THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM PRESIDED OVER THE DIVINE LITURGY IN NAZARETH
On Sunday, October 10th/ 23rd 2011, His Holy Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos presided over the Divine Liturgy at the Holy Pilgrimage of the Annunciation of the Theotokos inNazareth. His Beatitude presided over this Divine Liturgy, responding to the invitation of the Administrative Committee and the Representative Convention of the Greek orthodox Arabic speaking Community of the Patriarchate inNazareth on their re-election.
With His Beatitude concelebrated the Holy Metropolitan of Nazareth Kyriakos, the Holy Metropolitan of Kapitoliada Isichios, his Eminence Elder Chief Secretary Archbishop of Constantina Aristarchos and the sojourn from France Archbishop of Komana of the Ecumenical Patriarchate Gabriel, the Father of the Holy Sepulchre Archimandrite Abbot of the Holy Monastery of the Precious Cross Klavdios, the Father of the Holy Sepulchre Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Mount Tabor Archimandrite Ilarion, Archimandrite Father Adrianos Primate of the Russian Church in Geneva, the priests of the Pilgrimage in Nazareth and several priests from the neighboring towns.
To the pious and devout Congregation who attended the Divine Liturgy massively His Beatitude preached the Divine Word in Greek as follows:
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” confesses the Apostle of the Nations the Great Paul, (2 Corinthians 12, 9).
Beloved Brothers in Christ,
God’s Grace and the power protecting the Theotokos and Mother of God gathered all of us clergy and people so as to glorify and thank God on the honest occasion of the newly and perfectly legitimately elected Ecclesiastical and Community Council of the Holy Metropolitan Church of Nazareth.
The Church, being the body of the Godman Christ, constitutes an incontestable reality in the human history, a reality that no one could ever and no one can ever doubt. Testament of this reality is the Church of Christ and in this connection the ancient Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
This very testament of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem stems from the Apostolic and sermonic experience of salvation of the Apostle Paul, in which he was given “a thorn in the flesh, to buffet me” (2 Corinthians 12, 7). And he confesses: “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness”, (2 Corinthians 12, 9).
We carry this thorn “in the flesh”, being the priests and deacons of the apostolic succession in Christ of James the Brother of Christ. Howbeit we state this, because we as men in flesh and habitants of this world do not do anything by ourselves, or are we able to do anything without God’s grace and strength that is made perfect in weakness. The founder of the Church promised this exact strength to the disciples and apostles stating: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both inJerusalem, and in all Judaea, and inSamaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth”, (Acts of the Apostles 1, 8).
Yes, my beloved, the presence of Christ, that is the living Christian Testament in the Holy Land through the Church, is the work of the power of the Holy Spirit that comes to those who hold the mystery of faith “Crucified and Risen Lord in pure conscience”, as the wise Paul states, ( 1 Timothy 3,9).
In other words, my beloved, it is not enough to verbally testify the name of Christ: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven”, states Christ, calling upon the words of the prophet Isaiah: “ This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me”,( Mathew 15,8)
It is time, my beloved, for us to awake. It is time for us to realize because we live as divine Paul reminds us in perilous times, (2 Timothy 3, 1), during which “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (2 Timothy 3, 2-5)
It is time, we repeat my beloved, for us to open our hearts to accept the Divine glow of God “to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”, (two Corinthians 4, 6). We have the treasure of the illuminating and glorious knowledge, as the Divine Paul states in our bodies, the fragile and earthen, so as to prove that the excessive glory of our power that overcomes the obstacles and the dangers is the power of God and it doesn’t derive from us the frail and weak: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us”, (2 Corinthians 4, 7).
This howbeit-earthen vessel that contains this priceless divine treasure is theChurchofChrist. In the extraordinary sociopolitical situation of Christians in the Middle East, especially the Holy Land the earthen vessel is the Patriarchate of Jerusalem namely the Church of the Holy testaments (Pilgrimages) the Annunciation of the Theotokos inNazareth, the Nativity inBethlehemthe Cross and the Resurrection inJerusalem, of our Savior Jesus Christ.
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity”, (Psalm 132, 1) Behold, chants Prophet David, what more beautiful and what more pleasing is there other than brothers living together in amity: “not bound by love of nature, but by faith, not by consequence of kinship, but by unity of faith in the Holy Spirit” according to the melodist of the Church.
Having the treasure of the divine strength made perfect in weakness let us express our glory and gratitude to the Son of God and our Father and to the Son of the Ever-Virgin Mary our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen”.
And in Arabic as follows: (e-address https://en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/ar/2011/10/23/721/)
After the Divine Liturgy, a reception with refreshments followed at the next to the pilgrimage hall and after the reception dinner at the restaurant of the YMCA, hosted by the Representatives of the Administrative Committee and the Representative Assembly ofNazareth.
At the Reception Hall there were allocutions from both sides emphasizing the importance of the continuation of the close spiritual cooperation between the Patriarchate and the congregation the continuation of the signed agreements for the construction of a Church and a School at the estate of Kasr-Il- Moutran and the intention of His Beatitude to construct a new bell tower at the Holy Church of the Annunciation with the donation of a pious pilgrim from Greece and to respond to the extent possible for the rest that is needed.
The allocution of His Beatitude at the Reception Hall is as follows:
“And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them, which are sanctified. I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel”. (Acts of the Apostles 20, 32-33)
Holy Metropolitan of Nazareth and brother in Christ, Mr. Kyriakos.
Elected President of the Community Council of Nazareth, Dr. Azmi Hakim and honorable members of it
With the above words from Paul, we greet you and in this, we congratulate you on your perfectly legitimate re-election and settlement as President of the Community Council of our Greek orthodox-in Christ congregation ofNazareth.
We call upon the words of the wise Paul because he urges that we must “Rejoice with them that do rejoice” (Romans 12, 15)
In fact on your appointment through the vote of confidence of the devout members to protect and care the congregation in Christ.
You take charge of our respectable Community in very perilous however welcoming times according to Paul. Perilous though, because of the unpredictable and rather threatening sociopolitical developments that take place in theMiddle Eastespecially in our territory. Welcoming as they forge bonds of unity between clergy and laity, Community and Patriarchate. We state in fact this because it was gloriously proven that the unity of the congregation in Christ together with the spiritual and ecclesiastical reference has stemmed until now from the harmonical cooperation, based on the dialogue of love and truth in Christ.
Not less than the order of the Lord stating, “And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many”.(Matthew 20 27-28 ).
For no reason do we doubt that the enemy of the Church and the enemy of Its amity and unity that is the adversary devil, “as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”, (1 Peter 1 5,8)
Not are we afraid or defeated because we have the master of our faith and the triumphant over death, the crucified and resurrected Christ on Whom we rely for our whole care, “for he careth for you”, (Peter 5, 7)
We conclude our allocation with the words of Apostle Paul, stating: “resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world”. More analytically speaking: against this adversary resist, supported in faith, consoled by the knowledge that the very same afflictions happen to all the brothers in Christ who are dispersed throughout the great world of God.
On the above calling upon our Fatherly and Patriarchal wishes and blessings , we wish you Mister President and your pious associates the grace of the Holy Sepulchre and the Holy Pilgrimage of the Annunciation of the Ever-Virgin Mary and highly-blessed Mother of God/Theotokos so as to conduct your new demanding duties successfully .
Congratulations and all the best to you. Amen”.
The allocution of the President of the Administrative Committee Mr. Azmi Hakim in Arabic is as follows (e-address http//en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/ar/2011/10/23/717/ )
Chief Secretary’s Office
(translated from the original document in Greek by Mrs. Irini Valasi)