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HIS BEATITUDE THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM THEOPHILOS BLESSES THE CONCERT “ALL NIGHT VIGIL” BY SERGEI RACHMANINOV

On Saturday afternoon, 5/18 June 2022, H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos was invited to bless a concert at the Notre-Dame hotel, which consisted of most of the great spiritual compositions of the great composer Sergei Rachmaninov. 

The musical concert was held for the centenary anniversary of the founding of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) and the one-hundred and fiftieth anniversary since the birth of the great composer Sergei Rachmaninov. The concert was given by the male choir under the name of Fr Tychon, led by the talented maestro Mrs Ekaterina Antonenko, of Petram Male Choir and by the soloists Igor Morozov (tenor) and Evgeni Kachurovsky (baritone), as appearing on the program, who delivered the parts; 1. “Come let us worship”, 2. “Bless the Lord, O My Soul”, 3. “Blessed is the Man”, 4. “Rejoice, O Virgin”, among others.

The concert was attended with utmost attention and silence by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos with His Entourage, the Head of the Russian MISSIA of the Moscow Patriarchate Archimandrite Alexander, the Russian Ambassador, Mr Anatoly Victorov, the Abbesses of the Monasteries of Ein Karem and the Mount of Olives, Nun Ekaterina and Nun Barbara, along with many other nuns and a large audience of laity.

This unique ceremony was widely applauded, while His Beatitude said: “This concert, held today at the end of Pentecost, has highlighted the polyphony of Pentecost day, which by the Holy Spirit concludes to the symphony of the languages”.

From Secretariat-General




THE INSPECTION OF THE WORKS IN THE ROTUNDA AND THE SEVEN ARCHES IN THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE

On Thursday evening, June 3/16, 2022, H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos, visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, venerated the Holy Tomb and inspected the ongoing project of renovation and maintenance of the floor of the Rotunda around the Sacred Edicule and the area under the seven arches, which is supervised by the team of the University Sapientia of Rome, after the agreement of the Three Major Communities, the Rum Orthodox, the Latins and the Armenians, according to the Status Quo.

 His Beatitude was accompanied by Geronda Secretary-General His Eminence Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, Geronda Sacristan His Eminence Archbishop Isidoros of Hierapolis, His Eminence Metropolitan Joachim of Helenoupolis, Elder Dragoman Archimandrite Mattheos, Elder Kamarasis Archimandrite Nectarios, the Patriarchal Representative in Constantinople His Eminence Archbishop Nectarios of Anthedona, the Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod Hierodeacon Simeon and others, the Franciscan brothers of the Custody in the Holy Land, the Custos His Grace Fr Francesco Patton, Fr Dobromiro and other representatives of the Armenians, His Eminence Sevan, Archimandrite Samuel, Hegoumen of the Armenians at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Father Gurion and other members of their brotherhood, the Architect of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre Mr Theodosios Mitropoulos.

The members of this Delegation from the three Communities entered the project area and saw the excavation site, and received archaeological explanations from the specialists of the University Sapientia regarding the wall layers and the structure dating back to the Roman period, before the construction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre during Constantine’s era. They were informed about the various maintenance and renovation periods at the times of the Byzantine Emperors and saw the rock of the north-east side of the Rotunda which supports the Edicule of the Holy Sepulchre and is carved to form the “new and empty” Life-giving Tomb of our Lord. It has been decided that this project will have a duration of 26 months with a cost of €11.000.000, funded by pious donors and sponsors.

After the archaeological research with the collection of the necessary artefacts, the excavated site will be covered anew, placing the intact slates back to their original position, while the damaged ones will be replaced by others, responding to the sanctity of the site and to the conclusions of this multifaceted work, but also through glass constructions that will facilitate the view.

We remind our readers that this is the second phase of the work carried out according to the aforementioned scientific methods and Status Quo agreement, after the successful completion of the first phase of maintenance and renovation of the Sacred Edicule, which was carried out by a scientific team from the National University of Athens under the supervision of Professor Antonia Moropoulou. The first phase was inspired and initiated by His Beatitude the Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos and the Communities of the Greeks, Latins and Armenians cooperated for its completion.

Nevertheless, we should also mention that all this work is a continuation of the prototype set by the renovation project in the ’60s, funded by the Greek Government, after the initiative of the memorable Patriarch of Jerusalem Benedictus, with the cooperation of the Sacristan Archimandrite Germanos, the blessed Vice-Sacristan Archimandrite Daniel, the Architect Leonidas Kollas and Mr Athanasios Economopoulos, who founded a technical office.

From Secretariat-General




A PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION OF ROMANIA VISITS THE PATRIARCHATE

On the morning of Thursday, 3rd/16th of June 2022, a ten-member Parliamentary Delegation under the former Minister of Justice and current member of Parliament Mrs Natalia-Elena Intotero visited the Patriarchate, accompanied by the Ambassador of Romania in Israel Mr Radu Ioanid and the Ecclesiastical Delegation in Jerusalem, Archimandrite Theophilos and Archimandrite Ioannis.

The Delegation was received by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos and Hagiotaphite Fathers. The visitors expressed their joy for their visit to the Holy Sepulchre and the Patriarchate, for the internationally recognised pacifying work of H.H.B. and for the protection of the Romanian pilgrims.

Replying, His Beatitude informed the Delegation members about the pacifying work of the Patriarchate in the ongoing political situation in the Middle East and the Holy Land, especially when facing the challenges of the radicals who have seized Christian property.

His Beatitude also mentioned the good relationship with the Romanian Patriarch Daniel, His participation at the consecration of Saint Andrew’s Cathedral in Bucharest and the active role of the Romanian Patriarchate at the Great Synod of Orthodoxy.

For this visit, on behalf of the Delegation members, Mrs Intotero offered His Beatitude a photo Album with pictures from Romania and a ceramic vase, while the latter offered a silver painting of Jerusalem, icons of the Sacred Edicule and the Theotokos and blessings for the other visitors.

From Secretariat-General




THE MINISTER OF CLIMATE CRISIS AND POLITICAL PROTECTION OF GREECE VISITS THE PATRIARCHATE

On the evening of Monday of the Holy Spirit, 31st of May / 13th of June 2022, the Minister of Climate Crisis and Political Protection of Greece, Mr Christos Stylianidis, after his collaborators, the Ambassador of Greece in Tel Aviv Mr Loukakis and the Consul of Greece in Jerusalem, Mr Vlioras, visited the Patriarchate.

The Minister and his companions were warmly received by His Beatitude and Hagiotaphite Fathers. In this meeting, there was an interesting discussion about the role of the Patriarchate as a guardian of the Holy Places, its long-term good relationship with the Church of Cyprus, the welcoming of the Cypriot pilgrims, the role of the Patriarchate in maintaining the ecclesiastical unity from the Holy Sepulchre, especially under the conditions of its ecclesiastical jurisdiction among the three political states of the present, about the restoration of the Sacred Edicule and the current ongoing project at the Rotunda, about the recent challenges by the extremists who use violence against the Christians and about the prospective renovation of the Catholicon of the Church of the Resurrection.

Mr Stylianidis thanked His Beatitude for the reception and briefing, while the latter thanked him for his vivid interest in the Patriarchate.

For this visit, Mr Stylianidis offered His Beatitude a plaque with stamps collection of the Political Protection, while His Beatitude offered him a silver painting of Jerusalem with the Holy Sepulchre, an icon of the Edicule and the Mother of God and the book of the History of Jerusalem by Chrysostomos Papadopoulos. Thanking His Beatitude, Mr Stylianidis asked for His blessing to venerate the Holy Sepulchre.

From Secretariat-General




THE STUDENTS OF THE PATRIARCHAL SCHOOL OF ZION VISIT HIS BEATITUDE THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM THEOPHILOS

On Saturday, June 11, 2022, the graduates of the Patriarchal School of Zion visited the His Beatitude the Patriarch of Jerusalem at His office, on the occasion of the end of the School year.

On this visit the graduate novice Simeon Lianoudakis addressed His Beatitude on behalf of the students as follows:

Τό Σάββατο, 11 Ἰουνίου 2022, οἱ ἀπόφοιτοι καί τελειόφοιτοι τῆς Πατριαρχικῆς Σχολῆς Σιών ἐπισκέφθηκαν τό Γραφεῖο τοῦ Μακαριωτάτου Πατριάρχου Ἱεροσολύμων ἐπί τή λήξει τῶν μαθημάτων τῆς Σχολῆς.

Your Beatitude Father and Master,

Reverend Managing Director of the School,

At the end of the school year and our student cycle, in deep emotion, we would like to express from the bottom of our hearts our thanks for what you have offered us.

Since our arrival in the Holy Land, the Patriarchate and the Brotherhood welcomed us with paternal affection and love. They shaped our character and enriched us with spiritual goods and many unforgettable experiences that will accompany us for the rest of our lives.

First of all, we would like to thank You, Your Beatitude, for the interest You have shown as well as for the love You have expressed towards us in many ways. In addition, we would like to thank the Most Reverend Archbishop of Hierapolis, Isidoros, Chairman of the school board, who made sure that we never miss anything. Next, we want to thank the Managing Director, Father Mattheos, for the time he devoted, the effort and the sacrifices he made to always be by our side and to support us. Together with him, the people in charge who contributed to the work of the boarding school and the school for our education. Of course, we would like to thank the teachers, who also in their part, helped us to expand our knowledge and horizons.

Finally, we would like to thank You once again for the opportunity you have given us to live in the Holy Land, where our Lord Jesus Christ taught and lived. Also, for us, the visits to the Holy Pilgrimages of the Holy Land and to Constantinople were very important.

We venerate Your holy right hand”.

His Beatitude blessed them, wished them success in their exam results and safe return to Jerusalem after their summer vacations, by the blessing of the Resurrected Christ and the Holy Sepulchre, and success in any activity they chose to pursue in the future.

From Secretariat-General




THE CHIEF OF THE HELLENIC NATIONAL DEFENCE GENERAL STAFF VISITS THE PATRIARCHATE

On Wednesday, May 27/ June 8, 2022, the Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff Mr Constantinos Floros visited the Patriarchate, accompanied by his wife Anna-Maria Tsirikoni and his associates.

The group was received by His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos and Hagiotaphite Fathers.

Mr Floros said he feels honour and piety as this is his first visit to the Holy Land and the Patriarchate.

His Beatitude explained to the Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff and his associates the importance of Jerusalem and especially of the City inside the Walls, whose heart is Golgotha, the Holy Sepulchre and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which was built by Saint Helen.

The Patriarchate of Jerusalem is the guardian of these shrines, along with the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood. This mission of safeguarding the Holy Places is carried out by the Patriarchate and the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood since the Byzantine Christian era and from AD 638, the times of the Arab occupation with the Patriarch Sophronios and from the Ottoman occupation to the present, over three Governmental states, of Israel, the Palestinian Autonomy, Jordan and Qatar.

By the Divine power and the power of its history, the Patriarchate continues its pacifying and conciliatory mission, it faces and overcomes the recent challenges against the Christians. The role of the Patriarchate is also to bring unity among the Orthodox Churches, especially under the current circumstances.

The General Mr Floros thanked His Beatitude for His informative words and asked for His prayers for the strengthening of the Hellenic army, especially under the present political conjunctures.

For this visit, His Beatitude offered the General a cross and a book of the history of Jerusalem by blessed Archbishop Chrysostom Papadopoulos, a silver painting of Jerusalem and an icon of the Theotokos, and blessings from Jerusalem for the members of the group.

Mr Floros offered His Beatitude a board of the General Staff of the National Defence and the book “Τά ἐθνικά Εὐαγγέλια τοῦ Ἱεροῦ Ἀγῶνος”.

Asking for His Beatitude’s blessings, the Delegation led by Mr Floros left to venerate the Holy Sepulchre.

From Secretariat-General




THE PLATINUM JUBILEE OF THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND ELIZABETH

On Thursday 2nd June 2022, the Geronda Secretary-General His Eminence Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina and Archdeacon Mark represented His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos at the English Consulate of East Jerusalem at the festive ceremony of the platinum jubilee of seventy (70) years of the reign of the Queen of England Elizabeth.

From Secretariat-General

 




MEETING OF HIS BAETITUDE PATRIARCH THEOPHILOS III WITH A DELEGATION FROM THE EUROPEAN UNION

His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III, Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem, along with Latin Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Melkite Greek Catholic Bishop Yasser Ayyash, and Rev. Don Binder on behalf of the Episcopal Diocese, met on Wednesday evening, June 1, with a delegation from the European Union, and took turns discussing the reality of the hardships Christians endure on daily basis in the Holy City of Jerusalem.

During the meeting which was held at the Imperial Hotel in Jerusalem, and was followed by a dinner, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III delivered the following speech:

 

“Respected Members of the European Diplomatic Corps,
Distinguished Experts in the MENA Region,
Beloved Fellow Heads of the Churches,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We welcome you warmly to the Imperial Hotel and to the historic pilgrims’ gateway to the Holy Sepulchre in the Holy City of Jerusalem.
We are deeply encouraged by your visit, and we wish to commend you on your desire to consult with the Heads of the Churches and Christian Communities of the Holy Land, especially at this time when the integrity of this region and the future of the Christian presence here are uncertain as at no other period in our lifetime.
For centuries this Holy City and the Holy Land, and indeed the entire region of the Middle East has been the home to a great civilisation. This region of the divine-human encounter has woven a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-religious tapestry of peoples that is at the heart of our collective identity. This rich heritage, in which Jews, Christians, and Muslims have grown and lived side by side for generations, is being undermined by a fresh and destructive radicalism on the part of those who wish to see this great tapestry picked apart.
The challenges that we face are serious and pernicious, for they strike at the heart of our uniqueness. As is well known, we face the provocations of radical groups that seek to make this city and this region exclusively their own. We are meeting this evening in the great focal point of this conflict, which is the Imperial Hotel, which is next door to the Petra Hotels, which are the target of Israeli radical groups to make permanent changes in the Christian Quarter of this Quarter. Furthermore, another entrance to the Christian Quarter, the New Gate, which also leads to the Holy Sepulchre, is under the same pressure and condition. The consequences of their intention are incalculable and will change the character of this City forever, to the detriment of the Christian presence. Our mission is always to keep the Holy City open to all, without distinction or discrimination.
We face other challenges, including the consequences of the ongoing pandemic, the economic situation, the restrictions that Christians are facing from the political situation, and the lack of opportunity for our young people to aspire to a better future.
We have only one mission; to ensure the integrity of the Christian character of the Holy City of Jerusalem and the Holy Land, and to do all that we can to enable the Christian presence in this region to remain here and flourish. We believe that our historic experience as those who have built this multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious society together with our Jewish and Muslim sisters and brothers who also understand the reality of our region, has the capacity to maintain this identity on which centuries of common life have been built.
This mission is not just for ourselves alone. This historic identity of the Holy Land is of enduring importance to our world. Here are the seeds of a genuine, stable, and strong diverse society that can be a model for others. And because of the religious significance of this region for the three Abrahamic traditions, which make up the majority of the religions of the world, the future of our world is directly related to the future of this region.
The Heads of the Churches have always been ready, and continue to stand ready, to work with the European Union and your respective governments, as well as with all sides of our society in this region, for lasting solutions to the challenges that we face, so that the unique witness of this land of the divine-human encounter, which brings hope to the countless millions of people every day, might be an example of encouragement to all.
Once again, we thank you for your visit to us, and with eagerness, we look forward to working in close collaboration with you.
Thank you”.

From Secretariat-General

 




THE VISIT OF THE PRIME MINISTER OF GEORGIA TO THE PATRIARCHATE

On Monday afternoon, May 17/30, 2022, the Prime Minister of Georgia Mr Irakli Garibashvili visited the Patriarchate, accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Ilia Darchiashvili, the Head of the State Security Service Mr Grigol Liluasvili, the Head of Government Administration Mr Revaz Javelidze and the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Mr Lasha Zhvania.

His Excellency the PM and his entourage were warmly received by His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos and Hagiotaphite Fathers, among whom the Patriarchal Commissioner, His Eminence Metropolitan Isychios of Kapitolias, Geronda Secretary-General, His Eminence Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, the Elder Dragoman Archimandrite Mattheos, His Eminence Archbishop Philoumenos of Pella, Archdeacon Mark and the Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod Hierodeacon Simeon.

During this visit His Beatitude addressed His Excellency the Prime Minister of Georgia as per below:

“Your Excellency, Mr Prime Minister,

Mr Garibashvili,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are very glad to welcome you and your distinguished delegation to our Patriarchate in this joyous Paschal season.

The Patriarchate of Jerusalem, that is to say, the Church of Jerusalem, is the Mother of all the Churches, for it was founded on the redeeming blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, who suffered, died, and was raised from the dead in this Holy City.

Thanks to the great Roman Christian emperors Constantine and his mother Helen, who took care of the Holy Places in the Holy Land and established the well-known order of the Spoudaei, which became the current monastic community of the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood, the Brotherhood of the Holy Tomb.

It is precisely this monastic community of the Holy Tomb that has been instrumental in guarding, serving, and maintaining the Holy Places, our Churches, and our Monasteries down the ages as places of prayer and worship, and therefore as places that are accessible to pilgrims and visitors without distinction.

Needless to say, the Holy Places have been sustained by the sacrifices of blood and of money.   Many have given their lives to protect them, and many benefactors have given from their financial resources to support them.   For these sacrifices, we give thanks to Almighty God.

We welcome you, Your Excellency, as a leader and as a representative of an Orthodox country and a brotherly Orthodox Church.   This means that the Church of Jerusalem and the Church of Georgia and its faithful belong to the same Body of Christ and His Church.   This is why it is imperative, as Saint Paul commands, that we are always eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3).

The challenges that we are facing here in the Holy City of Jerusalem are well known, for Jerusalem is the spiritual capital of the whole world and especially for the Orthodox Christian nations and peoples.

Our mission here is to promote the values of our Orthodox Christian tradition and heritage, which are no other than the values enshrined in the Holy Scriptures of both the Old and the New Testaments and in the Sacred Tradition of the Church.

The love of Christ and His peace, justice and reconciliation are the pillars of the Church of Jerusalem.

The Rum Orthodox Patriarchate, that is the Church of Jerusalem, as the Mother Church embraces everyone without distinction or discrimination.   This is why our Patriarchate enjoys the great respect of both the Israeli authorities and of course the Palestinian and Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan authorities as well, as you witnessed yesterday evening at our meeting in Amman.

Your Excellency, we take this opportunity to express our appreciation for your firmness and straightforward stand against globalization, which neglects Christian values.

We are therefore pleased to bestow upon you the Cross of the Holy Tomb of Our Lord Jesus Christ, so that you may be protected and inspired always by the salvific message of the Cross of the Righteous One.

Christ is risen!

Thank you”.

The address was followed by the exchange of presents; the PM gave His Beatitude an icon of the Georgian Saint Ashot, while His Beatitude offered the Prime Minister a big icon of the renovated Sacred Edicule, icons of the Mother of God to the members of the Delegation and the Ambassador and finally Mr Garibashvili was awarded the honorary medal of the Grand Commander of the Order of Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.

Thanking for the warm reception of His Beatitude, the PM and the members of the Delegation left to venerate the Holy Sepulchre, where they were received by Geronda Sacristan, His Eminence Archbishop Isidoros of Hierapolis. Before this visit, the Delegation had visited the Holy Monastery of the Holy Cross, where Georgian Monks throve in the past.

From Secretariat-General

 




EIGHTY-MEMBER GROUP OF THE GREEK NAVY VISITS THE PATRIARCHATE

On Friday afternoon, May 14/27, 2022, a group of eighty members of the Greek Navy visited the Patriarchate, accompanied by the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr Evangelos Vlioras and the Honorary Consul of Greece in Haifa Mr Constantinos Zinovios.

The group was received by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos and Hagiotaphite Fathers.

In His talk to the group, His Beatitude said that they have visited the holiest part of the earth because it has received the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and also received Himself in the All-holy Sepulchre, which was proven to be both new and empty, as Christ has risen from the dead.

Jerusalem is the spiritual capital of the whole world due to these two events, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection of Christ.

His Beatitude wished the members of this Naval Mission to have the power of the Master Christ and the Grace of the Holy Sepulchre to defend our country with renewed strength.

For this visit, they offered His Beatitude a coat of arms of the Navy, while the latter offered them blessings from Jerusalem and His blessing to visit the Holy Sepulchre and then attend a meal that the Patriarchate had prepared for them.

From Secretariat-General