On Wednesday, 2nd/15th February 2023, the Patriarchate celebrated the feast of the Meeting of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple at the Holy Monastery of Sayda Naya at the Christian Quarter, northeast of the Patriarchate.

On this feast the Church commemorates and honours and celebrates the Meeting of our Lord in the Temple when he was forty days old, still breastfeeding. He was brought by his parents to the Temple of Solomon with the offering of “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons”. There, Saint Simeon the God-receiver having been informed by the Holy Spirit, received the Lord in his arms and recognized Him and exclaimed, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32).

For the celebration of this Despotic Feast, Vespers was held on Tuesday afternoon and the Divine Liturgy on Wednesday morning, presided over by His Eminence, Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, with the co-celebration of the Archimandrites, Ieronymos and Makarios, the Arab-speaking Priests Charalambos and Nectarios, Archimandrite Melchizedek from the H. Monastery of Saint John the Baptist in Essex, and other Priests from the Orthodox countries of Romania, Russia and Georgia and Hierodeacon Simeon. The chanting was delivered by Mr Vasilios Gotsopoulos in Greek and Mr Rimon Kamar in Arabic. The services were attended by many pilgrims and members of the parish of Saint James Cathedral, as well as the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr Evangelos Vlioras.

Before the Holy Communion, His Eminence delivered a Sermon in Greek and Arabic (see video).

During the Divine Liturgy, H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem visited the Monastery for veneration, accompanied by Hagiotaphite Fathers.

The Patriarchal and Episcopal entourages, along with the entire congregation were offered a decadent reception by the renovator of the Church, Reverend Abbess Seraphima, at the hegoumeneion and the courtyard of the Church.

From Secretariat-General