On Sunday the 7th/20th of October 2013, the Secretariat of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy, following its visit to the Holy Sepulcher, the Patriarchate and the Cave of the Nativity, and having completed its assignments in the city of Bethlehem, hosted dinner in honour of His Beatitude Theophilos, Our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem. His Beatitude was accompanied by Patriarchal Commissioner Isychios, the Most Reverend Metropolitan of Kapitolias; Elder Secretary-General Aristarchos, His Eminence the Archbishop of Constantina; Patriarchal Commissioner in Bethlehem, His Eminence Theophylaktos, Archbishop of Jordan; Archimandrite f. Theophanes, Substitute Chief of MISSIA, the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, and other Fathers. Dinner was held at the hotel Manger Square, near the Basilica of Bethlehem.

Invited to dinner were representatives of Churches, and high-ranked officials of the Palestinian Autonomy.

In the course of dinner, His Beatitude addressed those present in English. His speech may be read here: https://en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/2013/10/20/3160

Further details on what was discussed during the visit of the Secretariat of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy to the Patriarchate as well as during the aforementioned dinner, will be posted here in due course.

From the Secretariat-General


On the afternoon of Saturday the 6th/19th of October 2013, the Secretariat of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy visited the Patriarchate.

The delegation, consisting of approximately thirty-five members, was received by His Beatitude Theophilos in the presence of Fathers of the Holy Sepulcher.

During the visit, Secretary General Mr Anastasios Nerantzis pointed out that the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy consists of distinguished members from twenty-five Orthodox countries, with Greece and Russia being the Assembly’s pillars and guarantors.

In his address to His Beatitude, the President of the General Assembly, Mr Sergei Popov said:

“We are especially pleased to visit the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the most ancient religious institution in the Holy Land. Its peacemaking, conciliatory and political role, since 451 AD onwards, we deeply appreciate, alongside the personal work of Your Beatitude”.

“We are also pleased over the fact that our paths cross, namely the path of the Patriarchate and the path of our organization, as we too aim and pursue the promotion of peace, change which is personal and social alike, and reconciliation. It is with emotion that we visit the Holy Sepulcher and the Patriarchate, in solidarity to its work in the flaring region of the Middle East and beyond”.

In His reply speech, His Beatitude expressed his joy over the fact that the Orthodox Church is today assigned with an important role in the life of humanity. Its foremost task is man’s healing, change, conciliation; it does not promote political interests or the objectives of globalization. This is the work of the Orthodox Church in its entirety, especially so of the Church of Jerusalem from where the Christian truth emerged as a message of peace, change and justice.

For its work the Patriarchate enjoys the respect and appreciation not only of the other Churches but also of political governments and religions in the area, Judaism and Islam. That is why the Patriarchate expects support and solidarity, not undermining. It maintains the sanctity of the All-Holy Sites of Pilgrimage which are not to be visited only as museums but also as functional spaces.

“The sites of pilgrimage are worthy of respect for Christians, Muslims and Jews”, His Beatitude pointed out.

“Political and religious groups claim exclusivity to Jerusalem. Jerusalem, as we all know, is internationally a corpus separatum. For us, Jerusalem is the spiritual capital of the whole world” said His Beatitude and went on to add:

“[…] For this reason the Patriarchate plays a role in the settlement of the political status of Jerusalem. That is why we have been trying to convince our Orthodox brothers to support the Patriarchate and not use it to achieve political goals. I mean that the Patriarchate has offered blood and money for Christians. We happily receive both Orthodox and non-Orthodox pilgrims because their presence attests to the fact that the sites of pilgrimage belong to the whole world. There is in Jerusalem the paradox of multicultural tension and at the same time peaceful coexistence. The Patriarchate is the only autocephalous and indigenous Church, hence in it meet the most extreme with the most moderate elements”.

At the end of his speech His Beatitude offered the President of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy, Mr Sergei Popov, and Secretary General, Mr Anastasios Nerantzis, the “History of the Church of Jerusalem”, a depiction of the Nativity and icons of the Holy Sepulcher; He also offered Jerusalemite eulogias to all members of the Assembly.

Subsequently, the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy left for two-day assignments in the city of Bethlehem where they visited the Basilica of the Nativity.

From the Secretariat-General



On the evening of Monday the 1st/4th of October 2013, the newly elected Jamaiyie, namely the Council of the Greek Orthodox Community of Bethlehem, headed by its President in the presence of its thirteen new members, hosted dinner at its seat near the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem, in honour of His Beatitude Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem. HB was accompanied by the Patriarchal Commissioner in Bethlehem, His Eminence Theophylaktos, Archbishop of Jordan; the Elder Secretary-General, His Eminence Aristarchos, Archbishop of Constanina; Fhes hegoumen, the Reverend Archimandrite f. Hieronymos and the four Arabic-speaking Presbyters of the Community: f. Georgios Bantak, f. Spyridon Samour, f. Tziries Martzouka and f. Issa Thaltzie.

At the dinner which was hosted in honour of His Beatitude and aimed at hand-to-hand cooperation on topics concerning the Community of Bethlehem, Jamaiyie President Mr Azmi Juha addressed His Beatitude in Arabic. This speech may be read here: https://en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/ar/2013/10/14/2764

Mr Juha also offered His Beatitude an exquisite icon of Theotokos. In response, His Beatitude extended his thanks for the icon and made a reply speech in Arabic, see:  https://en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/ar/2013/10/14/2765

From the Secretariat General


On Wednesday the 8th of October 2013, the internationally acclaimed Greek singer Mr Yiannis Parios, whilst on a visit to Israel for professional reasons, visited the Patriarchate in order to receive the blessing of our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos.

Mr Parios, his associates and kin were warmly received by His Beatitude and Hagiotaphite Fathers.

Welcoming Mr Parios, His Beatitude congratulated him on praising love and the Greek element with his songs and talked with him about the importance of Greek music which, founded as it is on the Greek Orthodox schooling and on the spirit of Christ’s Resurrection, offers the world optimism and joy, and not melancholy.

Mr Parios avowed his emotion for being in the Holy Land, and having the honour to meet the Head of the Church of Jerusalem in person, as well as the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood. He added that precisely this Spirit of joy and Resurrection is conferred by the Patriarchate on the whole world. Mr Parios expressed the wish to venerate the Church of the Resurrection and other sites of Christian pilgrimage in the Holy Land. To this end he left the Patriarchate, accompanied by Hagiotaphite members.

From the Secretariat-General


On Thursday the 20th of September/3rd of October 2013, the new French Consul in Jerusalem, Mr Hervé Magro, accompanied by the Consulate’s religious attendant, fr. Luke, visited the Patriarchate.

The new French Consul was received by His Beatitude Theophilos, our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem, in the presence of members of the Holy Sepulcher.

In the context of this visit, His Beatitude informed Mr Magro on the Patriarchate’s religious, cultural and pacifying work, especially today, when extreme religious and political elements cause confusion, insecurity and terror in the Middle East and across the world.

In contrast to this, said His Beatitude, the Patriarchate projects the importance of peace and the position that Jerusalem owes to maintain its status and remain the spiritual capital of all Christians and humanity as a whole, because it is here where the blood of the prophets and of our Lord Jesus Christ was shed. Jerusalem, especially the Old City, remains “one great ecumenical monastery”. If Jerusalem does not maintain its character and if war is to be proclaimed in the city, this war will expand across the world, with international results and consequences.

The French Consul-General thanked Hi Beatitude for the update and expressed interest in contributing to the work of the Patriarchate.

From the Secretariat-General



On Saturday the 15th/28th of September 2013, Mr Muhammed Basri Atilgan and Mr Harun Tokak, education counselors of Turkey in Eastern Jerusalem, visited the Patriarchate.

They were received by His Beatitude Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem.

After explaining that they have founded an Association having its seat in Ras-al-Amoud, an area between Eastern Jerusalem and Bethany, which undertakes the promotion of inter-religious dialogue in the Middle East, peaceful inter-religious coexistence and the financial aid of cultural and educational projects, the two men asked for the Patriarchate’s collaboration.

His Beatitude responded positively to their request for collaboration, pointing out that since its first days the Patriarchate has been involved in all pacifying, cultural initiatives and that it maintained harmonious relations with the Ottoman Empire during the period between 1517 to 1917, for the preservation of the veneration regime and the safeguard of the rights of the Greek Orthodox in the Holy Land.

From the Secretariat-General




In the hall of the Patriarchate, at the conclusion of the divine Liturgy and the rite of the Elevation of the Cross in the Church of the Resurrection on Friday, 14th/27th September 2013, His Beatitude Theophilos, our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem, decorated the Most Reverend Panteleimon, Metropolitan of Xanthe – visiting the Holy Land on pilgrimage – with the medal of the Commander of the Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher.

This honorary distinction was conferred upon the Metropolitan of Xanthe, as said by His Beatitude, for his vivid interest in the All-holy Pilgrimage Sites and the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, materialized by means of several visits intended for veneration, in the company of members of his God-saved Metropolis.

Touched, Panteleimon, the Metropolitan of Xanthe, thanked His Beatitude for the honour bestowed upon him and promised to always carry the cross for the protection of himself and his Metropolis alike. He also extended thanks over the fact that the Holy Cross was sent forth to His Metropolis, accompanied by the Metropolitan of Kapitolias, Isychios, in order to guard it from occurrences of violence which, abetted by wickedness, had recently descended upon it.

From the Secretariat-General



On Wednesday the 12th/25th of September 2013, the Acting Military Commander of Israel’s Civil Administration, Mr Raed Mansour, accompanied by the former Military Commander of Bethlehem, Mr Iyad Sirhan and the Director of the Department of Christian Affairs of Israel’s Ministry of Religious Services, Mr Sesar Margie, visited His Beatitude Theophilos, Our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem.

In the framework of this visit, His Beatitude informed the Acting Commander on the entry permits to Jerusalem issued by the Military Administration for members of our congregation inhabiting the occupied areas, and asked that these be increased for the better arrangement of matters concerning our congregation, on which the Acting Military Commander pledged to respond accordingly.

Subsequently, the new Acting Military Commander and his attendants, guided by the Elder Secretary-General Aristarchos, Archbishop of Constantina, visited the Church of the Resurrection.

From the Secretariat General



On Wednesday the 12th/25th of September 2013, the representative of Finland to the Palestinian Authority, Dr Martin Irulu, visited His Beatitude Theophilos, our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem, upon assuming office. 

In the context of this visit, His Beatitude talked to the diplomatic representative of Finland about the work of the Patriarchate, the first Church of the Holy Land, towards the establishment of peace in the Middle East, the promotion of education, peaceful inter-religious coexistence, the protection of the Holy Land and the preservation of the status of Jerusalem.

From the Secretariat-General



With the Grace of God, two young students, accepted to the Patriarchal School of Sion, were presented today, Saturday the 1st/ 14th of September 2013, before Our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos. Nektarios Siganos and Nikolaos Badekas, high school students, were accompanied by the Principal of the Patriarchal School, monk f. Fotios.

Welcoming the two students, His Beatitude noted that their presence in the Holy Land on the one hand makes them perennial pilgrims and on the other hand, their education at the Patriarchal School makes them future members of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulcher.

Subsequently, His Beatitude informed the new students on their school training whilst bestowing upon them and their mothers Patriarchal and Jerusalemite blessings, wishing them good progress and a pleasant stay in the Holy City.

From the Secretariat-General