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THE CHURCH CHOIR “BRANKO” AT THE PATRIARCHATE

On Saturday, September 25th / October 8th 2011, two large groups of pilgrims from Serbia one with eighty members and another with forty members constituting  the Church Choir Branko of Nis in Serbia and a forty-member group from Thessaloniki visited the Patriarchate.

These groups had itinerated the Holy Land during the previous days and sealing their pilgrimage theory arrived at the Patriarchate  in order to be blessed by the Primate of Zion Church His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos.

 The priests of the groups from Serbia chanted troparia in their own dialaect, and the singing of the <<many years>>/polychronismos to His Beatitude. His Beatitude blessing these groups of pilgrims reminded them of the unifying character of the Orthodox Church regarding the integration of the individual national and cultural traditions and congratulated them on their decision to take this pilgrimage trip despite the prevalent economic crisis. Moreover, he complimented their musical charisma after the choir chanted <<Kyrie Eleison>>/Lord, Have Mercy and the Megalynarion of the Theotokos.

 During the singing of the choir, His Beatitude gave the priests ivory Pectoral Crosses and Holy blessings from Jerusalem to each and everyone of the pilgrims.

Chief Secretary’s Office

(translated from the original document in Greek by Mrs. Irini Valasi)

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THE MINISTER OF CULTURE AND TOURISM OF UCRAINE VISITS THE PATRIARCHATE

On Wednesday, September 22nd/October 5th 2011, the Minister of Culture and Tourism of Ukraine, Mr. Mykhailo Kulyniak, escorted by the Ambassador of Ukraine Mr. Hennadii Nadolenko, visited the Patriarchate.

His eminence the Minister was cordially welcomed by His Holy Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos.

According to the prearranged schedule of the visit, the Minister briefed His Beatitude concerning the efforts made by the state of Ukraine as for the peaceful cooperation of the conflicting Orthodox groups as well as the cooperation among various religions.

His Beatitude made a reference to the numerous pilgrims arriving at the Holy Land, many of whom from Ukraine, and the efforts of the Patriarchate supporting the establishment of Peace in the Middle East and wished for achieving Peace in the Middle East and Ukraine and the bridging of the past-created ecclesiastical schism.

Moreover, His Beatitude gave further details regarding the role of the Patriarchate concerning the preservation of the pilgrimage status in Jerusalem and the peace-making procedure in the Middle East, due to Its ecclesiastical, cultural, spiritual and territorial legacy.

The Minister thanked His Beatitude for the visit; the time devoted to him and His words of wisdom and promised to apply them suitably.

 

Chief Secretary’s Office

 (translated from the original document in Greek by Mrs Irini Valasi)

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKPfYP7VSIo

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MEMBERS OF THE MOUGRABI FAMILY RECEVEIVED BY H. B. PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM THEOPHILOS III.

On Friday, 9th September 2011, members of the Mougrabi family visited His Beatitude Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III. Legal expert of the Patriarchate, Mr. Mougrabi, arrived with four of his five children. The children, who currently attend school overseas, came to receive the blessings of His Beatitude.

His Beatitude, who was delighted to welcome Mr. Mougrabi and his children, was informed about their lives and their progress, and praised them for their success and good manners. He then presented them with blessings and gifts.

Chief Secretary’s Office.

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U.S. CONGRESSMAN GUS BILARAKIS VISITS THE PATRIARCHATE.

On Wednesday 17th / 4th August 2011, the Greek-American Congressman Gus M. Bilarakis, visited the Patriarchate with his son Michael.

Congressman Bilarakis was warmly received by His Beatitude Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III.  At the meeting, the honoured guest gave his impressions of his second pilgrimage to the Holy Land, expressing his deep respect for the Holy Shrines and the Patriarchate.

His Beatitude presented to the Congressman and his son Jerusalemite crosses and icons of the Holy Sepulchre.

Having wished his young son Michael well, and good health to the Greek-American Congressman, His Beatitude blessed this auspicious visit and expressed the hope that through the grace of the Holy Sepulchre, he will fulfil his duties in serving the United States and its people.

Chief Secretary’s Office.

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A GROUP OF PILGRIMS UNDER N.G.O. “ROMIOSINI” VISITS THE PATRIARCHATE.

On Saturday, July 3rd/16th 2011, a fifty-member group of pilgrims, during the framework of a pilgrimage trip of N.G.O. “Romiosini” under the General Manager of the Website of the Patriarchate Dr. Christos Nikolaou and the Deputy Manager Mrs. Aikaterini Diamantopoulou and the Professor of the Theological School of Athens Mr. Spyridona Tsitsigon, visited the Patriarchate, as well as a fifty- member group of the Greek community in Jerusalem under Mr. Theodore Varakla.

These were cordially accepted by His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem who welcomed them and spoke about the Most Holy Shrines as places which accepted and offered hospitality to Godman our Lord, Jesus Christ and were sanctified by Him by His Grace, Work, and Word and they therefore have the power to convey this grace and blessing of our Savior Jesus Christ and contribute to the resolution of questions and problems of individuals and to the patients cure.

The Deputy Manager of N.G.O. “Romiosini”Mrs. Aikaterini Diamantopoulou thanked His Beatitude for the foundation of N.G.O. “Romiosini” the reception of the pilgrimage group at the Patriarchate, sent greetings on behalf of Mr. Petros Kyriakidis and offered a donation of the pilgrims/members of the pilgrimage group in support of the Patriarchate.

Thanking them, His Beatitude wished “worthy pilgrimage” and distributed pilgrimage blessings.

Continuing, Mr. Nikolaou with Mrs. Diamantopoulou discussed with His Beatitude in private concerning the Office equipment of “Romiosini” and the official beginning of Radio Romiosini and Romiosini TV.

Chief Secretary’s Office

(translated from the original document in Greek by Mrs. Irini Valasi)

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THE PRESIDENT OF THE HELLENIC REPUBLIC MR. KAROLOS PAPOULIAS VISITS THE PATRIARCHATE.

On Monday, 28th of June / 11th of July, the President of the Hellenic Republic His Excellency Mr. Karolos Papoulias, visited the Patriarchate of Jerusalem during his time in the Holy Land in the context of his official visit to the State of Israel and to the Palestinian Authority.

His Excellency the President was accompanied during this visit by his wife Mrs. Maria Papoulia and by political collaborators namely the Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis, the Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos, and the Deputy Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Yannis Maniatis. Escorts included the General Secretary of the Presidency of the Republic Ambassador Mr. Georgiou, Mr. Themistocleous Dimidou who has been General Consul of Greece in Jerusalem in the past, Mr. Dapharanou who has also been Consul of Greece in Jerusalem and the current General Consul of Greece in Jerusalem Mr. Sotirios Athanasiou. Upon his arrival, the President of the Hellenic Republic was received at the Patriarchate by His Beatitude Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III along with Archbishops and other members of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre and members of the Greek Community where upon they headed to the Church of Resurrection by way of the Christian Road.

Within the Church of Resurrection, His Excellency the President along with his wife and escorts and guided by His Beatitude, venerated the Stone of Anointment, the Holy Sepulchre, the Catholicon of the Church of Resurrection and the Chapel of Adam located under the Holy Calvary.

 Then the President venerated part of the Honoured Cross kept adjacent to Adam’s Chapel at the Office of the Church Resurrection where they were received by the Sacristan Rev. Archimandrite Fr. Isidoros along with monks serving the Church of Resurrection.

 Exiting the Church of Resurrection, His Excellency the President ascended to the Patriarchate again via the Christian Road and was received therein by His Beatitude Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III who addressed the honorable guest with the following:

“Your Excellency, President of the Hellenic Republic

Mr. Karolos Papoulias,

It is with joy and emotion that the venerable Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre welcomes Your Excellency and Your escort at the august Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

Your official visit to the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority is very significant, not only for the political status and state of affairs of the land and the wider region of the Middle East, but also for the multi-dimensional mission of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem which incarnates the ecumenical character of the spiritual, religious and cultural heritage of Rum Hellenism.

The Hellenic nation, as an inextricable part of the pious and royal genus of the Rum Orthodox, rightfully boasts about its self–sown and inalienable privileges and sovereign titles and rights on the world-wide veneration sites such as those of the Church of the Resurrection and the Church of the Constantine Basilica in Bethlehem. This is because the moral and material contribution of the Patriarchate, through the centuries, towards and for the safeguard and preservation of the holy veneration sites, as well as towards and for of the intra–religious and the intra–Christian status quo of the Holy City of Jerusalem, happens to be absolute, undisputed and will remain undiminished.

It goes without saying that our pious Christian flock looks towards the national centre of Hellenism and its institutional representatives as the point of reference and as the point of its cultural identity respectively.

Mr. President,

The known and ‘demonstrated with deeds’ interest of the Hellenic state and of You personally, for the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Christian presence in the Holy Places, as well as for the peaceful coexistence and symbiosis of the people of the Middle East, has not escaped Our attention.

For this we kindly ask, on behalf of Our Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre and on behalf of Myself personally, that you accept the honorary distinction of the Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre and along with this commemorative present.

We wish you success in Your peaceful mission.”

 During this address His Beatitude also conferred upon His Excellency the President of the Hellenic Republic the highest distinction of the Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.

 In addition to conferring the Order to the President, His Beatitude also presented His Excellency with a mother of pearl icon of the Last Supper and the book on the History of the Church of Jerusalem by the member of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre and latterly, Archbishop of Athens, Chrysostomos Papadopoulos, in its new Edition and benefaction of the Management of the official website of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. To the President’s wife His Beatitude presented a golden cross and to the members of his escort, Jerusalemite blessings.

 The President Mr. Papoulias presented His Beatitude with a laureate garland made of gold and expressed his gratitude for the decoration he received stating that this personal honour transcends to the whole of the Hellenic nation, which intends to overcome the economic crisis that has befallen upon it.

 His Beatitude added that the nation with the power of the Honoured Cross of our Saviour Jesus Christ will look forward to the Resurrection.

 Chief Secretary’s Office.

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VISIT OF THE CREW OF THE FRIGATE “PSARA” AT THE PATRIARCHATE.

On Friday, March 26th / 8th April and on Saturday, March 27th / April 9th 2011, officers and crew members of the Hellenic Navy serving on the frigate «Psara» (http://www.hellenicnavy.gr/) visited the Patriarchate.  The fleet anchored at the Haifa harbour within the framework of an international naval training and exercise mission between crews from the United States of America, Hellas (Greece) and Israel. 

On the occasion of their stay in Israel, they came to Jerusalem in order to visit His Beatitude Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III and receive His fatherly/patriarchal blessings.

During both days His Beatitude welcomed  the officers and the crew in the Holy Land, and spoke to them about the spiritual work of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and answered their questions.

Afterwards, the Head of the group thanked His Beatitude and presented Him with the coat of arms of the frigate. His Beatitude gave the officers medals celebrating the 2000 years of Christianity, the book by Mr. Votokopoulos on the illustrated manuscripts of the Patriarchate’s Central Library, and the book by Mr. Demitrakopoulos on the place of Baptism of the Lord whilst bestowing Jerusalemite blessings upon the crew.

Following that, the delegation had the opportunity to visit the Church of the Resurrection venerating the Holy Sepulchre, the Calvary and the Most Sacred Veneration sites within the Church.

Chief Secretary’s Office.

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HIS BEATITUDE DECORATED THE ARCHBISHOP OF ZADAR OF CROATIA

On Friday, March 26th / April 8th of 2011, His Beatitude Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III received at the Patriarchate His Eminence Željko Puljić Archbishop of Zadar (Croatia – Hrvatska) of the Roman Catholic Church, together with the Chief Secretary of his Metropolis Prof. Dr. Adelbert Rebic and a group of 35 pilgrims. Within the framework of this visit His Beatitude in the name of the Patriarchate thanked the Archbishop of Zadar since his predecessor late Archbishop of Zadar Mons. Ivan Prendja, responded positively to the request made by the Patriarchate of Jerusalem to provide a piece of the sacred relic of Saint Symeon the ‘Theothohos’ – God Receiver kept at Zadar, and moreover, in honouring the initial request, the Archbishop of Zadar His Eminence Željko Puljić completed the process for the granting of this piece of the relic.

The delivery of the piece of the honourable relic took place at the Cathedral Church of Saint Symeon at Zadar on the 7th of September 2010 when it was presented to the delegation of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem namely His Eminence Theophylaktos Archbishop of Jordan and Patriarchal Representative in Bethlehem, and Reverend Archimandrite Fr. Makarios the Patriarchal Representative in Qatar.  The delegation returned to Jerusalem with the piece of the sacred Relic, whereupon it was deposited with solemnity at the Church of Saint Symeon ‘Kata Monas’, on Sunday the 4th / 17th of October 2010, via a panegyric Holy Liturgy presided by His Beatitude Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III concelebrating with His Eminence Aristarchos Archbishop of Constantina and Elder Chief Secretary, His Eminence Methodios Archbishop of Mt. Tabor and  President of the Patriarchate’s Economic Committee along with His Eminence Theodosios Archbishop of Sevasteia.

His Beatitude addressed the Archbishop of Zadar saying that «in demonstration of the gratitude of the Patriarchate for this event, We have decided to decorate You with the medal of the Bearer of the Cross of the Holy Sepulchre».

The Archbishop Mons. Željko Puljić thanked His Beatitude for the honour bestowed upon him and his Archiodesce and presented to His Beatitude an album containing the documents pertaining to the delivery of the piece of the sacred relic and invited Him to visit the Metropolis of Zadar.  The pilgrims who escorted the Archbishop of Zadar chanted, for the benefit of His Beatitude, the Dismissal Hymn of Saint Symeon in Croatian.

His Beatitude presented to the Archbishop of Zadar the book by Professor Votokopoulos on the illustrated manuscripts of the Patriarchal Library whilst to the priests accompanying him presented them celebratory medals of the 1500 year history of the Patriarchate, and to the group members He gave icons and Jerusalemite benedictions.

In the evening of the same day the Archbishop of Zadar, together with his escort and the pilgrims, visited the Monastery of Saint Symeon in the neighborhood ‘Kata Monas’, where the received piece of His sacred relic is now kept by the grave of the Saint.  There, they were received courteously by the Superior Reverend Archimandrite Fr. Theodoritos who had also endeavoured much for the obtainment of this sacred treasure of the Monastery.

Chief Secretary’s Office.

 




VISIT OF THE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE WCC’ S “ECUMENICAL ACCOMPANIMENT PROGRAM” TO THE PATRIARCHATE.

On Clean/Ash Wednesday, 24th of February / 11th of March 2011, after the Holy Liturgy of the Pre–Sanctified Gifts [Offerings], His Beatitude, our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III, received Mr. Manuel Quintero, representative in charge of the “Ecumenical Accompaniment Program” of the World Council of Churches (W.C.C.) in Israel and  the Palestinian Authority.  This Program aims at promoting the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. Within the framework of the meeting His Beatitude spoke about the philanthropic role of the Patriarchate, underlining the benevolent work done by the Institute of the Orthodox Ladies at Bethany «Sik Sek» and the philanthropic and pastoral work effected by the Patriarchate at Burkin in the district of Samaria, in order that the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program can aid the aforementioned work.

The visitors expressed their willingness to collaborate with the Patriarchate and proffered their support and aid for the poor of our flock and the other Christian and non–Christian Communities.

Chief Secretary’s Office.

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MEMBERS OF THE PARLIAMENT OF UKRAINE VISIT THE PATRIARCHATE.

On Monday, 25th of January/ 7th of February 2011, a team of 25 People’s Deputies of the Parliament of Ukraine, under the auspices of entrepreneur Mr. Feldmann, visited the Patriarchate.  They were received by His Beatitude Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III Who cited the religious, cultural and conciliatory mission which was brought into fruition by the Patriarchate centuries ago and is especially important today in the midst of this tense and unstable political situation within our region. His Beatitude said that the People’s Deputies also partake in this work of the Patriarchate, today, through their visit as Orthodox Christians and as representatives of the Parliament of the Ukraine.

Mr. Feldmann, in thanking His Beatitude for the reception given to the visitors and for His speeches regarding the work and mission of the Patriarchate, offered Him a national symbol of Ukraine.

His Beatitude praised Mr. Feldmann for his humanitarian work and presented him and his escort with a large silver seven-branched candelabrum – a Menorah, with an explanation of the symbolism for Jews and Christians.  He also gave them a medal representing 2000 years of existence of the Orthodox Patriarchate, the book by Professor Votokopoulos about the illustrated manuscripts of the Patriarchical Library and the book by Professor Demitrakopoulos about the place of Baptism of the Lord.

The visit to the Patriarchate was followed by a visit and veneration at the Holy Sepulchre.

Chief Secretary’s Office.