1

DECLARATION OF THE COUNCIL OF RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY LEADERS IN ISRAEL.

November 2, 2016

We, the leaders of the major religions in Israel and members of the Council of Religious Community Leaders, believe in the Creator, who rules the world with benevolence and mercy, and requires of us to live with all persons in peace and mutual respect.

Our religious heritages teach that peace and the pursuit of justice are the will of God, and we as religious leaders bear particular responsibility to be attentive to the cries of the poor and the weak among us and to act to advance a more just society.

As the leaders of the official religious communities in Israel, we have decided to embark together on an historic visit to Poland, and to the site of Auschwitz–Birkenau. This visit is meant to honor the memory of millions of Jews and other victims of the Holocaust, and to express the determination of the leaders of the religious communities in Israel to do everything in their power to prevent the recurrence of such atrocities.

We call on all world leaders to act, in their countries and through the United Nations, to act with unwavering resoluteness against anti-Semitism, hatred of the other, which once again plague contemporary society,

We declare our commitment to cooperate and to do everything in our power to carry out this important call in the Holy Land as well, to strengthen the harmony and understanding that exist in Israel among the various religious communities.

In order to establish peace and mutual respect among members of religions throughout the world and in our country, we must educate our communities and children accordingly, and prevent affront to the feelings and beliefs of others.

Here, in Auschwitz–Birkenau, the site of the most horrific crimes against humanity in history and the symbol of ultimate evil, where the murder of millions Jews and others – men, women and children – was perpetrated by Nazi Germany, we declare our commitment to the sanctity of human life. We repudiate racism, fanaticism and extremism, particularly when these are committed, allegedly in the name of religion and in so doing desecrate religion.

The Council of Religious Community Leaders in Israel calls for an end to war and a prayer for peace in keeping with the vision of the prophets: “ They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not take up sword against nation, nor shall they learn war anymore”, Isaiah 2:4.

The Council of Religious Leaders in Israel includes the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, the Muslims religious establishment, the Christian churches in the Holy Land, the Druze Religious Authority, the Ahmadiyya Muslim, Bahai and Samaritan communities.




MESSAGE OF CONDOLENCES FROM THE HOLY & GREAT COUNCIL OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH TO H.M. KING ABDULLAH II IBN AL HUSSEIN.

At the Orthodox Academy of Crete, on the 22th of June 2016

 His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein

King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

In Amman

 

Your Majesty,

The Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church would like to express its deepest sympathies and convey its warmest prayers to the beloved Jordanian people, having been informed of the horrifying violence that took place on Tuesday, the 21st of June, near the al-Rukban refugee settlement.

It is with deepest sorrow that we the Hierarchs, who have come together at this present Holy and Great Council under our Chairmanship, express our wholehearted condolences for this inhumane terrorist attack. The violence wrought upon these already overwhelmed people, who have been driven from their homes and were seeking asylum and protection, constitutes an offense before the loving and merciful God as well as before the very dignity of human beings.

May God grant rest to the souls of the innocent victims and may He strengthen and heal those wounded, as well as grant comfort from above to their loved ones.

We pray that the Lord and God of mercy will erase the plague of terrorism and violence from the face of the earth and grant to humanity peace, justice and reconciliation.

 

BARTHOLOMEW of Constantinople

Chairman of the Holy and Great Council




MESSAGE BY H.B. THEOPHILOS, PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM, ON THE OCCASION OF EASTER 2016

24/04/2016

 

In the Holy City of Jerusalem, EASTER 2016

 

THEOPHILOS III

By the grace of God Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem

and all Palestine

of all the congregation of the Church, grace and mercy and peace

from the Holy Sepulchre

of the Resurrected Christ.  

  

“Hail, O Holy Sion,

mother of Churches,

dwelling of God;

For you were the first to receive

the absolution of sins

through the Resurrection”

(Vesper’s sticheron of the Resurrection, tone d).

There was, in the early matutinal hours, darkness engulfing the tomb where the Crucified Jesus Christ the Nazarene, king of the Jews, had been buried. Abounding darkness too in the minds of Mary and the other women who had gone with her to the monument. Added to the sorrow of the Cross was the bewilderment before the view of the stone taken away, perplexity at the sight of the empty tomb, and despair because “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they had put him!” (Jn 20, 2).

But God was faithfully “administering salvation on earth”. God, who had wanted to save mankind through the incarnation and crucifixion of His Son the Monogenes, did not leave Him in the tomb to waste away. Christ, crucified and buried, was resurrected by the power of the Father and His divine competence. He vanquished the forces of the darkness and Hades, the devil, and rose from the dead, encountering Adam and his genus.

This hopeful message “by a pair of light-bringing angels” inside the tomb was proclaimed to Mary Magdalene and her accompanying women, transforming their sorrow to joy. This joy was infinitely augmented by the view of Jesus Himself, with the wounds of the nails upon His palms, resurrected, bright and glorified, telling them “Greetings”, upon which “they took hold of His feet and worshipped Him” (Matthew 18,9).  

Eye witnesses of this supernatural fact of the resurrection of the Crucified Jesus Christ from the dead were not only the Myrrhbearers but also the Disciples, who had rushed to the tomb and they too saw “the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself” (Jn 20, 7).

To confirm His Resurrection to the apostles “whom the Lord had chosen, He gave many convictions that He was alive” (Acts 1, 2-3), as in the gallery “on the evening of that first day of the week” (Jn 20, 19), on the way to Emmaus, when “He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself” (Luke 24, 27), and when “He blessed the bread” (Luke 24, 30) on the Tiberian Sea, when He asked them for “something to eat” and on His instruction “they hauled in the net full of fish” (Jn 21 5-6) and “He took the bread and gave it to them and He did the same with the fish” (John 21, 13) and when “He led them out to Bethany” (Luke 24, 50) and “before the eyes of the disciples, He was taken up to heavens” (Acts 1, 9) and sat on the right of the Father and sanctified, glorified and deified our human nature.  

Then, fulfilling His promise, the Lord sent from the Father another Paraclete that illuminated their intellect “in tongues of fire and they spoke in other languages” (Acts 2, 3) of the greatness of God, first in Jerusalem and from there to the ends of the earth, entrancing the world and attracting with their preaching several peoples aboard the ship of the Church.

The Church, the Holy Body of Christ, acquired by His honest blood, springing by Him on earth and sealed by the Holy Spirit, has been assigned to perform His redeeming work across the world. The Church preaches dialogue, reconciliation and peace; it heals man’s wounds, it sanctifies and saves him, consoles him spiritually and relieves him materially, shares its bread with the poor and the needy and offers tangible support to castaways, refugees and victims of violence and terrorism.

The Church of Jerusalem, the Holy Sion, the first to receive absolution of sins through the Resurrection, guardian of the Holy Lands as silent witnesses to the appearance of Christ on earth, extends wishes from the Most Holy and Life-giving Sepulchre, to its flock and to pious pilgrims: health, peace, stability, prosperity and a joyful festive period, proclaiming in unspoken joy “Christ Has Risen”!

With Paternal and Patriarchal blessings,

Ardently blesser in the Lord,

THEOPHILOS III

Patriarch of Jerusalem




MESSAGE OF HIS BEATITUDE THEOPHILOS, PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM, ON THE OCCASION OF CHRISTMAS 2015

Jerusalem, 21 December 2015

 

Today Bethlehem welcomes

the one who sits for ever by the Father,

today angels godly praise

the born infant,

glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace,

good will to people.

 

(Idiomelon of Christmas Matins).

 

The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church of Christ across the world celebrates today as it pastorally declares to its members and peacefully attests to the world a marvellous and splendid event that transcends every human concept, perception and power.

This event is the fulfilment of the prophecies of the Old Testament. It is the realization of the nations’ expectations. God, in His infinite love, oversaw the years of man’s ignorance, forgave his committed sins and transgressions and invited him to a new divine life for which he had been made from the very beginning, “And the Lord hath sent redemption to His people” (Psalm 110, 9).

Redemption is the Only-Begotten Son and Word of God. “But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as Sons”(Galatians 4, 4) according to the Apostle Paul. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us and out of His fullness we all received grace in place of grace already given” (John 1, 14&16), according to the Evangelist of love.

The incarnation of the Logos, His investment in human flesh, was not performed in compliance with the laws of nature as – “where God wishes so, the order of nature is overcome” – but according to the will of the Father, a Holy Spirit descended upon Mariam, the Virgin daughter of Nazareth, and she conceived the Son of God as man. The Son of God became the Son of man too, he was incarnate and personified. Mariam bore the Messiah, Christ, in the flesh. The event took place in this town of Bethlehem, at this plain Cavern under the reign of Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus Octavianus.

This “strange and paradoxical mystery” is indeed God’s loving and healing descent towards man. Through Jesus Christ, God “descended into the lower parts of the earth” (Ephes. 4, 9) so that man may be restored to the godlike beauty before the fall, and rise to the heavens. According to St Cyril of Alexandria, “God, who exists outside the ecumene, has come to it and made the human soul alike so that it be cleansed from sin, and He took on the human form so that man be made a citizen of heaven”.

To this mystery God had called for accomplices, helpers and witnesses. His accomplice was the ever-virgin Mary so that she might lend her flesh to His Son. Joseph was her helper and protector, the one who had accompanied Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem, then Mary and the divine infant from Bethlehem to Egypt. His witnesses had been the magi, wise kings of the Persians, led by a star, and the simple shepherds dwelling in the adjacent town of the Shepherds. God had also called as witnesses angels from heaven, proclaiming the mystery with the hymn “Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace, good will to people” (Luke 2, 14).

This angelic hymn proclaimed God’s good will to men, “and through Him to reconcile to himself all things” (Colossians 1, 20) and “to unite all things in Christ” (Ephesians 1, 10), the Incarnate and Personified, “because in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the deity in bodily form” (Colossians 2, 9), “so that in Christ they shall be brought to fullness” (Colossians 2, 10) and “they are no longer foreigners and strangers but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of His household” (Ephesians 2, 19), in His body of the Church, “of which He is the head” (Colossians 1, 18).

Opposite this mystery of man’s divinization by grace where he is “co-heir” (Romans 8, 17) with the Incarnate Jesus Christ, men have took various stances. Some, as the magi and the shepherds, rejoice upon the angelic proclamation and venerate the born infant. Others, as Herod the maniac, an imitator of the devil and killer of men, doubt and question and uncritically and indiscriminately chase away men from their paternal homes, violently and en masse, persecuting and murdering innocent children, youth, old, in contempt of human life made by God. To escape Herod’s mania, on divine encouragement, Christ fled to Egypt, demonstrating through his flee the vulnerability of His human body which, after all, would endure the holy passion on the cross before “annulling the vulnerability with His resurrection from the dead” according to St Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem.

Hideous incidents of violence at the expense of Christians and other innocent fellow humans in the region of the Middle East and across the world are denounced by the Church of Christ. The Church denounces war and violence, advocating peace for those near and those far. Though persecuted, it does not persecute but prays for its persecutors. Through Baptism it accepts man in its body, the body of Christ, and blesses and cultivates and formulates man as a peaceful person believing that “blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5, 9).

The word of peace, justice, conciliation and exchange and the beginning of God’s reign on earth, already experienced within the Church, is declared on this universal feast of Christianity by the Mother of Churches from the Sacred Cavern and the Holy Manger in the Basilica of the Nativity, preserved through the centuries as the apple of the eye, with wishes to the congregation within its jurisdiction and pious pilgrims across the world for the blessing, strengthening and grace of the Lord of peace and justice, the Angel of God’s great will, the Incarnate, Personified and Born by the Virgin in the flesh, our Lord Jesus Christ.

In the Holy Town of Bethlehem,

CHRISTMAS  2015

Ardently blesser in the Lord,

THEOPHILOS III

Patriarch of Jerusalem




MESSAGE OF HIS BEATITUDE, THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM, TO THE FIFTH PRE-SYNODICAL CONFERENCE

On Thursday, the 2nd/15th of October 2015, His Beatitude Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, addressed a message to the Fifth Pre-synodical Conference in Chambésy, Geneva, where the Patriarchate of Jerusalem is represented by the Most Reverend Isychios, Metropolitan of Kapitolias, His Eminence Aristarchos, Archbishop of Constantina, and Mr Theodoros Yangou, Professor of Canon Law at the Aristotle University of Salonika.

To the Most Reverend John, Metropolitan of Pergamon, brother in Christ of our Mediocrity and Chairman of the Fifth Pre-synodical Conference in Chambésy, Geneva, holy greetings in Jesus Christ.

From the holy Jerusalem, the city of Basil the Great, the city of the Cross and His Resurrection, and See of the Church of Jerusalem, we address your beloved and erudite Holiness, Secretary on the Preparation of the Holy and Great Synod, the Most Reverend Jeremiah, Metropolitan of Switzerland, and all representatives of the most holy Autocephalous Orthodox Churches at the Fifth Pre-synodical Council, with brotherly congratulatory greetings and Our warm wishes for the fruition of your collaboration in the Holy Spirit, the conclusion of deliberations towards the edification and salvation of the Lord’s Orthodox people, a joint Christian testimony of Orthodoxy in the world, protection of afflicted Christians in the Middle East and the prevalence of peace in the region.

With sacred greetings from the All-holy and Life-giving Sepulcher

In the Holy City of Jerusalem, the 15th of October 2015

Your beloved brother in Christ,

THEOPHILOS III

Patriarch of Jerusalem




AN INVITATION FROM THE YITZHAK RABIN CENTER TO HIS BEATITUDE THEOPHILOS III, PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM

Tel Aviv, 21 June 2015

His Holiness,

The Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem

 

Shalom,

It gives me great pleasure to invite you to meet with the alumni of the Academic Exchange Mission to Israel, who participate in the 2015 mission.

As you may know, the Academic Exchange (AE) is an initiative of the Yitzhak Rabin Center in Israel. Our primary mission is to strengthen the academic community’s understanding and perception of Israel via educational missions.

This summer, the Yitzhak Rabin Center will host a delegation of Political Science and International Affairs professors from leading academic institutions worldwide. This mission’s interest lies within the subjects of: Regional Demographic Changes, Minorities in Israel and their implications on Regional Political Solutions. Moreover, the participants will tour the breadth and width of the country in order to gain insight into its unique and complex political, religious and security issues.

It would be an honor to meet with you and have an open discussion with the professors on Friday, Aug 14, 2015 at 9:00am-10;00pm in “The Church of Nativity” in Bethlehem.

 

Cordially,

Dalia Rabin

Chairwoman, Yitzhak Rabin Center

The Yitzhak Rabin Center, 77 Rokacfa Blvd. PO Box 17538, Tel Aviv 61175, Tel.: +972-3-745-3333, Fax: +972-3-745-3355




PATRIARCHAL MESSAGE TO DR NIKOLAOS GOURAROS AS REGARDS THE CONFERENCE ON DIGITAL MEDIA AND ORTHODOX PASTORAL CARE

Jerusalem, the 15th of April 2015

To the Most Distinguished President of “St Maximus the Greek” Institute, and President of the PEMPTOUSIA online magazine, Dr Nikolaos Gouraros, beloved in the Lord child of our Mediocrity, by the grace and peace of God the Father.

In response to your request set forth in an email dated 12 January 2015, the Patriarchate is represented at the First Conference on Digital Media and Orthodox Pastoral Care, taking place in Athens between 7-9 May 2015, by the General Manager of the Patriarchate’s website, Dr Christos Nikolaou.

We hereby extend our congratulations to all participants in the Conference, invoking upon them the enlightenment of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the resurrected from the dead, so that they be able to put contemporary online media to the service of His truth and that they proclaim His truth across the earth.

With Patriarchal and Paternal wishes and blessings from the All-holy and Life-giving Sepulcher.

In the Holy City of Jerusalem, 15 April 2015

Ardently Blesser in the Lord,

THEOPHILOS III

Patriarch of Jerusalem




EASTER MESSAGE OF HIS BEATITUDE PATRIARCH THEOPHILOS OF JERUSALEM

THEOPHILOS III

By God’s Mercy Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem

and all Palestine,

to the entire flock of the Church

in grace and mercy and peace from the All-holy and Life-giving Sepulcher

of the Resurrected Christ.

 

“Christ rose from the dead,

the commencement of the departed, the First-Born

of creation and Creator of all events

renovating in Him the cleansed nature of our genus.

Death, you shall no longer prevail. Because the Master of all

has overpowered your dominion”.

(Sunday of third echos, of Invocation)

 

Immersed in brilliance and praising God, the Church today celebrates the glorious Resurrection of the Lord. It celebrates the fact that the Monogenes Son and Logos of God, Jesus Christ, our Incarnate Lord, who walked on earth, associated with humans and benefited them, He who offered Himself to His God and Father to be sacrificed by crucifixion for our sins, and was buried in this “new” tomb, “where no one had ever been laid” (John 19, 41) has risen from the dead.

Truly, Christ has risen. Hades and death had no authority over Him. They had not been able to detain Him. Hades thought he had received a mortal intended to be swallowed, and instead he met a God and human, he met a Theanthropos, a God-man, the Son of God and the Son of the Virgin. Hades was deceived and embittered, as God the Father brought His Incarnate Son back from the dead. Jesus Christ broke the shackles of Hades, was resurrected and rose over the earth, carrying within Him His incarnate human nature, making Adam and his whole race alive.

The Resurrected Lord robbed Hades of the dead. The descent of the Saviour into Hades had been foretold in divine economy by the decapitated John the Baptist. Christ liberated the prisoners of Hades. The darkness of Hades’ torture and pain He transformed into light, joy and abundance of Paradise. Those were the first He received into His Kingdom after the thief he had pronounced a citizen of Heaven. “Christ stood before those in Hades and called to them, come back to Paradise”.

In this mystery as in other mysteries of the Bible, God had called on His Angels as accomplices. An Angel had removed the stone that sealed the Tomb. An Angel proclaimed this unprecedented mystery to the Myrophorae who thought He was dead and “came to anoint Him with spices” (Mark 16, 1). Having received word of this, His disciples “saw the empty sepulcher and the linen clothes lie, and the napkin that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes but in a place by itself” (John 20, 7).

Upon looking at the empty sepulcher, in spite of the angelic vision and the news of the resurrection, sorrow, terror, wonder and ecstasy conquered their souls, “for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead” (John 20, 9). Their sorrow suddenly turned to joy, when “the Lord said to them “Greetings” (Matthew 28, 8); and when they were together “with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” (John 20, 19); when “He walked with Luke and Cleopas and blessed their bread” (Luke 28, 8); and whenAfter his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days” (Acts 1, 3).

When He finished “the work given to Him by His father to do” (John 17, 4), the crucified and resurrected Lord ascended to Heaven, carrying with Him our human nature He had received during His Incarnation, and sat on the right of the Father and became god by grace.

From there he sent His Disciples His Holy Spirit. With the light and power of this Spirit, these twelve men went on to preach His truth across the world. They became the instruments through which Christ founded His Church in the world. He founded the Church as the beginning of His Kingdom. Church, as His body, performs on earth His salvaging work. The Church teaches, sanctifies, heals, comforts, feeds the poor, liberates the prisoners, heals the ill, pacifies, alleviates and relieves human pain, prevails over the world and death. Just like Christ “had suffered these things to enter into His glory” (Luke 24, 26), so will the Church “must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts, 14, 22).

For this reason the persecuted Church prays for its persecutors, holds its peace when provoked, tolerates when slandered, teaches with its words, sanctifies through its sacraments and pours oil and wine into the wounds of humans; attends to their spiritual needs without neglecting the material ones. It offers the bread of life for the forgiveness of sins and the eternal life, but also provides the daily bread to those made poor and deprived by the unjust economic system of this deceiving century.

The Church of Sion performs this salvaging work of Christ on the sites of His appearance, indeed the land of His crucifixion and resurrection. These sites it guards as witness to His presence on earth. From these lands, especially the Horrendous Golgotha and the Hallowed Sepulcher wherein the Lord resurrected, we generously offer Patriarchal wishes and blessings to the entire flock in Israel, the Palestinian State, Jordan and Qatar, welcoming you, pious pilgrims surrounding the Holy Sepulcher and concelebrating with us this redeeming and brilliant night, as we supplicate for mercy, life, health, progress, wellbeing and salvation on your behalf, exclaiming the joyful salutation “Christ Has Risen!”

In the Holy City of Jerusalem EASTER 2015

Ardently Blesser in the Lord

THEOPHILOS III

Patriarch of Jerusalem




MESSAGE OF H.B. THEOPHILOS III, PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM, ON CHRISTMAS 2014

Monday, 22 December 2014.

 

Today the angels in the sky dance

and rejoice.

And the whole universe delights

in the birth of the Lord and Saviour in Bethlehem.

Because every fallacy of idols now ceases

and Christ shall rule for all time.

(Nativity Verses for Christmas Procession)

 

The Orthodox Church of Christ celebrates, today and for all twelve merry days of the Dodekaorton, an event miraculous and sublime, mystic and paradoxical, an event transcending every human sense and perception. It experiences, asserts and proclaims for its members and the entire world to hear an event initiated by God in heaven and offering great joy to men on earth.

This event rests on the choice of the benign and beneficent God to reunite Himself with His creation, man: man deceived by the devil and drawn away from Him through sin, misled and wandering, lethally wounded and damaged.

For this divine and salvaging work, according to the Apostle Paul, “when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship”. (Gal., 4, 4). God sent forth His Son and “accepted man” (Rom., 15-7). Upon the choice of God the Father, His Age-Old Logos and Son was incarnate, became human through the Holy Spirit and the Ever-Virgin Mary. According to the Evangelist of love, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1, 14). The fleshless Logos was incarnate. The ever-virgin Mary bore God in the flesh. God in His power elevated her to Theotokos, Mother of God. Through His incarnation, the Son of God also became the Son of man and revealed himself to us not as god-bearing man but as flesh-bearing God, as Theanthropos, as the new Adam of grace, carrying within Him His dual nature, both divine and human, in a single hypostasis. This, according to Father Cyril of Alexandria, does not mean that “the nature of the Word was transformed into flesh, nor that the Word was made human of soul and body, but that the Word united Himself as flesh carrying soul and mind, thus indescribably became man and served as Son of man”.

This mystery of man’s reception by God did not happen seemingly but truly. Christ received the human nature in its entirety, humanity in all its poorness and weakness. Christ marked the beginning of time. He was born as man of the ever-virgin Mary “when the days were accomplished that she should be delivered” (Luke 2, 6) during the rule of Ceasar Octavian Augustus in Bethlehem, Judea (Luke 2, 1-4).

Taking share in every human manifestation, even following death by the cross, through which He reached the Resurrection, Christ was born in a cavern, lay in a manger and was wrapped in cloth, guarded from Herod’s murderous mania not by force but through escape to Egypt.

In his single hypostasis and dual nature, Christ was glorified by angels in the sky of the blessed Village of the Shepherds, with the hymn “Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace” (Luke 2, 14). He was venerated by shepherds and the wise men but He was also persecuted by Herod and fled to Egypt.

Today, just like then, men’s attitude towards Jesus Christ differs. By some, as were the angels, shepherds and the wise men, Christ is believed, venerated and glorified; by others, as was Herod, He is rejected and hunted. Christ is persecuted, His message on earth reproached – the message of mutual friendship, peace and reconciliation. Those believing in Him are persecuted too, Christians and other innocent men, all those, regardless of faith, called by Christ “the least of His brothers”. Denial of Christ’s figure and work is the cause of violent and hideous crimes in various regions of the earth, Syria, Iraq, Gaza and elsewhere in the Middle East.

From the holy Cavern where Christ was born, and from the manger where he lay, and from the Basilica of the Nativity, guarded through the centuries by the Church of Sion as the apple of the eye, we send forth festive greetings for the Dodekaorton, the gospels of joy and peace of the Lord of peace, to the flock entrusted by God to us, the flock residing in the Holy Land and everywhere across the earth, and to pious pilgrims visiting the holy shrines, wishing for everyone the blessing, grace and reinforcement of God Incarnate, born in the flesh by the Ever-Virgin.

In the Holy City of Bethlehem, CHRISTMAS 2014

 Ardently Blesser in the Lord,

THEOPHILOS III

 Patriarch of Jerusalem




H.B. THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM PERFORMS MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR THE LATE METROPOLITAN VOLODYMYR OF KIEV

On the morning of Monday, the 24th of June/7th of July 2014, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem, in the framework of a divine liturgy commemorating the birth of John the Baptist at the monastic church of Sts Constantine and Helen, performed a memorial service for the repose of the soul of Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kiev and All Ukraine, who passed away on Saturday the 22nd/5th of July 2014.

On the dormition of the late Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kiev, His Beatitude the Patriarch of Jerusalem sent the following letter of condolences to Patriarch Kyril of Russia, see link: https://en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/2014/07/05/7922

as well as the following letter of condolences to Metropolitan Onuphrius of Chernovtsi and Bukovina,  locum tenens of Kiev and all Ukraine:

To the Most Reverend Locum Tenens, Metropolitan Onuphrius of Chernovtsi and Bukovina, our beloved brother in the Lord, co-officiating with Our Mediocrity.

With great sorrow we have been informed of the dormition of the grey-haired Prelate Volodymyr, the late Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine, our dearest co-officiating brother.

Profoundly participating in the mourning of the pious flock shepherded for years by the departed, we earnestly pray to our immortal king, Christ, who holds power over the dead and the living, for the repose of his soul in the land of the righteous and for the consolation of Your Holiness personally and of the entire Christ-loving people of the Holy Bishopric of Kiev and all Ukraine.

In the Holy City of Jerusalem, 22 June 2014.

 

Beloved brother in Christ,

THEOPHILOS III

Patriarch of Jerusalem

From the Secretariat-General

httpv://youtu.be/BPHy1IWMW6A