THE FEAST OF OUR FATHER AMONG THE SAINTS SAVVAS THE SANCTIFIED AT THE HISTORIC LAVRA IN THE DESERT OF JUDEA
On Tuesday, December 5/18, 2018, the Patriarchate celebrated the commemoration of our Father among the Saints Savvas the Sanctified at the Patriarchate, at the Holy Monastery founded by him and bears his name up to the present, at the desert of Judea on the right bank of Brook Cedron, which runs towards the Dead Sea.
For this feast, the Most Reverend Archbishop Makarios of Qatar went to the Holy Monastery with an entourage, on Sunday afternoon, 4/16 December 2018, to begin the festivities initially with the commemoration of St. John of Damascus at his chapel on the day of his feast, December 4, which is also the day of the commemoration of the Holy Great Martyr Barbara.
The following day, Tuesday December 5/18, there was the celebration of the commemoration of our Father among the Saints Savvas the Sanctified at the Catholicon of the Monastery which had been constructed by St. Savvas himself. There was an all-night vigil officiated by the Most Reverend Archbishop Makarios of Qatar, with the participation in prayer of the visiting from Greece Hegoumen of the H. Monastery of Hilandarion Archimandrite Methodios and the Hegoumen of the H. Monastery Giromeriou Archimandrite Methodios, as well as the Fathers of the Monastery of St. Savvas, monks from other Holy Monasteries and local Arab-speaking Priests, and pilgrims from Greece. The chanting was delivered on the right in Greek by the Byzantine choir from Greece under the lead of Professor Demetrios Balagiorgos, along with the Fathers of St. Savvas Monastery, Fathers from Mount Athos and the Choir Leader of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre Mr. Constantinos Spyropoulos, while the left choir in Arabic was under the lead of the Patriarchal Representative in Acre – Ptolemais, Archimandrite Philotheos.
Having remained at the Monastery for the three-day festivities, on Wednesday December 16/19, Archbishop Makarios of Qatar officiated the Divine Liturgy on the commemoration of St. Nikolaos, Bishop of Myra of Lycia the Wonderworker at his chapel, which is the first Church of the Lavra, built by St. Savvas, who named it “God-built” because half of its construction is within a natural rock in a shape of a cave.
After the Divine Liturgy, there was the established memorial service for the repose of the souls of the Fathers of the Monastery at the courtyard of the Monastery, which is the roof of the cemetery of the Monastery.
Consequently His Eminence and his entourage, the Fathers of the Monastery and all the pilgrims participated in a meal at the refectory of the Monastery.
Having completed the three-day festivities, His Eminence thanked the Fathers, and accepted their thanks in return, and full of blessings he departed via the Holy Monastery of St. Theodosios the Cenobiarch, where he venerated his tomb, glorifying God.