On Monday the 31st of December, the last day of the church year 2013/13th January 2014, the feast of Hosia Melanie of Rome was celebrated by the Patriarchate at the chapel dedicated to her, within the Holy Monastery of the Great Panaghia.

Hailing from Rome, Hosia Melanie had traveled to monasteries of Egypt before taking up residence in Jerusalem, where she lived in sainthood, founding charitable houses and helping the poor.

The Hegoumen of the Village of the Shepherds, also serving as vicar at the Monastery, Archimandrite Ignatios, led the Vespers and the Divine Liturgy on the day of the feast, in the presence of nuns of the Monastery of the Great Panaghia and nuns from other Monasteries in Jerusalem, as well as pilgrims.

At the end of the Divine Liturgy, the Abbess, nun Melanie, hosted a reception at the Abbess’ Quarters.

From the Secretariat-General


Jerusalem, 9 of January 2014

Your Beatitude, Your Eminences,

Reverend Fathers and brothers of the Armenian Fraternity of Saint James,

“Christ is born; glorify Him. Christ is come from heaven; go and meet Him. Christ is on earth; arise to Him. Sing to the Lord, all you who dwell on earth; and in gladness, Ο you peoples, praise His

Birth. For He is glorified”

With this hymn of Saint Cosmas, the Church melodist, we greet you in this festive Christmas season, for indeed, Christ is come from heaven to be born in the cave of Bethlehem. Indeed, Christ is on earth, for He is waiting to be born in our cave, i.e. in our heart.

We praise Him, for once again this year we have gone to meet Him in His physical place of birth, where He was manifest into our human history in the cave of Bethlehem, marked by the magnificent Constantinian basilica, which continues to stand as a beacon of the divine light to the world. We also have gone to meet Him in the spiritual cave, i.e. the divine altar, for through Him we offered our humble gifts, i.e. a sacrifice of praise to God the Father; the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name (Heb. 13:15).

We glorify Him, for as Saint John says, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father”, (John 1:14).

It is precisely this glory of the begotten Son of God in which we now rejoice this Christmas season, especially in our contemporary world in which our fellow man is enduring injustice, persecution, starvation, displacement from their homelands and humiliation.

We, who are privileged to be servants and guardians of the Holy Land and its holy sites that bear witness to the sacred history, i.e. the divine oikonomia, and more specifically the history of salvation have been called by the Holy Spirit to be messengers of peace and reconciliation. For together with the angels we can “bring the good news of a great joy, which will come to all the people, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14).

Your Beatitude, as we prepare to celebrate the feast of the Divine Epiphany in the Jordan River, and you also prepare to celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem, in the very cave of our Lord’s nativity, We, along with our Brotherhood of the Holy Tomb and our Rum Orthodox community, wish you from the bottom of our hearts, a Merry Christmas, a blessed holiday, and a peaceful new year.

“For he is our peace, and he came and evangelized peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father” (Eph. 2:17), so that the peace of God, which passes all understanding will keep our hearts and our minds in our newly born Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:7).

Blessed Christmas and a happy new year. Thank you.

His Beatitude


Patriarch of Jerusalem


The 27th of December 2013/9th of January 2014 marked the visits to the Patriarchate of all Christian Communities in Jerusalem, on the occasion of Christmas.

The visits take place during the festive period in order to diminish prejudice and tension and enhance the spirit of peace, religious coexistence and collaboration.

Early in the morning of the aforementioned day, dedicated to the memory of St Stephen the First Martyr, the visit took place of Franciscan Friars, the Roman Catholic Custodians of the Holy Land.

Underlined during the address of Custodian f. Pierre Battista Pizzaballa and the reply of His Beatitude, was the Incarnation and Birth by flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, as the beginning of our salvation and the basis of coexistence between Christians in the Holy Land toward a commendable Christian testimony and support of its Christian inhabitants.

This call was followed by visits from other Churches, i.e. the Latin Patriarchate, the Armenians, Copts, Ethiopians, Syrians, Lutherans and the Apostolic Delegate.

During the speeches and reply speeches of the visitors, the need was stressed for an even closer collaboration among Christian Churches of the Holy Land, toward the resolution of differences and problems, and assistance to Christians in the Middle East, Palestine and the Holy Land.

His Beatitude’s addresses to the guests who collectively visited the Patriarchate, may be reached here: https://en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/2014/01/09/3885

And to the Armenians, who visited separately, here: https://en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/2014/01/09/3880

Present during the visits were representatives of the Greek Orthodox (Rum Orthodox) Communities of the Patriarchate, namely the Jerusalemite Community of St James the Brother of God; the Community of Shepherds Village; and the Community of Tubas in the Neapolis/Samaria area.

The day’s visits closed with the visit of the Israeli Police of Jerusalem.

From the Secretariat-General



Jerusalem, 9 of January 2014

Your Beatitudes,

Your Eminences,

Reverend Fathers,

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father” (John 1:14).

It is this glory of the begotten Son of God in which we now rejoice at the time of this Christmas season. We have been blessed and privileged to celebrate God’s full manifestation into our human history in the very place where the Incarnation of the Divine Logos, i.e. the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, took place in the cave of Bethlehem, where the magnificent Constantinian basilica continues to stand as a beacon of the divine light since the early years of Christianity.

The city of Bethlehem, crowned by this basilica, has become the physical and spiritual symbol of God’s philanthropy, that is to say, of His peace and justice on earth and of course of hope to all men and all nations, especially to those who are enduring injustice, inequality, persecution, slavery, starvation, humiliation, displacement from their homelands, and from all contemporary Herods, that is, “all workers of iniquity” (Luke 13:27).

The Holy Ecumenical Church of God and particularly the local Church of Jerusalem and the Holy Land, which are in fact the body of Christ, who is extended into the ages, bears witness to the Incarnate Hope and Justice that was born from the pure blood of the all blessed Virgin Mary, the Theotokos of Nazareth.

It is precisely this witness that the “Holy Jerusalem” i.e. the mother of all Churches, has been called by the Holy Spirit to evangelize, as Saint Paul says, “And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified” (Rom. 9:30).

Dear brothers and sisters, our gathering today here at the Patriarchate adds to our celebration of the Christmas feast and the new year, as the Psalmist says, “Behold now, what is so good or so pleasant as for brothers to dwell together in unity,” [Ps. 132 (133):3]. For according to the Lord, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20).

Furthermore, this Christmas celebration is also a reminder of our pastoral care and responsibility as spiritual Shepherds in encouraging and leading our respective flocks, especially in our Middle East region, who are being “snatched and scattered by the wolves” of the darkness of this world. For our common shepherd, Jesus Christ says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).

Indeed, today Christ, our Shepherd, is born. And indeed, He is the good Shepherd who does not abandon His own and those who know him, and even those who are aspiring to Him.

Let us pray to the newly born Son of God, and together with our Church Father Saint John Chrysostom:

Christ our God, the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets, you have fulfilled all the Father’s dispensation. Fill our hearts with joy and gladness, always, now and forever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Blessed Christmas and a peaceful new year. Thank you.

His Beatitude


Patriarch of Jerusalem


On the day after Christmas, Wednesday the 26th of December 2013/8th of January 2014, the feast of the Synaxis of Theotokos was celebrated by the Patriarchate.

At the Patriarchate

In the early hours of the day, His Beatitude Theophilos, our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem, led the festive Matins Service of Christmas and the Divine Liturgy, with co-officiating Hagiotaphite Primates, Hieromonks and monks. All gathered to honour Theotokos as the first and foremost among humans to serve the mystery of the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which God prepared our salvation.

The Divine Liturgy in the Monastic Church of Sts Constantine and Helena was followed by the kissing of the hand of His Beatitude and embraces among brothers.

In the Village of the Shepherds

In this town, where Shepherds residing in the fields were urged by heavenly angels to go to Bethlehem and see the infant Christ lying in the manger, there is a Church dedicated to the Synaxis of Theotokos, built by the departed Hegoumen of St Savvas Monastery, Archimandrite Seraphim.

In this Church, His Eminence Theophanes, Archbishop of Gerassa, led the Vespers in the presence of a great crowd of Orthodox faithful. Co-officiating were the Hegoumen of the Monastery of the Shepherds, Archimandrite f. Ignatios, Sabbaite Hieromonk Efrosynos, and Arab-speaking priests from the town of the Shepherds-Beit Sahour, while a great crowd of faithful piously attended the service.

To the faithful, Presbyter f. Issah Musleh was assigned by His Eminence to preach the Divine Word on God’s philanthropy, expressed through the incarnation of His Son through a Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, honoured for Her contribution to the human gender with a gathering of the faithful on the 26th of December.

The Divine Liturgy was followed by a memorial supplication for the repose of Archimandrite Seraphim, proprietor of the Church of the Synaxis of Theotokos, who slept in peace eleven years ago. A procession then took place towards the Cavern of the Shepherds, where stands the ancient chapel commemorating them.

After the procession, Hegoumen Ignatios hosted the Prelatic retinue and the entire congregation to a reception, followed by lunch at the hotel of Mr Evangelos Sideras.

From the Secretariat-General



The feast of Christmas, the ‘Metropolis of all feasts’ according to the Church Fathers, was celebrated by the Patriarchate of Jerusalem on Tuesday the 25th of December/7th of January 2014, in the city where our Lord Jesus Christ was born by flesh, namely Bethlehem, where lies the magnificent Constantinian Basilica.

The feast began from Monday night, at 22:30 pm, as entrance was made from the gate of the Baptistery and the Matins procession was led by the Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod, His Eminence Demetrios, Archbishop of Lydda.

During Matins, His Beatitude Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, proceeded to the Holy Bema, while priests approached Him to put on their prelatic vestments, followed by deacons dressing His Beatitude and Primates.

This marked the beginning of the procession from the Sanctuary Door towards the divine Cavern, along which His Beatitude was accompanied by the President of the Palestinian Autonomy Mr Mahmud Abbas Abu Mazen, the representative of the King of Jordan, Commerce Minister Mr Samir Halasa, the Greek Consul-General to Jerusalem, Mr Georgios Zacharoudiakis, the Mayor of Bethlehem Mme Vera Baboun, Governor Mr Abdul Fatah Hamayel, the Chief of Police of the region of Bethlehem and other officials of the Palestinian state. Leading the procession were priests and Primates in festive vestments.

Upon entrance to the Cavern, the pericope of the birth of Jesus was read from the Gospel of Luke: In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world…” (Luke 2,1) in both Greek and Arabic, followed by a reading of His Beatitude’s Message on the Feast of Christmas, by His Eminence Demetrios, Archbishop of Lydda in Greek and by presbyter Issa Musleh in Arabic.

The Message was followed by veneration at the Star and the Manger, as well as by a procession around the interior of the Basilica thrice, amidst Christmas Hymns under the direction of the Head Cantor of the Church of the Resurrection, Archimandrite Aristovoulos in Greek and the Director of the Choir of the Basilica of the Nativity Mr Laurence Samur, in Arabic. The two choirs went on to chant for the whole duration of Matins and the Divine Liturgy.

The procession was concluded in the middle of the Basilica, followed by the procession of Matins, and the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom in the main Nave of the Basilica, led by His Beatitude Theophilos. Co-officiating were the Most Reverend Isychios, Metropolitan of Kapitolias, and their Eminences the Archbishops, Dorotheos of Avila, Aristarchos of Constantina, Elder Secretary-General, Methodios of Tabor, Theodosios of Sevasteia and Demetrios of Lydda, with Hagiotaphite Hieromonks and Arab-speaking presbyters, fathers Georgios Bandak, Georgios Martzuka, Spyridon Samour and Issa Thalgiye, visiting priests from Greece, Russia and other Orthodox countries, in the presence of a great crowd of Arab-speaking, Greek-speaking, Russian-Speaking and Romanian-speaking congregation, piously receiving the Holy Communion.

His Eminence Nektarios, Archbishop of Anthedon, led the Divine Liturgy in the Cavern.

At the conclusion of this brilliant celebration, the Patriarchal retinue proceeded to the Hegoumen’s Quarters where they were hosted to lunch by Archbishop Theophylaktos of Jordan.

After lunch, His Beatitude and Hagiotaphite Fathers returned to Jerusalem through the Checkpoint at Rachel’s Tomb, after first descending through the South gate to the Divine Cavern for veneration.

From the Secretariat-General



On Monday the 24th of December 2013/6th of January 2014, Christmas Eve was celebrated by the Patriarchate in Bethlehem in accordance with its ancient order.

In line with the approved schedule, at 9:00 am of the aforementioned day, His Beatitude Theophilos, our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem, received the Israeli Police at the Patriarchate’s Hall on the occasion of the feast.

Subsequently, accompanied by the Police and headed by the Greek Orthodox Boy Scouts, the Patriarchal Hagiotaphite Retinue proceeded to the Gate of David. From there, His Beatitude and Hagiotaphite Fathers were driven to the Holy Monastery of the Prophet Elias.

At the Monastery, the Patriarchal Retinue was welcomed by the Hegoumen, Archimandrite Paisios, representatives of the Communities of Bethlehem, Beit-Jala, and Shepherds Village, as well as the Israeli Military Administration of Bethlehem. After a brief reception, His Beatitude left by car for Bethlehem, headed by a cavalcade of three Israelis until the Checkpoint at Rachel’s Tomb. From Rachel’s Tomb, an honorary motorcycle  parade of Palestinian Policemen led the Patriarchal car to the square of the city of Bethlehem, where His Beatitude was addressed by the Patriarchal Commissioner in Bethlehem, Archbishop Theophylaktos of Jordan, the Mayor of Bethlehem, Mme Vera Baboun, the Governor,  Abdul Fatah Hamayel, Minister Ziad Al-Bandak, the Palestinian Committee on Christian Affairs and a great crowd of Pilgrims and Christian residents of Bethlehem, headed by several Boy Scout Branches.

From there, His Beatitude walked to the entrance of the Basilica in Bethlehem, following Priests in festive vestments chanting “Your birth, O Christ our God, dawned the light of knowledge upon the earth…”

His Beatitude, led by the hieratical retinue, walked to the iconostasis of the Basilica, then descended to the Cavern through the southern gate to venerate the Star and the Manger, before ascending through the northern gate and proceeding in front of the iconostasis. There, he rose to the throne and led the Procession of the Great Hours, Vespers and the Divine Liturgy of Basil the Great until 3:30 pm.

At the conclusion of Vespers, the Patriarchal Retinue was hosted to lunch at the Hegoumen’s quarters, by Archbishop Theophylaktos of Jordan.

On the evening of the Eve, His Beatitude hosted a reception for the President of the Palestinian State, His Excellency Mahmud Abbas – Abu Mazen, the President of Sri-Lanka and his wife, on a visit to the Palestinian state, the representative of the King of Jordan, Mr Samir Halasa, eminent personalities of the Palestinian Government, i.e. Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki and members of our Orthodox congregation.

The reception marked the conclusion of the feast of Christmas Eve.

From the Secretariat-General




Bethlehem, 24 December 2013/ 6 January 2014

Your Excellency, President of the Palestinian State

Honorable Representative of the King of Jordan,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The city of Bethlehem is the physical and spiritual symbol of God’s philanthropy, namely of peace and justice on earth, but also of the hope of any man and people. Especially those suffering injustice and persecution, slavery and hunger, those displaced from their paternal homes by contemporary Herods, the “workers of iniquity” (Luke 13, 27).

This we say because the historical event of Christmas, the incarnation and humanization of the Logos God, expressly defeated and exposed the arrogance of the lords of this dark world, on the word of the Apostle Paul (Ephes. 6, 12).

The feast of Christmas, Mr President, is not exclusive to our Churches, but a feast of all men, especially the faithful of the three monotheist religions, chosen for the Holy Land by divine providence in order to coexist in peace and concord, “And those he predestined”, says the wise Paul, those he also called”. (Rom. 8, 30).

The Cavern of Bethlehem wherein lies the Church of Constantine the Great, now in the process of renovation, where the worship is performed of the God of love, peace and justice through the centuries since the Birth of Jesus Christ, serves as undeniable testimony of the diaconate and mission of our Greek Orthodox Patriarchate; testimony respected by caliph Omar ibn Khatab and his successors to this day.

Your presence and participation, Mr President, as well as that of the representative of His Majesty the King of Jordan, in this celebration offers clear proof of the unity of our peoples and also of our religious Communities.

We wish that the God of peace, born in a cavern, grants your Excellency enlightenment from above, health in body and soul, and the administrative power to lead the struggling Palestinian people to the realization of the sacred right of complete national freedom and independence.

Many happy returns, in peace.

In the Holy City of Bethlehem, Christmas 2013


Patriarch of Jerusalem


On the Sunday which preceded the Nativity of Christ, the 23rd of December/5th of January 2014, a Memorial for Hagiotaphite Fathers was performed in the All-holy Church of the Resurrection.

Leading the divine Liturgy prior to the Memorial, was His Eminence Theodosios, Archbishop of Sevasteia.

Officiating after the divine Liturgy, was His Beatitude Theophilos, our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem with co-officiating Hagiotaphite Primates, Hieromonks and deacons.

Commemorated during the Memorial were the long-deceased Patriarchs of Jerusalem, Primates, Hieromonks, Deacons, Monks and Nuns.

At the conclusion of the memorial, His Beatitude ascended in procession to the Patriarchates where after the distribution of the kollyva [consecrated wheat], He wished for the blessed memory and eternal repose of all long-departed Fathers.

From the Secretariat-General



On Saturday the 22nd of December 2013/4th of January 2013, a Christmas celebration took place for the younger students of the Patriarchal School of St Demetrius, housed at the Patriarchate.

Attending the celebration was His Beatitude Theophilos, our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem, accompanied by the Patriarchal Commissioner, the Most Reverend Isychios, Metropolitan of Kapitolias, other Hagiotaphite Fathers as well as several teachers, parents and other members of the Jerusalemite Christian Community.

At the end of the event, His Beatitude offered Christmas presents to all students, wishing them good progress and a pleasant festive period.

From the Secretariat-General