On Thursday evening, 31 December 2021/ 13 January 2022, the cutting of the New Year cake took place at the Patriarchate main hall, on the commemoration of Saint Basil the Great and the beginning of the New Civil Year on Friday 1/14 January 2022.

The ceremony began with the following address of His Beatitude on the New Year:

“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-2), Saint Paul urges.

The Sun of Righteousness has shone again from the pure flesh of the Ever-Virgin Mary, born in in the Cave of Bethlehem, our God, Jesus Christ, showing the light of knowledge to all people; “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12), “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness” (John 12:46), the Lord says.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is “the true light” indeed, has gathered us all in this sanctified place of our venerable Patriarchate of Jerusalem, to render glory and honour and thanksgiving to the Creator of the universe, our Lord God, in the changing of the year of His benevolence, our Lord Jesus Christ who said to His disciples: “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power” (Acts 1:7). Moreover, the grace of our Saviour Christ has gathered us on the sacred commemoration of the circumcision in the flesh of the Son of God, our Saviour Christ, as well as for the co-celebrated commemoration of our Father among the Saints Basil the Great, on whose honour we keep the ceremony of the cutting of the cake bearing his name, “Vasilopita”.

The change of the year of the Lord’s benevolence (cf. Luke 4:19, Isaiah 60:2), namely the ecclesiastical and liturgical year for us, is strongly joined with the historic time of the earthly life of man, whose “days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more” (Psalm 103:15-16), according to the psalmist.

We say this because the consideration of the meaning of time, as present, past and future is not “cunningly devised fables” (1 Peter 1:16), but “according to the revelation of the mystery” (Romans 16:25), namely of the incarnation of God the Word and our Saviour Jesus Christ.

In other words, the definitions of the incomprehensible God are not sudden decisions but stem from His pre-eternal will. Whatever comes from God, was hidden in Him before all ages. “Who hath resisted his will?” (Romans 9:19) Saint Paul says. And Saint Cyril of Alexandria in his interpretation of the Lord’s words ““It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power” (Acts 1:7), says: “[Jesus] did not want to use the secret things hidden from God and He taught through them”.

This means that the meaning of the time can only be comprehended through the history of the Divine Revelation, during which time is distinguished in quantity and quality, according to Ammonius: “The season shows quality, while the time shows quantity”. It is precisely this “quality of season” that we experience in the Church of Christ, becoming members of His Body through baptism.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19, Isaiah 61:1-2).

Through the year of the Lord, the historic time is inaugurated in Christ through the cathode of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, on the day of Pentecost and is extended to the ages as the time of salvation, namely of remission of sins and the deification of man through the Church and its sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, in which we become of one body and one blood with Christ.

Let us hear the wise Paul saying: “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God…For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ” (2 Cor. 2:12,16). And wise Solomon says: “the light of the righteous remains forever” (cf. Proverbs 13:9).

Today’s festal changing of the year, during which the memory of the past becomes a memory in Christ, and the hope of the future becomes hope in Christ, marks the refreshment of God’s Spirit that lives in us; “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16).

Therefore, my dear brethren, with the beginning of the new year of the Lord, we are called to renew ourselves according to Saint Paul’s advice: “I beseech you therefore, brethren… be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).

Putting into practice the will of God, and having before us the meaning of time in Christ who became incarnate from the pure flesh of the Ever-Virgin Theotokos Mary, let us entreat the Great Hierarch of Cappadocia, Saint Basil, who has adorned the ways of man, to pray for the salvation of our souls to our circumcised in the flesh Lord and God, our Saviour Jesus Christ, as well as for the peace of the whole world, especially for our tested Middle East, for the cessation of the schisms and the restoration of the unity of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and for the deliverance of the humankind from the infectious variants of the covid virus.

And along with the hymnographer, let us say: “Thou who hast made all things in wisdom, O Word of the Father Who art from before all eternity, Who hast constituted the whole creation by Thine almighty word, bless the crown of the year with Thy goodness, and cast down the heresies, and the schisms through the Theotokos, since Thou art good and the Friend of man” (Minaion, 1st September, Vespers, Aposticha 4). Moreover, Thou, pre-eternal Word of God, Who has unto Your power the times and the seasons, bless the crown of the year with Your goodness, keeping in peace and spiritual wellness our venerable Hagiotaphite Brotherhood, our pious Christian flock, the Holy City of Jerusalem and the reverend royal nation of the Rum Orthodox. Amen!

Have a good, happy, blessed and healthy New Year 2022!

Many happy returns!”

The apolytikia of the Circumcision of the Lord and of Saint Basil followed before His Beatitude cut the cake and distributed the pieces to those present; the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr Evangelos Vlioras, the Archbishops, Hieromonks, Monks and Nuns, the members of the Greek community, the Arab-speaking flock and the Patriarchal School Students, wishing a blessed New Year 2022, while the School students were singing the Christmas carols.

From Secretariat-General



The long-standing tradition of exchanging Christmas greeting by Heads of Churches in Jerusalem with His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate was carried out today, Monday January 10, in the main hall in the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

The first to arrive were the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, led by The Custos His Paternity Father Francesco Patton, who was warmly greeted by His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos and the Bishops attending. During the meeting, His Beatitude thanked the Franciscan Brotherhood for their visit and emphasized the importance of the ongoing collaboration between the churches caring for the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and the joint insistence for the autonomous status of the Holy Places, which “have been the foundation of our resolve confronting the challenges we are facing,” which only led to further deepening the cooperation between the two Brotherhoods.

His Beatitude stressed the unwavering role Father Patton has been playing in articulating the Churches’ position to the local governmental authorities, “the focus we have kept on the threat to the Christian presence in the Holy Land from radical groups has had remarkable exposure during this Christmas season not just here, but around the world. Our call for attention to the serious and growing threats has been answered by many religious and governmental leaders, and this is due in no small measure to our united voice,” His Beatitude noted in his speech.

In return, Father Patton gave gratitude to the Patriarch of the Holy City for never abandoning the team spirit of the churches, and continuously putting the general interest first by gathering efforts to further protect the Holy Places and the Christian communities in Jerusalem and the Holy Land.

Following the departure of the Franciscan Brotherhood, His Beatitude Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, along with members of the Latin Patriarchate arrived at the main hall, followed by the Anglican Archbishop His Eminence Hosam Naoum, who soon met his fellow Heads of Chruches from the Coptic Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox, Syriac Catholic, Lutheran and Melkite Greek Catholic churches.

After drinking a toast to the miracle of the Nativity, Patriarch Theophilos gave gratitude to his fellow brothers in Christ, and noted that thanks to the joint efforts of the Church Leaders the “struggle against the threats posed to the Christian communities of the Holy Land by radical groups is receiving attention both locally and internationally,” and that the Churches no longer find themselves as “a lonely voice in the wilderness”.

His Beatitude emphasized the impact that the joint statement of the last month had on a various governmental and religious leadership, and highlighted that it is a movement not only aimed at the protection of the Holy Sites as places of worship, but also the protection of the fundamental interests of the communities to be able to lead lives of dignity, respect, and safety.

“We have the attention of the world as never before in recent memory. And we have the chance to promote the resolution of our concerns in effective ways. There is still a great deal of crucial work to be done. It is therefore all the more important that we make a real commitment to dealing with our family problems in the Christian communities here among ourselves in effective dialogue, for our ability to join our efforts and our voices in a common cause in defence of the Christian presence, which has never been more urgent.   Wisdom dictates that we must solve our problems among ourselves,” His Beatitude noted to the attendees.

In exchange, each of the Church Leaders took the opportunity to express, in their own words, Christmas greetings to the Patriarch and the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulcher, and shared common wishes for the new year hoping that the pandemic would come to an end and to see the Holy Land once again filled with pilgrims and for life in the Holy City to flourish and prosper in a way that is respectful and safe for everyone.


News and photos by: Heba Hrimat.



His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III wrote the following article for The Times newspaper.

Having served as a priest in the northeast of England many years ago, I remember the cloudy days of January. Here in Jerusalem, while we enjoy a brighter and warmer climate, we know what it is to live in the darkness. As Patriarch of Jerusalem I have the privilege of leading the Greek Orthodox church in the Holy Land. The first of my 140 predecessors was St James, the first leader of the church in Jerusalem and the brother of Jesus Christ. Along with a number of other leaders St James was martyred for his faith. As a community we have seen empires rise and fall. We have survived sieges, invasions, plagues and persecutions. And through it all, we have remained faithful to our Lord, because in the darkness we know that he is our light and our life.


In the Gospel of St John the Evangelist we read that St John the Baptist “came as a witness to the light” of Jesus Christ. As churches this has been our mission for two millennia. We are not simply the custodians of holy sites; we are living witnesses to God’s light.


As witnesses to the light we seek to be a blessing in the changing and challenging societies in which we live. We provide healthcare, education and community services. We look after the elderly, welcome refugees and care for the destitute, regardless of their faith, nationality or background. We welcome millions of pilgrims and preserve and serve Christianity’s most holy sites. In all of this we direct people to the light of Christ.


Despite these good works, our presence in Jerusalem is under threat. Our churches are threatened by Israeli radical fringe groups. At the hands of these Zionist extremists the Christian community in Jerusalem is suffering greatly. Our brothers and sisters are the victims of hate crimes. Our churches are regularly desecrated and vandalised. Our clergy are subject to frequent intimidation. The sworn intent of these radical groups is to extinguish the light of the Christian community from the Old City.


A short walk from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, on the pilgrim route, stands the Jaffa Gate, the main entrance to the Christian quarter of Old City Jerusalem. To walk this way is to share in the journey of the Christian community; one is immediately surrounded by church groups from around the world as crowds of pilgrims process to worship at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the site of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. On Christmas Day I am among those who pass through the Jaffa Gate as we travel to Bethlehem to celebrate Christ’s birth.

It is at Jaffa Gate that an Israeli radical group is seeking to occupy two big buildings, acquired through illegitimate transactions. Quite disingenuously they claim that their physical presence in there will not affect the integrity of the Christian Quarter. However, we know from their previous actions at St John’s Hostel, a site even closer to the Holy Sepulchre which was also deceitfully taken over by them some years ago, that this is not true. Their behaviour will be devastating for all Christians. Local families, who have lived here for generations, will be made to feel unwelcome in their own home and pilgrims who have longed to visit the birthplace of the Christian faith will have their experience diminished.


The change of status of the Jaffa Gate properties would not only be a misfortune for local families and the global Christian family but for the Holy Land itself. Jerusalem is home to three monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and has long been an illuminating example of a mosaic community. It is the spiritual capital of the world, comprising a family of faiths, all of which enjoy a long and unique rich heritage. The beauty of this city rests upon its cultural and religious diversity. By working to exclude one community, the Christians, these radicals pose an existential threat not only to the Christian family but to Jerusalem itself, a point upheld by so many of our Jewish cohabitants of the Holy Land.


We all share the vision that these radicals are not representative of the state of Israel or the Jewish people and that it is essential for the diversity and distinctive characters of all quarters of the Old City to be protected for the benefit of Jerusalem and the whole world.




Soon after the Christmas vespers ended, on Thursday January 6, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III and a delegation from the Jerusalem Patriarchate headed back to Bethlehem where Metropolitan Benedictos of Diosaecarea co-hosted, with the Patriarch of Jerusalem, the customary reception for the representative of His Excellency Mahmood Abbas the President of Palestine, Prime Minister of Palestine, His Excellency Mohammad Shtayyeh and the representative of His Majesty King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan Abdulla II, Minister of Interior, His Excellency Mazin Abdellah Hilal Al Farrayeh as well as the Head of the Palestinian Presidential Committee for Christian Affairs, His Excellency Ramzi Khouri.


During dinner, His Beatitude thanked the Prime Minister and the Interior Minister for attending and expressed his gratitude to the support their countries are showing for the Patriarchate and the Holy City. His Beatitude raised the matter of the rising assaults committed against Christians, including physical and verbal attacks against priests and clergymen by some Israeli radical groups who “are committing their crimes in a deliberate attempt to expel Christians from Jerusalem and other parts of the Holy Land.”


The media campaign carried out by the Church leaders in Jerusalem was a main topic in His Beatitude’s speech, which shed light on the group efforts of the Heads of Churches in the Holy Land who came together last month to raise awareness about the assaults of these extremists against the Christian presence, “which has become targeted by Israeli radical groups, especially in Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem, the entrance of pilgrims to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the various monasteries and churches of the Old City, in addition to the actions of distorting the cultural and historical identity of the area of the New Gate.”


In the speech which was read in Arabic by Fr. Issa Musleh, the press representative of the Patriarchate, His Beatitude said “We raise our voice loudly during this time of the year to confirm that the Holy Land is not only the land of the birth of Christ, but the land of the birth of Christianity which then was launched to the whole world. The entire Christian world is responsible for the survival of Christians in our beloved Holy Land and the Middle East in general. We affirm our demand to preserve the status quo, and to strengthen the Hashemite guardianship over the Islamic and Christian holy sites in the Holy Land, and to preserve the city’s mosaic and diversity so that Jerusalem would be the spiritual center of the three monotheistic religions.” 


His beatitude mentioned the endless efforts of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem to support its people in and outside Jerusalem, where he mentioned the renovations that are taking place in Mar Elias Monastery on the way from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, the renovations for the school of St. Dimitrius in Old City Jerusalem, the Lana housing project in Jerusalem of over 400 units, and the land in Beit Jala that is set to also establish a housing project, as well as the one in Bethlehem.


Towards the end, His Beatitude thanked again the efforts of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan as well as the Palestinian government, which work in cooperation with the Palestinian Presidential Committee of Christian Affairs, to provide support for the projects and institutions of the Patriarchate to strengthen the authentic Chrisitian presence in the Holy Land.


News by: Heba Hrimat.



Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, led by His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III, were invited on Wednesday evening, December 29, to the residence of the Israeli President, Mr. Isaac Herzog, who was accompanied by the Interior Minister, Madam Ayelet Shaked. 

During the reception dedicated by the Israeli President to congratulate Church Leaders for the occasion of New Year’s, the topic of the rising assaults against Christians in Jerusalem on the hands at Jewish radicals, were discussed.  

“The action of these extremists is a direct assault against our shared values and ideals that we hold as essential for the good order and flourishing of our common life. For we all must work together to curb these unbridled ambitions of all radicals within our communities for the well-being and safety of all our people. We, the Heads of Churches, re-affirm our commitment to engage in urgent dialogue on this issue, as declared in our recent statement,” His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos noted. 

The speech of the Patriarch of the Holy City, however, emphasized that those acts of these “fringe radical groups” are in no way a representative of “the State of Israel or the Jewish people”, and that Israel is a state that is committed to “the historic rights of the various religious communities and religious freedom”. 

As for the President’s efforts and the long legacy of shared concern, Patriarch Theophilos showed gratitude towards the “unfaltering support of the historic communities and the rich mosaic of diversity that shapes the heart of the life of our beloved Holy Land,” assuring that “the Heads of Churches will do everything in our capacity to assist you and the government in continuing to uphold, to our common life, that essential cooperation which have sustained us for centuries.” 

Last but not least, His Beatitude took the opportunity to also acknowledge the coordination between the Heads of Churches and the Ministry of Interior’s Department for Christian Affairs. Therefore, he noted that as Heads of Churches they “have nothing but recognition for the unwavering cooperation, work and assistance they provide our institutions with” and went on to thank Mr. Cezar Marjieh and his team for their dedication and professionalism. 

In response, Mr. Herzog’s declared his country’s commitment to freedom of worship and religion, and passed on a monumental message that “Israel will stand strong against any forms of racism, discrimination or extremism, and we reject any assault on or threat to religious communities, leaders or sites. May we all work together to expand the circle of peace and tolerance in the Holy Land, our region, and the world.”  

As for the Interior Minister, Shaked added that she was proud her Ministry is able to support the development of Christian holy sites, and expressed her hopes for a soon return of Christian pilgrimage to the Holy Land. 


News by: Heba Hrimat.



His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III joined on Tuesday evening, December 28, Church Leaders in Jerusalem to attend the annual Christmas reception held by the Jerusalem Mayor, Mr. Moshe Lion. 

On behalf of the Church leaders, Patriarch Theophilos thanked Mr. Lion for holding the event and expressed his season’s greetings. 

His Beatitude pointed the growing burdens for the churches and the communities due to the ongoing pandemic, especially during these blessed holidays where “we have missed the many thousands of pilgrims who come to the Holy Land each year… and when our city will once again be filled with pilgrims from all over the world who arrive here longing for spiritual refreshment and renewal at all our holy places,” where His Beatitude noted the mayor’s efforts in re-establishing normal life in Jerusalem and trying to facilitate for the possible return of pilgrims.   

During his speech, Patriarch of the Holy City addressed the rise of “radical groups” assaults in Jerusalem against the Church, the clergymen and the Christian community and voiced the concern of the Church leaders “over the integrity of Jerusalem and the well-being of the Christian Quarter.”

His Beatitude noted that “each historic Quarter of the Old City has its particular uniqueness that must be respected, adding that unfortunately, these radical groups are making a concerted and sustained attempt to undermine the integrity of the Christian Quarter, and it is no secret that their aim is to put pressure on ordinary Christian inhabitants and pilgrims, and to weaken the Christian presence in the Quarter.”  

He later emphasized that “we are calling that these extremist groups do not represent the State of Israel or the Jewish people and we must work together to curb the attempts of all radical factions in Jerusalem and in our Holy Land. We, the Heads of Churches, re-affirm our commitment to engage in urgent dialogue, on this issue, as declared in our recent statement.” Patriarch Theophilos respectfully encouraged the mayor to do all in his power “to ensure that the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-religious character of Jerusalem is protected and enhanced.” 

His Beatitude ended by commending the civic authorities in their engagement with the various property and development projects of the Church institutions, for their congregations around the City and encouraged them to continue doing so in order “to move forward with these means the flourishing of our city, its residents and its future for the mutual benefit of all.” 

In return, the mayor’s speech referred to Jerusalem as the heart of the world and that the holy places and pilgrims are of significance to the country and to the world at large. He also stated that he is a mayor for all residents and noted Jerusalem to be a city of peace and justice. 


News by: Heba Hrimat.



Continuing the tradition of exchanging Christmas greetings, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III, accompanied by a delegation from the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulcher visited the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem, on Tuesday, December 28.

After welcoming all members of the Patriarchal delegation, His Beatitude took the opportunity to express his deep appreciation to the Latin Patriarch, His Beatitude Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who has been working closely with the Church leaders to defend the Christian character of Jerusalem “to prevent the migration of our Christian population by emphasizing the need for education, jobs, and opportunities here… and to encourage, especially our young people, not to leave the land of their birth and heritage.”

His Beatitude noted: “This journey to unity of faith will lead us also to unity in the common Chalice, which is the longing of all Christian people. We must never be discouraged in working towards that goal, for our unity will be the greatest sign to the world of the truth we seek to proclaim.”

In his remarks, Patriarch Theophilos emphasized the true meaning of the Nativity, and though this blessed feast is not complete without pilgrims, it is crucial at the moment to focus on raising awareness concerning the continuous threat of the Israeli radicals to the Christian existence, particularly in the Holy City of Jerusalem.

His Beatitude stressed that “the pressure of radical groups on our historic neighborhoods and in undermining the multi-cultural and multi-religious integrity of our city must be resisted at all costs. The radicals, whom we are facing in Jerusalem, are not representative of the State of Israel or the Jewish people, and it is incumbent upon all people of good will to work together to curb the unbridled ambitions and actions of all radical groups in the Holy Land.”

In return, His Beatitude Patriarch Pizzaballa thanked the Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Brotherhood for their visit, confirmed his unwavering support to the mission of the Church leaders in protecting the Christian character of the Holy City, and wished everyone a peaceful and blessed Christmas celebrations.


News and Photos by: Heba Hrimat.





As per the annual tradition of exchanging Christmas greetings, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III, accompanied by a delegation from the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulcher visited the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, on Monday, December 27.

After a brief welcome, His Beatitude took the opportunity to express his deep appreciation to the Custos of the Holy City, Fr. Francesco Patton, who has been firmly committed to the joint efforts of the Church leaders to defend the Christian character of Jerusalem “at a time when this has been, and continues to be, under particular threat.”

His Beatitude noted: “You have raised awareness of the lack of respect that Christians endure at the hands of radical individuals and groups. We are also grateful to you for our joint steadfastness in maintaining our historic independence and autonomy of administration of the Holy Places and especially of the Holy Sepulcher which is always under threat.”

In his speech, Patriarch Theophilos not only wished the Custody a joyous season and a blessed feast, but also shed light on the recent campaign, which was led by the Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem, and took to international and local newspapers to raise awareness about the continuous threat of the Israeli radical, individuals and groups, to the Christian existence, particularly in the Holy City of Jerusalem.

His Beatitude added: “Your recent article in The Telegraph has made a huge impact, appearing as it did at the same time as articles by the Archbishop of Canterbury and Archbishop Hosam in other papers. This is precisely the concerted effort that we need to ensure that the pressing and serious issues that we face are kept before the international public.”

In return, Fr. Francesco Patton thanked the Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Brotherhood for their visit, confirmed the continuous support of the Custody to the mission of the Church leaders in protecting the Christian character of the Holy City, and wished everyone a peaceful and blessed Christmas celebrations.


News and Photos by: Heba Hrimat.




During an official ceremony, on Tuesday, December 21, that gathered Heads of Churches in Jerusalem with His Majesty King Abdulla II at the Basman Al-Zahir palace in Amman, Jordan,  His Majesty expressed his wishes to Christians of the Holy Land and the Church Leaders for the occasions of Christmas and New Year’s. 
The meeting, which was attended by His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III, Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and all Palestine and Jordan, His Beatitude Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Hossam Naoum of the Anglican Church, among other church leaders and representatives from the Islamic Waqf, commended the dedication of the Churches of Jerusalem to the Pact of Omar Al-Khattab, the coexistence between Christians and Muslims, based on the historic and legal Status Quo, and reaffirmed the commitment of the religious and historical responsibility to safeguard Christian and Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem.
His Majesty King Abdullah II took the opportunity to bestow the Jerusalem Patriarchate, represented by His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III, with the First State Centennial Medal, in appreciation of the historical significance and religious leading role of the Patriarchate in preserving the Christian character in the Holy City and the Holy Land.
Order of the King was read as follow:

We, by the grace of God, Abdullah II Ibn Al-Hussein, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

In view of what we know from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and those in charge of its administration, of sincerity and excellence in work and performance, and in appreciation of the monumental historical and religious role of the Patriarchate in preserving the holy sites, coexistence, the consolidation of the Christian presence and the Status Quo and the embodiment of the Hashemite guardianship in Jerusalem, and on the occasion of the celebrations of the centenary of the founding of the state of Jordan, we bestowed the Patriarchate with the medal of the first state centenary, and ordered the issue of this acquittal from our Royal Hashemite Court in order to do so.

Issued by our palace in Basman Al-Zahir in Amman on the seventeenth day of the month of Jumada Al-Awwal one thousand four hundred and forty-three Hijri, corresponding to the twenty-first day of December in the year two thousand and twenty-one AD.


By the order of His Majesty, the Mighty King

Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein


News by: Heba Hrimat.


The Patriarchate of Jerusalem sadly announces that Metropolitan Christodoulos of Eleftheroupolis slept in the Lord on Tuesday, 1st/14th December 2021, at 11 a.m.

The departed and dearly beloved brother of ours was born in Kamares of Heraklion Crete, studied at the Patriarchal School of Jerusalem and joined the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood at an early age. He studied Classical Literature at the University of Tel Aviv in Israel and Theology at the School of Theology of the University of Athens. He served at various positions at the Patriarchate; He was a teacher at the Seminary school of the Patriarchate, where he drew many students, a member of the Holy and Sacred Synod, Elder Dragoman, and defended the rights of the Rum Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem for the All-holy Shrines.

Over the last few years, his health deteriorated and he was hospitalized at the Israeli hospital, at the foundation “Saint John the merciful” in Athens and finally at the old people’s home of the Archdiocese of Crete, where he left his last breath.

His funeral service was observed on Wednesday 2nd/ 15th December 2021 at 1:00 p.m. at the Holy Monastery of Panagia Kalyviani, after the permission of the local Metropolitan Makarios of Gortyna and Arkadia. His Holy Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos was represented by His Eminence Metropolitan Isychios of Kapitolias and the Exarch of the Holy Sepulchre in Greece, Archimandrite Raphael, who held the service, along with His Eminence Metropolitan Makarios of Gortyna and Arkadia, His Eminence Metropolitan Eugenios of Rethymno and Aulopotamos, and Reverend Bishop Prodromos of Knossos, who represented the Holy Archdiocese of Crete.

The obituary was delivered by His Eminence Metropolitan Isychios of Kapitolias as follows:

“Your Eminence Metropolita Makarios of Gortyna and Arkadia,

Reverend Priests,

Reverend Abbess Timothei,

Pious people of God,

The departure to the Lord of our beloved brother in Christ, and co-celebrant, Metropolitan Christodoulos of Eleftheroupolis and Elder Dragoman of the Patriarchate, has gathered us in this modest congregation to see him off in his course to the eternal habitations of heaven.

In awe, we stand before his corpse and wonder how this mystery of death “has come to us”, how did we people assimilate the death and decay. We sorrow, not like those “who have no hope”, but in the sorrow that our Lord Jesus Christ had when His eyes were filled with tears before the tomb of His friend, the four-day dead Lazarous.  This sorrow is comforted by our faith in the Incarnate, Crucified and Resurrected Lord. “If God rose from the dead, we also shall be risen”. The tomb simply receives our body, its material is decomposed, while the soul is transferred to the Lord until the common resurrection.

In hope of the resurrection and eternal life, we see off our brother in Christ, and in respect of his memory we mention that he was born in the nearby town of Kamares, he was orphaned on the side of his father before his birth, as the German conquerors murdered him, and he was raised by his pious mother Chrysi, who guided him to the Holy Sepulchre and the Patriarchate.

After his education at the Patriarchal School of Jerusalem, he joined the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood and was ordained Deacon and Priest. He studied classical literature at the Hebrew University of Tel Aviv, and Theology at the University of Athens. He served at various ministries of the Patriarchate, as Hegoumen at the Holy Monastery of Saint Charalambos, Hegoumen of Ramle, always having the help of his blessed mother Chrysi and his aunt Agne, a Nun of Megali Panagia.

He was ordained a Bishop and received the title of Metropolitan and served as Dragoman of the Patriarchate for many years, bravely defending the confirmed rights of our nation at the Holy Shrines. He celebrated the Divine Liturgy in them, at the Holy Sepulchre and the Horrendous Golgotha, and attended the services at the Monastic Church of Saints Constantine and Helen. In great patience, he endured the illness of the muscles that made him bedridden in Jerusalem and at the old people’s home of the Archdiocese of Crete, where he left his last breath.

We entreat the Lord to count his aforementioned works and uncomplaining patience during his illness and forgive whatever he may have sinned as man, voluntary or involuntary and place him with the righteous and the saints in His Kingdom.

The Hagiotaphite Brotherhood, which I represent by order of His Holy Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III, expresses its thanks to the old-people’s home of Saint Merciful in Athens, where the departed was hospitalized by the care of Fr Emanuel, to the Archdiocese of Crete and especially to his nephew, Hagiotaphite Archimandrite Stephen, the Exarch of the Holy Sepulchre in Russia, who looked after him in devotion during all the stages of his illness, to the Holy Metropolis of Gortyna and Arkadia and its shepherd, His Eminence Metropolitan Makarios, to the Abbess Timothei of the Holy Monastery of Panagia Kalyviani, and to all who honour his memory with their presence in this funeral service.

May his memory be everlasting”.

Obituaries were also read by the Mayor of Faistos Mr Gregory Nikolidakis on behalf of Faistos Municipality and all the Messara district, and the Vice Mayor Mr Nikolaos Kargakis on behalf of the departed’s students at the Patriarchal School of Zion, honouring and thanking him.

The Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood thank all who honoured his memory, especially the Archdiocese of Crete and the Holy Metropolis of Gortyna and Arkadia and the Holy Monastery of Panagia Kalyviani, in the cemetery of which the departed to heavens our brother in Christ was buried.

Ever-lasting remembrance!

From Secretariat-General