On Wednesday, the 19th of November, 2nd of December 2014, Mr Zsolt Semjén, Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary, visited the Patriarchate accompanied by Mr Geza Mihályi, Hungarian Representative in Ramallah, and former Ambassador, Mr Csaba Czibere, Director General of the Middle East and North Africa Department.

His Excellency the Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary conveyed to His Beatitude the greetings of the President and the Cardinal of Hungary, inviting Him to visit Hungary anew, as His previous visit was fondly remembered.

In response, His Beatitude accepted the courteous invitation in due time, once His pastoral obligations will allow such visit.

During the meeting, Mr Semjén conferred on His Beatitude the supreme medal of his country, namely the Commander’s Cross with the Star, Order of Merit of Hungary (civilian division), in recognition of the harmonious cooperation between the Patriarchate and Hungary, and of the Patriarch’s support of Christians in the Holy Land.

His Beatitude gave a reply speech in English, see link: https://en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/2014/12/02/10374

To reciprocate the honour, the Patriarch bestowed on Mr Semjén the medal of Supreme Taxiarch of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher.

Moved, the Hungarian Deputy Prime Minister thanked His Beatitude for this gesture, tightening the ties between Hungary and the Patriarchate, before going on to venerate at the Holy Sepulcher, Calvary and the Sacristy of the Church of the Resurrection, wherein the Holy Cross and the holy Relics are being kept.

From the Secretariat-General



2 December 2014

Your Excellency, Dr. Zsolt Semjén Deputy Prime Minister
Distinguished Members of the Delegation,
Dear Friends
We welcome you warmly to the Holy City of Jerusalem and to our Patriarchate, and as we do so, we remember with warmth and gratitude our own visit to your beloved country two years ago. At that time we were impressed by the commitment of the government and the people of Hungary to the Holy Land, and we are glad that the ties that bind your country to this region are deepening.
The Patriarchate of Jerusalem shoulders the mission of preserving the integrity of the Holy Land. This integrity is predicated on the well-being, security, and flourishing of all our peoples. Here Jews, Christians and Muslims and others have lived together for millennia, and here we must forge a future in which all these communities can live in an atmosphere of peace, justice, and reconciliation. There is no other possible future here that respects the true identity and integrity of the Holy Land..

This means, of course, a stable and flourishing Christian community. We Christians are native to this region, and the Christian community appreciates deeply the support that we have received from the Hungarian government over the years. In addition to many other things, your government has supplied much-needed and valuable scholarships to young people in our Palestinian Christian communities, and we know the transforming effect that education has on our young people.
In this way, the Patriarchate forms a living bridge of spiritual encouragement between the government and people of Hungary, the Palestinian Authority and the State of Israel. At a time when our region is experiencing the breakdown of so many structures and traditional relationships, along with ensuing chaos, war, and terribly acts of terrorism and brutality, these bridges of hope are all the more crucial for us to build and maintain. We are deeply thankful for the efforts of your government in this work, and we are always delighted to welcome pilgrims from Hungary to the Holy Places, where they find spiritual refreshment.
Thank you for the honour that you have bestowed upon us, which we receive with humility and gratitude not on our own behalf, but on behalf of the Patriarchate, the Brotherhood of the Holy Tomb, and all the faithful of the Rum Orthodox Church in the Holy Land, and in recognition of the important bonds between the Patriarchate and our people in this region and the people of Hungary, we wish to bestow on you, Your Excellency, the Cross of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre..

May these mutual recognitions be signs of the commitment that we all must have for peace and reconciliation in the Holy Land and throughout the Middle East. May God bless your visit to the Holy Land, and may God bless all the peoples of your beloved country of Hungary.
Thank you


His Beatitude


Patriarch of Jerusalem


On the evening of Monday, the 18th of November/1st of December 2014, H.B. Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, visited Joppa accompanied by the Elder Secretary General, His Eminence Aristarchos, Archbishop of Constantina, and the Vice-President for Economic Affairs, the Very Reverend Archimandrite Jeronymus, Abbot in Fhes. There, Patriarch Theophilos participated in the tree lighting ceremony organized by the Boy Scouts of Joppa’s Rum Orthodox Arab-speaking Community and the Mayors of Tel Aviv and Joppa, in view of Christmas and the New Year.

In attendance at the ceremony was the Abbot of the Monastery of the Archangels in Joppa, His Eminence, Archbishop Damascene; the priest of the Rum Orthodox Arab-speaking Community of Joppa, f. Constantis, the Vice-Mayor of Tel Aviv and Joppa, the President of the Boy Scouts Association, Mr David Mansour, the President of the Municipal Council, Mr Victor Zakak, and Council members – all extending wishes for a peaceful celebration of Christmas and a happy New Year.

This well-organized event was attended by approximately two thousand residents of Joppa, Israelis and Arabs.

In the framework of this event, Christmas songs were performed, praising the Nativity as a message of peace and love for mankind.

The beautiful ceremony was sealed by His Beatitude’s address in Arabic.

From the Secretariat-General



On Saturday, the 16th/29th of November 2014, the Patriarchate celebrated the memory of holy-martyr St Philoumen the Hagiotaphite at Jacob’s Well in Nablus, Samaria, where he served as abbot until his martyric death in 1979.

Jacob’s Well was where Our Lord Jesus Christ conversed with the Samaritan woman and revealed Himself as Christ, guiding her  from the depths of ignorance and sin to the path of knowledge and sanctity. There, the current Abbot, Archimandrite f. Justin, built a magnificent church in the name of St Photini of Samaria, as well as a chapel dedicated to St Philoumen and St Justin the philosopher and martyr. The latter hailed from Nablus and suffered a martyr’s death circa 160 AD.

Patriarch Theophilos led the divine Liturgy at the Church of St Photini. Co-officiating were His Eminence Aristarchos, Archbishop of Constantina; the Abbot, Archimandrite f. Justin; Abbots Leontios of Rafidia, Chrysostomos of Kana, and Ananios of St George, Beit-Jalla; Hieromonk Martyrios, Hagiotaphite Hieromonks and Arab-speaking presbyters from the region of Samaria. Also in attendance were Archdeacon Evlogios and deacon Markos. Monk Daniel of the Monastery of Hozeva chanted in Greek, and the Choir of Rafidia and the Community of Zababdeh chanted in Arabic. Pious pilgrims from Greece, Russia, Romania and Ukraine, and Arab-speaking faithful from Jerusalem, mostly from the towns of Rafidia, Zababdeh, Tubas and Burkin, participated in piety.

His Beatitude preached the Word of God in Greek.

In Arabic, His homily may be reached here: https://en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/ar/2014/11/29/8285

Several among the faithful proceeded to receive Holy Communion.

Mass was followed by a reception at the Abbot’s quarters and, later on, lunch for the Patriarchal retinue and a great crowd.

During lunch, Law student Mr Halil Yannam, a Rum Orthodox of Zababdeh, addressed His Beatitude.

From the Secretariat-General



On Friday, the 15th/28th of November 2014, parishioners of the Cathedral of St James the Brother of God, attending mass at the Monastery of the Prophet Elias, visited the Patriarchate. They were led by Mrs Eleni Hasram.

The Association, founded by women from the parish of St James, attending mass at the Monastery of the Prophet Elias, accompanies youth and children to pilgrimage excursions, as well as also organizes several celebratory events, such as concerts and bazars. The events used to be held with the blessings of the late Abbot of the aforementioned Monastery, f. Andreas, now replaced by Abbot f. Paisios.

His Beatitude blessed the activities of the group and congratulated the youth and children for their dedication to their parish and love of Jesus Christ and the Church, encouraging them to carry on, especially during the Christmas period.

His Beatitude also welcomed Primates from the Patriarchate of Moscow, from Russia and Ukraine, as well as accompanying priests and pilgrims, granting them permit to officiate at the Holy Sepulcher for the vigilance of St Philoumen.

From the Secretariat-General





On Friday, the 15th/28th of November 2014, Mrs. Dora Bakoyiannis, in the framework of a visit to Israel and the Palestinian Autonomy in her capacity as Chairperson of the Political Affairs Committee (Subcommittee on the Middle East) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, visited the Patriarchate. She was accompanied by Mr Ioannis Dragasakis, Vice-President of the Parliament, Special Advisor Mr Anastasios Hadjivasileiou, and the Greek Consul-General to Jerusalem, Mr Georgios Zacharoudiakis.

Mrs. Bakoyiannis and her associates were warmly received by H.B. Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, and Hagiotaphite Fathers.

In the context of the meeting, an interesting discussion took place on the crisis that befell the Patriarchate years ago and which it overcame owing to the help of God, the Greek government and Mrs Bakoyiannis personally.

His Beatitude also explained to Mrs. Bakoyiannis the Patriarchate’s present-day capabilities and the adversities it faces in its efforts to make use of its property, especially in the Abu Tor region of Western Jerusalem and in the land owned by the Monastery of the Prophet Elias, between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Reference was also made to the significance of the Holy Shrines and the Patriarchate’s leading role in their safekeeping; also to its efforts to maintain the religious status quo as a framework of peaceful coexistence in Jerusalem.

After the meeting, Mrs. Bakoyiannis went on to venerate at the Holy Sepulcher and the Church of the Resurrection, having asked for divine empowerment in her life and work.

From the Secretariat-General



On Thursday, the 14th/27th November 2014, the Chief of the Hellenic Navy, Mr Evangelos Apostolakis, visited the Patriarchate. He was accompanied by a group of his associates, the representative of the Hellenic Embassy to Israel, Mr Evangelos Panagiotou, and Mr Gennimatas.

Mr Apostolakis and his associates were received by His Beatitude, Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem, and Hagiotaphite Fathers.

In the context of this visit, His Beatitude talked to Mr Apostolakis on the sanctity of Jerusalem, land of the Lord’s Crucifixion and Resurrection, as well as on the city’s particularity and ? He also referred to the conciliatory, peacemaking role of the Patriarchate in support of the current status quo as the safest context of interreligious and nationwide peaceful coexistence.

Mr Apostolakis expressed his appraisal of the Patriarchate’s work, thanked His Beatitude for receiving him and asked for His blessing before venerating at the Holy Sepulcher.

From the Secretariat-General




On Thursday, the 14th/27th of November 2014, the Greek Minister of Public Order, Mr Vassilis Kikilias, visited the Patriarchate. He was accompanied by his associates, the Greek ambassador to Israel, Mr Spyridon Lambrides, and the Consul-General to Jerusalem, Mr Georgios Zacharoudiakis.

The Minister was received by His Beatitude, Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem, and Hagiotaphite Fathers.

During the meeting, Mr Kikilias pointed out that he follows and appreciates the work performed by the Patriarchate within its jurisdiction in the Holy Land.

In response, His Beatitude said that the Patriarchate’s work extends to its flock, but also to the other residents of Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian State and Qatar, which falls within its ecclesiastical jurisdiction.

The Minister went on to ask His Beatitude to suggest in what manner Greece, and particularly the Ministry of Public Order, could offer help. His Beatitude responded that the most effective way of assistance is the cooperation between the Patriarchate and the Greek government, represented here by its Embassy and the Consulate-General.

His Beatitude underlined the peacemaking role which could be undertaken by Judaism, Christianity and Islamism during religious and national extremities in Jerusalem and other cities of Israel and of the Palestinian State.

The Minister thanked His Beatitude for His time and asked for His blessing before carrying on his visit to the state of Israel.

From the Secretariat-General




On the 9th/22nd of November 2014, the feast day of our Father, Nektarios of Aegina, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem celebrated the ninth anniversary of the election and enthronement of its Leader, His Beatitude Theophilos, our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem.

To commemorate the event, Doxology was made at the katholikon  of the Church of the Resurrection, led by His Beatitude, with co-officiating Hagiotaphite Primates and Hieromonks, deacons, priests and concelebrants from our Arab-speaking flock, as well as pilgrims from Greece and Russia, in the presence of the Consul-General to Jerusalem, Mr Georgios Zacharoudiakis, his esteemed wife, and Consulate personnel.

On the conclusion of Doxology, guests proceeded to the Patriarchates, where His Beatitude was addressed, on behalf of the Holy and Sacred Synod, by the Elder Secretary-General, Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina.

Archbishop Aristarchos was followed by the Consul-General of Greece to Jerusalem, His Excellency Mr Georgios Zacharoudiakis.

On behalf of Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Church and the Russian Spiritual Mission (MISSIA) in Jerusalem, spoke the Very Reverend Archimandrite Theophanes.  Presbyter Daniel spoke on behalf of Patriarch Daniel of the Romanian Church, whereas the Most Reverend Kyriakos, Metropolitan of Nazareth, spoke on behalf of the flock in Nazareth. On behalf of the flock in Joppa spoke His Eminence Damascene, Archbishop of Joppa. On behalf of the flock in Northern Jordan spoke His Eminence Philoumenos, Archbishop of Pella. Archimandrite Philotheos spoke on behalf of the flock in Accra-Ptolemais. Addresses were also delivered by: the vicar of the Cathedral of St James the Brother of God, f. Issa Touma; the Principal of the Patriarchal School of Sion, monk Nikolaos; professors Haled and Komodiki on behalf of the Patriarchal School of St Demetrius and its Principal; and Mrs Im Omar on behalf of the Jordan Prime Minister.

His Beatitude delivered a reply speech in Greek, before guests were hosted to a reception at the Patriarchate.

From the Secretariat-General



On Friday, the 8th/21st of November 2014, the Synaxis of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel and all the heavenly powers was celebrated at the Monastery dedicated to them, in the Christian quarter between the Monasteries of St George and St Catherine, at a close distance to the north of the Patriarchate.

Vespers and the divine Liturgy were led by Metropolitan Isychios of Kapitolias, with co-officiating Hagiotaphite Hierodeacons and deacons.  Nuns of the Patriarchate and novices at the Patriarchal School of Sion sang whilst members of the Greek parish in Jerusalem, Greek Orthodox Arab-speaking faithful and pilgrims from Greece, Russia, Ukraine and Romania participated in piety.

After mass, His Eminence Demetrios, Archbishop of Lydda, the Monastery’s renovator, hosted the Prelatic retinue and the congregation to a reception at the Hegoumeneion.

From the Secretariat-General