On Tuesday the 10th/23rd of December 2014, the Israeli Ministry of Tourism organized an event which had as guests representatives of Judaism and Christianity. The event was held in celebration of the Hanukah (the rededication of the Temple of Solomon), Christmas and the New Year 2015, at the Mercaz Shimson in Beit Shmuel, West Jerusalem, opposite David’s Gate and the hill of the Holy Sion.

At the event, the Israeli Minister of Tourism, Mr Uzi Landau, and his associates, hosted lunch for the representatives of Christian Churches in Jerusalem, namely the Greek Patriarch, the representative of the Latin Patriarch, the Custodian of the Holy Land, the Ethiopian Patriarch and the Representative of the Lutheran Church. Also in attendance was Mr Cesar Margiye, Head of the Office of Christian Affairs at the Foreign Ministry, representatives of the Police and the Israeli Civil Administration, Ambassadors of states, etc.

The purpose of the event was to inform guests on the efforts made by Israel’s Ministry of Tourism towards creating conditions that encourage pilgrims and tourists to visit Christian shrines in Israel.

In his address, Minister Landau said that, to the best of his knowledge, the virtues of love, tolerance and the personal pursuit of peace are of great importance to Christianity and that, in the spirit of the days, the Ministry of Tourism invites the representatives of Christian Churches in the Holy Land, to assure them that pilgrims visiting the Holy Land in view of Christmas do so in safety provided by the state of Israel.

Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem also addressed guests. His greeting may be reached here: https://en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/2014/12/23/10753

From the Secretariat-General


Monday, 22 December 2014.


Today the angels in the sky dance

and rejoice.

And the whole universe delights

in the birth of the Lord and Saviour in Bethlehem.

Because every fallacy of idols now ceases

and Christ shall rule for all time.

(Nativity Verses for Christmas Procession)


The Orthodox Church of Christ celebrates, today and for all twelve merry days of the Dodekaorton, an event miraculous and sublime, mystic and paradoxical, an event transcending every human sense and perception. It experiences, asserts and proclaims for its members and the entire world to hear an event initiated by God in heaven and offering great joy to men on earth.

This event rests on the choice of the benign and beneficent God to reunite Himself with His creation, man: man deceived by the devil and drawn away from Him through sin, misled and wandering, lethally wounded and damaged.

For this divine and salvaging work, according to the Apostle Paul, “when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship”. (Gal., 4, 4). God sent forth His Son and “accepted man” (Rom., 15-7). Upon the choice of God the Father, His Age-Old Logos and Son was incarnate, became human through the Holy Spirit and the Ever-Virgin Mary. According to the Evangelist of love, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1, 14). The fleshless Logos was incarnate. The ever-virgin Mary bore God in the flesh. God in His power elevated her to Theotokos, Mother of God. Through His incarnation, the Son of God also became the Son of man and revealed himself to us not as god-bearing man but as flesh-bearing God, as Theanthropos, as the new Adam of grace, carrying within Him His dual nature, both divine and human, in a single hypostasis. This, according to Father Cyril of Alexandria, does not mean that “the nature of the Word was transformed into flesh, nor that the Word was made human of soul and body, but that the Word united Himself as flesh carrying soul and mind, thus indescribably became man and served as Son of man”.

This mystery of man’s reception by God did not happen seemingly but truly. Christ received the human nature in its entirety, humanity in all its poorness and weakness. Christ marked the beginning of time. He was born as man of the ever-virgin Mary “when the days were accomplished that she should be delivered” (Luke 2, 6) during the rule of Ceasar Octavian Augustus in Bethlehem, Judea (Luke 2, 1-4).

Taking share in every human manifestation, even following death by the cross, through which He reached the Resurrection, Christ was born in a cavern, lay in a manger and was wrapped in cloth, guarded from Herod’s murderous mania not by force but through escape to Egypt.

In his single hypostasis and dual nature, Christ was glorified by angels in the sky of the blessed Village of the Shepherds, with the hymn “Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace” (Luke 2, 14). He was venerated by shepherds and the wise men but He was also persecuted by Herod and fled to Egypt.

Today, just like then, men’s attitude towards Jesus Christ differs. By some, as were the angels, shepherds and the wise men, Christ is believed, venerated and glorified; by others, as was Herod, He is rejected and hunted. Christ is persecuted, His message on earth reproached – the message of mutual friendship, peace and reconciliation. Those believing in Him are persecuted too, Christians and other innocent men, all those, regardless of faith, called by Christ “the least of His brothers”. Denial of Christ’s figure and work is the cause of violent and hideous crimes in various regions of the earth, Syria, Iraq, Gaza and elsewhere in the Middle East.

From the holy Cavern where Christ was born, and from the manger where he lay, and from the Basilica of the Nativity, guarded through the centuries by the Church of Sion as the apple of the eye, we send forth festive greetings for the Dodekaorton, the gospels of joy and peace of the Lord of peace, to the flock entrusted by God to us, the flock residing in the Holy Land and everywhere across the earth, and to pious pilgrims visiting the holy shrines, wishing for everyone the blessing, grace and reinforcement of God Incarnate, born in the flesh by the Ever-Virgin.

In the Holy City of Bethlehem, CHRISTMAS 2014

 Ardently Blesser in the Lord,


 Patriarch of Jerusalem


On the night of Saturday to Sunday, the 7th to the 8th/20th to the 21st of December 2014, monk f. Anastasios was ordained as deacon during a nocturnal divine Liturgy at the Holy Sepulcher. The ordination was performed by the His Eminence Aristarchos, Archbishop of Constantina.

Before the ordination, His Eminence addressed the novice with spiritual words on the sanctity of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the holiness of the Horrendous Golgotha and the Holy Sepulcher, the holiness of the divine Liturgy and the clergy and the sanctity of life required by him during his diaconate, after the example of the Seven Deacons and deacon Timotheos, a disciple of the Apostle Paul.

After these words, the Primate placed his hands on the head of the ordained and invoked for him the Grace of the All-Holy Spirit, exclaiming “Worthy he is”, with which the congregation concurred.

After the ordination, f. Anastasios hosted those honouring him with their presence at the Office of the Elder Sacristan, Archbishop Isidoros of Hierapolis, who wished for him a praiseworthy diaconate.

From the Secretariat-General



On Friday the 6th/19th of December 2014, His Beatitude Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, lit the Christmas tree in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The tall, decorated tree is fixed on a terrace within the New Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem, a manger at its basis.

Leaders of Churches attended the event, together with a crowd of Christians of various denominations, rejoicing for the birth of Christ in anticipation for more peaceful conditions in the New Year – protesting at the same time for the prosecutions of Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere.

The Heads of Churches passed through the New Gate to arrive at the Notre Dame hotel. There, in the events hall, a Christmas celebration was held, organized by the Palestinian Bible Society. Guests at the event were addressed by the Patriarch in Arabic, after which the Palestinian Ambassador, Mr Issah Kassiye, read the message of President Mahmoud Abbas-Abu Mazen, wishing health, peace, the peace of Jesus Christ, freedom and safety for the residents of the Old City.

From the Secretariat-General



On Thursday, the 5th/18th of December 2014, the Patriarchate observed the feast of hosios Savvas the Consecrated in the Monastery dedicated to him. The Monastery was founded in the late 5th century in the desert of Judea, which lies in the West Bank of Cedars stream.

Since its founding, the Monastery has remained a powerful monastic center and a bastion of Orthodox teaching, having yielded Fathers, teachers, theologians, melodists, poets and holy martyrs.

Today it operates as a Lavra for approximately 20 monks. Women are still forbidden to visit it.

The memory of hosios Savvas the Consecrated is celebrated alongside the memory of St Barbara, St John Damascene, who had lived and is now buried in the Monastery, and St Nikolas, Bishop of Myra, Lycia.

For the three-day celebrations, His Eminence Dorotheos, Archbishop of Avila, visited the Monastery.

To observe the feast of St Savva, His Beatitude Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem arrived on the eve of the feast, namely on the 4th/17th of December 2014. The Patriarch was received in the forecourt of the Monastery by the Very Reverend Archimandrite Evdokimos, Hagiosabbite Fathers and Arab-speaking priests from Bethlehem and Galilee, as well as priests visiting from Greece, and Arab-speaking faithful from Galilee, Bethlehem, Beit-Jalla and Shepherds Village.

After venerating the relics of Hosios Savvas in the katholikon of the Lavra, His Beatitude was treated to a reception at the Church Board Hall (Epitropikon). At approximately 8:30 pm, the vigil began for the ceremony of the Small Compline and the Salutations of Hosios Savvas the Consecrated, a poem of the late f. Gerasimus, Vespers and Breaking bread.

The divine Liturgy was led by Patriarch Theophilos. Co-officiating were Archbishop Doroteos of Avila, Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, Archbishop Makarios of Qatar, Hagiotaphite Hieromonks and Arab-speaking priests, Archdeacon Evlogios and deacon Markos. Archimandrite Aristovoulos sang in Greek, Russian and Romanian on the right, with Archimandrite Philotheos on the left. Arab-speaking faithful and pilgrims from Greece, Russia and Romania participated in piety in a mystic, spiritual ambiance with lit candles.

During Communion, His Beatitude spoke in Greek of Hosios Savvas who painfully sought and conquered virtue, consecrating himself with the grace of the Holy Trinity.

Many among the faithful participated in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. On the conclusion of the vigil, which ended at 8:00 am, kollyva, bread and wine were offered to the faithful before lunch, which was blessed by His Beatitude.

After lunch, the Patriarch returned to Jerusalem passing through the Monastery of Hosios Theodosios the Cenobite. Archbishop Dorotheos stayed for the feast of St Nikolas.

In Jerusalem, the feast of St Savvas was observed at the chapel dedicated to him within the Monastery of the Holy Archangels, led by Archbishop Demetrios of Lydda.

From the Secretariat-General



On 12 December 2014, His Beatitude Theodoros, Patriarch of Alexandria, visited the Exarchate of the Holy Sepulcher in Cyprus. He was accompanied by the Most Reverend Makarios, Metropolitan of Kenya, and the Exarch of the Patriarchate of Alexandria to Cyprus, f. Athenodoros. His Beatitude was welcomed by the Most Reverend Timotheos, Metropolitan of Bostra at the entrance to the Exarchate, and together they attended mass. On the conclusion of the divine Liturgy, a supplication was made for the Patriarch.

The Most Reverend Timotheos went on to address His Beatitude Theodoros, saying how moved he was over this honour bestowed upon the Exarchate. He then pointed out the historical significance of this visit in terms of the relations between these two ancient Patriarchates, in particular for the life and contribution of the Exarchate. An engolpiyon and an icon of the Ascension were then offered to His Beatitude.

On his behalf, the Patriarch referred to the link between the two Patriarchates and to the fact that Patriarchs of Alexandria originate from the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. He then referred to his personal contact with the Holy Land, during the first years of his prelacy, through Metropolitan Theodoros of Lampi and Sfakia, his spiritual guide. The Patriarch also talked of his friendship with Metropolitan Timotheos of Bostra and Archbishop Alexios of Tiberias, praising the former for his fine work in restoring the Exarchate.

His Beatitude then blessed the faithful and the premises of the Exarchate, before attending a reception hosted for clerics and laymen alike.

On his departure, Patriarch Theodoros signed the guest book.

From the Exarchate of the Holy Sepulcher in Cyprus


On Monday, the 25th of November/8th of December 2014, the feast of the glorious great martyr St Catherine was celebrated at the Monastery dedicated to her name. The Monastery stands opposite the Patriarchate, in the Christian quarter of Jerusalem.

As has been handed down to us by the Synaxarion of the Church, St Catherine lived in Alexandria, a maiden of extreme beauty, well-educated and gifted with the virtue of virginity. After her baptismal, she avowed her faith in Christ, astounding the philosophical scholars of Alexandria. She suffered a martyr’s death in 305 AD, during the rule of Maximinus.

His Eminence Dorotheos, Archbishop of Avila, led the service at the Monastery, with co-officiating Hieromonks and deacons. The head cantor of the Church of Sts Constantine and Helen, Archimandrite Eusebius, sang alongside students at the Patriarchal School of Sion. Members of the Greek parish, pilgrims and monks, participated in the service.

On the conclusion of the divine Liturgy, the Abbot, Archimandrite Stephanos, hosted the Prelatic Retinue and the congregation to a reception at the Hegoumeneion [Abbot’s quarters].

The Patriarchate also participated in the celebrations in memory of St Catherine taking place at the Monastery dedicated to her name on Mount Sinai. The delegation was headed by Patriarchal Commissioner, Archbishop Theophylaktos of Jordan.

From the Secretariat-General



On Sunday, the 24th of November/7th of December, H.B. Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem officiated at the Patriarchal Church of St Nikolas in Aqaba.

This fine Church, standing at the center of Aqaba, a city in the Northern boundaries of the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, was built by the late Patriarch Diodoros of Jerusalem. Adjacent to the Church is a school, a hall of events and the priest’s residence.

Owing to its geographical position and its port, Aqaba, a city of approximately 100.000 residents, is today a trade center. What is more, its climate has elevated it to a tourist destination. The city is the See of the Rum Orthodox Arab-speaking Community of St Nikolas, numbering approximately three hundred families.

The Patriarch of Jerusalem officiated at the divine Liturgy commemorating the feasts of the Presentation of Theotokos and of St Nikolas, Bishop of Myra, Lycia. Co-officiating were Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina; the Patriarchal Commissioner in Northern Jordan, Archbishop Philoumenos of Pella; the Abbot in Fhes, Archimandrite Ieronymos; Presbyter Vassilios, Archdeacon Evlogios and deacon Ioannis of Irbet. A great crowd of faithful participated in the service.

To the pious congregation, attending mass to receive the blessing of Patriarch Theophilos, His Beatitude preached the Word of God in Greek.

In Arabic, the homily may be reached here:  https://en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/ar/2014/12/07/8677

Several among the faithful received Communion. On the conclusion of mass, His Beatitude offered a pectoral cross and a blessing cross to Steward f. Vassilios.

Extending his thanks, the priest invited His Beatitude to return to the city and bless the flock, once His pastoral obligations allow Him to do so.

After mass, His Beatitude distributed gifts to pre-school children, before visiting the school’s premises.

At noon, He was attended lunch offered by the community aboard a boat in the Gulf of Aqaba.

In the evening, He attended dinner hosted in His honour at the hotel.

On the following morning, His Beatitude arrived in Amman, to return to Jerusalem on the evening of Monday.

From the Secretariat-General


On Thursday, the 21st of November/4th of December 2014, the Patriarchate celebrated the Entrance of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple of God.

The Presentation, namely the Entrance of Theotokos into the holy of holies of the Temple of Solomon, foretells “God’s will for our salvation” and the fact that the virgin Mariam, presented by the priests to the Temple, was predestined by God to bear Our Lord Jesus Christ, through His incarnation by the action of the Holy Spirit.

  1. At the monastic church of Sts Constantine and Helen

His Beatitude Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, led the service at the monastic church of Sts Constantine and Helen.

  1. At the Monastery of the Great Panaghia

This great Marian feast was celebrated in the Monastery of the Great Panaghia, at the chapel of St Melanie – the Katholikon of the Monastery being in a process of restoration. The service was led by the Patriarchal Commissioner, the Most Reverend Isychios, Metropolitan of Kapitolias, with co-officiating Hieromonks and deacons. The head cantor of the Church of the Resurrection sang in Greek and Russian, with nuns singing in Greek.

In the course of the divine Liturgy, Patriarch Theophilos, accompanied by Hagiotaphite Fathers, proceeded to venerate.

On the conclusion of mass, Abbess Melanie hosted Prelates and the congregation to a reception at the Hegoumeneion.

From the Secretariat-General





During this period leading to Christmas day, the Holy Archbishopric of Qatar offered its polyglot flock the opportunity to participate in a Bazar of Christmas Gifts. The event was enriched by performances based on various local traditions, on Friday, the 21st of November 2014 (New Calendar).

The event was honoured by the presence of the Ambassadors of Greece, the Republic of Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Moldavia, Lebanon, Serbia, and the representative of the Russian Embassy to Qatar, as well as representatives by other denominations in Doha.

Handmade Christmas decorations, gifts and items of worship were offered for sale, in support of the work performed by the Archbishopric. All items were made by members of the Myrophorae Association, the Association of Youth and other members of the flock.

Also in offer was a great variety of specimens of Arab, Greek, Serbian, Romanian and Ukrainian cuisine, courtesy of numerous companies and ladies from the flock.

The whole event was indeed very successful, having attracted a large crowd of Orthodox from Qatar.

From the Holy Archbishopric of Qatar