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THE SUNDAY OF ORTHODOXY AT THE PATRIARCHATE

On Sunday 28 February/13 March 2022, the Patriarchate celebrated the Sunday of Orthodoxy as the triumph of the truth of Orthodox Faith through the restoration of the holy icons by the pious Empress Theodora and the Patriarch Methodios of Constantinople; the holy icons testify to the incarnate presence of the Son and Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ.

This feast was celebrated with Great Vespers on Saturday afternoon as ordained by the Typikon and the Status Quo of the Jerusalem Patriarchate, and with the Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning at the Catholicon of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Services were officiated by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos with the co-celebration of their Eminences, Metropolitan Isychios of Kapitolias, the Archbishops, Theophanes of Gerassa, Aristarchos of Constantina, Theodosios of Sebastia and Hagiotaphite Hieromonks, with first in rank the Elder Kamarasis Archimandrite Nectarios, Deacons and Archdeacon Mark. The Liturgy was attended by the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr Evangelos Vlioras, members of the Greek Consulate and many faithful, Greeks, Palestinians, Russians living locally, without pilgrims as there are still some covid-19 restrictions.

After the Divine Liturgy, there was a litany three times around the Sacred Edicule and around the shrines, which concluded in front of the Holy Sepulchre.

There His Beatitude read the “Synodicon of Orthodoxy” as it is written in the Book of Triodion, blessing the reverend Patriarchs, High Priests, Emperors and Priests who fought in favour of the holy icons and anathematizing, or delivering to God those who refused the holy icons and preached other heretic teachings.

Bells tolling, the Patriarchal entourage returned to the Patriarchate Headquarters, where His Beatitude addressed all present as follows:

“We also depict in icons and reverently venerate the shape of our human form that He has taken, which we have felt and seen, and the One who bore Him whilst keeping her virginity, and those who have utterly pleased Him. The symbols of His passions and especially the Cross we hour and venerate us divine trophies against the enemy”, the God-bearing Father of the Church Saint Gregory Palamas preaches and confesses.

Your Excellency, Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr Evangelos Vlioras,

Reverend Holy Fathers and Brethren,

Noble Christians and pilgrims

Today, the first Sunday of the Great Lent, we commemorate the historical event of the restoration of the sacred icons, which was done by the blessed Sovereigns of Constantinople, Mihail and his mother Theodora, during the Patriarchal Office of Saint Methodios the Confessor.

The victorious power of the Church against the iconoclasts was recognized as the triumph of the healthy faith of the Orthodox Christians against their enemies. We say this because the established doctrines by the Ecumenical Synods and the great Fathers of the Church about the precision of our Orthodox Faith has preserved and safeguarded the sacred consignment which we have received by the Disciples and Apostles of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Our Holy Church of Jerusalem, being fortified and founded by the divine power of the All-holy and Life-giving Tomb of our Lord Jesus pays heed to the Lord’s words: “Blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it” (Luke 11:28); it has been the safe harbour of the unity of our Orthodox Faith, not only on the doctrines’ side but also on the part of the bestowed grace, as Saint Cyril of Jerusalem teaches.

Behold, therefore, why the Holy Church of Jerusalem calls upon all those who want to venerate the Holy Sepulchre and the other sacred shrines of our Saviour Jesus Christ and His Most Holy Mother, to receive their grace. “The honour to the icon is attributed to the prototype”, Saint Basil the Great says. In the same manner, the veneration of the holy shrines is attributed to Christ, the Theotokos and the Saints. “By kneeling down we venerate not the material but the image depicted,” Saint John Damascene says (just as we do not venerate the material of the Gospel, nor of the cross, but the image of the Lord).

We, both clergy and the people, who are gathered here at the place of the passion on the Cross, of the burial and the resurrection of our Saviour Jesus Christ, namely at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, have celebrated the great sacrament of the Divine Liturgy, rendering thus thanksgiving praise and doxology to the Trinitarian God.

Let us say along with the hymnographer, celebrate, feast, the people of God bearing His name, seeing the Church again shining forth the beauty of the divine image, which God received as a man to save us. Many happy returns and a blessed Lent. Amen”.

From Secretariat-General




THE FEAST OF THE REVELATION OF THE MIRACLE OF THE BOILED WHEAT BY SAINT THEODORE THE TYRO

On Saturday of the first week of Lent, 27 February / 12 March 2022, the Patriarchate celebrated the feast of the miracle of the boiled wheat by the Holy Great Martyr Theodore the Tyro.

On this feast, the Church commemorates that Saint Theodore the Tyro appeared in a dream to the Archbishop of Constantinople Eudoxius and advised the people to eat boiled wheat during the fasting period, just as they used to do in his hometown Euhaita, so that they would not be contaminated by the offerings to the idols. This was secretly done by Julian the Transgressor who hated the Christians.

In remembrance of this event, Great Vespers was observed on Friday afternoon and the Divine Liturgy was celebrated on Saturday morning at the Holy Monastery of Saints Theodoroi, which is located between the Patriarchate and the New Gate. The Services were officiated by His Eminence Archbishop Theophanes of Gerassa, with the co-celebration of Hieromonks, Hierodeacons and the attendance of the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr Evangelos Vlioras and faithful from Jerusalem.

His Eminence delivered a Sermon regarding the miracle of the boiled wheat.

During the Divine Liturgy, His Beatitude visited the Monastery for veneration, accompanied by Hagiotaphite Fathers.

The Patriarchal and Episcopal entourages along with the congregation were offered a reception by the good keeper of the Monastery, the Hegoumen and Typikon Keeper Archimandrite Alexios.

From Secretariat-General




THE FIRST STASIS OF THE AKATHIST AT THE PATRIARCHATE

On Friday evening, 26 February / 11 March 2022, the Service of the First Stasis of the Akathist was observed at the Catholicon of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. At this service, as the Typikon orders, the First Stasis of the Akathist was read within the Service of the Small Compline.

Before ending the service, His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos who presided in the prayer delivered the following beneficial words to the faithful:

“An Angel and the chiefest among them was sent from Heaven to cry: Rejoice! To the Mother of God. And beholding Thee, O Lord, taking bodily form, he stood in awe, and with his bodiless voice he cried aloud to her such things as these: Rejoice, though through whom joy shall shine forth. Rejoice, thou through whom the curse shall be blotted out”.

Beloved Brethren in Christ,

Noble Christians,

Behold, the fasting has arrived, the mother of chastity, the accuser of sin and the advocate of repentance, the Angels’ manner of living and the salvation of the people, the hymnographer of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church announces.

The Church of Christ rejoices and is gleeful with our entrance into the fasting period of the Holy Lent. And this, because fasting, which was dictated to us by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, who “fasted forty days and forty nights” (Matt. 4:2), is indeed the salvation of the people.

And why is fasting the salvation of the people? Because according to Saint Basil the Great, “we fell from paradise because we did not fast; let us fast, therefore, so that we may return to it”. Our God the Word and Saviour Christ, who became incarnate from the pure flesh of the Virgin, is the new Adam, while the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary is the new Eve, through whom “for our sake, the bodiless receives a body, and the One without beginning receives a beginning, and the uncontainable One is contained”, according to Saint John Damascene. While the hymnographer of the Church also says that the Theotokos became “the restoration of the fallen Adam, the redemption of the tears of Eve”.

The Church of Christ which has been revealed to us men on earth, is the visible paradise, while Christ is the “wood of life”. Therefore, Saint John the Theologian says in his Book of Revelation: “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (Rev. 2:7). And in more detail, to the one who will be victorious over Satan and the struggle against sin, will I give him to eat the wood of life. Meaning, that I will deem him worthy to enjoy the eternal goods in my Father’s Paradise, who according to my human nature is also my God.

The Holy God-bearing Fathers of the Church have established the service of the “Salutations to the Theotokos” during the blessed period of the Great Lent, because according to Saint John Damascene, “it is through Her that we have become citizens of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church”. This means that through the Holy Baptism and the Seal of the Holy Spirit, we have been enlisted as citizens of the invisible and heavenly Church, namely of the eternal city of God, as Saint Paul says: “For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come” (Hebrews 13:14).

Precisely because it is not a continuing city in this world, for it has the fashion of this world (1 Cor. 7:31), “we owe to leave behind this world and run toward the future city, which is the heaven”, Saint Theophylaktos says. In other words, fasting is the safe ladder, through which we ascend for the earth to heaven.

True fasting is alienation from evil. Fasting is the beginning of repentance, Saint Basil the Great says. And according to Saint Luke the Evangelist: “God granted repentance unto life” (Acts 11:18). “God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” Saint John the Evangelist preaches (1 John 5:11-12).

Behold again why we salute and magnify the Most Blessed Theotokos, because she became the Mother of Life, namely of the Son and Word of God, our Saviour Christ.

Therefore, let us entreat her, my dear brethren, so that by her motherly intercessions we may be deemed worthy to venerate the luminous Resurrection of the victor over death and corruption and sin, our God and Saviour Christ.

And let us say along with Saint John, the hymnographer of the Mother of God: “prolong your mercy Most-Pure Lady, to those who know you, and look favourably upon your servants and their works, and guide us all to the path of peace, for we have all set our eyes to you in hope, and we have your intercession to your Son and our Saviour and God, to whom belongs all glory, along with His Father without beginning, and the Holy Spirit, who is of One Essence with them, now and forever and unto the ages of ages. Amen”. Have a blessed Great Lent”.

From Secretariat-General

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THE FIRST LITURGY OF THE PRE-SANCTIFIED GIFTS AT THE PATRIARCHATE

The first Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts was observed at the Holy Patriarchal and Monastic Church of Saints Constantine and Helen on Ash Wednesday, 24 February / 9 March 2022, at the presence of H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos. His Beatitude arrived at the Church in all formalities and presided at the prayers.

The Divine Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts was also observed at the Horrendous Golgotha by His Eminence Archbishop Isidoros of Hierapolis.

From Secretariat-General




THE PRAYER OF FORGIVENESS AT THE PATRIARCHATE

On Sunday afternoon, 21 February / 6 March 2022, just before the beginning of the Holy and Great Lent, the Service of Contrite Vespers was observed at Saint James Cathedral by His Eminence Archbishop Philoumenos of Pella. At the end of the Service, His Eminence read the prayer of forgiveness.

Around 5.30 p.m. the Service of the Small Compline was read at the Monastic Church of Saints Constantine and Helen and at the end, H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos read the prayer of forgiveness, which was followed by the brotherly osculation.

From Secretariat-General




THE SATURDAY OF THE SOULS AT THE PATRIARCHATE

On Friday afternoon, 13/26 February 2022 at the Monastic and Patriarchal Church of Saints Constantine and Helen there was the memorial service for the repose of the souls of the departed Hagiotaphite Fathers, memorable Patriarchs, High Priests, Hieromonks, Deacons and Monks. The service was led by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos with the co-prayer of Hagiotaphite High Priests, Hieromonks and Deacons, who chanted the Canon for the repose of the souls of the Patriarchs first, followed by the High Priests, Archimandrites, Priests, Deacons, Monks and Nuns.

After the Canon and the dismissal of Vespers, there was a reception with the boiled wheat, along with the wish “May God give them rest”.

On Saturday morning the Divine Liturgy was celebrated at the chapel of the Holy Zion cemetery by Archimandrite Klaudios and Hierodeacon Simeon, while the memorial service was observed by His Eminence Archbishop Theophanes of Gerassa and the Trisagion was read around the tombs by the Priests for the Hagiotaphite Fathers, the members of the Greek community and the Arab-speaking flock that are buried there.

From Secretariat-General




THE FEAST OF THE HOLY HIEROMARTYR HALALAMBOS AT THE PATRIARCHATE

On Wednesday 10/23 February 2022 the Patriarchate celebrated the feast of the Holy Hieromartyr Haralambos.

On this feast, the Church according to the Synaxarion commemorates Saint Haralambos, a Priest from Magnesia of Thessaly during the reign of Severus and Governor Lukianus. In AD 198 he confessed Christ, refused to offer a sacrifice to the idols and patiently endured torture, beating, and tearing of his flesh which concluded to his beheading.

The Church of Jerusalem honoured Saint Haralambos for his faith and martyrdom for Christ at the Holy Monastery dedicated to him which is located at the end of Via Dolorosa before the Horrendous Golgotha.

In honour of Saint Haralambos there was Vespers on Tuesday afternoon and the Divine Liturgy on Wednesday morning, officiated by His Eminence Metropolitan Joachim of Helenoupolis, along with Archimandrite Klaudios, Archdeacon Mark, and Priests Haralambos (Farah) and Nectarios. The chanting was delivered by Hierodeacon Simeon and Mr Gotsopoulos with the Patriarchal School Students. The Service was attended by Nuns and laity from Jerusalem, praying for the Saint’s protection from covid-19, as during previous plagues the Saint was proven to be a strong helper and healer. The feast was honoured by the presence of the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr Evangelos Vlioras.

H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem also came to the Liturgy for veneration, accompanied by Hagiotaphite Fathers.

The Patriarchal and Episcopal entourages as well as the congregation were offered a reception by the good keeper of the Monastery, Hegoumen Archimandrite Kallistos.

From Secretariat-General




FORTIETH-DAY MEMORIAL SERVICE OF BLESSED HAGIOTAPHITE ARCHIMANDRITE EUSEVIOS DAGALAS

On Saturday 6/19 February 2022, after the Divine Liturgy at the Horrendous Golgotha, which was officiated by His Eminence Archbishop Thephanes of Gerassa, the fortieth-day memorial service for the blessed Hagiotaphite Eusevios Dagalas was observed. The departed was the right Byzantine choir singer at the Church of Saints Constantine and Helen.

The memorial service was led by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos with the participation of the Most Reverend Hagiotaphite Archbishops and Hieromonks, at the chanting of Hierodeacon Simeon and Mr Gotsopoulos.

After the memorial service, the Hagiotaphite Patriarchal Entourage returned to the Patriarchate Headquarters for the memorial reception.

From Secretariat-General

 




FEAST OF THE PARISH OF PATRIARCH ABRAHAM IN BEER SHEBA

On Friday 5/18 February 2022, H.H.B. the Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos and His Entourage went to Beer Sheba, the capital of Negev desert in Southern Israel and officiated the Divine Liturgy in a temporary Prayer House which serves the Liturgical needs of the parish until God allows the building of a Church dedicated to the Patriarch Abraham, Saint Sophronios, Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Holy Martyrs Maccabees. Co-celebrants to His Beatitude were their Eminences, Metropolitan Kyriakos of Nazareth, Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, the Hegoumen of the H. Monastery of the Shepherds Archimandrite Ignatios, the Hegoumen of Cana Archimandrite Chrysostom, the ministering Priest of Nazareth Archimandrite Seraphim, the Steward of Nazareth Priest Simeon, and the Ministering Priest of Beer Sheba Priest Alexander Yatsevich. The chanting was delivered by the whole congregation of the parish in Slavonic, Greek and Arabic, under the lead of their Hegoumen, His Eminence Archbishop Aristovoulos of Madaba.

It should be noted that this was the first Patriarchal liturgy in Beer Sheba in the last 70 years. Despite the presence of tombs in the old Orthodox Christian cemetery in the old city of Beer Sheba since the19th century, there is no testimony proving the celebration of a Patriarchal Divine Liturgy since the time of the blessed Patriarch Timotheos in 1947 when the remaining Orthodox Christians abandoned the city and moved elsewhere.

In the Divine Liturgy, His Beatitude had prepared a Sermon which the ministering Priest of Beer Sheba read translated in Russian. After the Divine Liturgy, the Hegoumen of Beer Sheba Aristovoulos hosted a festal meal for His Beatitude and His Entourage. The Franciscan Fr. Roman from the Latin Parish was also a guest at the meal.

During the meal His Eminence Archbishop Aristovoulos of Madaba delivered the following address:

“Your Beatitude Father and Master,

I feel chills running through me watching this historic moment, seeing Your Holy Beatitude among us to bless and support us in the struggle of establishing the parish of our Russian-speaking flock from nought, in a remote area far from the Holy City, where our presence as Orthodox Christians has not yet been entirely accepted by the local community. Especially today, Your Beatitude, amidst Your reverend Patriarchal Entourage, I wish to express my gratitude once more, as from the very first moment that I asked Your blessing, in December 2008 to come to Beer Sheba, You have supported, advised, consoled me in my difficult times, and when we found ourselves in the happy event of officially establishing the parish with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy in Pentecost of 2017, You very willingly funded the rent of the first house of prayer, and when the needs of the parish increased and the members of the parish exceeded the 70 families, You again supported us, funding the rent of the present house of prayer.

I raise my glass on a toast to the health of Your Beatitude, wishing from the depths of my heart that God will enable Your Beatitude to soon place the founding stone and later on officiate the consecration of the new Holy Church, which will be a bastion for our Patriarchate in the historic city of the Patriarch Abraham and a spiritual shelter for the Orthodox Christians living herein.”

From Secretariat-General

 




THE FEAST OF SAINT SIMEON THE GOD-RECEIVER AT THE PATRIARCHATE

On Wednesday 3/16 February 2022, the Patriarchate celebrated the feast of Saint Simeon the God-receiver at the Holy Monastery dedicated to him, also known as Monastery of Katamon at the West New Jerusalem.

On this feast, the Church according to the Gospel narrative (Luke 2:22-40) commemorates Saint Simeon the God-receiver as the primary person in the event of the Lord’s presence in the Temple on the fortieth day after His Nativity.

The Church commemorates that the Holy Spirit had informed Simeon that he was not going to face death before seeing the Christ of the Lord. This happened when Simeon received the Lord in his arms and recognized Him, saying ““Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32).

In honour of the events of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple and of Saint Simeon, at this Monastery Vespers was held on Tuesday afternoon and the Divine Liturgy on Wednesday morning. The Liturgy was officiated by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos with the co-celebration of their Eminences the Metropolitans Kyriakos of Nazareth and Isychios of Kapitolias, the Archbishops, Aristarchos of Constantina, Aristovoulos of Madaba and Metropolitan Joachim of Helenoupolis, Hagiotaphite Hieromonks, Arab and Russian-speaking Priests, Archdeacon Mark and Hierodeacon Simeon. The chanting was delivered by Mr Gotsopoulos and Hierodeacon Dositheos, as the Service was attended by many faithful from the Katamon Greek Community, Arab-speaking, Russians, Romanians, as well as the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr Evangelos Vlioras.

Before the Holy Communion His Beatitude delivered the following Sermon:

“My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord: and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever” (Psalm 145:21), the psalmist cries out.

Beloved Brethren in Christ,

Noble Christians and pilgrims

The grace of the Holy Spirit has gathered us all in the Holy Monastery of Saint Simeon the God-receiver and righteous, where his tomb lies, to celebrate his holy commemoration, in praise and doxology of the Holy Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, saying: “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32).

The feast of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple of Solomon, which was the entrance of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple brought by His immaculate Mother and the righteous Joseph, according to the custom of the Law of Moses, is linked with today’s synaxis of the Holy and righteous Simeon the God-receiver and the prophetess Anna. We observe their synaxis today, we confess the unspeakable God’s condescension to us, humans.

This unspeakable condescension of God toward the human race through the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, is confirmed and testified on the one hand by the embracing of God the Word, Who had become flesh and was a baby, by Elder Simeon; on the other, the confession of both Simeon and Anna that the Son of God, namely Christ, is the salvation God had prepared “before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32, 2:38).  

This Divine condescension is proclaimed also by the hymnographer, saying: “He that made Adam is carried as a babe; the Uncontainable is held in the arms of the Elder; He that abideth uncircumscribed in the bosom of His Father is willingly circumscribed in the flesh, not in His Godhead, even the only Friend of man” (Minaion, Matins, Oikos).

And God’s condescension refers to the work of the salvation of man by Christ the Messiah and the revelation of his righteousness as light before all peoples and nations as the Prophet David foretold: “The Lord hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen” (Psalm 98:2). The universal nature of the redeeming mission of the Messiah, namely of the Divine Providence, is evangelized by Saint Luke, who refers to the Prophet Isaiah: “And all flesh shall see the salvation of God” (Luke 3:6, Isaiah 40:5).

Interpreting these words of Isaiah, Saint Cyril of Alexandria says: “the mystery of Christ had been prepared before the beginning of the world; it was though revealed at the end of times, and became the light to those sitting in the darkness who had fallen into fallacy, fallen by evil hand”. These words of our Father Cyril find their origin in those of the Apostles Peter (1 Peter 1:20) and Paul, according to which the people, having been led astray by the devil, “changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator” (Romans 1:25).

Indeed, Christ became the light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of His people. As for the phrase “and the glory of thy people Israel”, according to Saint Cyril is “a remnant according to the election of grace” (Romans 11:5) of the people of God. “Even if some of them [of the people of God] became abusive and disobedient, having their minds filled with imprudence, however, the ‘remnant’ is saved and is glorified by Christ. The beginning of this remnant was the Holy Disciples and Apostles, whose merriment of goodness illumes all under the sky” Saint Cyril notes.

“And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be spoken against” (Luke 2:34). Being brought by the Holy Spirit, the Elder Simeon blessed the Virgin because she conceived not by a man but by the Holy Spirit, and he blessed Christ saying: “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against” (Luke 2:34).

Interpreting Simeon’s prophetic words, Saint Cyril of Alexandria quotes the words spoken by the Prophet Isaiah “Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste” (Isaiah 28:16, Romans 9:33); “And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever, it shall fall, it will grind him to powder” (Matt. 21:44).

In other words, God the Father has placed at the foundations of Sion a precious and righteous cornerstone, that is Christ, and those who believed in Him were not put to shame; while those who did not believe nor understood the great mystery of salvation of God in Christ, stumbled upon that rock and fell and were ground into powder; on the contrary, those who believed in Him were raised up.

“The sign that shall be spoken against” (Luke 2:3) according to Saint Paul is the Cross; “But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness” (1 Cor. 1:23). This very Cross and the shameful and martyr’s death of Christ on it, did righteous Simeon mean when he told the Virgin: “a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also” (Luke 2:35).

Christ, whom the Elder Simeon received in his arms, is the cornerstone of the Church, and its members “are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

Therefore we, my dear brethren, are called to receive in our spiritual arms, namely in our minds and hearts, the marvellous light of Christ. And say along with the psalmist: “Mine eyes fail for thy salvation, and for the word of thy righteousness” (Psalm 119:123). Amen. Many happy returns in health!”

After the Divine Liturgy the elder Hegoumen and renovator of the Monastery, reverend Archimandrite Theodoritos hosted a reception for His Beatitude and all congregation at the Hegoumeneion and the courtyard of the Monastery.

From Secretariat-General