On Monday, the 7th/20th of January 2014, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, represented by the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood, reciprocated the Armenians’ visit on the occasion of Christmas, celebrated according to the very ancient Byzantine custom, together with the feast of Theophany.

The Hagiotaphite Brotherhood was received by the Armenian Patriarch, Mr Nurhan, and Armenian Fathers, whereas the head of the representation, namely His Beatitude Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, addressed the Armenian Patriarch and His retinue in English. His speech may be reached here:


From the Secretariat-General


Jerusalem, 20 January 2014

Your Beatitude,

Your Eminences,

Your Graces,

Members of the Brotherhood of Saint James, Dear Brothers,

We greet you with congratulations on the celebration of the Feast of the Nativity, according to the Armenian calendar, and we proclaim with you the great words of Saint John,

 The Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only son, full of grace and truth (Jn. 1:14).

As your celebration of the Nativity and our celebration of the Theophany coincide, we recognize that this is indeed one and the same feast, the feast of the True Light that enlightens all people (cf. Lk 2:32).

We extend to you, Your Beatitude, and to the whole Brotherhood of Saint James, our special greeting on this Christmas in your ministry as Armenian Patriarch and the spiritual father of the Armenian community in the Holy Land.

It has been by God’s grace and help that, despite the turbulent affairs of the world and our region, the celebrations of this holy season have been uneventful and as a consequence they have been of genuine spiritual refreshment to our people. This sends a message near and far that the new-born Christ is the only sure ground for hope, justice, and peace. When we as the Churches of the Holy Land celebrate the great feasts of the events of the life of our Lord Jesus Christ, we make clear the bright hope of God to all those who live in desperation around the world.

This is our sacred, spiritual mission that we must always keep before us as we endeavor to maintain our co-operation. We cannot underestimate the importance of this. In this way we strengthen our role in shaping the developments of this Holy City and of our beloved Holy Land.

In the spirit of this season, we wish to take this opportunity, Your Beatitude, to express to you, to your brother bishops, to the members of the Brotherhood of Saint James both here in Jerusalem and in other parts of the world, and to the Armenian community of the Holy Land, our Christmas wishes.

And we wish for you, Your Beatitude, health and strength for your ministry, and a peaceful and spiritually fruitful New Year.

Thank you.

His Beatitude


Patriarch of Jerusalem.


On Sunday the 6th/19th of January 2014, the feast of Theophany was celebrated by the Patriarchate according to its typical order and the status of veneration at the All Holy Church of the Resurrection.

Upon His descent from the Patriarchate on the morning of the feast, to the Church of the Resurrection, and after venerating at the Holy Apokathelosis and the Holy Sepulcher, our Father, Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem, was dressed in Prelatic attire in the Holy Bema of the Katholikon, and went on to perform the Grand Blessing at the center of the church – the blessed water intended for drinking after abstaining from meat on the eve of Theophany, and also for strengthening and enhancing the pious congregation of Orthodox Christians.

Immediately after the holy water rite, the Divine Liturgy was held in the Holy Sepulcher of the Lord, led by His Beatitude. Co-officiating were the Most Reverend Isychios, Metropolitan of Kapitolias, their Eminences the Archbishops: Dorotheos of Avila, Aristarchos of Constantina, Methodios of Tabor, Theodosios of Sevastia and Demetrios of Lydda, in the presence of Hieromonks and deacons and a great crowd surrounding the Holy Aedicula, piously observing the choir chanting under the direction of the Head Cantor of the Church of the Resurrection, Archimandrite Aristovoulos.

The antidoron was distributed in front of the Holy Aedicula, followed by the blessing of the faithful by means of the blessed water. At the conclusion of the blessing, the Patriarchal retinue and a crowd of pilgrims left for the Patriarchates amid ringing bells.

There, the brotherly embrace took place, as well as the kissing of the Patriarch’s hand, who wished everyone that they be enlightened by the Holy Spirit, descending in the form of a pigeon upon the baptized Lord.

The service was broadcast live from the Holy Sepulcher on the online radio station of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem:


From the Secretariat-General



I. In Jerusalem

On Saturday, the 5th/18th of January 2014, namely the eve of Theophany, His Beatitude Theophilos, our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem, led the Matins, the divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom and the procession of the Lesser Blessing of the Waters at the monastic Church of Sts Constantine and Helen. Praying with Him were Hagiotaphite Prelates and Hieromonks, with participating novices at the Patriarchal School of the Holy Sion, pilgrims and locals, all receiving the grace of the blessed water.

At the conclusion of the holy water rite, the Patriarch, putting on a mantle, followed chanting priests to the Hall of the Throne. After Him came the vicar of the Church of St James the Brother of God, with His Eminence Theodosios, Archbishop of Sevastia, who had led the procession at the Church.

II In the Jordan River

Subsequently, His Beatitude Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, accompanied by the Patriarchal Commissioner, the Most Reverend Isychios, Metropolitan of Kapitolias, and the Elder Secretary-General, His Eminence Aristarchos, Archbishop of Constantina, and Archdeacon f. Evlogios, left for the holy water rite in the Jordan river, Jericho, where our Lord Jesus Christ was baptized.

His Beatitude made a stop at the Hegoumen’s Quarters in the Monastery of the Prophet Elisha, where he was hosted to a reception by the Hegoumen, Archimandrite  Philoumenos, before arriving at Jericho Municipality, where He was addressed by the Mayor with wishes for the resolution of the political problem and for the celebration of Theophany. His Beatitude made His reply speech in Arabic.

He then proceeded eastward, to the terminal at the border. Through the iron gate, His Beatitude arrived at the Holy Monastery of St John the Baptist, on the West Bank of the River Jordan. The monastery, damaged because of the 1967 war and a series of earthquakes, is now in the process of conservation.

There, His Beatitude was warmly received by the Israeli Military Administration of Jericho, the Boy Scouts of Jericho, priests in festive attire and a great crowd.

Putting on a mantle, His Beatitude entered the Church of John the Baptist, where the 9th Hour of the Epiphany was read out.

This was followed by a procession on foot to the West Bank of the River Jordan, in the presence of the Greek Consul-General to Jerusalem, Mr Georgios Zacharoudiakis, and Mr Alexandar Vulin, the Serbian Minister without portfolio.

There, on a platform, the Lesser Blessing of the Epiphany was performed by His Beatitude. Co-officiating were priests and a great crowd of pious faithful, the latter participating with occasional cheering.

After having performed the Holy Water Rite, His Beatitude proceeded to the bank of the River Jordan, where he immersed the cross thrice in the water, chanting: “When you were baptized in the Jordan, O Lord….”, blessing as many of the attendants as possible.

After the holy water rite, His Beatitude proceeded to the Holy Monastery of Abba Gerasimus of the Jordan, where He and His retinue, as well as a great crowd, were hosted to meatless lunch by the Hegoumen, Archimandrite Chrysostomos.

From the Secretariat-General



Jericho, the 5th/18th of January 2014.

Your Excellency, the Governor of Jericho,

Your Eminences,

Your Excellency, the Consul-General of Greece,

The Holy Land and especially the Land of the very ancient city of Jericho, with its sacred river Jordan, is inextricably linked with the holy history, and specifically with the historical event of the Baptismal of our God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who founded and established the Mother of All Churches, namely the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem and of all Palestine.

The array of monasteries in the vicinity of Jericho and the river Jordan, as well as the Churches on sacred sites, bear testament to the Presence of God on earth on the one hand, and on the other hand to the revelation of the divine light, that is the Holy Spirit, on men. Furthermore, they are tangible evidence of the social and religious setting of peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims, forged through the centuries by the great National and Religious Leaders, our predecessor, Patriarch Sophronios, and Khalif Omar ibn Khattab.

It is this very event that we celebrate today in your historical city, in order to share with you the joy and delight of the Universal feast of Holy Theophany.

And this we say because today’s feast celebrates the revelation of the divine light, the light of love, peace and justice that dawned on those living in the land of the shadow of death, (Matthew 4,16), the “powers of this dark world” according to the Apostle Paul.

It is this revelation of the divine and never-setting light of justice that we have come here to declare in prayer, through the ceremonious blessing of the waters of the river Jordan. We thank you for your brotherly welcome and hospitality, and profoundly wish that the divine light, the light of justice, shall reign on earth, especially in this Holy Land and on the Palestinian people. May health and power be offered to our dear President Mahmud Abbas Abu Mazen so that he may guide his people to the fervently desired complete independence and freedom.

Many happy returns.

Theophilos of Jerusalem.



According to the typical order of the Church, which provides that when the feast of Theophany falls on a Sunday, the Great Hours are read out on Friday, the Great Hours of Theophany were read out on Friday the 4th/17th of January 2014, at the monastic church of Sts Constantine and Helen of the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood.

The procession of the Hours, which followed Matins, was led by His Beatitude Theophilos, our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem, who read out the Gospel of the First Hour, with co-praying Prelates reading out the Gospel of the Third, Sixth and Ninth Hour.

The procession was attended in piety by monks, nuns, and pilgrims in anticipation of the Lesser Blessing of the Waters on Saturday, and the Great Blessing of Theophany on Sunday.

From the Secretariat-General


On the Wednesday which followed New Year’s Day, namely the 2nd/15th of January 2014, the cutting of St Basil-pie took place at the School of St Sion, by his Beatitude Theophilos, our Father and Patriarch of Jeusalem, in the context of a humble ceremony at the Patriarchal School on the hill of St Sion, in Southeastern Jerusalem.

Attending the ceremony was the Greek Consul-General to Jerusalem, Mr Georgios Zacharoudiakis and his esteemed wife; the President of the School Board, the Elder Sacristan, His Eminence Isidoros, Archbishop of Hierapolis; Board member Hierodeacon f. Martyrios, as well as other Hagiotaphites and parents of students at the School.

The ceremony began with an address by the Principal, Physics Professor, f. Photios, and was followed by a performance of the Apolytikia of the feast of the Circumcision, of St Basil, and of Hagiotaphite Carols. His Beatitude went on to cut the pie, wishing that the New Year be “favourable, peaceful, blissful and spiritual”, and distribute the pieces among those honouring the ceremony with their presence, as well as to the students.

Young student Pavlos Kokovides was offered the piece which contained the hidden coin.

After the distribution of the pie, His Beatitude and the Consul General offered Christmas presents to the novices.

The ceremony ended with Patriarchal advises to the novices.

From the Secretariat-General



On Wednesday, the 2nd/15th of January 2014, a group of representatives of the Haram al-Sharif – Temple of Solomon Waqf visited the Patriarchate under Azam Hadib. They were accompanied by the Jordan representative to Jerusalem on Christian and Muslim Sites of Pilgrimage. The group was received by H.B. Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, in the presence of Hagiotaphite Brothers.

Addressing His Beatitude on behalf of all, Mr Hadib stressed the importance of the Patriarchate since the days of Patriarch Sophronios of Jerusalem and Omar Hadib, for the peaceful coexistence of Christians and Muslims, and for the preservation of the Sites of Pilgrimage and the status quo in Jerusalem. His Beatitude replied in Arabic. His speech may be reached here: https://en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/ar/2014/01/16/3205

From the Secretariat-General


On the 1st/14th of January 2014, the Despotiki (of the Lord) feast of Christ’s circumcision by flesh, and of the memory of St Basil, Archbishop of Caesarea and Cappadocia, the ‘one disclosing heaven’, was celebrated during a nocturnal divine Liturgy at the Holy Sepulcher in the order of a Parreshia.

At 12:00 o’clock, midnight, His Beatitude Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, descended from the Patriarchate to the Church of the Resurrection accompanied by Hagiotaphite Fathers, and went on to lead the Matins at the Katholikon, and the Divine Liturgy in the Holy Sepulcher. Co-officiating were the Most Reverend Isychios, Metropolitan of Kapitolias; the Most Reverend Timotheos, Metropolitan of Vostroi; Their Eminences: Dorotheos, Archbishop of Avila; Aristarchos of Constantina; Theodosios of Sevastia and Demetrios of Lydda; Hieromonks, Hierodeacons, and the Archdeacon, f. Evlogios. A great crowd of different nationalities attended the service.

The Divine Liturgy was followed by a procession carrying the hand-relic of St Basil thrice around the Holy Sepulcher and the sites of pilgrimage.

Subsequently, His Beatitude proceeded to cut St Basil’s pie at the office of the Elder Sacristan, to the joy of everyone present, and of the one receiving the coin.

His Beatitude cut St Basil’s pie in the next morning too, for the Hagiotaphite Fathers, in the company of whom he went on to visit the Holy Monastery of St Basil near the New Gate for veneration, before being hosted to lunch in the monastic dining hall.

The ceremony from the Holy Sepulcher was broadcast live on the Patriarchate’s radio station, see: www.radio.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/en

From the Secretariat-General



On the evening of Monday the 31st of December, the last day of the year 2013/13th of January 2014, the custom of cutting St Basil-pie was observed at the Hall of the Patriarchate.

His Beatitude Theophilos, our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem, led the ceremony that had as participants the Greek Consul-General to Jerusalem, Mr Georgios Zacharoudiakis and his associates, Hagiotaphite Fathers, Greeks hailing from the Greek Parish in Jerusalem, members of our Arab-speaking congregation in Jerusalem, and pilgrims.

To this distinguished guests, His Beatitude delivered an address on the dawn of the new year 2014. This is an excerpt from His address:

[…] The festive reception of the new year, which coincides with the Despotiki (of the Lord) Feast of the Circumcision of Christ, our Lord and Saviour, is calling upon us to consider our works and deeds of the past year, and exclaim alongside the wise Paul: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3, 13-14).

It is precisely this principle, namely the movement towards a blessed life, living and behaving according to Christ, that we are called upon to set as our purpose at the beginning of the new year of Christ’s Virtue, where the domain of His eternal Kingdom will hopefully be blessed and glorified; Amen.

In Arabic, the address may be reached here: https://en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/ar/2014/01/13/3155

The ceremony was followed by the Apolytikion of the Circumcision of Christ and the Apolytikion of St Basil, at the end of which His Beatitude proceeded to cut St Basil-pie, wishing that the New Year 2014 be favourable and peaceful. The pie was distributed among the guests, who paid their respects and reciprocated wishes for a happy new year.

During the distribution of the pie, students at the Patriarchal School chanted the New Year’s Carols. They went on to sing the Carols to Hagiotaphite Fathers and the Greek Parish, and save the contributions they were generously offered by their hosts.

From the Secretariat-General