On Thursday the 4th/17th of March, 2016, Thursday of the First Week of Lent, the Patriarchate observed the memory of hosios Gerasimos of Jordan at the Monastery dedicated to his name, on the West Bank of the river Jordan, before the river mouth at the Dead Sea.

St Gerasimos came from his hometown of Lycia, Asia Minor, to the Holy Land and led a monk’s life at a Monastery in the region of the river Jordan.  Having shortly deviated to the heresy of Monophysitism circa 450 AD, he returned to Orthodoxy under hosios Efthymios the great and excelled in defending the Christological doctrine of the two natures of Christ at the Fourth Ecumenical Council in Chalcedon. He went on to found a monastic Lavra for advanced monks, led thousands of them to life, completion and deification in Christ, and attracted several Christians from across the world to piety in Christ. The Monastery he founded survived the transformations of human history, albeit in the tumultuous region of Palestine.

At this Monastery, His Beatitude Theophilos officiated at the divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, having as concelebrants Hagiotaphite Hieromonks, e.g. Archimandrite Ieronymos, hegumen in Fhes, Jordan; Archimandrite Ignatios, hegumen at the Village of the Shepherds; Archimandrite Paisios, hegumen at the Monastery of the Prophet Elias; Archimandrite Ananias, hegumen at St George, Beit Jala; Hieromonk Kyriakos, priest at the Monastery, and the vicar of St Constantine, f. Nikitas; Arabic-speaking presbyters as f. Issa Mousleh, f. Yusef Hondali and f. Pavlos Aleme; also, Archdeacon Evlogios, Hierodeacons Agapios, Markos and f. Anastasios. Metropolitans Kyriakos of Nazareth and Isychios of Kapitolias, the Elder Secretary-General, Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, Archbishops Demetrios of Lydda and Makarios of Qatar, and Metropolitan Joachim of Zambia prayed jointly. Archimandrite Aristovoulos sang with monks of the Monastery of Hozeva and Bethlehem, having students from the Patriarchal School as participants. Attending the service were the Patriarchate’s Mass Media representatives, ministers of the church and pilgrims from Greece, Cyprus, Russia, Romania and Ukraine.

To the pious congregation the Patriarch preached the word of God in Greek.

In Arabic, the Patriarch’s speech may be reached here: https://en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/ar/2016/03/17/19668

A great crowd participated in the Sacrament of the Holy metalepsis. A procession followed, as the icon of Abba Gerasimus was carried thrice around the Monastery, and supplication was made for health and peace in the world, and for the repose of the souls of our departed fathers and brothers.

At noon, the hegumen, Archimandrite Chrysostomos, hosted everyone to meatless lunch.

From the Secretariat-General