1

THE FEAST OF THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD AT THE PATRIARCHATE

On Thursday May 20/ June 2, 2022, the Patriarchate celebratred the Despotic Feast of the Ascension.

On this feast, the whole Church and especially the Church of Jerusalem commemorates and celebrates the event that for forty days after His Resurrection, our Lord Jesus Christ revealed Himself to His Disciples in many appearances, and after them, while the Disciples were watching, He ascended from the Mount of Olives into the Heavens and sat at the right side of the Father and deified the human bodily form He had received at His incarnation. 

For this Feast at the Mount of Olives and the place of the Ascension the Great Vespers was held on Wednesday afternoon, by His Eminence Metropolitan Isychios of Kapitolias, along with the Elder Kamarasis Archimandrite Nectarios, Archimandrite Klaudios, the Priests of Saint James Cathedral Fr Farah and Fr Hader, at the chanting of Hierodeacon Simeon, Mr Gotsopoulos and the Patriarchal School students in Greek and Saint James Cathedral Choir under Mr Rimon Kamar in Arabic. 

The service was followed by a procession to the Monastery of the Men of Galillee, which His Beatitude blessed with His visit there.

The procession returned to the place of the Ascension for the reading of the Compline and the Canon of the Feast.

On Thursday morning, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated at the same place, by His Eminence Metropolitan Isychios of Kapitolias, along with the Archimandrites Ieronymos and Stephen, the Priests of Saint James Cathedral, Romanian and Russian Priests and the visiting from the Church of Greece Fr Agathangelos from the H. Metropolis Kilkisiou. The chanting was delivered by Hierodeacon Simeon, Mr Gotsopoulos and the Patriarchal School students in Greek and Saint James Cathedral Choir under Mr Rimon Kamar in Arabic, and the service was attended by many faithful Christians.

During the Divine Liturgy His Beatitude and Members of the Holy Synod came for veneration. Then His Beatitude, according to the custom and for the sake of the peaceful coexistence, visited the imam that lives in the nearby mosque, followed by the visit to the Holy Monastery of the Ascension opposite the shrine, where the hardworking Caretaker of the Monastery Monk Achilios hosted a reception. 

The next visit of His Beatitude was to the Holy Monastery of the Ascension of the Russian Church and Diaspora on the Mount of Olives and finally the Monastery of the Men of Galillee, where the Caretaker Nun Daniilia offered breakfast with eggs, milk and cheese.

From Secretariat-General




THE APODOSIS OF PASCHA AT THE PATRIARCHATE

On Wednesday, May 19/June 1, 2022, the Patriarchate celebrated the Feast of the Apodosis of Pascha, which is held at the completion of forty days after the day of the Resurrection. On this day the Troparia of Matins are the same as those chanted on Pascha day.

For this joyful feast, the Service of Matins and the Divine Liturgy were celebrated at the Monastic Church of Saints Constantine and Helen, with the participation of H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos and Hagiotaphite Fathers.

After the Divine Liturgy, according to the custom, the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood went to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where the Divine Liturgy was also being celebrated at the Catholicon, led by His Eminence Metropolitan Isychios of Kapitolias with the co-celebration of the visiting from Cyprus, His Grace, Bishop Nikolaos of Amathous, under the chanting of Hierodeacon Simeon and Mr Gotsopoulos, with the attendance of local faithful Christians and pilgrims.

After the Divine Liturgy, the Episcopal Entourage returned to the Patriarchate to pay their respects to His Beatitude.

From Secretariat-General




THE FEAST OF THE APPEARANCE OF THE SIGN OF THE CROSS IN THE HEAVENS AT THE PATRIARCHATE

On Friday, May 7/20, 2022, the Patriarchate celebrated the feast of the appearance of the sign of the Precious Cross in the heavens.

On this feast, the Church, and especially the Church of Jerusalem celebrates the event that took place in AD 351, at the third hour, which is at nine o’clock in the morning, a brighter than the sunrays Cross appeared and was visible from Golgotha to the Mount of Olives. The Cross was seen by many inhabitants of Jerusalem who in awe glorified God, according to the description written by Cyril the Archbishop of Jerusalem to Emperor Constantius, son of Saint Constantine the Great.

For this event, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated at the Horrendous Golgotha, by His Eminence Metropolitan Isychios of Kapitolias, with the co-celebration of Hagiotaphite Hieromonks, Priests and Priests from other Orthodox Churches and Deacons, under the chanting of Hierodeacon Simeon and Mr Gotsopoulos. The service was attended by Nuns and pious faithful Christians.

After the Divine Liturgy, there was a procession with the Hagiotaphite High Priests and Hieromonks from the Deposition Slate to the Holy Sepulchre, marching three times around the Sacred Edicule.

After the Procession, the officiating Metropolitan stood in front of the Sacred Edicule and read the Gospel narrative of Easter Sunday and Saint Cyril’s letter, with the description of the celebrating event in Greek, and His Eminence Archbishop Theodosios of Sebastia read the translation of this letter in Arabic. There was a supplication at the end of the readings.

Finally, bells tolling, the Episcopal entourage returned to the Patriarchate Headquarters and paid its respect to His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos. His Eminence Metropolitan Isychios addressed His Beatitude as follows:

“Your Beatitude, Father and Master,

Twenty centuries ago, the cross was an instrument of shameful punishment and horrible death. The Romans sentenced the greatest criminals to death by crucifixion.

Today the cross dominates the whole life of the faithful Christians, the whole life of our Church, as an instrument of sacrifice, salvation, joy, sanctification and grace. As Saint Chrysostom writes, “this accursed and abominable symbol of the worst punishment has now become coveted and lovable.” You see it everywhere: “In the Holy Table, in the ordinations of the priests, in the divine liturgy, in the houses. So much needed has this wonderful gift become to all, this inexpressible grace. ”

The Lord Himself, with supernatural facts and wonderful revelations, revealed on various occasions, in a glaring way, how the sign of the Cross is His symbol and the invincible trophy of the faithful.

  1. The well-known ecclesiastical historian Eusebius of Caesarea (+340), a contemporary of Saint Constantine the Great, describes vividly and unequivocally the well-known incident of the appearance of the light Cross on Constantine the Great with the inscription “be victorious with This”, and in fact at broad daylight, with witnesses all the men of his army.
  2. In addition to the above supernatural revelation of the sign of the Cross, there was another, again in front of innumerable eyewitnesses, when the king was Constantius, son of St. Constantine, and Saint Cyril was the Archbishop of Jerusalem. The miracle is narrated by Saint Cyril himself to the king in a letter, in which he states that on that day (May 7, 346 AD, the period of Pentecost), around the third hour (9 a.m.), the sign of the Holy Cross appeared in the sky, huge, bright, extending from Saint Golgotha ​​to the Mount of Olives. Not one or two saw it, but all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And it did not appear for a moment only, but for many hours it hung on the firmament. And it was so bright that it surpassed the rays of the sun in the Flash, so they could see it clearly at daylight, at noon. Seeing this miracle, the people of the city ran to the Church of the Resurrection.

If September 14 is the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy and Life-giving Cross, a feast on which human hands, Patriarchal and Royal, raised the Holy Cross, projecting Him as the symbol of the Christian faith and the “lock of Paradise” because it is the point of our reference to the One who shed His holy blood on It, May 7th is another celebration of His Exaltation, not by human hands this time, but by the “hands” of God Himself. Because He wanted, when the Christian faith had already been accepted and expanded, to reveal the Cross in Heaven, as an extension, we would say, of His revelation on Constantine the Great, with the well-known “In this be victorious”. The hymnology of our Church highlights the event and pervades it in all its parameters: “Today the divine multitude of the faithful rejoices. Because the Cross appeared in Heaven to a great extent. The air shines from uncreated light. The air is illuminated and the face of the earth becomes beautiful. The Church of Christ sings divine songs. The Church shows its respect, honouring the divine and miraculous Cross that protects it from Heaven ” (free translation of a sticheron from Vespers).

The Venerable Patriarchate of Jerusalem, following the order and practice of the Orthodox Church, honours and celebrates the feasts, among which is the present feast, “of the appearance of the sign of the Precious Cross in the heavens”, which, although being a local feast, has an effect on Orthodoxy around the world.

Pray Your Beatitude, that Our Venerable Brotherhood continues this tradition for centuries to come”.

From Secretariat-General




THE SUNDAY OF THE PARALYTIC MAN AT THE PATRIARCHATE

On Sunday, May 2/15, 2022, the Patriarchate celebrated the Sunday of the Paralytic Man, the 4th Sunday after Pascha according to the Book of Pentecostarion.

H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos, after the welcoming reception by the Scouts, officiated the Divine Liturgy at the Community of Rhene, near the city of Nazareth.

Co-celebrants to His Beatitude were their Eminences, Metropolitan Kyriakos of Nazareth, the Geronda Secretary-General, Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, Elder Kamarasis Archimandrite Nectarios, Archimandrite Artemios, the Dean Priest of this community Priest Simeon, Priest Stephen from the Church of Greece, other Priests, Archdeacon Mark and Hierodeacon Eulogios.

The chanting was delivered by the Byzantine Choir of the Community in Arabic, and many local faithful Christians attended the Service.

Before the Holy Communion, His Beatitude delivered the following Sermon:

“At the sheep’s pool a man lay in sickness and when he saw Thee, O Lord, he cried: I have no man that when the water is troubled, he might put me threrein. And straightaway, taking compassion on him, the Saviour saith unto him; for thee I became man, for thee, I am clothed in flesh, and sayest thou: I have no man? Take up thy bed and walk” the hymnographer of the Church proclaims (Vespers, Entreaty, Glory).

Beloved brethren in Christ,

Noble Christians

Marvellous is our God, who has gathered us today in the faithful community of Rheine, to celebrate the Pascha of the Lord in gleefulness and joy, as we commemorate the miracle of the healing of the paralytic man who had been ill for thirty-eight years at the Sheep’s pool (ref. John 5, 5-9).

During His presence on earth, the Lord worked many signs in order to reveal His glory so that they might believe in Him, and to show His healing power to anyone who asked for it, which stemmed from the obedience and faith in Him, the Son and Word of God.

“And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool” (John 5,5-7).

Interpreting this verse from the Gospel, the Holy Fathers of the Church wonder why our Saviour chose this certain paralytic man? Because he was suffering from an incurable disease; “For what reason did Jesus pass by all other (ill people) and came to this man? To show both the power and the philanthropy; the power, because the illness had become incurable and had seized the man; and the philanthropy because Christ and guardian and philanthropist saw this man before all others as he was indeed worthy of mercy and benevolence”, Saint Chrysostom says.

To Christ’s demanding question, “Wilt thou be made whole?” (John 5,6) Saint Chrysostom says that as the healer of our bodies and souls, Christ referred to the double paralysis of both the sins and the body. In other words, when there is mention in the Holy Scriptures about sin, we should understand this as our infirmity of both the soul and the body, which resulted in the death of corruption as Saint Paul preaches, having the Old Adam in mind: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5,12).

And Saint John the Baptist calls upon the words of Prophet Isaiah and says: “he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53,4). Seeing “Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1,29). And the wise Paul says: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures” (1 Cor. 15,3).

Moreover, according to Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, the Lord came on earth “that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2,14), and “to give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins”. Let us hear the Holy Father saying: “wherever there is Christ, there salvation lies. And if he sees a publican sitting at the cashier, He makes him an apostle and an evangelist; and if He is buried with the dead, He makes them rise. And He makes the blind to see, the deaf to hear; and He visits the pools, not to see the buildings, but seeking to heal the sick”.

It is noteworthy that the paralytic man was healed not by the water of the pool, but by the working of the power of the word of our Saviour Christ, as the hymnographer says: “O Lord, not the pool, but Thy word healed and renewed the paralytic; nor was he hindered by his sickness of many years; for the power of Thy voice proved to be more effectual. And he cast off the weight that was grievous to bear and carried the burden of his bed as a testimony to the multitude of Thy compassions. Glory be to Thee”(Matins, Glory of praises).

The paralytic man became healthy instantly when he heard the Lord’s words “Take up thy bed and walk” (John 5,8-9). And the swift healing power of the Lord’s voice is no other than the overshadowing of the grace of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ. And we say this, because the Church is the pool, namely the healing place of our souls and bodies, while the Holy Sacraments, which are being held by the power of the Holy Spirit are the medicine that lead to the cure. According to Saint Chrysostom, the manner of treatment is common and the medicine is available for all. However, healing is not common for all, but it is achieved by the goodwill of those who use it.

Celebrating the Lord’s Pascha, my dear brethren, let us hear the divine voice of the Resurrected Christ: “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matt. 28,20).

And let us say along with the hymnographer; “Having risen from the dead, Thou didst raise us also from the passions by Thy Resurrection, O Lord: And Thou didst destroy all the might of death, O Saviour, for this cause we cry out in faith: Remember us also in Thy Kingdom” (Sunday of the Paralytic, at the Liturgy, Troparion 2).

Christ is risen! Many happy and blessed returns!”

At noon the Community hosted a meal and among the celebrating guests were the Mayor of the city and the Sheikh.

His Beatitude addressed all present at the meal as follows:

“The Lord upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down” (Psalm 145,14), the psalmist says.

Reverend Holy Fathers and Brethren,

Your Excellency President and respected members of the Ecclesiastical Committee,

Noble Christians,

The light of the Resurrection of our Saviour Jesus Christ which has filled both the earth and the heavens, as well as the parts below the earth, has gathered us all here so that along with the hymnographer Saint John of Damascus we may say: “Willingly becoming poor with Adam’s poverty, O Christ God, Thou camest upon the earth, incarnate of a Virgin. And Thou didst accept the Cross that Thou mightiest free us from slavery to the enemy. O Lord, glory to Thee”(Wednesday after the Myrrh-bearing women, Matins, 1st Troparion of praises, of the Crucifixion).

And we wonder, who is the enemy of the slavery of man? The devil, namely the lord of this world (ref. Eph. 6,12) has put men under tyranny. Form this tyranny of the devil did Christ liberate us through His Resurrection, as Luke the Evangelist says in the Acts of the Apostles: “ye know… Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him” (Acts 10,37-38).

Through the pure flesh of the Ever-Virgin and Theotokos Mary, in the Holy Spirit, the Son and Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ became incarnate and took the same form of us men, so that He may transform the body of our humility to become of the same form with the body of His glory (ref. Phil. 3,21), that is, the body of His Resurrection.

In other words, my dear brethren, Christ conquered the death of corruption and sin and in more detail, the death of the body and soul’s paralysis, through His own death. And this happened, according to Saint Athanasius the Great, “so that the conciliation of God toward man may also be freedom of the whole humankind through man in the form of the new image of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord”.

We, my dear brethren, being members of the body of Christ, have the Holy Church of Christ as our “Sheep’s pool”, where the healer of our bodies and souls is always present, both visibly and invisibly. God has granted us this great and unique beneficial and philanthropic Providence.

This Divine Providence is no other than our Mother and natural feeder, the Church of Jerusalem, the Venerable Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which throughout the centuries has remained a beacon and steadfast keeper of the truth in Christ, the faith in Christ, a guardian of the fatherly morals and an enemy of every newly-appearing seemingly religion, such as the Globalization and the New Order.

Christ and only Christ and His Church is the pool of life and the harbour of our recourse. Let us not turn our eyes and attention anywhere else, but only toward Christ, Who is the leader and founder of the faith and makes us perfect in it, as Saint Paul preaches: “…Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12,2)

Christ is risen! Many happy returns, blessed in the freedom of Christ!”

From Secretariat-General




THE FEAST OF THE MYRRH-BEARING WOMEN SUNDAY AT THE PATRIARCHATE

Sunday 25 April/ 8 May 2022 was celebrated by the Patriarchate as the Sunday of the Myrrh-bearing Women according to the book of Pentecostarion.

On this Sunday the Church commemorates Saint Joseph of Arimathaea – present-day Ramle – who asked Pilate for the Lord’s body and buried Him along with the Myrrh-bearing Women.

This event was celebrated in Ramle, at the Holy Monastery of the Patriarchate, with the Divine Liturgy which was officiated by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos, with co-celebrants their Eminences, the Archbishops, Aristarchos of Constantina, Damascene of Yaffo, Hagiotaphite Hieromonks and Arab-speaking Priests, with the attendance of a large congregation of the Orthodox faithful of this city.

Before the Holy Communion His Beatitude delivered the following Sermon:

“Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre” (Mark 15,43-46) Mark the Evangelist testifies.

Beloved Brethren in Christ,

Noble Christians and pilgrims

Today the Holy Church of Christ honours and venerates the commemoration of the Holy Myrrh-bearing Women and that of the secret disciple, Joseph from Arimathaea, the current city of Ramle. According to the witness of the Evangelists, the Myrrh-bearing Women were true witnesses of the Resurrection, while Joseph and Nicodemus of the burial of our Lord Jesus Christ, as well as of His God-man nature of His.

“The Myrrh-bearing Women were the first people to see the Resurrection and they evangelised it to the disciples” according to the synaxarist. These women were the first witnesses of Christ’s resurrection. “Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him” (Mark 16,6). Joseph and Nicodemus were distinguished for their bravery and boldness as Mark the Evangelist says: “Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus” (Mark 15,43).

Christ’s resurrection, my dear ones, is the fulfilment of the Law and the Prophets, that is the revelation of the purpose of the mystery of the incarnation of God the Word through the pure flesh of the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary. In other words, the Myrrh-bearing Women and the Lord’s secret disciples Joseph and Nicodemus were given the grace of witness and speak about the One of whom “we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled” (John 1,1).

This graced of the Holy Spirit was given to the former blasphemer and persecutor and injurious (1 Tim. 1,13) Saint Paul, when he was called unto his Apostolic office. He says: “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God” (Eph. 3,8-10).

We, my dear brethren, being members of the body of Christ, that is the Church, which He beautified with His own blood (ref. Acts 20,28), have become communicants of this incomprehensible richness of Christ and the enlightenment of the mystery which was hidden for centuries in God, as well as of the diverse wisdom of God.

Indeed, the Church of Christ is his empty tomb, where “we receive the experience” (ref. Hebrews 11,36) of our resurrection in the communion of the body and blood of Christ during the Divine Liturgy. “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6,54) the Lord says. Our Holy Church of Christ is the place of “the Lord’s Pascha”, namely the place, or rather the empty tomb from which Christ God transfers us from the death of corruption and sin (= infirmity) to life eternal and from the earth to heaven, as the hymnographer says: “We celebrate the death of death, the destruction of Hades, the beginning of everlasting life. And with leaps of joy we praise the cause thereof, the only blest and most glorious God of our Fathers” (Easter Sunday, Ode 7, Troparion 3).

Saint Paul scorns those who say “that there is no resurrection” (1 Cor. 15,12) saying that if Christ is not risen then the faith of us Christians is in vain. “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain” (1 Cor. 15,14).

Pointing out the power of faith the Holy Apostles and Evangelists advice thus; Saint Paul says, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving” (Col. 2,6-7). Judas, the brother of James the brother of God writes in his letter: “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Judas 3). Saint John the Theologian preaches: “this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5,4). No one can face our faith, which through works has gained the trophies for us, Saint Cyril of Alexandria says.

““We celebrate the death of death, the destruction of Hades, the beginning of everlasting life,” the hymnographer says, paying heed to Saint Paul’s preaching: “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Cor. 15,20). In other words, being perfect God and perfect man, Christ became the firstfruits of those who slept, because He was the first of men to tumble down death, just as our ancestor Adam entered the death of sin and became the firstfruits of the fallen, leading us to corruption, Saint Cyril of Alexandria says.

And according to Saint Gregory Palamas, “the Lord’s resurrection is the renewal of the human nature, it is the reviving and renewal and restoration of the first Adam to the eternal life, because he was devoured by death because of sin and through death he regressed to the earth by which he was created”.

Just like Eve was the first one to see Adam, likewise the first one to see the resurrected Christ was also a woman, Saint Gregory Palamas says. “First of all others was a woman that saw Him; the Theotokos received first the gospel of the resurrection, as it was befitting and righteous, and she saw Him resurrected before anyone else, and enjoyed His divine voice”.

Through His Resurrection our Lord and God Jesus Christ inaugurated the entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven, therefore, we, my dear brethren, let us entreat the Most Blessed Theotokos, the Myrrh-bearing Women and Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus, who buried the Lord, that by their intercessions we may be deemed worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven. Amen. Christ is risen! Many happy and peaceful returns!”

The feast was organised by the energetic Hegoumen Archimandrite Niphon, who addressed the Patriarch and hosted a meal along with the Community Council. At the meal His Beatitude addressed those present as follows:

“Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious” (Psalm 66,1-2), that Christ is risen!

Reverend Holy Fathers and Brethren,

Respected President and honourable members of the Community Council,

Your Grace Archimandrite Niphon,

The grace of Christ’s secret disciple Joseph has led our footsteps to his hometown, the biblical Arimathaea, the current Ramle, to celebrate along with our Rum Orthodox flock living here the Lord’s Pascha, namely the three-day burial and the luminous Resurrection of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ.

This event of our blessed Paschal gathering of both the clergy and the people shows the hypostatic power of the truth of our Christian faith, according to the true testimony of the Evangelist John who says, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1,14).

This glory of “the only begotten of the Father” Who is immortal is preached and confessed boldly by the Holy Church of Christ and especially by the Mother of all Churches, namely the Church of Jerusalem, which is founded on this very place of Golgotha, the sanctified by the divine blood on the Cross, but also by the new and empty tomb, from which the true shone forth, the Light of the Resurrected Christ.

This unwaning light of the glory of the Resurrected Christ, namely the truth, peace, righteousness and love of His, as well as His infinite philanthropy, is served throughout the centuries in the Holy Land by the visible and invisible presence of the Church of Jerusalem, the Venerable Rum Orthodox Patriarchate, which always follows the Lord’s commands, “Fear not” (Matt. 10,31), “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16,33). “And this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5,4-5).

We say this because in our days the power of evil and lawlessness is active as Saint Paul preaches: “the mystery of iniquity doth already work” (2 Thess. 2,7). However, we, my dear brethren, are fortified by the divine light and the hope of the resurrection and neither worry nor flinch, because as Saint Paul says, “God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2,13-14). Christ is risen! Many happy, blessed and peaceful returns!”

This feast was also celebrated at the chapel of the Myrrh-bearing Women within Saint James Cathedral, with the Divine Liturgy which was officiated by His Eminence Archbishop Theophanes of Gerassa. Co-celebrants to His Eminence were the ministering Priests of the Cathedral, Fr Farah Bandour and George Baramki. The chanting was delivered by Monk Joseph of Mount Athos and Fadi Abdelnour in Greek on the right, and by the Cathedral’s choir under Mr Rimon Kamar in Arabic on the left. The service was attended by the parish members of this Cathedral.

At the end of the Divine Liturgy, the Myrrh-bearing Women’s association of the Cathedral’s community hosted a reception at the Ouzud restaurant.

From Secretariat-General




THE FEAST OF THE HOLY GREAT MARTYR GEORGE AT THE PATRIARCHATE

On Friday, 23 April/ 6 May 2022, the Patriarchate celebrated the commemoration of the martyrdom of the Holy Glorious Great Martyr George the Trophy Bearer.

On this feast, the Church commemorates that George’s father was from Carthage and his mother from the Palestinian town Lydda. He was an army professional and exchanged his profession with that of martyrdom, the heavenly profession, confessing Christ and suffering a martyr’s death during Diocletian’s reign in Rome in AD 305.

The Patriarchate celebrated the commemoration of this universally recognised Great Martyr at the following Monasteries and Churches:

  1. At his Holy Monastery in Bejala near Bethlehem with Vespers and the Divine Liturgy led by His Eminence Archbishop Methodios of Tabor.
  2. At his Holy Monastery in Jerusalem of the Hospital by Archimandrite Athanasios, under the care of the Abbess Nun Pansemni.
  3. At his Holy Monastery in the Jewish Quarter with Vespers and the Divine Liturgy led by His Eminence Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, by the care of the Abbess Nun Marianna.
  4. At the Holy Church of Saint George, the Trophy Bearer of town Zababde in North Samaria, the Divine Liturgy and all festivities were officiated by His Eminence Archbishop Theophanes of Gerassa with the co-celebration of Archimandrite Klaudios and the Community Priest Fr Issa.

All services were attended by Monks, Nuns and faithful Christians from Greece, Palestine, Russia, Romania and others.

May the Saint’s intercessions protect those who honoured him and all those tested by war.

 From Secretariat-General

https://youtu.be/h1E6c_BUYaE




THOMAS’ SUNDAY AT THE PATRIARCHATE

The Sunday 18 April / 1 May 2022 was celebrated by the Patriarchate as the second Sunday after Easter and Thomas’ Sunday.

On this Sunday the Church commemorates that on the eighth day after His Resurrection, the Lord appeared to His Disciples in the upper room while the doors were closed when Thomas was also with them. The Lord urged Thomas to touch Him and when the latter did so, the Lord told him, “because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20, 24-31).

  1. This event was celebrated in Cana of Galilee, along with the celebration of the miracle of the wedding in Cana, that is, the turning of water into wine and the blessing of the wedding. This is celebrated on Thomas’ Sunday due to the gospel narrative about the wedding in Cana, which is read on the Monday after Thomas’ Sunday.

The feast in Cana was officiated by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos, with co-celebrants their Eminences, Metropolitan Kyriakos of Nazareth, Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, Elder Kamarasis Archimandrite Nectarios, Hagiotaphite Hierodeacons and Arab-speaking Priests from the Galilee district.

Before the Holy Communion His Beatitude delivered the following Sermon:

“This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory, and his disciples believed on him” (John 2,11).

Beloved Brethren in Christ,

Noble Christians and pilgrims

The divine grace of the resurrected Jesus Christ, our God and Saviour, has gathered us all in this holy place of Cana in Galilee where Christ’s feet stood, but also His mother’s the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, so that we may boldly confess the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. And this, is because as Saint Paul preaches, “if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain” (1 Cor. 15,14).

Today and tomorrow’s gospel narrative refer to the signs Jesus worked before His disciples, so that both they and we, may believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and by believing in Him we may have eternal life in His name (John 20,31).

In today’s gospel narrative according to the Evangelist John, we hear the Lord saying to Thomas: “because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20,29), while in the other gospel narrative we hear that “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him” (John 2,11).

Saint John of Damascus refers to the need and power of faith for the comprehension of the mystery of the divine providence by saying: “the wonders are made manifest unto those who worship the mystery in faith” (Thursday of renewal week, Matins, praises, Troparion 1).

“And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God” (John 20,26-28).

Interpreting these words, Saint Cyril of Alexandria says: “So we reasonably do the gatherings on the eighth day and if we need to say the most secret … although we close the doors, Christ comes and appears to all of us, both invisibly and visibly; invisibly as God, and visibly again in the body. He also allows them to give His holy flesh to hold. Because we approach by grace with the coming of God through a secret blessing, we accept Christ in our hands so that we too may believe that He truly resurrected Himself as a temple … So we abandon infidelity as destructive and after we touch Christ, we find ourselves to be very faithful and to have absolute confidence in our mind.”

In other words, my dear brethren, our participation in the sacrament of the mystical blessing, namely the communion of the sacred body and blood of our Saviour Christ, is the true confession and remembrance that the Lord died and was resurrected for us in order to save us.

“And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage” (John 2,1-2).

Commenting on Christ’s presence at the wedding in Cana, Zigavinos says: “The One who established marriage by law came to honour the wedding and sanctify it by His presence”. Saint Cyril of Alexandria references Saint Paul and says: “Being a friend of man, the Saviour honoured the wedding by His presence, as He is the joy and happiness of all so that He would distance the ancient curse of childbearing.” This is because the one who is in union with Christ is a new creation. The ancient curse which the Law of Moses had created and the sin have passed away. Behold, everything has become new. “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5,17).

According to the witness of Saint John the Evangelist, speaking about Christ, Saint John the Baptist presents Him as the bridegroom and says: “He that hath the bride is the bridegroom” (John 3,29). Interpreting this verse, Saint Cyril of Alexandria refers to the spiritual wedding between humanity and Christ, which is accomplished through the Holy Baptism. And according to Zigavinos, the bride is “the faithful people, namely the Church which is mystically attached to Christ through faith”.

“In the manner of a sunray did Christ’s glory shine”, Saint Cyril of Alexandria says, when “He did the beginning of the miracles in Cana of Galilee, in front of His Mother and Disciples” (ref. John 2,1-11). Among the many other signs Jesus did before His Disciples, is the touching of His side by the Apostle Thomas; His side which was pierced with the military spear.

Through His resurrection, my dear brethren, Christ conquered the death of corruption and sin and also dissolved the hatred between God and the people and granted us His peace “which passeth all understanding” (Philip. 4,7). “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us” (Eph. 2,14) according to Saint Paul.

Our Holy Church calls upon this peace of Christ, namely the peace of the Holy Spirit, in every place and time. The confused and turbulent world is in need of this peace of Christ like never before. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14,27). These are the words that our Lord and God Jesus Christ, Who is risen from the dead tells us. Amen. Christ is risen! Many happy returns, blessed and in peace!”

At noon the Hegoumen Archimandrite Chrysostom and the Ecclesiastical Council hosted a meal, where His Beatitude addressed all present as follows:

“This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118,24), the psalmist proclaims.

Reverend Holy Fathers and Brethren,

Respected members of Churchwardens,

Reverend Archimandrite Chrysostom,

Dear brothers and sisters

The Holy Church of Christ rejoices today and is glad, especially the local Church of your city of Cana in Galilee, on this festal and Paschal day.

We thank our Triune God for the blessing He bestowed upon us, to gather in this place after the trial of the deadly covid disease.

The Passion on the Cross, the three-day burial and the Resurrection of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ are the fulfilment of the Divine Providence.

The living presence of the Christians in the Holy Land and in this holy shrine is a soundproof that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16,18), as the Lord said.

The preaching of the gospel of Christ is the preaching of righteousness, love, peace and divine philanthropy. “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Matt. 9,13) the Lord says. This is confirmed by Saint Paul’s words: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6,12).

Behold again, why Christ’s resurrection is the fulfilment of the mystery of the incarnation of the Son and Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ. “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15, 26), Saint Paul preaches, calling upon the prophet Isaiah, who says: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Cor. 15,54-55 / Isaiah 25,8).

My dear brethren, who live and visit the city of Cana in Galilee, where our Lord Jesus Christ worked His first miracle and revealed His glory; We have come along with our honourable entourage from the place of the resurrected Christ, our Saviour, the Holy city of Jerusalem, to exclaim the victorious greeting against death, “Christ is risen”!

Needless to say, We consider Ourselves personally a citizen of Cana and a member of your blessed Christian Community. For this reason, we tell you through the mouth of wise Paul; “old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5,17).

Christ is risen! Many happy returns, fruitful in Christ.”

  1. At the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The feast was celebrated with Great Vespers on Saturday afternoon, with the veneration of the Deposition slate and the Holy Sepulchre, the incense offering, Great Entrance and the Blessing of Bread at the Catholicon, which was led by the Patriarchal Commissioner, His Eminence Metropolitan Isychios of Kapitolias, along with Hagiotaphite Hieromonks. The chanting was delivered by Hierodeacon Simeon and the Typikon Keeper of the monastic Church of Saints Constantine and Helen Archimandrite Alexios, as the service was attended by many local faithful Christians and numerous pilgrims.

On Sunday morning the Divine Liturgy was held as a ‘Small Parresia’ at the Holy Sepulchre, officiated again by His Eminence Metropolitan Isychios of Kapitolias, with the co-celebration of Hagiotaphite Hieromonks and Hierodeacons. The service was attended by local faithful Christians and numerous pilgrims and the chanting was delivered by Hierodeacon Simeon with the help of the Patriarchal School students.

After the feast, the Episcopal Entourage returned to the Patriarchate Headquarters.

There, the Patriarchal Commissioner wished the faithful Christians present, the light and the power of the Resurrected Christ.

From Secretariat-General




THE HOLY WEEK AND EASTER IN QATAR

By the application of the eased instructions of the Ministry of Health, due to covid 19, and in the order of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Holy Services of the Holy Week and the Luminous Resurrection were observed at the Doha Cathedral.

The Services were officiated by His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Qatar with the ministering Priest Demetrios. The attendance of the faithful who participated in the Holy Communion with reverence and contemplation was the most numerous of the past years, having come from various cities of the Emirate and from Riyadh of Saudi Arabia.

These services were held in Greek, Arabic, Slavonic, Serbian, Romanian and English for the fullest participation of the multilingual flock. The Byzantine choir performed the hymns in a wonderful way and the Lamentations of Good Friday in Arabic, Greek and Serbian.

 On the night of Good Friday and Holy Saturday, the Ambassadors of Greece, Russia, Moldova and a representative of the Embassy of Serbia in Qatar arrived at the Holy Services.    

At the end of the Divine Liturgy of the Resurrection, the blessing of the Easter eggs followed and His Eminence distributed the blessed bread and red eggs to the faithful, wishing them the Paschal joy of the Resurrected Christ.

From the Holy Archdiocese of Qatar

   

   

  




MONDAY OF BRIGHT WEEK AT THE PATRIARCHATE

On Monday of Bright Week, 12/15 April 2022, the Feast of Pascha was celebrated at the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood at its Holy Church of Saints Constantine and Helen.

The festal Paschal Liturgy was led in prayer by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos with the co-prayer of the Hagiotaphite Fathers, High Priests, Hieromonks and Deacons, at the presence of the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr Evangelos Vlioras, members of the Greek Consulate General, the representatives from the Patriarchates of Moscow and Romania and many pilgrims, who had filled the Church.

The Divine Liturgy was followed by the reception at the Patriarchate Reception Hall, where His Beatitude blessed the pilgrims and gave them Easter eggs.

From Secretariat-General




THE SERVICE OF THE SECOND RESURRECTION AT THE PATRIARCHATE (VESPERS OF LOVE)

In the afternoon of Easter Sunday, 11/24 April 2022, the Service of the second Resurrection, or Vespers of Love was observed at the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

The High Priests and Priests came to the Patriarchate to His Beatitude, our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos and got dressed in their Paschal liturgical vestments, while the 9th Hour was being read.

Then the Patriarchal Entourage marched through the Christian Road to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, while crowds of faithful were standing on either side of the road.

The Vespers of Pascha began at the Catholicon once the Patriarchal entourage entered, and the entrance with the Gospel was followed by the reading of the Gospel narrative according to Saint John regarding the first appearance of the resurrected Lord to His Disciples, “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you…But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came…”(John 20,19-25).

This narrative was read in Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, English, and other languages, showing the universal character of the Gospel.

After Vespers, the Patriarchal entourage returned to the Patriarchate.

From Secretariat-General

https://fb.watch/cDvlydpA83/