On Wednesday the 17th/30th of April 2014, His Eminence, Archbishop Leo of Finland and His retinue, accompanied by the Patriarchal Commissioner, the Most Reverend Isychios, Metropolitan of Kapitolias, continued his pilgrimage tour in the framework of an official visit to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, starting from the city of Bethlehem.
There, he was welcomed in an official reception, akin to that reserved for the Patriarch of Jerusalem on the feast of Christmas, in the court of the Basilica of the Nativity with banners and cherubim, by priests officially dressed. From there, he crossed the Basilica according to the right of the Orthodox.

In procession, the Archbishop proceeded to venerate at the Holy Cavern, the Star and the Manger before reading out the Evangelical Pericope on the Nativity, after which a supplication was made and Doxology performed.

Subsequently, the Patriarchal Commissioner in Bethlehem, His Eminence Theophylaktos, Archbishop of Jordan, hosted the Archbishop of Finland and His Retinue to lunch in the presence of representatives of the government and the flock.

On the afternoon of the same day, the Archbishop of Finland visited the Holy Monastery of St Sabba the Sanctified in the desert of Judea, the Holy Monastery of the Shepherds in the Village of the Shepherds, and of the Prophet Elias near Theotokos’ Sit.

The hegoumens of these Monasteries, Archimandrites Evdokimos, Ignatios and Ierotheos, courteously welcomed the Archbishop of Finland and His Retinue.

From the Secretariat-General 


On Sunday, the 14th/27th of April 2014, the World Interfaith Harmony Day was observed in Amman, Jordan. The day was proposed by the Royal Hashemite family and adopted by a UN resolution in 2010.

The event has been established by the Royal Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan as an encounter between religious agents, both Christians and Muslims, laymen and clerics alike, for the fight against religious fanaticism, religious unrest, violence and terrorism, and the cultivation of potentials for religious coexistence within modesty, peace, concord and harmony.

The event, which took place in Amman, at the Royal Hashemite Court, was attended by H.M. King Abdullah II and Prince Ghazi. Sheik Ali Gomaa of Egypt, Munib Younan, the Lutheran Bishop in Jerusalem, and Princess Areej Ghazi, all gave speeches.

The Patriarchate of Jerusalem was represented by His Beatitude Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, accompanied by the Elder Secretary-General, His Eminence Aristarchos, Archbishop of Constantina, and the Most Reverend Archimandrite Ieronymos, hegoumen at Fhes.

His Beatitude spoke in English after Sheik Ali Gumaa of Egypt: https://en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/2014/04/27/6600

Following the speeches, His Majesty the King presented the King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein Prizes for the World Interfaith Harmony Week, to the following:

The first prize went to the Silsilah dialogue movement in Zamboanga City, the Philippines. The second prize went to Mr Saeed Khan Falahi, and the third prize was shared between the Jamal Farghaly Secondary School for Boys in Egypt and Mr. Michael Boyondo and Mrs. Irene Bulindi of Uganda for “Faiths Together”.

The Panel of Judges for the Awards consisted of: Princess Areej Ghazi, His Beatitude Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem; Sheik Dr Ai Gomaa; Bishop Munib Younan; Father Nabil Haddad; Dr Minwer Al Mheid and Mr Aftab Ahmed.

From the Secretariat-General


On Bright Wednesday, the 10th/23rd of April 2014, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem returned the visits it received on Bright Tuesday by Christian Churches in Jerusalem. Hagiotaphite Fathers first returned the visit of the Monastic Fraternity of the Franciscans.

There, the head of the Hagiotaphites, His Beatitude Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, greeted the Franciscan Custodian, f. Pierrebatista Pizzaballa and the Franciscan Fathers on the occasion of Easter, a feast of remembrance and understanding of the Resurrection of Christ which sealed His work of salvation of humans: “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith”.

In his reply speech, the Custodian thanked His Beatitude for the visit, collaboration and festive wishes, wishing on his part for days of joy and peace amongst the Communities, for the benefit of their flocks, as well as sound cooperation for the visit of Pope Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

Subsequently, the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood visited the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem. There, His Beatitude congratulated the Latin Patriarch in Jerusalem, Mr Fouad Twal on the great feast of Easter, the feast of Christ’s Passion and Resurrection. The feast, celebrated jointly this year, has established the strong presence of Christianity in Jerusalem.

In his reply speech, the Latin Patriarch expressed his joy over the visit of Christian Communities to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, on the day before, and over the present day’s return visit of the Orthodox. On the occasion of this day “that the Lord made for us to rejoice”, there is hope that all of us shall celebrate together in order to strengthen the Christian entity in the Holy Land.

His Beatitude then visited the Apostolic Nuncio, namely Pope’s representative to the Holy Land.

Around noon, His Beatitude visited the Patriarchate of the Armenians, where he addressed the Armenian Patriarch, Nourhan Manukian, in English, see: https://en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/2014/04/23/6280

From the Secretariat-General


In the afternoon of Thursday the 20th of March/3rd of April 2014, a delegation of the Alimos Music School Choir, headed by Principal Mr Constantinos Pouis, under the supervision and direction of Music Teacher, Mrs Ioanna Angelou, performed at the Hegoumen’s Quarters in the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem. The choir sang with the blessing of His Beatitude Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, amidst the courteous hospitality of the Patriarchal Commissioner in Bethlehem, His Eminence Theophylaktos, Archbishop of Jordan, in the presence of the Elder Secretary-General, His Eminence Aristarchos, Archbishop of Constantina, Fathers serving at the Bethlehem Pilgrimage Site and several Christian Orthodox and others from the Bethlehem Flock, the Village of the Shepherds and Beit-Jala.

The concert included traditional songs from various areas of Greece, accompanied by musical instruments i.e. laouto, kanonakion, lyre, tambouras etc. Duly trained and prepared at their School, the students performed with responsibility, attention, discipline and precision, inspiring emotion and elation among the audience. After being praised for their performance, they informed members of our flock on our Orthodox folk and traditional Byzantine and Greek music.

From the Secretariat-General



At 5.00 pm of Tuesday the 12th/25th of March 2014, a school feast took place on the hill of St Sion School to commemorate the 25th of March 1821.

Attending the festivities was His Beatitude Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, accompanied by the Patriarchal Commissioner, the Most Reverend Isychios, Metropolitan of Kapitolias; the President of the School Board and Elder Sacristan, His Eminence Isidoros, Archbishop of Hierapolis; the Elder Secretary-General, His Eminence Aristarchos, Archbishop of Constantina, and other Hagiotaphite Fathers.

Also attending the festivities was the Greek Consul-General to Jerusalem with his honourable wife and associates of his; Greeks from the Jerusalemite parish, Arab-speaking members of the Greek Orthodox Community of Jerusalem; nuns and pilgrims staying at the Holy Monastery of St Gerasimus of Jordan.

The festive event included a speech by the Acting Principal, philologist and theologian, monk f. Nikolas Zervis, due to illness of Principal Photios. The panegyric of the day was delivered by philologist Mr Theodoros Zygouris. Patriotic songs were performed under the direction of philologist Mr Panayiotis Antoniades, poems recited under the guidance of philologist Mrs Eleni Oikonomou, and two short plays performed under the direction of philologist Mr Constantinos Komodikis.

Both the speeches and the audiovisual material prepared by professor Spyridon Mexis, the recitations, songs, and plays performed by the students – albeit few in number – spoke of the trials, suffering, extermination and finally the rising of our nation after four centuries of cruel and merciless Turkish slavery. The also praised the brave struggles of our Fathers, clerics and laymen alike – Kolokotronis, Karaiskakis, Nikitaras, Markos Botsaris, Makrygiannis, Papaflessas, Athanasios Diakos – as well as thousands of innocent victims piling up from the proclamation of the Revolution by Germanos, Bishop of Old Patras on the 25th of March, until the liberation of our nation and the recognition of an independent state in 1832.

Feelings of pride for the ancestors overwhelmed those attending the festivities, as well as thoughts and speculations on the responsibility of the rulers of our nation and of any Greek citizen to emulate the ethos and way of life of our fathers instead of the numerous dubious and obscure models of contemporary life which have led our country and humanity in general to financial crisis.

Both His Beatitude and the Consul-General congratulated teachers and students on the success of the feast and urged them to devote themselves to the values of our nation and the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood.

From the Secretariat-General



On Sunday the 3rd/16th of March 2014, Second Sunday of the Fasting Period, the Name Day of His Beatitude Theophilos, our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem was celebrated by postponement. The 9th of March commemorates St Theophilos, one of the Holy Forty who suffered a martyr’s death in the year 320 AD during the reign of King Licinius, at the Lake of Sebaste in Pontus.

  1. In the afternoon

The feast began at 2:00 pm with the reading of the Ninth Hour at the Monastic Church of Sts Constantine and Helen, followed by the progression of the Hagiotaphites to the All Holy Church of the Resurrection.

Following the welcoming, censing and veneration at the Holy Apokathelosis, and veneration at the Holy Sepulcher, the head of the feast, His Beatitude Theophilos, proceeded into the katholikon and rose to the Throne, in order to read the Preamble Hymn. The Head Cantor of the Church of the Resurrection, Archimandrite f. Aristovoulos, chanted while Prelates and members of the Holy and Sacred Synod went on to venerate at the Holy Golgotha, with deacons performing the censing along the sites of pilgrimage.

The service of Vespers followed, in the presence of pious nuns and pilgrims.

  1. On the day of the feast

On the morning of the feast, at 7:00 am, the Patriarchal Retinue proceeded from the Central Monastery to the All Holy Church of the Resurrection.

Upon His entrance to the Church, the Patriarch venerated at the Holy Apokathelosis and the Holy Sepulcher before entering the Katholikon.

Subsequently, His Beatitude, the Prelates and Priests put on their Prelatic and Hieratic garments in the Holy Bema.

After each took their place in the nave, the Divine Liturgy began, led by His Beatitude from the Navel of the Earth.

The festive Divine Liturgy of St Basil was officiated by His Beatitude Theophilos, with co-officiating Hagiotaphite Prelates: the Most Reverend Metropolitans of Nazareth and Kapitolias, Kyriakos and Isychios; their Eminences, Archbishop Theophanes of Gerasa, Damaskinos of Joppe, Dorotheos of Avila, Aristarchos of Constantina, Theophylaktos of Jordan, Theodosios of Sebaste, Demetrius of Lydda, Makarios of Qatar and Philoumenos of Pella. Alco co-officiating were four Bishops visiting from the Patriarchate of Moscow, namely: the Right Reverend Clement of Krasnoslobotsk; Diodorus of Melekes; Methodios of Almetievsk; and Nicephorus of Otrantni; and the Most Reverend Metropolitan Vincent of Ploiesti, visiting from the Patriarchate of Romania after the restoration of ecclesiastical communion. Also present were numerous Hieromonks visiting from the Orthodox Churches of Greece, Russia and Romania. The Head Cantor of the Church of the Resurrection chanted, whereas a great crowd of Orthodox faithful from Greece, Russia and Romania participated in piety.

At the end of the Divine Liturgy, the Lord’s people proceeded to receive Communion.

At the conclusion of the service, Doxology began in celebration of the Patriarch’s feast day, in the presence of the Greek Consul General to Jerusalem, Mr Georgios Zacharoudiakis.

At the Patriarchate, the Elder Secretary-General addressed His Beatitude, followed by Mr Zacharoudiakis.

Other addresses were made by the Prelates as well as by f. Farah Danbour on behalf of the Arab-speaking flock of St James Cathedral in Jerusalem; Professor Panayiotis Antoniades on behalf of the Patriarchal School of St Sion, and Mr Nicolaos Sarris on behalf of St Demetrius School.

In His reply speech, His Beatitude extended thanks to all present.

The spiritual joy of the feast was supplemented by tangible joy in the form of festive meatless lunch.

From the Secretariat-General






On Saturday the 23rd of February/8th of March 2014, the proceedings of the Synaxis of the Primates of the Orthodox Churches continued in the Church of St George, at the Phanar.

During this session, their Holinesses the Primates and their Attendants reviewed and completed the Proceedings Report, drafted by the Preparatory Committee and pertaining to:

I.                   The decisions

The most important decision is that the Great and Holy Synod of the Orthodoxy will be convened in Constantinople in 2016, and presided by the Ecumenical Patriarch. Each Church will be represented by twenty Bishops. Decisions will be made by consensus on the matters promoted for resolution, after these will have been reviewed by the Inter-Orthodox Preparatory Committee in June 2014. The main among these matters are:

  1. The Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical movement
  2. The relations of the Orthodox Church with the rest of the Christian world
  3. The contribution of the Orthodox Church to the promotion of peace, justice and love among peoples and the elimination of racial and other discriminations

The matters pertaining to “Autocephaly in the Orthodox Church and the manner in which it is proclaimed” and the “Diptychs” shall be referred to the Holy and Great Synod, if the Preparatory Committee shall reach an agreement on them. If not, the Synod shall be convened without looking into these two matters.

II.                 The Message

The text was compiled by the Coordinating Committee and was submitted for completion and approval to the Plenary Session of the Primates’ Synaxis.

The review of the Message by the Plenary Session of the Primates’ Synaxis took place during Saturday’s morning and afternoon Sessions, and concluded with its approval, to be followed by its announcement during the Divine Liturgy of the Sunday of the Orthodoxy, namely the 24th of February/9th of March 2014.

On Saturday at noon, the Primates visited the Monastery of the Life-Giving Spring at Baloukli, resting place for the Patriarchs of Constantinople. There, a memorial was held for the repose of their souls, followed by lunch hosted by His Eminence Gennadios, Metropolitan of Sasima, the Monastery’s Spiritual Leader.

In the afternoon of the same day, His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, hosted an official dinner in honour of the Primates, their attendants and local guests at the Hilton Hotel, where the Delegates have been staying.

From the Secretariat-General


During the proceedings of the afternoon of Thursday, the 21st of February/6th of March 2013, namely the first day of the Pan-Orthodox Synaxis, the Primates discussed the location of the Great Synod in Constantinople and in the Church of St Irene, where the Second Ecumenical Synod was convened. The decision-making process, by consensus or majority, was also discussed.

Deliberations on the aforementioned matters as well as on the matter of the number of Primates from each Church, continued during the second day of the Synaxis’ proceedings, namely on Friday the 22nd of February/7th of  March 2014, in the course of its morning session. The afternoon session was dedicated to the service of the Akathist Hymn, that is the First Stasis of the Salutations of Theotokos, in the church of the Great Archangels, officiated by His Beatitude Theodore II, Patriarch of Alexandria.

On the evening of the same day, the members of the Pan-Orthodox Synaxis were hosted to dinner at the Community Hall of the District of the Bosphorous, under the pastoral supervision of His Eminence Irinaios, Metropolitan of Myriofyton and Peristasis.

During the aforementioned dinner, His Beatitude Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, addressed the Primates with this speech:


This concluded the proceedings of the second day of the Pan-Orthodox Synaxis in Constantinople, namely Friday the 22nd of February/7th of March 2014.

From the Secretariat-General


Keeping our readers up to date with the Patriarchate’s participation in the Gathering of the Heads of Churches in Constantinople, we would like to inform you that His Beatitude Theophilos, our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem, accompanied by His retinue, arrived safely in Constantinople on the evening of Lean Wednesday, the 20th of February/5th of March 2014.

Acting on behalf of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Most Reverend Iacovos, Metropolitan of Princes islands, and Hierodeacon Gregorios welcomed His Beatitude at the airport and escorted him to the Hilton Hotel to rest on the first day of His arrival.

The following day, Thursday the 21st of February/6th of March 2014, the Pan-Orthodox Gathering convened at the Church of St George the Great Martyr, in the Phanar.

Participating in the Gathering are all the Heads of Orthodox Churches, with the exception of the Patriarch of Antioch, who is represented by a delegate, and the Church of the Check Republic, which is troubled by leadership problems.

A prayer requesting the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit was followed by a speech by His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

After welcoming the Heads of Churches, the Ecumenical Patriarch referred to previously held Gatherings in Jerusalem, Patmos, and elsewhere, aimed at providing an answer, by means of the declared unity of the Orthodox Church, to problems facing man today, especially those recently emerged, i.e. technology, bioethics, the natural environment and society’s economic structure. The unity of the Orthodox Church is secured through the long established institution of the synodicity of the Orthodox Church. Through this institution, Orthodox Churches have, for the past fifty years, since the days of the late Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras, been preparing for a series of Pan-Orthodox Conferences. In keeping with this tradition, the present Gathering will look into the topics to be discussed during the future Great Synod of Orthodoxy, and into the Message to be announced to the contemporary world.

Following the address of the Ecumenical Patriarch, each of the Heads of the Orthodox Churches went on to refer, in their own speech, to the importance of the Gathering, as well as to problems that are specific to their respective Churches.

In His address, His Beatitude Theophilos expressed the wish that the Spirit of the Pentecost cast its light upon everyone present during the days of their Gathering, and that it enable all to experience the Holy and Great Forty-Day Period through fasting and praying before celebrating with joy the Holy Resurrection.

After lunch hosted by His All Holiness, Patriarch Bartholomew, at a Bosporus restaurant, the meeting resumed in the afternoon.

From the Secretariat-General


In the evening of Saturday, the 12th/25th of January 2014, the custom of St Basil’s pie was observed in a festive ambiance by the Greek Club in West Jerusalem, at its traditional hall which was founded by the late Sacristan of the Holy Sepulcher, Archimandrite Efthymios.

His Beatitude Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, cut the pie, blessing the Greek Parish of Jerusalem toward a peaceful, healthy, sanctified, prosperous and fruitful New Year. Guests at this celebratory gathering were the President of the Community, Mr Anastasios Damianos, the former President, Mr Vasileios Tzaferis, and members of the Greek Parish of the Old and New City of Jerusalem.

His Beatitude was welcomed by the New President of the Community, Mr Anastasios Damianos, who underlined the contribution of the late Sacristan of the Holy Sepulcher, Eftymios, to the Greek Parish, asking for the wishes of His Beatitude toward the progress of the Greek Community in the New Year.

The ceremony was embellished by traditional Greek songs and Christmas and New Year Carols. Guests received a piece of the blessed pie, with the President of the Community discovering the lucky coin.

His Beatitude and the other guests wished Mr Damianos a prosperous presidential tenure by the mediation of Basil the Great.

From the Secretariat-General