On Friday, the 29th of October/11th of November 2016, the feast of St Demetrius the Myrrh-Streamer was observed belatedly at St Demetrius church in Raffidia, at a short distance from Jacob’s well, in Nablus, Samaria.

In this church, built by the ever-memorable Patriarch Cyril circa 1850, Patriarch Theophilos led the divine Liturgy, having as concelebrants Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, Metropolitan Joachim of Zambia, Archimandrites Epiphanius and Leontios, Archdeacon Marcos and Hierodeacon Agapius. Archimandrite Aristovoulos sang on the right in Greek, as cantors sang in Arabic on the left. Parishioners, a minority within a Muslim population, observed mass in piety.

To the pious congregation, His Beatitude delivered a sermon in Greek, quoting the Evangelical pericope of the day: “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning (John 15, 26-27).

“This testament”, Patriarch Theophilos said, “that ‘you have been with me from the beginning’, is fervently proclaimed by the Church of Christ, constituted and held together by the Advocate, the Spirit of Truth, namely the Spirit of God and Christ our Saviour”.

St Demetrius, His Beatitude added, imitated Christ’s life-giving passion, from which he drew the energy of miracles and the enlightening power to teach the Gospel’s message, but also to heal diseases.

“Let us all beseech St Demetrius”, Patriarch Theophilos concluded, “through the mediation of Theotokos and all other saints, to guard us from danger and grief”.

On the conclusion of the divine Liturgy, the hegumen and church board hosted His Beatitude and Entourage to lunch at the hegumeneion.

From the Secretariat-General