PASTORAL MEETING OF H.H.B. THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM THEOPHILOS WITH THE RAMALLAH DISTRICT PRIESTS
On Tuesday morning, 6/19 October 2021, the day of the commemoration of the Holy Glorious Apostle Thomas, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated at the Holy Church of the Transfiguration of our Lord in Ramallah.
Co-celebrants and participants in prayer in this Liturgy were by the invitation and preparation of the Hegoumen of Ramallah Archimandrite Galaktion the Priests of the Ramallah District in the West Bank; Ramallah Priest Fr Iakovos, Jifna Priest Fr George Awad, Ein Arik Priest Fr Nickolaos, Taybe Priest Fr David, Zababde Priest Fr Athanasios, Hegoumen of Beit Jala and the Monastery of the Shepherds Archimandrite Ignatios, Beit Jala Priests Yuseph Hodali, Paul and Elias, Nazareth ministering Priest Simeon, Patriarchal Representative of Acre-Ptolemais Archimandrite Philotheos, Hegoumen of Haifa Archimandrite Artemios, Abelin Priest Fr Savvas, Hegoumen of Rafidia Archimandrite Leontios, Caretaker of Bourkin Monk Bissarion, Yaffo Priest Fr Constantin, Jifna former Priest Fr Andreas, Saint James Cathedral Priest George Baramki, Bethlehem Priests Spyridon, Issa Thaljie and George Jakaman.
H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos participated in the Liturgy, having arrived from Jerusalem with their Eminences, Geronda Secretary-General Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, Metropolitan Joachim of Helenoupolis and Archdeacon Mark.
His Beatitude addressed all present as follows:
“Behold, bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord, which by night stand in the house of the Lord” (Psalm 134:1), the psalmist sings.
Beloved Fathers and Brethren in Christ,
Let us bless our Holy Trinitarian God who deemed us, His ministers, worthy, to gather in the beautiful city of Ramallah under the wings of our Holy Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, to show our unity in Christ on the one hand, “for we are members one of another in Christ” (Eph. 4:25); and on the other, to show our identity in Christ, “as it is fit in the Lord” (Col. 3:18).
And the unity refers to the mission appointed by the Church of the ordained spiritual shepherd, according to Paul’s words: “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Eph. 4:11-13).
While the identity refers to our unbreakable bond with the Name of Christ, Who, “God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name” (Phil. 2:9), according to Paul.
It is noteworthy that our identity in Christ does not refute, but on the contrary strengthens the love of the country, the love of the place we were born, according to the example set by our Lord Jesus, Who “when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue” (Matt. 13:54, Luke 4:16). Nevertheless, “here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come” (Hebrews 13:14).
Our clergy meeting, which takes place at the occupied by Israel territory of the Palestinian State, has special importance for our reverend Christian flock as well as for the reverend Priests who serve in the various towns; their liturgical, namely the Eucharistic ministry and pastoral care is more necessary than ever.
And we say this, because the Deacon, namely the Priest of the Church is an abettor of our Chief Shepherd, Christ, and His “fellow-workers unto the kingdom of God” (Col. 4:11), according to the Chief of the Apostles Paul, Athanasius and Cyril of Alexandria, and by the confirmation of the Cappadocians, Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, John Chrysostom and other God-bearing Fathers.
These Great and God-bearing Fathers of the Church became imitators of Saint Paul according to his command: “For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus, I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me” (1 Cor. 4:15-16).
Indeed, they became imitators of Saint Paul as per his advice to Timothy: “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness…That thou keep this commandment without spot…O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so-called” (1 Timothy 6:11-20).
Our Holy Church and especially our Venerable Rum Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, like another Arc and caring mother, never ceased its care for our tested flock, and not only, through the unceasing prayers at the All-holy and Life-giving Sepulchre of our Lord Jesus Christ, and through the good works. “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18).
Concluding this Fatherly and Patriarchal greeting in our Lord we wish for the good outcome and increase in Christ during the proceedings of our meeting, always bearing in our minds and hearts the words of Saint Chrysostom: “The Priesthood is held on earth, however, it has the order of heavenly things”.
The Grace of our God and Saviour through the intercessions of the Most Blessed Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary and all the Saints be we us all. Amen.”
His Beatitude and the clergy meeting were welcomed by the Mayor of Ramallah, Mr Farah Hadid.