIS BEATITUDE THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM CELEBRATES THE DIVINE LITURGY IN REINE

On the Sunday of the Paralytic man, May 6/19, 2019, His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos officiated the Divine Liturgy at the Holy Church of St. George the Great Martyr at the Greek-Orthodox Arab-speaking Community of Reine, Nazareth’s suburb.

Co-celebrants to His Beatitude were the Most Reverend Metropolitan Kyriakos of Nazareth, the Most Reverend Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, the Hagiotaphite Archimandrite Kallistos, the Dean Priest of this parish Fr. Simeon and other Arab-speaking Priests, and Archdeacon Mark, while the hymns were delivered by the parish choir and the service was attended by a large crowd of faithful Christians.

His Beatitude read the following Sermon to this congregation;

“At the Sheep’s Pool, a man lay in sickness; and when he saw Thee, O Lord, he cried: I have no man, that when the water is troubled, he might put me therein. But when I go, another anticipateth me and receiveth the healing, and I lie yet in mine infirmity. And straightway, taking compassion on him, the Saviour saith unto him: for thee I became man, for thee I am clothed in flesh, and sayest thou: I have no man? Take up thy bed and walk” the hymn writer of the Church proclaims.

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Noble Christians

Christ who is risen from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have slept, and the first-born of all creation, and the Creator of all things, has gathered us in this holy Church of your town Reine, in order to celebrate the day of Pascha and the Lord’s miracle of the healing of the paralytic man at the Sheep’s pool in Jerusalem, as St. John the Evangelist says: “and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.  And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk” (John 5, 1-2, 5-8).

Interpreting Jesus command to the paralytic man “take up thy bed, and walk”, St. Cyril of Alexandria says: “The command was in a Godly manner, having the proof of a power and authority above human power. For He is not praying for the healing of the infirmity of the sick man, so that He may not be seen to some as one of the holy prophets, but as the Lord of powers, in all authority, He commands that the miracle be done”.

In other words, through the sign of the miracle, or the healing of the paralytic man, Jesus reveals His divine glory on the one hand, and on the other, He proves that He is the Son and Word of God, and also the Saviour of the people, namely, the healer of our souls and bodies. Moreover, He proves that “his word was with power” (Luke 4:32). This power of Jesus was ascertained by the astonished people, when Christ commanded the impure spirits to leave the possessed woman, as Luke the Evangelist says: “And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out” (Luke 4:36).

Christ proved this divine power most profoundly by His three-day resurrection, as the hymn writer of the church festively says: “Let the heavens rejoice! Let the earth be glad! For the Lord has shown strength with His arm! He has trampled down death by death! He has become the first born of the dead! He has delivered us from the depths of hell, and has granted to the world great mercy”.

It is made clear, my dear ones, that through His resurrection from the dead, Christ has revealed Himself to be the sovereign Lord and conqueror of the death of corruption and sin, and the deliverer of the humankind from the voraciousness of hades. For this reason the hymn writer is not restricted in the narration of the miraculous healing of the paralytic man, but prays to the healer and our Savior Jesus Christ for the healing of our paralytic soul, by saying: “As of old Thou didst raise up the paralytic, O Lord God, by Thy Godlike care and might, raise up my soul which is palsied by diverse sins and transgressions and by unseemly deeds and acts, that, being saved, I may also cry out: O Compassionate Redeemer, O Christ God, glory to Thy dominion and might”.

It is a fact that palsy, namely the illness of the soul, is owed to our sins and distance from the Law of God, but also from the sanatorium, His Church. The illness of the soul is the result of the bondage in the various passions of the soul, which exert a frivolous effect on the soul. For this reason Jesus says to the paralytic man: “Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee” (John 5:14). And according to St. Paul, sin is the sting of death; “The sting of death is sin” (1 Cor. 15:56).

The healing of the palsied soul is only accomplished through the divine grace and the mercy of God. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5). Behold why the hymn writer, as a representative of each one of us, expresses the fervent intercession to the Lord, so that by His divine stewardship, He may raise us, just like the paralytic man of old, from whichever sins and illegal actions we have made, and as the most merciful and almighty God grant us the healing of our souls, namely the salvation of our souls.

Christ’s question to the paralytic man of today’s gospel narrative “wilt thou be made whole?” (John 5:6) is directed to all of us. And the paralytic may have righteously answered by saying: “Sir, I have no man” (John 5:7); he said that because he did not know the Saviour of the world. However, we, my dear ones, have no right to say that we have no man, “when the water is troubled, to put us into the pool” (John 5:7).

And we say this, because the incarnate through Virgin Mary God the Word and our Lord Jesus Christ is the perfect man, the most merciful and friend of man, while His Church, His mystical body, is the spiritual as well as the physical pool, whose water is no other than the Holy Spirit of God the Father “Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour” (Titus 3:6). And Prophet Joel says: “And it shall come to pass in those days,” – meaning the incarnation of Christ, God the Word – “saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh…  And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2: 17, 21).

In other words, my dear ones, we have a man, and moreover, a man who is a doctor and a healer, who heals every kind of infirmity, both of the soul and the body, as Matthew the Evangelist says: “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people” (Matt. 9:35). Furthermore, our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, who was resurrected from the dead, advices us; “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matt. 7:7-8).

Christ is risen!”

Afterward His Beatitude offered an icon of the Theotokos to be kept in the Church.

The Divine Liturgy was followed by a reception at the reception hall of the parish, where the Dance club of Cana of Galilee, which has been founded by the Hegoumen of Cana Archimandrite Chrysostom, danced traditional dances.

At noon, a meal was offered at the reception hall of the parish by the Community Council, were His Beatitude addressed all present as follows;

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Peter 2:24).

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Today our Holy Church commemorates the healing of the paralytic man by our Lord Jesus Christ, at the Sheep’s pool, as St. John the Evangelist says (John 5:1-15).

The healing of the paralytic man, as well as of many other ill people by Christ during His earthly presence, confirms the fact that He Himself took upon Him our sins, namely our wounds and infirmities, and offered His body a sacrifice for them on the Cross. And He did this to liberate us from sins and enable us to live for righteousness and for virtue. Through His wounds you have been healed, St. Peter says.

It is precisely this healing that Christ granted to all humankind through His luminous Resurrection. The preaching of the Resurrection of the crucified and buried Christ is being ministered throughout the centuries by the Rum-Orthodox Church, through the safeguarding of the All-holy shrines on the one hand, which are the irrefutable witnesses of the Christian faith, and on the other, through the pastoral care of its Christian congregation in the Holy Land.

This sacred consignment, namely the precious treasure of the teaching of the Gospel of Christ are we called to preserve like the pupil of an eye, especially the Christians who inhabit the Holy Land and the wider region of the Middle East, hearkening to the council of the wise Apostle Paul to his disciple Timothy: “That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us” (2 Tim. 1:14). And St. Paul continues, urging his disciple, and all of us, not to imitate those who abandoned him and turned away from their Church. “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes” (2 Titus 1:15).

We, my dear brothers and sisters, who “have been healed by the stripes of our God and Saviour Christ” (1 Peter 2:24), and through baptism partake of His death, Who has trampled down and conquered the death of corruption and sin, are once more called to hear the faithful word of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who said to the paralytic man: “Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee” (John 5:14).

In other words, we are once more called not to imitate Phygellus and Hermogenes.

Christ is risen! Many happy returns!”

From Secretariat-General

 

 




THE CHURCH OF SAINTS CONSTANTINE AND HELEN AT KOUFR SMEA IN NORTH ISRAEL

By the help of God and the prayers and blessing of H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos, by the moral and financial support of the Patriarchate, and the guidance of the Architect of the Patriarchate Mr. Theodosios Mitropoulos, the Rum Orthodox distinguished Professor of the Arabic Literature and writer, Mr. Yusef Nasser, who has long been a Care Taker of the Greek-Orthodox Arab-speaking Community of Koufr Smea in the Acre district – Ptolemais, in North Israel, continues the project of the completion of the Holy Church of Saints Constantine and Helen, a jewel in the town and the district, as can be seen in the photos below.

For Mr. Nasser and his family the Patriarchate prays “sanctify O Lord those who love the beauty of Thy house” and for its flock and this town wishes to worship and glorify our God in One Trinity, in peace, reconciliation, and unity in Christ.

From Secretariat-General

 




THE IMPERIAL PALESTINIAN SOCIETY DEPARTMENT PRESIDENTS VISITED THE PATRIARCHATE

On Friday morning, May 4/17, 2019, approximately 20 Presidents of the Imperial Russian Palestinian Society from Russia and abroad, visited the Patriarchate, under the lead of Mr. Stepashin.

The group of representatives was received by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos and Hagiotaphite Fathers.

In this meeting Mr. Stepashin thanked His Beatitude on behalf of the Society for yesterday’s delegation with His Message at Sergei hotel, which was read by the Most Reverend Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, and Secretary-General.

Mr. Stepashin furthermore informed His Beatitude on the activity of the Society for the help of the needy Christians of the Holy Land, and especially for the suffering Christians of Syria, and on the occasion of the completion of 200 years since the founding of the Society, offered Him the Supreme Award of the Society.

His Beatitude thanked Mr. Stepashin for the award and the briefing, and simultaneously informed him on the activities of the Patriarchate for the moral and material support and help it offers to the needy Christians of the Holy Land, as well as on the recent establishment of THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE (ICOHS), which serves the purpose of helping the preservation of the Status Quo in Jerusalem.

 His Beatitude also referred to many other activities of the Patriarchate for the encouragement of the Christian presence in the Holy Land and concluded His words by offering Mr. Stepashin an embossed icon of Jerusalem, depicted in the centre of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and to the members of the delegation He offered souvenirs from Jerusalem as blessings.

From Secretariat-General




THE PATRIARCHATE OF JERUSALEM PARTICIPATES AT THE SEMINAR OF THE IMPERIAL ORTHODOX PALESTINIAN SOCIETY

On Thursday afternoon, May 3/16, 2019, a Seminar under S.V. Stepashin, Chairman of the district and foreign departments of the Imperial Orthodox Palestinian Society, took place at Sergei Hotel which is adjacent to the Russian MISSIA of the Moscow Patriarchate, on the occasion of the two-hundred-year anniversary of the diplomatic support of the Russian presence in the Middle East. Sergei hotel was seized in 1948 by the State of Israel and has been recently restored to the jurisdiction of the Russian Church.

In this Seminar the Patriarchate was represented by the Most Reverend Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina and Secretary-General, who read the following address of our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos;

“Mr. Chairman,

Respected Members of the Council,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Christ is risen!

We greet you with the joy of this Paschal season with the greeting that is also the triumph of our Orthodox faith. From this Holy City of Jerusalem, the light of the resurrection has spread to the whole world.

We welcome this seminar as you meet in Jerusalem. You meet at a time when our Christian witness is so important in support of the Christian presence in the Holy Land and the Middle East, and when the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate is playing a leading role in promoting deeper relationships among the Christian communities here. Such deepening relationships are crucial for the well-being of a vital, vibrant Christian presence.

The Patriarchate is also promoting important interfaith dialogue, and above all we are maintaining the multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-religious character of Jerusalem and the Middle East.

The Church of Jerusalem, which is the Mother of all the Churches, is the guarantor of the unity of the Orthodox Church. We acknowledge especially the role that the Russian Orthodox Church has played down the centuries, and especially during the Ottoman period, in supporting the Church of Jerusalem politically, diplomatically, and of course, financially. But we need to acknowledge that there were also difficult times that tested our relationship; we must learn from them and work towards strengthening our Orthodox unity.

In the spirit of our Orthodox unity, we must learn from the past. We must always speak and act in ways that support the life and mission of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem in this region. We are the one, holy catholic and apostolic Church, and we are under a moral as well as a spiritual obligation to ensure that the identity and witness of the Orthodox Church in the Holy Land and the Middle East rests on the unshakable foundation of our Orthodox unity.

We would like to take this opportunity to express our deep appreciation to His Excellency the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, for his material support for the restoration of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, and for his unwavering support for the mission of the Patriarchate.

We wish you, Mr. Chairman, and this seminar, every success in your deliberations, and we look forward to hearing about the fruits of your deliberations.

Christ is risen!”

From Secretariat-General




THE FEAST OF JOSEPH OF ARIMATHAEA AND OF THE MYRRH-BEARING WOMEN IN REMLI

On Sunday, April 29/ May 12, 2019, the commemoration of the Myrrh-bearing Women and of St. Joseph of Arimathaea who asked from Pilate the body of the Lord to bury it was celebrated in Remli, the Ancient Arimathaea.

The Divine Liturgy for this feast at the Holy Church of St. George that belongs to the Patriarchate was officiated by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos with co-celebrants the Most Reverend Archbishops; Damascene of Joppa, Aristarchos of Constantina, Methodios of Tabor, Hagiotaphite Hieromonks among whom Archimandrite Meletios, Archimandrite Ieronymos, Fr. Joseph who was visiting from the Church of Czech Republic, and Archdeacon Mark. The chanting was delivered by the Byzantine singer of Remli Community Elias, and the service was attended by members of the Greek Embassy in Tel Aviv, and the faithful Christians of the Remli community.

Before the Holy Communion His Beatitude read the following Sermon:

“Let us arise in the deep dawn and, instead of myrrh, offer praise to the Master; and we shall see Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, Who causeth life to dawn for all” St. John Damascene says.

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Noble Christians and pilgrims

The sun of righteousness, the resurrected Christ who has caused life to dawn for all has gathered us today in order to honour Joseph of Arimathaea in his hometown Arimathaea (Remli), along with his fellow-disciple of Christ Nicodemus. We also commemorate the reverend Myrrh-bearing Women.

The Myrrh-bearing Women are those who went to the Tomb of Jesus Christ “in deep dawn” as St. Luke the Evangelist says: “Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared” (Luke 24:1). Joseph and Nicodemus are the secret disciples of Christ who undertook the task of burying the sacred body of Christ as St. John the Evangelist says: “And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight” (John 19:38-39).

Both the Myrrh-bearing Women and the secret disciples of Christ Joseph and Nicodemus are the true witnesses of the burial and resurrection of Christ. For this reason our Holy Church honours and projects them and through them calls us to participate in the joy of the Resurrection of Christ, offering our God and Master the Paschal hymn instead of myrrh.

In other words, we are called to see Christ, Who is the sun of righteousness with the noetic eyes of our soul. We are called to participate not to the Passover, in which the Jewish people celebrated their passage through the red sea, from the Egyptian bondage to their freedom, through the Divine intervention, but instead, we are called, according to St. Gregory the Theologian to enter the Pascha of the Divine Grace, namely of the resurrection of Christ, through which we accomplish our passage “from death to life and from earth to heaven”. We accomplish our communion with the resurrected Christ, for this reason St. Gregory the Theologian says: “O Pascha the great and sacred and purifying for the whole world”. Without our communion with Christ we remain in the necrosis of sin and of its bondage. “The one who does not see and hear and feel things in spirit, is dead” St. Gregory of Sinai says.

Indeed, my dear brothers and sisters, the one who accepts Christ has Christ living in him, as He said: “ He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him” (John 6:56), and “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6).

Interpreting these words of the Lord, Zigavinos says: “The birth is not carnal but spiritual. Therefore, while the carnal birth is felt with the senses, the spiritual one is felt in thought and there is no need to examine with feelings what is felt in thought, neither to give a human dimension to the divine things”.

In other words the resurrection of our God and Saviour Christ refers to our rebirth as St. Paul preaches: “according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5). This very Holy Spirit of the regeneration did Christ give to those who believe in His resurrection: “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit” (1 John 4:13) St. John the Evangelist and Apostle says. The bearers of the Spirit ascetic Fathers stress the fact that when man welcomes in him the resurrected Christ, Christ becomes his second soul; “the resurrection is a second soul to the people” St. Neilos says.

In order to become partaker of this experience, the man who is composed of body and soul and from bodily and psychic senses, has the need of catharsis (spiritual cleansing) as St. John Damascene says in his hymn “Let us purify our senses and we shall behold Christ, radiant with the unapproachable light of the resurrection, and we shall clearly hear Him say; Rejoice! As we sing the triumphal hymn”.

The unapproachable light of the resurrection, namely of the glory of Christ did the Myrrh-bearing Women along with Joseph and Nicodemus see, both with their spiritual and natural eyes. For this reason the Myrrh-bearing Women were eye-witnesses of the Resurrection, while Joseph and Nicodemus of the burial.

Behold why the Synaxarist of the Church says: “On this day, the third Sunday of Pascha, we celebrate the feast of the Holy Myrrh-bearing Women. And also we commemorate Joseph of Arimathaea, the secret disciple, and Nicodemus, the disciple by night”

The Godly-wise Myrrh-bearing Women are those who evangelized the resurrection of Christ to His disciples, as St. John Damascene says in his hymn: “The godly-wise women followed after Thee in haste with sweet-smelling myrrh. But Him whom they sought in tears as dead, they joyfully adored as the living God and announced unto Thy disciples O Christ the glad tidings of the mystical pascha”.

This mystical annunciation of Pascha, namely of the Resurrection, are we also called to embrace, my dear brothers and sisters, imitating the Christian thinking, which is the big love, the devotion and also the boldness of the Myrrh-bearing Women, who “went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they anything to any man; for they were afraid” (Mark 16:8), as well as that of Joseph and Nicodemus who displayed the same love and devotion and the same courage; “Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus” (Mark 15:43).

The resurrection of Christ, my dear Christians is nothing else but the Kingdom of God, “who hath called us unto his kingdom and glory” (1 Thes. 2:12) St. Paul preaches. Amen. Christ is Risen!

After the Dismissal of the Divine Liturgy, Archimandrite Niphon, the energetic Hegoumen who has renovated the Church and the Monastery, offered a reception at the Hegoumeneion, and spoke to the congregation, while His Beatitude also said the following;

“Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:3-4) St. Paul preaches.

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Our Holy Church of Jerusalem has the holy privilege to honour and venerate the commemoration of the Myrrh-bearing Women and of the secret disciples of Christ, Joseph and Nicodemus, in this very city of Arimathaea, the contemporary Remli.

Today’s feast, which in essence refers to the feast of feasts and the festival of all festivals, Pascha, is not any celebration that can be seen physically, but a spiritual and internal one. The purpose of the Christian faith and life is one and only; the co-resurrection with the resurrected Christ. “He, who was initiated in the esoteric power of the resurrection has known by experience the reason why Christ created the world” St. Maximus the Confessor says.

St. Paul calls the Christians “to live a new life” (Romans 6:4). Our new life in Christ is necessary and obligatory if we want to avoid the spiritual death as St. Paul says: “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God” (Romans 8:13-14).

The purpose and mission of our Rum Orthodox Patriarchate, namely of the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, has always been the safe-guarding and the ministry of the All-holy Shrines on the one hand, and the pastoral care of the Christian congregation on the other, which means the preservation of their cultural, traditional, and especially their national-religious identity, as well as the preaching of the love, righteousness and peace of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ who was resurrected from the dead. Christ is Risen!

After this address, His Beatitude offered a Priest’s cross to Archimandrite Niphon in recognition of his devoted ministry as Hegoumen of Remli and to his helper for the last seventeen years Nun Fevronia, He offered a cross and an icon of the Holy Sepulchre. At noon, Archimandrite Niphon offered a meal at a city restaurant.

From Secretariat-General

 

 

 

 

 

 




THE SUNDAY OF THE MYRRH-BEARING WOMEN IN JERUSALEM

The commemoration of the Sunday of the Myrrh-bearing Women, and of the secret disciples of Christ Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus who took the Lord’s body off the cross and buried it, was celebrated on  April 29/ May 12, 2019, in the chapel of the Myrrh-bearing Women within the Cathedral of St. James the Brother of God.

The Divine Liturgy at the Holy Altar of this chapel was led by the Most Reverend Archbishop Philoumenos of Pella, with co-celebrants Hagiotaphite Hieromonks, the Dean Priest of the Cathedral Priest Charalambos – Farah Badour, the Deacon of the Cathedral Fr. George Hader, while the chanting was delivered by the Choir Leader of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre Mr. Constantinos Spyropoulos in Greek and by the Cathedral Choir under Mr. Rimon Kamar in Arabic, and the service was attended by monks and pilgrims and members of the Jerusalem Community.

After the Divine Liturgy the associations of St. James Cathedral, especially the celebrating Association of the Myrrh-bearing Women, escorted the Episcopal entourage to Outzoud club.

There the Care taker of the Cathedral Mr. Ibrahim Salfiti gave an annual report of the parish activity of the Cathedral which was followed by a meal.

From Secretariat-General

 

 




THE FEAST OF ST. GEORGE AT THE MONASTERY OF ST. GEORGE IN THE JEWISH QUARTER

On Saturday, April 28/ May 11, 2019, the commemoration of St. George the Great Martyr and Trophy-bearer was celebrated by transference at the Church of his Holy Monastery in the Jewish Quarter, in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The Divine Liturgy was led by the Most Reverend Archbishop Demetrios of Lydda and Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod, with co-celebrants among the  Hagiotaphite Hieromonks, Archimandrite Ignatios, Archimandrite Kallistos and Deacon Sophrony. The chanting was delivered by the Choir Leader of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre Mr. Constantinos Spyropoulos with the help of Monk Joseph from Mount Athos and the Patriarchal School Students, and the service was attended by a noble congregation honouring the Saint.

After the Divine Liturgy the renovator of the Holy Church Abbess Marianna offered a reception to the Episcopal entourage and the congregation at the Hegoumeneion and the courtyard of the Church.

From Secretariat-General




HIS BEATITUDE THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM RECEIVES A GROUP OF GREEK SUPERIOR MILITARY OFFICIALS

On Saturday morning, April 28/ May 11, 2019, His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos received a 50-member group of Greek Superior Military Officials, with their pilgrimage guide Army-Priest George Apostolakidis.

On behalf of the group, former Minister of Public order and citizen protection and Chief of National Defense General Staff Mr. Xinofotis expressed his feelings for the pilgrimage experience they had with Fr. George and his thanks for His Beatitude’s welcoming reception.

In reply, His Beatitude blessed the members of the group and stressed the importance of the Holiness of Jerusalem as it has been washed by the blood of our crucified Lord Jesus Christ and the importance of the Patriarchate as the guardian of such a holy land.

Paying their respects, the retired Military Officials received His Beatitude’s blessing along with an icon of Theotokos and of the Holy Sepulchre.

From Secretariat-General

 




HIS BEATITUDE THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM THEOPHILOS OFFICIATES THE DIVINE LITURGY AT THE CHURCH OF THE DELEGATION OF THE PATRIARCHATE OF ROMANIA

On Wednesday, April 25 /May 8, 2019, His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos officiated the Divine Liturgy at the Church of St. George in West Jerusalem, for the commemoration of the Holy and Glorious George the Great Martyr and Trophy-bearer.

Co-celebrants to His Beatitude were the Archbishops: Most Reverend Metropolitan Kyriakos of Nazareth, the Most Reverend Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, the Most Reverend Metropolitan Joachim of Helenoupolis, and the Most Reverend Archbishop Aristovoulos of Madaba, along with Archimandrite Ieronymos, the representative of the Patriarchate of Romania Archimandrite Theophilos and his helper Archimandrite John, Archimandrite Dometian and Archimandrite Athanasios of the Russian Missia, other Priests, Archdeacon Mark and Deacon Hader, and Deacon Ephraim from the Patriarchate of Romania. The chanting was delivered by a Church singer from Romania and the Nuns of the Delegation in Romanian and Greek, as the service was attended mainly by a Romanian speaking congregation.

Before the Holy Communion His Beatitude read the following Sermon;

“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning”. “These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service” (John 15:26-27, 16:1-2) the Lord says.

Reverend Archimandrite Theophilos

Representative of H.H.B. the Patriarch of Romania Daniel at the Church of Jerusalem,

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Noble Christians and visiting pilgrims

Today the glorious Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has shone forth, along with the commemoration of the Holy and glorious George the Great Martyr and Trophy-bearer. Therefore we are gathered in this Holy Church, dedicated to the Saint, in order to glorify in Eucharist the Holy Trinitarian God and the Resurrected Christ and our God. Moreover, in order to declare the unity in Christ of the brotherly Orthodox Christian Churches, namely of the Venerable Patriarchate of Jerusalem with the Patriarchate of Romania, and bear witness to the faith of the martyr of blood of Christ, George the Trophy-bearer.

The luminous Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ was preceded by the impassive for His divinity Passion, His martyr’s death on the Cross. The faithful martyr George became a communicant of this very impassive passion and of the resurrection of Christ, as well as a member of the Kingdom of Heaven. “For George’s desire [for God] conquered his human nature, convincing him to head through death to the object of his desire, Christ our God and Saviour of our souls” the hymn writer says.

George’s persecutors and murderers thought that they were being offering worship to God, as the Lord said to His disciples: “the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service” (John 16:2). It is a fact that many times the work of the devil was carried out under the garment of the deacon of God and of His Holy Church, and many times the most tumultuous opponents of the healthy teaching of Christ (1 Tim. 1:10) sat “at the Temple of God” (2 Thes. 2:4). Nevertheless the victory of truth was triumphant, as St. John the Evangelist witnesses in his book of revelation: “And they [the faithful martyrs of Christ] overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them” (Rev. 12:11-12).

Behold why the Church of Christ sings through the mouth of the hymn writer; “For meet it is that the Heavens should rejoice and that the earth should be glad, and that the whole world, both visible and invisible, should keep the feast; for Christ our everlasting joy hath risen”.

The martyrdom of Christ’s friend George has a special place in the chorea of the martyrs of the Church. And this is so because it does not belong to the historic time of death and corruption, but to the time of “another life, the eternal one” according to St. John Damascene – namely to the time of the death and the life-giving resurrection of our Saviour Christ.

The great and wise St. Paul calls upon the living witness of the martyrs of love and truth, namely of Christ, “I am the truth” (John 14:6) to the faithful members of the Church, so that we should face the struggle that is before us in patience. “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

St. George is not only distinguished as being one of “so great a cloud of witnesses” (Heb. 12:1) of the Church, but also from the ecumenical honour he receives, and especially in our contemporary era of the anti-biblical and anti-Christian Orthodox faith of ours.

And we say this, because as a representative of “the cloud of witnesses”, of the love and truth and righteousness of Christ, and ecumenically recognized, as well as being honoured by other doctrines and religions, St. George calls us and our brotherly Orthodox Churches, today in his annual festive commemoration, through St. Paul’s command: “I beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephes. 4:1,3) and through the unity of faith, for which St. John Damascene says in his hymn; “Your martyrs, O Lord, have been confirmed by faith and strengthened by hope. By the love of your cross they have been fortified in spirit and so have they overcome the anguish of suffering. They have obtained the crowns and together with the angels they pray for our souls”.

Let us entreat St. George the Great Martyr to intercede the incarnate for our sake crucified and resurrected Christ, our God and Saviour, along with the Ever-Virgin and Most Blessed Theotokos Mary to grant us life eternal and peace to the world and in our region.

Many Happy Returns! Christ is Risen!

 

After the Divine Liturgy the Hegoumen and representative of the Romanian Patriarchate Archimandrite Theophilos offered a festal meal to the Patriarchal entourage and others.

During the meal His Beatitude addressed those present as follows;

Archimandrite Theophilos, dear Father,

Your Eminences,

Your Graces,

Beloved faithful of this Romanian congregation in Jerusalem,

Dear Pilgrims,

Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Christ is Risen!

Hristos a inviat!

We greet you in the joy of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and we give thanks to Almighty God for this blessed occasion on which we have celebrated the Divine Liturgy with you in this Church of the Romanian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem.

Our gathering today is a visible sign of the common martyria of the Orthodox Church which the Church lives here as well as around the world. The Orthodox Church enjoys a cohesion of faith and life that is more important in our own day than ever before, especially in a world in which the predominant experience is one of division and enmity between peoples. The unity of the Church is a divine encouragement in our divided society.

We learn so much from the Great and Holy Martyr George, who holds genuinely ecumenical significance. For he is revered not just by the Orthodox Church, but also by non-Orthodox Christians, and even by non-Christians. Saint George lived in a different cultural and social context, in which there was so much division and difficulty, but he managed to keep the unity of the faith as well as the unity of the Church.

As we sing in one of our services, the martyrs of the Lord, they were united spiritually with the love of your cross, and so they banished completely the tyranny of the enemy.

In the same way our beloved Orthodox Church must be a witness, inspired by Saint George, to the unity of the faith and the unity of the Church. Our unity is our strength, and the only way to withstand the assaults of our contemporary enemy. As Saint Paul tells us, our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Ephes. 6:12).

We guard the unity of the faith and of the Church with the witness of our conscience, again as St. Paul says: Indeed, this is our boast, the testimony of our conscience: we have behaved in the world with frankness and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God – and all the more toward you (2 Cor. 1:12). Just as the faith cannot be divided, neither can the conscience, and so we do everything in our power to ensure that we serve the unity of the Body of Christ, again as St. Paul says in the Letter to the Ephesians; making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3).

Our unity in the bond of peace, is at the heart of our life as the Orthodox Church, and we know that any kind of schism or division is a wound at the very depth of our common life. So on this blessed occasion, we take this opportunity to renew our commitment to the unity of the Church in spirit and in truth.

May the incarnate Logos, who is risen from the dead, warm our hearts and enlighten our minds, that we may ever serve the unity of our beloved Orthodox Church. May God bless you, dear Archimandrite Theophilos, and your community, and May God bless the peoples of our beloved Romania and our beloved Holy Land.

Christ is risen!

Hristos  a inviat!

From Secretariat-General