On Friday morning, November 23/ December 6, 2019, the tonsure of the Byzantine Choir Leader of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre Novice Monk Constantine Spyropoulos took place at the Patriarchate and in the Pentecost chapel by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos. The tonsure was held after the approval of the Novice’s application by the Holy and Sacred Synod.
His Beatitude named the tonsured Monk Simeon. The change of the name in the monastic tonsure denotes the change of the manner of living of the tonsured ones.
After the tonsure His Beatitude praised the new Monk Simeon for his zeal over the last two years in his service at the choir of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and in his teaching as a Theology teacher and Manager at the Patriarchal Boarding School of Zion, and admonished him in order to continue and fulfill his ministry serving as a Hagiotaphite Monk and shortly as a Deacon at the Patriarchate and the All-holy Shrines.
CHRISTMAS BAZAAR IN QATAR
The Christmas Bazaar with an artistic program from various local traditions was held at the courtyard between the Bishop’s residence and the Holy Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Qatar on Friday, November 29, 2019.
The artistic program included Christmas chants by the children of the Orthodox Arabic-speaking Sunday Schools, the Greek-speaking Sunday School from the Russian-speaking, the mixed Choir the Community of Philippines, the Dancing Association of the Greeks living in Qatar, who danced traditional dances wearing Greek costumes and the Association of the Arab-speaking Community of the H. Archdiocese, who danced traditional dances and sang traditional songs wearing traditional costumes.
The Orthodox Associations of the Ladies, Youth, and other members of the flock prepared handmade Christmas ornaments, gifts and merchandise which were offered for sale in aid of the mission of the Archdiocese. The event also featured a wide variety of Arabic, Greek, Serbian, Romanian, Moldavian, Russian and Ukrainian cuisine, offering a variety of dishes, a donation of various companies and ladies of the flock.
The event was honored by the presence of the Ambassadors in Qatar, of Romania Mrs. Anka Michai, of Moldova Mr. Valentin Makari and the Consuls of Greece Mr. Ioannis Zelomosidis, of Serbia Mr. Bojan Novakovic and of Georgia Mrs. Aleksandra Jiskaviani, as well as representatives of other doctrines in Doha.
The high turnout of the Orthodox in Qatar and other Christian Communities’ members confirmed the success of this event.
From the Holy Archdiocese of Qatar
THE 14TH ENTHRONEMENT ANNIVERSARY OF HIS BEATITUDE THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM THEOPHILOS
On Friday, November 9/22, 2019, a Doxology took place at the Catholicon of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for the 14th Election and Enthronement Anniversary of His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos.
The Doxology was officiated by H.H.B. with co-celebrants the Hagiotaphite Archbishops and Hieromonks, Arab-speaking Priests, Deacons and Monks of all the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate, at the presence of the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr. Christos Sophianopoulos and with the participation of a noble congregation from Jerusalem, other Communities of the Arab-speaking flock of the Patriarchate and pilgrims.
After the Doxology, bells tolling, the Patriarchal Entourage returned to the Patriarchate Headquarters.
Geronda Secretary-General, His Eminence Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina addressed His Beatitude as follows;
“Your Beatitude Father and Master,
The Mother of Churches is rejoicing today in gleefulness on the quite important and happy occasion of Your Beatitude’s Enthronement at the glorious Throne of St. James the Brother of God and First Hierarch of Jerusalem.
This was accomplished through the devoted endeavours of the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood for the preservation of the Status Quo of the Holy Land and of course of the Old City of Jerusalem, which had been undermined by the illegal agreements of mortgaging its land property of incalculable value. With these endeavours, fourteen years ago, in 2005, the Brotherhood through its representative the Holy and Sacred Synod, unanimously and by normal voting “placed up on the lamppost” Your Beatitude as the worthy Shepherd and navigator of the Primeval Church of Jerusalem. The election of Your Beatitude and the subsequent Enthronement with the participation of all Orthodox Churches and with the recognition of all local governments, dispelled the vortex which severely shook but did not submerge the vessel of the Church of Jerusalem and tightened the joints of its mystical body in the bond of peace.
This event was celebrated today as it should, with the festive thanksgiving Doxology in full participation of Monks, clergy and laity at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. And now, in this historic reception hall of the Patriarchate, we rend Your Beatitude the worthy praise for all the “pious, righteous and just things” You have accomplished for the All-holy Shrines, the Brotherhood and the flock.
First of all, as far as the Shrines are concerned, Your Beatitude at all times both in words and in actions and toward all directions has underlined that they are a special blessing, the special and characteristic feature and the irrefutable privilege of the Church of Jerusalem as places of the Divine appearance of Christ, and for this reason, the mission of the Brotherhood is to preserve and serve them as living litourgical places for the teaching and the sanctification of the many noble pilgrims who visit them. Considering the All-holy Shrines a heritage not only of the Brotherhood but of our nation, they have been renovated, as the Sacred Edicule, the roof of the Basilica of Bethlehem, the Holy Monastery of St. John the Baptist by the river Jordan, the current renovation of the God-receiving Cave, and our rights toward them have bravely been protected, such as the right of the presence of the second guard in the interior of the Edicule of the All-holy Tomb for the reception of the Coptic and Syrian Communities after the Divine Liturgy on the Vigil of Easter and the right of the Elevation of the Holy Cross at the place of its finding, by the against the Status Quo treacherous manner of the Armenians.
The vivid interest of Your Beatitude for the Rum Orthodox Arab-speaking flock and the detailed watch over its related issues has been noted over this period, through the frequent significant funding of the Patriarchate for the completion of the Holy Church of the Nativity of Theotokos in the Community of Sahnin, through the offering of a wood-carved ikonostasion made in Cyprus as well as of the Holy Church of Saints Constantine and Helen in Koufr Smea in the district of Acre, of the recently consecrated Holy Church of St. Savvas the Sanctified in Yafat Nasra near Nazareth, and of the Holy Church of St. Moses the Ethiopian in Rafidia of Nablus, in Samaria.
Along with the other brotherly Orthodox Churches, Your Beatitude has made many efforts to keep the cooperation determined by the tradition of our Orthodox Church for the unity in Christ, projecting the dialogue in wisdom and mediocrity as the solution for the occasionally arising Inter-Orthodox issues. Appreciating this attitude of Yours, our Brotherly Church of Russia has offered You the prize Alexei II for the year 2018, “for outstanding activities in strengthening the unity of the Orthodox Christian nations and for upholding and promoting Christian values in the life of society”. This happened only yesterday in Your visit to Moscow, where You also met with His Excellency the President of Russia Mr. Putin and requested His support for the Christians of the Holy Land and of the Middle East.
Since the beginning of Your Patriarchal Office, the epicenter of the efforts and actions of Your Beatitude has undoubtedly been the by all means preservation of the Biblically established and internationally recognized Status Quo of the Old City of Jerusalem. This Status Quo is being violated and distorted in the case of the prevailing as legitimate of the long-term leases of the Jaffa Gate Hotels of the Patriarchate, which lack transparency and justice and are full of financial corruption. For the abolishment of these agreements, Your Beatitude has energetically worked toward the awareness and mobility of people and organizations, members of influence abroad, as well as within this country. Worth saying is the initiative of Your Beatitude last July this year, to organize a peaceful march of all the local Churches from our Patriarchate to Jaffa Gate in front of the Imperial and Petra hotels, and the subsequent prayer with the reading of a Message conveying internationally our request to preserve Jaffa Gate as the Gate for the entrance of the Heads of Churches of the Old City of Jerusalem to their Seats and as the natural access point of the Christian pilgrims to the Holy Sepulchre, as it has been for centuries.
Encouraged with these accomplished things, Your Beatitude, and warmly congratulating You, the Hagiotaphite Fathers join You in the good fight for the success and the help of God for all initiatives You undertake, and the materialization of all Your aims for the good of our Brotherhood and of the Church of Holy Jerusalem.
Raising my glass in a toast, Your Beatitude, on behalf of the Holy and Sacred Synod and all Hagiotaphite Fathers, I wish You many happy returns, in health, gleefulness, peace and stability, full of Divine strength and enforcement, so that You may increase and enrich Your Patriarchal Office that has been entrusted to You by the Divine Providence, for the benefit and the praise of the blessed nation of the Rum Orthodox and for the Glory of our Trinitarian God.”
Likewise, the Consul General of Greece Mr. Christos Sophianopoulos and the representatives of the Orthodox Churches of the Patriarchate of Moscow and the Patriarchate of Romania addressed His Beatitude.
His Beatitude replied to all with the following words;
“Your Excellency Mr. Consul General of Greece,
Reverend Holy Fathers and Brothers,
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3).
The appearing Church of the incarnate God Word in the place of His “provision” (Psalm 132:15) and “of habitation” (Psalm 132:13), our Holy Church of Jerusalem, rejoices today on the completion of the fourteen-year-old ministerial navigation of Our Mediocrity since the taking over of the lot of the ministry (Acts 1:25)] of the Apostolic and Patriarchal Throne of St. James the Brother of God and First Hierarch of Jerusalem.
This sacred and ecclesiastical event possesses a special meaningful significance for the centuries-old expanding mystical body of Christ, the Church, on the one hand, and for its life in the world on the other. And it should be noted that according to St. Paul, the faithful members of the Church are called “fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Eph. 2:19) and that “they dwell on earth but actually live in heaven” according to the epistle to Diognitos(Vol. 2, p. 253).
Because of these, we went to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, escorted by the Reverend members of our Venerable Hagiotaphite Brotherhood, where we rendered a thanksgiving Doxology to our Holy Trinitarian God, Who has been glorified “through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever” (1 Peter 4:11).
Today’s celebrated fourteen-year-old enthronement anniversary does not refer to Our unworthiness, but to the established institution of the Church which has been founded by the redeeming blood of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, on which foundation “other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11) as St. Paul preaches. And according to St. Ignatios of Antioch; “the apostolic” and “episcopal” throne of the Church encompasses a place of God; “Heads of the Bishops in the place of God, and of the Priests in the place of the synod of the apostles and of the deacons…who have been entrusted the ministry of Jesus Christ” (Epistle to Magnesians 6).
Our Patriarchal, monastic and Pastoral ministry so far, on the Hierarchic and Apostolic throne of St. James the Brother of God, of the Church of Jerusalem, has only one sole purpose, the preservation of the consignment of the healthy faith that has been handed over to Us by the Apostolic succession, and the upholding of the word of truth, and especially of the care of the Christian flock that has been entrusted to us, according to the teaching of St. Paul; “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” (Eph. 4:11-12). Moreover, the preservation of the All-holy Shrines as places of the logic worship and a source of healing, where pilgrims flock from all ends of the earth for their spiritual refreshment, hearkening to the psalmist saying; “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:1-2).
Needless to say that the privileges and sovereign rights of the noble and royal nation of the “Rum Orthodox” Christians on the All-holy Shrines, is a sacred duty in its “ab antiquo” mission in the Holy Land. Therefore, every effort is made to all directions, political and diplomatic, local and international governments to respect the existing multi-cultural and inter-religious Status Quo which has been established by international treaties, for both the biblical shrines and the Holy City of Jerusalem (which on itself is a universal pilgrimage).
Nevertheless, we submit to the advice of the God-inspired Paul; “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3), we have not wasted any time working in all humility for the keeping of the unity of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church of ours, “Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience” (1 Tim. 3:9).
And we say this because Jerusalem, and therefore the Church of Jerusalem, being the primeval and inexhaustible source of the blood of righteousness, of peace and of eternal life, namely of Christ, is the point of reference of reconciliation of all of us, as St. Paul preaches by saying: “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Romans 5:10).
This fourteenth enthronement anniversary of our Mediocrity calls us not to the boast of the things of our own, but that we “may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God” (Romans 15:17). “For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience” (2 Cor. 1:120. Calling upon this testimony of our conscience, we shall not cease to strive for the good fight in the vineyard of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ, namely in His Church, hearkening to the Lord’s words: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).
Co-witnesses to this annunciation of the testimony of Christ’s light and of the glory of God the Father are our co-workers the reverend and dearest Hagiotaphite Fathers and Brothers, Archbishops, Hieromonks, Deacons and Monks, who are devoted body and soul to our sacred mission.
Let us therefore entreat God the Father of lights and of truth “to guide our steps to the working of His commandments” through the intercessions of our Most Blessed Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary and through the intercessions of our Holy Father Nectarios of Pentapolis. May the Grace of the All-holy and Life-giving Tomb of our Resurrected Saviour Christ fortify all of us who serve in the ministry of the All-holy shrines and in the pastoring of our Christian flock.
With all these, we call upon all who prayed along with us and honoured us with their presence in this festive enthronement anniversary, wishing them strength from on high, the grace of the All-holy Tomb, patience and every blessing from God, expressing our warm thanks to all who addressed us; Geronda Secretary-General, Most Reverend Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, who spoke on behalf of the members of the Holy and Sacred Synod and our Hagiotaphite Brotherhood, His Excellency the Consul General of Greece Mr. Christos Sophianopoulos, Reverend Archimandrite Dometianos, representative of our Holy Brotherly Church of Russia, who conveyed the wishes of His Beatitude the Patriarch of Moscow Cyril, Reverend Archimandrite Theophilos, representative of the Holy Church of Romania, who conveyed the wished of His Beatitude the Patriarch of Romania Daniel, the Most Reverend Metropolitan Kyriakos of Nazareth, who spoke on behalf of our flock in Nazareth, the Most Reverend Archbishop Damascene of Joppa, who spoke on behalf of our flock in Joppa, Reverend Fr. Charalambos Bandour, who spoke on behalf of St. James Cathedral, Reverend Archimandrite Artemios and Fr. Alexander and Fr. Igor who spoke on behalf of the Russian-speaking Community in Ber-Sheba, the Most Reverend Archbishop Christophoros of Kyriakoypolis, who spoke on behalf of our flock in Jordan and on behalf of the Respected Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Mr. Ode Kawas, General Magager of the Education Committee in Palestine, Reverend Fr. Boulos, who spoke on behalf of the Community of Beit Jalla and our dearest Steward Fr. Savvas, who spoke on behalf of Beit Sahour, Mr. Abu Aeta and Mr. Yousef Nasser, and all participating in this festivity of the Enthronement anniversary.
To the health of all of you!”
THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM HONOURED FOR HIS ENDEAVOURS PROMOTING CHURCH UNITY, ANNOUNCES DECISION TO HOST PRIMATES IN JORDAN
21st November 2019, Moscow: His Beatitude Theophilos III, Patriarch of Jerusalem has been honoured for his dedication and ceaseless efforts in protection and support of unity of the Orthodox faith. His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia presented His Beatitude with the Patriarch Alexy II Prize at a ceremony in Moscow. In his acceptance speech, His Beatitude announced his decision to open the Patriarchate’s home in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan – conscious of the role of His Majesty King Abdullah II as Custodian of the Christian and Islamic sites in the Holy Land – to host his brothers, the Primates of the Orthodox Church, for dialogue on the preservation of Orthodox unity.
The Patriarch Alexy II Prize of the International Public Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox Christian Nations is awarded for “outstanding activities in strengthening the unity of the Orthodox Christian nations” and “for upholding and promoting Christian values in the life of society”.
Speaking at the award ceremony, His Beatitude remarked:
“We accept this prize in humility on behalf of the Church of Jerusalem. For it is the mission of our Patriarchate, that is the Church of Jerusalem, which has been founded upon the redeeming blood of Christ, to be the focus of unity for the Orthodox faithful, and it is our vocation, as those to whom the diakonia of the Holy Sites has been entrusted by Divine Providence, to ensure that they remain places of religious devotion and worship that are accessible to all.”
The Patriarch spoke of the ‘profound importance’ of church unity as a witness to the world, and the need for constant attention to this sacred duty.
“The unity of the Church in faith and life is a gift of the Holy Spirit, but it is our God-given responsibility – as those to whom the ministry of our Churches, being the mystical body of Christ, has been entrusted – to guard the unity of the Church, even to the point of undergoing sacrifice. We have no choice before God but to commit every effort to defend our unity.”
In service of this effort, His Beatitude invited his fellow leaders of the Church to meet together in Jordan.
“We would like to host, in our home as the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, our brothers, the Primates of the Orthodox Church, to gather in the spirit of fellowship – koinonia – so that counsel will be taken together for the preservation of our unity in Eucharistic communion.”
His Beatitude is widely recognised for his efforts towards unity of the Orthodox faith, in growing fellowship with Christians around the world, and welcoming them to the Holy Sites of Jerusalem; all while tending to the cherished relationships with other faiths and peoples in and around the Holy Land.
THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM & PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN DISCUSS PROTECTION OF CHRISTIANS AND HOLY PLACES
On the 20th of November, while visiting Moscow to receive the prestigious Patriarch Alexy II Prize, His Beatitude Theophilos III, Patriarch of Jerusalem, met with His Excellency President Vladimir Putin to discuss the condition of the Christians of the Holy Land.
His Beatitude has over recent years met with political and religious leaders across the globe, promoting the unity of the Church and the protection of Christians. His Beatitude and His Excellency the President spoke of the challenges facing Christians in the Holy Land, and the profound importance of unity as a living witness to the world.
His Beatitude expressed gratitude to His Excellency, President Putin, for his commitment to the Church in the Holy Land. In particular, Patriarch Theophilos praised the President for his crucial and generous assistance in the restoration of the Church of the Basilica of the Nativity; a holy place that every year receives thousands of Christian pilgrims from around the world.
The Patriarch Alexy II Prize of the International Public Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox Christian Nations is awarded for “outstanding activities in strengthening the unity of the Orthodox Christian nations” and “for upholding and promoting Christian values in the life of society”.
HIS BEATITUDE THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM ADDRESSES THE ANGLICAN MEETING “MAJMA” IN JORDAN
On Wednesday morning, October 24/ November 6, 2019, His Beatitude and our Father the Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos addressed the Meeting “Majma” of the Anglican Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, which took place in Bristol Hotel in Amman, after the invitation and welcoming reception of the Most Reverend Bishop Suheil Dawani, with the following address in English;
“Your Grace, Archbishop Suheil,
Dear Father Hosam,
Sisters and Brothers,
We greet you, dear Archbishop Suheil, and your clergy and people, as you gather for your annual synod. We join with you in welcoming your distinguished guests for the Anglican Community around the world.
We would like to take this opportunity first of all to underline the importance of the relationship that exists between the Orthodox Church and the Anglican Community, and especially between the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and the Middle East. Needless to say, this relationship has born much fruit over the years, and most especially recently, as we have stood together in the face of challenges to the freedom and the rights of the Church in our region.
We thank you, dear Archbishop Suheil, for your solidarity and strength of purpose, and we give thanks to Almighty God for the blessings we enjoy in our close collaboration.
We also pay tribute today to His Majesty King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, where we enjoy the freedom to gather from all over our region, and where His Majesty, the Custodian over Muslim and Christian Holy Sites in the Holy Land, ensures religious freedom and supports the historic rights of the Church and the guarantee of the Christian presence.
You have chosen as your theme “Becoming a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1), and this is a timely subject for all of us who call the Holy Land and the Middle East, which is the cradle of Christianity, our home.
We cannot understand the meaning of sacrifice without first referring to our Lord’s sacrifice on the Cross. We see in this divine sacrifice the power of humility, and we understand humility through metanoia. Let us listen to the Lord’s words, “I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32). Humility and metanoia are the key to salvation, and without them nothing else is possible. The deeper we are shaped by humility and metanoia, the more available we are to God as those who can offer ourselves in sacrificial commitment and service to others.
As the Church Fathers teach us, sacrifice has many expressions. There is the sacrifice of self-giving service to others. There is the sacrifice that is the martyrdom of conscience. There is the sacrifice of costly commitment. Saint John Chrysostom says; “As we read in the words of Saint Paul, our sacrifice is a living one, holy and pleasing to God”. Chrysostom emphasizes that one should not think of sacrifice as the slaughtering of our bodies, but as following the commandments of the Lord, which lead to our salvation and deification.
Sacrifice can be personal, and it can be corporate, but it never means giving up our integrity, for our personal and corporate sacrificial acts are to be understood in and through Christ.
It must be borne in mind that the purpose of the Church is precisely a sacrificial vocation, and this is why the Church is, and should be, a sign and inspiration for political and civic leadership as we see conflicts all over our world, where disorder and confusion are so common a human experience. It is in this context that we consider our role and responsibility as spiritual leaders and priests. For the key to promoting the values of the Bible that are threatened, values like peace and justice, is precisely this kenotic tendency, and this kenosis must begin with ourselves. We do know that we cannot demand sacrifice from another; we can only live the sacrificial way of Christ ourselves, so that the Church may be a true beacon of light and hope. We must ourselves be a paradigm – as Saint Paul says, “Be imitators of me as I am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1).
To be imitators of Christ is indeed itself a work of sacrifice, and Christians who face trouble and persecution on a daily basis should remain firm in this vocation, because “our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20). As our Lord says, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul” (Mat. 10:28).
Thank you for the kind invitation to be with you. May God bless you, dear Archbishop Suheil, and all the good servants in the vineyard of the Lord, that is your clergy and people, as you seek to live more deeply the mystery of Christ’s sacrificial life in your own”.
THE FEAST OF 28TH OCTOBER 1940 AT THE PATRIARCHAL SCHOOL OF ZION
On Monday evening, October 15/28, 2019, the anniversary of 28th October 1940 was celebrated as a School event by the Patriarchal School on Holy Zion Hill.
The feast was honoured by the presence of H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos, the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr. Christos Sophianopoulos with Consulate members, the Chairman of the School Board Most Reverend Archbishop Isidoros of Hierapolis, Geronda Secretary-General Most Reverend Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, the Most Reverend Metropolitans Isychios of Kapitolias, and Joachim of Helenoupolis, the Vice-Rector of the Technical School of Kavala Mr. Demetrios Bantekas with his wife and associates, Hagiotaphite Fathers, Nuns, members of the Greek community of Jerusalem and pilgrims.
The festive speech of the day with the introduction by the Managing Director of the School Archimandrite Mattheos was read by the teacher Mr. Nikolaos Souliotis.
The Students recited poems, read texts, sang patriotic songs and acted on plays, referring to the epic of 1940 events at the military front, and the occupation of Greece by the oppressing, inhuman and murderous Nazi German Occupation, and to the wholehearted and courageous fighting and sacrificial mind of the Greeks, through which and with the help of the great Powers they removed, four years later, with he end of World War II in 1944.
At the end of the ceremony, His Beatitude and the Consul General praised the Managing Director of the School, the teachers and the students, for the well-organized ceremony of the Patriarchal School which evoked feelings of patriotism and national excitement and pride.
DOXOLOGY FOR THE NATIONAL ANNIVERSARY OF 28TH OCTOBER
The Doxology at the Catholicon of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for the National Anniversary of 28th October 1940 took place on Monday, October 15/28, 2019.
This Doxology was a thanksgiving to God for His aid in the liberation of our nation from the Italian threat and the German yoke of occupation in the years 1940-1944, and as a prayer for the repose of the souls of our fathers who fought, sacrificed themselves and gloriously fell in the battlefields.
The Doxology was officiated by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos with the participation in prayer of the Archbishops and Priests Hagiotaphite Fathers, at the chanting of the Novice Monk Constantinos Spyropoulos, at the presence of the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr. Christos Sophianopoulos and members of the Greek Consulate, as well as members of the Greek Community and the Arab-speaking flock of the Patriarchate.
After the Doxology, bells tolling, the Patriarchal Entourage returned to the Patriarchate Headquarters, where there was a short reception with reciting of poems by the students of St. Demetrios School of the Patriarchate and the National Anthem, followed by His Beatitude address as below;
“Your Excellency Consul General of Greece Mr. Christos Sophianopoulos,
Reverend Fathers and Brothers,
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ
Today’s anniversary of 28th October 1940 is a remembrance of a great and wondrous action for humankind, and especially for the Greek nation, because the epic of “No” was crucial for the outcome, namely the defeat, of the moral and physical instigators of the devastating World War II.
The recognized by all heroic resistance of the Greek warriors against the marching of the enemy forces of Axis, proved that the nation of the Greeks is governed by native moral and spiritual principles, of both their cultural heritage and Orthodox Christian faith with the tradition of the Holy Fathers.
Faith in righteousness, love for the country, self-sacrifice and especially the dignity of man for the non-negotiable principles of freedom, justice and national independence prevailed over the insanity and wrathful aggressiveness of the Nazi atrocity in the sacred fight of the safeguarding of the national borders and the defense of the territorial integrity of the country.
The “No” of 28th October 1940 was not only the negative answer to the insulters and arrogant treacherous cosmocrats, but mainly to their morbid ideology, namely to the totalitarianism, to fascism and to Nazism.
The Venerable Hagiotaphite Brotherhood, honouring as it should the epic of 1940, and wholeheartedly participating in this victorious commemoration of freedom, after the crushing of the relentless occupation of Nazism, came down to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, for the thanksgiving Doxology to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Crucified and Resurrected.
Moreover, we have prayed for the eternal repose of the souls and everlasting remembrance of our fathers and brothers who fought and gloriously fell in the fight for our faith, country and freedom.
This very faith in the light of God the Word, Christ, has established the epic of 1940, and we are called to preserve it as a sacred consignment for the generations to come.
For all these, allow Us to raise our glass in a toast and cry out:
Long live 28th October 1940!
Long live the “NO”
Long live Greece!
Long live the noble nation of the Rum Orthodox!
Long live the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood!”
And the Consul General’s address as follows:
Most Reverend Archbishops,
Ladies and Gentlemen
We celebrate today a leading event of the modern Greek history. The unanimous rejection by Hellenism on 28th October 1940 of the ultimatum for the unconditional surrender of the Homeland and the concession of its national sovereignty. We celebrate the heroic and unequal struggle for the defense of Greece’s freedom and territorial integrity during World War II, which began with the epic of Pindos. Today is a day of honour and remembrance for all Greeks.
This historical NO demonstrated the moral stature, the love for freedom and the strong sense of justice of the Greeks. Thanks to this code of principles, they opposed overwhelmingly superior forces: the dark fiber forces of fascism and Nazism that sought to impose the bond of totalitarianism and racism on the peoples of Europe and beyond. The sense of justice shielded the Greeks, who, knowing that they fought in fair struggles for their freedom, achieved their first victory against the Axis, sending a message of hope to the other peoples of Europe and delaying the implementation of their more general strategic plan, contributing this way in the final victory of the Allies.
The “NO” showed in the clearest way the common, deep historical consciousness of the Greeks, that fueled and reinforced the patriotism, the vigor, the self-esteem and the great sense of responsibility with which the sacred and the holy were defended. The “No” was precisely the refusal of the Greek people to forget their history and live a petty and submissive life. Today, all Greeks, wherever we are, pay tribute to the fallen and the fighters in the battlefields of 1940-41 in Pindos, in the Macedonian forts, in our seas, in Crete and elsewhere. We honour those who participated in the National Resistance and those who continued to fight, on the side of the Allies, in the battlefields of World War II, the Middle East and Europe. Today we do not forget the hundreds of thousands innocent victims of the Occupation.
In the national heroic effort that began on October 28, 1940, as in any other national endeavor, the dynamic participation and valuable contribution of the Hellenism of the diaspora was crucial. Greece is very proud and grateful for the great contribution of the Greek community in the Middle East and especially of the Hellenism of Jerusalem, which is historically recorded.
Responding to the need to unite all the forces of the Nation, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Mother of Churches, was then and always remains, a key point of reference, the guardian of the moral authority and spiritual merit of our Orthodox faith and proof of unchanging survival potential of the Greek Orthodox tradition, which is a source of strength, inspiration and hope for the future for all of us.
The anniversary of October 28, 1940 has always been and is even more present today, especially for the new generation which needs to understand and embrace its lessons. In an international environment characterized by extensions, disputes and conflicts, often fueled from dark ideologies and distorted attitudes, as in the pre-war period, we, as Greeks, have the responsibility of preservation of our national unity and unanimity of soul, our commitment to the ideals of freedom and democracy, our inspiration from the moral and spiritual values of our Orthodox faith, and our alertness and determination to cope with all kinds of challenges.
Long live the 28th October 1940
Long live Greece!”
A festal reception followed.
BURGLARY AT ST. MODESTOS CHURCH IN ABU TOR HILL
Before dawn on Tuesday October 2/15, 2019, unknown up to the present people broke into the Church of St. Modestos Patriarch of Jerusalem, which lies in Abu Tor hill, opposite Holy Zion. Having first cut the solid iron railing of the Holy Altar window, the offenders entered the Church searching for money, threw down holy icons and holy vestments, and stole the Holy Gospel, the Holy Vessels, the Holy Cup, the Disc and covering clothing, canticles and books, along with other objects which they considered to be of material value.
This profane action was initially reported to the Patriarchate by the Caretaker of the Monastery and supervisor of its refurbishment Monk Antiohos of St. Savvas Monastery, while the Patriarchate reported it to the Israeli Police who acted immediately, and rushed to the Monastery for an autopsy and fingerprinting in order to identify the perpetrators. Consequently, escorted by the Most Reverend Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina and Archdeacon Mark, His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos visited the burglarized Holy Church, and informed the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr. Christos Sophianopoulos.
BEGINNING OF THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR AT THE SCHOOL OF ZION
On Tuesday, September 18/ October , 2019, the new school year was blessed at the Patriarchal School of the Patriarchate at the Hill of Zion with the blessing of the water, which was officiated by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos, escorted by the Chairman of the School Board Most Reverend Archbishop Isidoros of Hierapolis, the Managing Director of the School Archimandrite Mattheos and others, at the presence of the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr. Christos Sophianopoulos, the teachers and students of the school.
After the service of the Blessing of the water at the Church of the Holy Trinity in the school, His Beatitude praised the Managing Director Archimandrite Mattheos who brought 20 students from Greece who remain in the boarding school and follow the educational program of the Ministry of Education of Greece for secondary education and are being prepared to study in Universities and join the Hagiotapite Brotherhood for a pilgrimage mission at the All-Holy Shrines and a pastoral one for the flock.