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THE NAME DAY OF HIS BEATITUDE THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM THEOPHILOS III

On Sunday 9/20 March 2022, on the commemoration of the Holy Forty Martyrs of the lake of Sebastia in Pontus during the reign of Licinius in AD 320, the Name Day of H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos was celebrated, as one of these Holy Martyrs was named Theophilos.

This feast was celebrated as a ‘Parresia’. On Saturday afternoon the Great Vespers was observed at the Catholicon of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, presided by His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos.

On Sunday morning the bloodless sacrifice was observed at the Catholicon, led by His Beatitude again, with the co-celebration of their Eminences the Metropolitans Kyriakos of Nazareth and Isychios of Kapitolias, the Archbishops Theophanes of Gerassa, Aristarchos of Constantina, Methodios of Tabor, Theodosios of Sebastia, Isidoros of Hierapolis, Nectarios of Anthedon, Philoumenos of Pella and Aristovoulos of Madaba, Hagiotaphite Hieromonks with first in rank the Dragoman Archimandrite Mattheos, at the chanting of Hierodeacon Simeon, Mr Gotsopoulos and the Patriarchal School students. The services were attended by the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr Evangelos Vlioras and the Consulate members, Monks, Nuns and local members of Jerusalem along with pilgrims.

The Divine Liturgy was followed by a Doxology and finally, the Patriarchal entourage and all congregation returned to the Patriarchate Reception Hall, where Geronda Secretary-General addressed His Beatitude as follows:

“Your Beatitude Father and Master,

As we ascend on the spiritual ladder of the Holy and Great Lent, awaiting the Holy Pascha, it is like the dew of Hermon that we receive from the Holy Church the comforting commemoration of the well-fought and crowned Holy Forty  Martyrs of the lake of Sebastia of Pontus during the reign of Licinius in AD 320.

Their fervent faith in Christ, their patience and endurance that defied and overcame the freezing cold, strengthen and encourage us greatly for the continuation of the fasting struggle, not only as the abstinence from food but mainly as the alienation from the passions and the conquering of Christ’s virtues, so that we may be glorified along with Him.

The Church of Jerusalem attributes special honour to those victorious  Martyrs who beautify the feasts of March because its Primate, Your Holy Beatitude bears the name of one of those, the Holy Martyr Theophilos. In honour of this martyr and Your Beatitude, we offered the bloodless sacrifice and the Doxology at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre according to the order of ‘Parresia’, with the attendance of the full body of the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood and the pious flock.

Having liturgically prayed for the health, stability and longevity of Your Beatitude, now at this Hall of the Patriarchate we add those things that need to be remembered as worthy of praise and thanksgiving.

First of all, that Your Beatitude was willing to hear the petitions of the Rum-Orthodox Arab-speaking flock either for the financial support of its projects, especially through the support of the educational system operating in its schools, or for the Theological education of the youth, in order to serve as Priests, spiritual guides of the parishes of their Communities. At the same time, the Sunday journal “Nour Il Masih” that was founded by You, and its accompanying Ecclesiastical newspaper have been distributed free of charge, to serve in the educational spiritual training, to cultivate the preservation of the Rum Orthodox identity in the souls of the flock in their bond with the Patriarchate. An indication also of Your Beatitude’s vivid interest in the preservation, projection and utilization of the educational and cultural inheritance of the Patriarchate is the over two-year-long preservation of the old prints and journals of the Central Library, the Library of the Theological School of the Cross and the reorganization of the precious material of the Archives by the special preserver Mr Stavros Andreou from Cyprus.

As far as the pilgrimage is concerned, Your Beatitude has shown special sensitivity in the defence and preservation of the rights of our nation on the one hand, and on the other, for the leader’s role of the Patriarchate in its cooperation with the other Communities. Fruit of this spirit was the four years ago project of the National Technical University of Athens of the preservation and renovation of the Sacred Edicule of the Holy Sepulchre, and a continuation of this work is the project that began a few days ago by the University Sapienza of Rome, for the preservation of the tiles in the area of the north part of the rotunda floor, that of the seven arches, in front of the Sacred Edicule and the excavation of the floor beneath those to secure the building. These works that beautify the house of God project a message of conciliation, cooperation and peace from the Holy Sepulchre to humanity all over the world, which is tested in divisions and wars. The Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem has likewise not been bereft from Your Beatitude’s interest and care, as it is obvious from the completion of the preservation of the iconostasion by the ARTIS company and the forthcoming renovation of the God-receiving Cave solely by us and the Franciscans according to the Status Quo.

Out of these, the most memorable is Your Beatitude’s initiative for the protection of the Christian presence in the Holy Land. Within this initiative, at the ceremony of the lighting of the Christmas tree at the Imperial Hotel, which is endangered by the illegal contracts, there was a condemnation of the Christians’ oppression by the radical elements. Should these elements prevail, as we surely not wish so, the centuries-long entrance of the Heads of the Christian Churches through Jaffa Gate is at risk, as well as the entrance of the pilgrims and their route toward the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. In this initiative, Your Beatitude summoned and received as cooperatives the Heads of the Christian Churches in the Holy Land. Through Your interview at the newspaper ‘The Times’ of London, You have enticed the interest of the Archbishop of Canterbury Mr John Welby and of His Beatitude the Patriarch Cyril of Moscow, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel showed interest in the dialogue of this matter, and the solution of this problem by the Government and not by Court.

With these successful and problem-solving actions of Your Beatitude, we the Hagiotaphite Fathers receive an example and are encouraged to carry out our Hagiotaphite ministry in zeal, each one separately and in group work, and add our part in the completion of the structure of the Patriarchate’s body for its better projection to the world and richer contribution to the community.

In the spirit of joy of Your Name Day, Your Beatitude, and of the hope that stems from Your works, I raise my glass on a toast, on behalf of the Holy and Sacred Synod, and all the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood and I wish You many happy returns, peaceful, joyful, stable, creative and fruitful, for the praise of our venerable Patriarchate and our blessed nation and for the glory of our Trinitarian God. So be it.”

Mr Vlioras as follows:

“Your Beatitude,

Your Eminences,

Reverend Fathers,

Ladies and Gentlemen

The participation in today’s celebration is a special honour and joy for all of us, as the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood and the pious Flock, among them those who serve at the Consulate General of Greece in Jerusalem, honour the Name Day of the Primate of the Church of Jerusalem, the Mother of Churches, His Holy Beatitude the Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III.

 On this occasion, Your Beatitude, we express on behalf of the Greek State, the respect and gratitude to You for your pastoral work, for the important work of preserving and promoting the Holy Places of our Faith in the Holy Land, for the defence of the righteous and the rights of our Patriarchate and for the preservation of the Greek and Rum-Orthodox presence in the Holy Land.

With your own initiatives, the restoration and elevation of the Holy Places are promoted, while you take care of the maintenance of the Status Quo in the Holy Land and for the spiritual guidance and prosperity of a flock that faces important and multifaceted challenges.

In an age plagued by conflict, reshuffle and the search for new balances, where fanaticism and intolerance grow stronger, your sincere disposition for communication, appeasement and reconciliation, both in relation to the other Doctrines and other religions in the particular environment of Jerusalem and of the Holy Land, as well as in the context of the wider effort for peace in this long-suffering area, highlights the prestige of the Holy See, making it a factor of moderation and stability.

On the occasion of your current Nomenclatures, I would like to assure once again both you and the members of the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood that the support and assistance of the Greek State and our compatriots to our Patriarchate, to the Brotherhood and to You is and also remains steadfast and substantial, and to express to you our recognition and admiration for the multifaceted work you perform with unparalleled dedication, zeal and self-sacrifice.

On this occasion, allow us to express, from the bottom of our hearts, our gratitude for the unparalleled hospitality we have enjoyed, both myself and the staff of our Authority during our visits to the Holy Shrines, where we have the opportunity to see the particularly emotional toil of concern and caring for the Holy Places, especially in the conditions created by the current pandemic.

Your Beatitude,

The defence of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, of its rights, is a very important priority for our Homeland, as it is said at every opportunity, given the offer of the Church of Jerusalem to Orthodoxy and Hellenism, as a long-standing witness and custodian of a precious religious and historic consignment.

Allow me, on this festive day, to express our most sincere and heartfelt wishes for health, longevity, and support from the Lord, so that you can continue to accomplish Your high mission, for the benefit of the Patriarchate, the Brotherhood, the Rum-Orthodox flock of Yours and the continuous Orthodox witness in the Holy Land.”

The Representatives of the Patriarchates of Moscow and Romania and the Hagiotaphite Fathers.

His Beatitude thanked them all with the following address:

“How exceedingly radiant and majestic is the power of the Cross, O Christ, which plateth crowns for the Forty Martyrs by means of their adversaries! For having passed through fire and water, they cry out in incorruption: Blessed art Thou, the God of our Fathers”, the hymnographer of the Church proclaims (Matins, Ode 7, Troparion 5).

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

Reverend Holy Fathers and Brethren,

Noble Christians and pilgrims

“O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles” (Psalm 43:3) the reverend chorea of the Forty Martyrs in Sebastia cries out, whose annual commemoration we observe today.

These holy Forty Martyrs, “struggled on earth, were patient in the wind, were given over to the fire, the water welcomed them. Theirs is the voice “we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place” (Psalm 66:12), Saint Basil the Great says. The holy Martyrs managed this, paying heed to Saint Paul’s words: “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Philippians 3:8).

According to Saint Gregory of Nice, “to those great fighters, not even the sun seemed to be sweet; but they distanced themselves even from the sun, not to be drifted away from the true light…for them, everything was of the enemy, everything was foreign. Only one thing was good, Christ. They refused everything, to gain Him”.

This is proven by the indeed great love of the Martyrs towards our God and Saviour Christ, “who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9). These God-called Martyrs dared to die for the only “good”, namely the righteous Christ of God, as Saint Paul preaches: “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die” (Romans 5:7).

The Holy chorea, who were equal in the fight, equal in their mind and they equally received the crowns, the full of God Forty Martyrs, just like other three children in the fiery furnace, in one mouth praised and glorified and blessed God (ref. Daniel 3:23, Prayer 27), saying: “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection… Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him” (Romans 6:5,8,9).

Having their faith steadfast, that “if we be dead with Christ, we shall also live in Him”, the Holy Martyrs did not lose heart, nor were they afraid, but on the contrary, moved by the Holy Spirit, they sought the “redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:7).

The annual feast of the Holy Forty Martyrs, and especially of their co-martyr Theophilos, whose the Holy Name Our Mediocrity bears, is “a memorial before God” (Acts 10:4). And this because the Holy Forty Martyrs who “made the earth a heaven and illumined everything” became the true witnesses and preachers all over the world about Christ’s passions and His resurrection, but also, according to Saint Gregory of Nice, – satellites of Christ and builders of His Churches. According to Saint Paul, “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone” (Eph. 2:20).

The Holy Forty Martyrs became builders of the Church because according to Saint Basil the Great, they were “made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men” (1 Cor. 4:9), “they raised up the fallen ones, secured those in doubt, increased twofold the desire of the pious”. And according to their hymnographer, “in the splendid firmament of the august Church, ye at all times brightly shine like unto great and lustrous stars and ye illuminate faithful men, O Forty Martyrs of Christ, sacred and divine” (Matins, Troparion1).

Our Holy Church of Jerusalem honours the commemoration of the Holy Forty  Martyrs who struggled for the love of Christ in gleefulness and joy, as well as of their co-martyr Theophilos, by celebrating the Great Sacrament of the Eucharist at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, officiated by Our Mediocrity and surrounded by the reverend members of our Hagiotaphite Brotherhood, the High Priests, Priests and Hierodeacons, with the participation in prayer of the noble Christians from our flock, glorifying thus the “One who is wondrous in His saints”.

Moreover, we have rendered a thanksgiving Doxology to the Holy Trinitarian God on our Holy Name Day, owed to the Holy Martyr Theophilos. And we blessed, according to Saint Polykarpos of Smyrna, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of our souls and governor of tour bodies and Shepherd of the Ecumenical Church around the world”.

Referring to the meaning of the honour we attribute to the Saints, Saint John Damascene calls upon the witness of Saint John the Evangelist and Theologian and of the wise Saint Paul, according to whom, the Saints in general, and the Martyrs in particular, are friends of Christ, children and heirs of God; “But as many as received him, to them gave He the power to become the sons of God” (John 1:12). “Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ” (Gal. 4:7).

And we say this because the feast of the Holy Forty Martyrs and especially of their co-martyr Theophilos does not refer to our mediocrity only, but primarily to the Apostolic and Patriarchal institution of the Church, through which “we become able to participate in the lot of the Saints in the light…of the Son of His [God’s] love (rf. Col. 1:12-13). “And he is before all things, and by him, all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Col. 1:17-18), “which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). The Holy Forty Martyrs became communicants of this blood of Christ.

Hearkening to Saint Paul’s preaching, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12), the Holy Martyrs who loved Christ, ignored the things of the temporary life in order to glorify God in their body parts”, Saint Basil the Great says. Therefore, their commemoration, of those Martyrs and friends of God projects like the lightning of the noetic illumination of Christ to a divine ray that guides all of us.

According to Clement of Alexandria: “completion of the martyrdom we call not the end of the life any man received like the others, but that he completed the work of love”. Precisely this “perfect, complete work of love”, which is the unity of the various Orthodox Churches is what the Holy Forty Martyrs call us to show, as Saint Basil the Great phrased the example of the Martyrs that we need to imitate with the words: “There was not one country for the saints, each of them came from a different part of the world…the human nation of each of them was different, but the spiritual was one for all. For their common Father was God, and they were all brethren, not born of a man and a woman, but from the adoption of the Spirit, becoming one in the unity of the love for each other”. In other words, Saint Paul’s words, “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3) has found its practice in these Martyrs.

We are also called to obey this order, namely the unity, peace, conciliation and love of the Gospel of God and our Saviour Christ, my dear brethren, especially during this blessed period of the fasting of the Holy and Great Lent, “that we might be fellow helpers to the truth” (3 John 8). And this because as Saint Paul says, this very God in Christ committed unto us the preaching of conciliation. “…and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:19)

Having, therefore, companions and helpers the holy Forty Martyrs and their co-martyr and our protector Theophilos and the Most Blessed Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, let us entreat them to reach the luminous Resurrection of our God and Saviour of our souls in peace, humility and repentance.

For all these, we call upon all those who prayed with Us and honoured the festal commemoration of the Holy  Martyrs, wishing them strength from on high, the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Grace of the Holy Sepulchre and every blessing coming from God, expressing our warmest thanks also to those who addressed Us.”

There was a monastic meal at noon.

From Secretariat-General




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 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

https://fb.watch/bHVCYztdc4/

 

 




LIEUTENANT GENERAL OF THE REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS MR DIMOKRITOS ZERVAKIS VISITS THE PATRIARCHATE

On Ash Tuesday afternoon, 23 February /8 March 2022, the Lieutenant-General of the National Guard of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Dimokritos Zervakis visited the Patriarchate, accompanied by his collaborators, Lieutenant Colonel Foukkaris Lukas, Lieutenant Colonel Nikolaos Georgiou, Captain Mr Christos Matsentidis and Lieutenant Commander Mr Andreas Markos.

His Excellency the Lieutenant General and his collaborators were warmly received by His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos and Hagiotaphite Fathers.

In this meeting, the participants expressed their joy for their return after their last visit in 2016, when His Beatitude told Mr Zervakis “you will return as a leader”, which actually happened. The joy of this visit was enhanced by the visit to Jerusalem which has been watered with Christ’s blood. Continuous prayers are offered from the Life-giving Tomb for the cessation of war and the comfort and strengthening of the needy, the refugees and all those who suffer in any way.

The Patriarchate of Jerusalem incarnates the sacred history and when humanity does not accept the sacred history, it suffers calamities. The Patriarchate has a pastoral and reconciliatory mission. It testifies to the sacred history, the Old and the New Testament. Due to its bond with Cyprus, it prays especially for its liberation.

The Lieutenant-General asked His Beatitude’s prayer for strength to successfully complete his mission and departed for his pious visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where he was received by Geronda Sacristan, His Eminence Archbishop Isidoros of Hierapolis.

On this visit, the Lieutenant General offered His Beatitude an icon of the Holy Trinity and the Theotokos and a plaque of the Ministry of Defence and fasting Turkish delights.

His Beatitude offered the visitor a silver painting of the Holy City of Jerusalem, an icon of the Theotokos of Jerusalem and of the Sacred Edicule and blessings for his collaborators.

From Secretariat-General




STATEMENT ON SITUATION IN UKRAINE BY HIS BEATITUDE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM THEOPHILOS III

27th February, 2022

 

With heartfelt regard, we follow the distressing crisis in Ukraine in the last days and we stand deeply concerned for the human suffering of all our brothers and sisters in Christ.

The strongest power of the Christian is prayer. With other Christian leaders around the world, we therefore call upon all Christian people to join in prayer for our world and for the people of Ukraine. 

Here in Jerusalem, we raise our prayers in the place of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ that God would grant wisdom and courage to all Leaders and parties concerned. May He enlighten their minds so that dialogue and unity would be sought, and lasting peace would prevail.

 




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




THE FEAST OF SAINT THEODOSIOS THE CENOBIARCH AT THE PATRIARCHATE

On Monday 11/24 January 2022, the Patriarchate celebrated the feast of Saint Theodosios the Cenobiarch at the Holy Monastery dedicated to him in the Judea desert, between Beit Sahour and the Lavra of Saint Savvas.

On this feast, the Church and especially the Church of Jerusalem commemorates that Saint Theodosios was born in Mogarissos of Cappadocia and came to the Holy Land in AD 451. He initially became a monk in a Monastery of the Jerusalem district, named after Ikelia. He lived in strict ascetic striving, in silence, prayer and fasting in the Judea desert, until the desert monks recognized the virtuous and illumined man and asked him to undertake their spiritual guidance in a Holy Monastery.

Seeking the place to establish the Monastery, God revealed to him the area from which the Magi returned to their homeland, after worshipping the newly-born infant, Christ born in the flesh. The Saint founded a Monastery there, which gradually became a Coenobium, including four Churches and four hundred monks, who lived according to the coenobitic rules; common worship, common work, common meals, obedience to the Hegoumen, until they would be ready to enter a more difficult monastic style, that of the Lavra monks. In this Monastery, work was essential obedience, by which the monks sustained a home for the poor and a home for the elderly and weak. Therefore, the Monastery had a social role, and it also kept a school to educate the monks. This was the Monastery of the Patriarchs of Jerusalem, Saints Modestos and Sophrohios and of the Leimonarion writer, John Moschos.

Saint Theodosios was of the same place, co-worker and supporter of Saint Savvas. These two great Fathers worked in unison to establish the Christological Doctrine of the 4th Ecumenical Synod in Chalcedon (AD 451), according to which Christ has one hypostasis and two natures, the divine and the human. This was against the doctrine of the Monophysites who distorted the teaching of the Church.

Under the lead of Saint Theodosios in the Coenobitic life, the Monastery had a significant role along with the Lavra of Saint Savvas for the development of monasticism and the prevailing of the Orthodox Doctrine between the 5th and 7th centuries.

Some years in between there was a decline due to the raids. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Cretan monks Galaktion and Leontios came to live there. Around the middle of the 20th century the blessed Metropolitan Bartholomew of Madaba, who came from Krini of Asia Minor, constructed a new Church above the ruins of the previous one in the centre of the Monastery. He was succeeded by the blessed Archimandrite Yakinthos and around 1965 by the current Hegoumen, Archimandrite Ierotheos, who has been serving there for more than 40 years. Archimandrite Ierotheos has done much work in the renovation of the Monastery, building a new wing and has protected its property with many toils and pains.

At this historic Monastery, His Beatitude officiated a night-vigil with the co-celebration of their Eminences the Archbishops, Aristarchos of Constantina, Theodosios of Sebastia and Philoumenos of Pella, the Hagiotaphite Hieromonks, Eudokimos, Ignatios and Yusef, Archdeacon Mark and Hierodeacon Eulogios, under the chanting of Hierodeacon Simeon and Mr Gotsopoulos.

Before the Holy Communion His Beatitude delivered the following Sermon:

“The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God” (Isaiah 35:1-2), the Prophet Isaiah says.

Beloved Brethren in Christ,

Reverend Christians

The true Light, the Holy Spirit, which was seen in the form of a dove at the river Jordan has gathered us all in this holy place of ascesis of our Holy Father Theodosios the Cenobiarch, the place of the Magi’s cave, to celebrate his commemoration.

During these holy and festive days of the Nativity of our Saviour Christ in Bethlehem, of the shepherds who kept the night watch in their fields, the Magi that came here with their gifts and the holy Theophany by the river Jordan, the deserts of Judea and Jordan are rejoicing indeed.

And the Jordan desert rejoices as the hymnographer says: “The true Light hath appeared, and He giveth enlightenment to all. Christ, Who surpasseth all purity is baptized with us; He bringeth sanctification into the water, and it becometh a place of cleansing for our souls. That which is visible is earthly, that which is perceived with the understanding is higher than the Heavens. Through washing cometh salvation and through water, the Spirit. By descending into the water, we ascend to God. Wondrous are Thy works, O Lord; Glory to Thee” (Minaion January 7, Praises, troparion 4). And the desert of Judea rejoices because, the similar to the angels’ manner of living of the God-bearing monastics, Euthymius the Great, Savvas the Sanctified, Theoktistos and Saint Theodosios the Cenobiarch, among many others, of whom I cannot say, “for the time would fail me” (Hebrews 11:32) was founded in it.

Our Holy Father Theodosios was a fervent zealot of the angelic city of heaven, and having left his hometown Mogarissos of Cappadocia, came to the Holy Land, to trod in the natural and spiritual footsteps of Christ our God, who came here in the flesh for the universal salvation. Once in Jerusalem and having venerated the life-giving Tomb of the Resurrected Christ, like another thirsty deer, he retreated to the great teachers of Christ and of the desert of Palestine, and at the feet of Saint Symeon the Styline from Antioch, by whom he was taught his future virtues.

The light-bearing Theodosios did this according to the psalmist’s words: “It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places. He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms. Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great. Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip” (Psalm 18:32-36).

Indeed, my dear ones, the education in Christ and the learning through an educational system, fatherly councils and trials from the traps and the cunning manners of the devil (cf. Eph. 6:11), strengthened Saint Theodosios and made him communicant of the unspeakable mysteries of God, an imitator of Saint Paul, “caught up to the third heaven…and heard unspeakable words” (2 Cor. 12:2,4). This is also confirmed by his hymnographer who says: “Thou didst secretly enter into the noetic darkness of the Divine Light, O all-blessed Theodosios; and having the doctrines of piety written on the tablets of thy heart by the finger of God, thou gavest them to thy disciples as a book of life” (Minaion Jan. 11, Matins, Ode 8, Troparion 4).

According to the established historian Cyril of Skythopolis, the blessed Theodosios was a defender of the healthy Orthodox faith, of the “doctrines of reverence” which were twisted by “men corrupt in mind and deprived of the truth” (1 Tim. 6:5), according to Saint Paul.

These were the “schismatic monks of the desert who did not have communion with the Catholic Church, but were under the quarrel and fallacy of Eutychus and Dioscorus”.

It is noteworthy that when the blessed Theodosios came to Jerusalem, during the reign of the God-pleasing Emperor Marcianus (AD 396-457), “he received the hospitality of some Logginos and old man of Cappadocia, of the Order of the Studious of the Holy Resurrection of Christ God”, which is the current Hagiotaphite Brotherhood. This old man, Logginos, received Theodosios and put him under the care of blessed Ikelia, who was building at the time the Church of the Old Kathisma of Theotokos…Ikelia took this young man Theodosios, as he was an intelligent singer and accepted him in the Order of the Studious [monks], who were very reverend; when the blessed Ikelia died, Theodosios undertook the leadership of the place.

Our Holy Father Theodosios was named Cenobiarch because, in this Monastery, which bears his name, he established a Coenobium, and “ever since, many retreated to him, asking to live with him and having accepted them [as monks], he guided them to the perfect will of God and God was always with him” and he was “a successful man” like Joseph (Gen. 39:2). In other words, Theodosios knew that God was with him and that all the things he does are blessed by God.

Let us entreat this great citizen of the desert and luminary of the world that by his prayers and those of the Most Blessed Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, he may guide our mind and heart to the perfect will of God and our Saviour Christ. And along with the hymnographer, let us say: “Do not forsake your flock, most blessed Theodosios, but by your intercessions to the Lord [Who was baptized in the Jordan by John], pray that we may be saved”. Many happy and blessed returns. Amen”.

After dismissal, the elderly Hegoumen Archimandrite Ierotheos offered a monastic reception.

From Secretariat-General




THE FEAST OF THE HOLY MONASTERY OF HOZEVA AT THE PATRIARCHATE

On Friday 8/21 January 2022, the Patriarchate celebrated the feast of the Holy Monastery of Hozeva, which is the commemoration of its founders, Saints John and George the Hozevites.

Saint John was a pillar and beacon of the Monastery, having come from Caesarea of Palestine, while Saint George came from Cyprus and rebuilt the Monastery after the total destruction by the Persian raid in AD 614, thus drawing to it a great number of monks and a multitude of Christians.

For their commemoration, the current Hegoumen and renovator of the Monastery, who has also restored its function as a Coenobium, Archimandrite Constantine, received His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos with the following address:

“Your Beatitude, Father and Master,

With Your reverend Entourage

The holy founders of the Hozeva Lavra, John and George lived in ascesis here, not at the same time but each according to his Fathers, in honesty, integrity, love and peace. To speak plainly, they lived in union and oneness. These are virtues for which Saint Makarios of Egypt notes:

“In this manner, a lot of unanimity and peace and concord in the bond of peace can sustain each other, and live with one another in integrity and simplicity and prosperity of God” (Saint Makarios of Egypt Vol.41, Hom. 3, 21,31, p.156).

And how much coveted such unity and solidarity and sympathy in our Holy Orthodox Church is becoming nowadays, Your Beatitude, Father and Master!

We wish that by the prayers of the Saints John and George and Your Beatitude’s this unity will prevail in the end. Amen!

As Your sons, we welcome Your Beatitude wishing you a Happy Feast!”

An All-night Vigil followed, officiated by His Beatitude, with the co-celebration of their Eminences, Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina and Metropolitan Joachim of Helenoupolis, the Hieromonk of the Monastery Fr Chrysogonos, Archdeacon Mark and Hierodeacon Eulogios, as the chanting was delivered by Hierodeacon Simeon and Monks Clement and Daniel. The service was attended only by a few monks due to covid restrictions.

Before the Holy Communion His Beatitude delivered the following Sermon:

“Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among them that call upon his name; they called upon the Lord, and he answered them. He spake unto them in the cloudy pillar: they kept his testimonies, and the ordinance that he gave them” (Psalm 99:6-7) the Psalmist says.

Beloved Brethren in Christ,

Holy Fathers and brothers

The Holy Spirit who came down in the form of the dove in the river Jordan at the baptism of Jesus Christ and Son of God has gathered us in this holy Monastery of Hozeva to honour the sacred memory of our Holy Father George the Hozevite.

Joyful was the previous feast of Theophany of our Lord Jesus Christ, glorious is the present day of the Saints of God, and this because “God is marvellous in His saints” (Psalm 68:36) according to the psalmist.

Blessed George paid heed to the psalmist words: “I awaited Thy salvation, O Lord, and Thy commandments have I loved. My soul hath kept Thy testimonies and hath loved them exceedingly. I have kept Thy commandments and Thy testimonies, for all my ways are before Thee, O Lord” (Psalm 118: 166-168), and “I have longed for Thy salvation, O Lord, and Thy law is my meditation” (Psalm 118:174). He abandoned the place of his birth, Cyprus, and came to the place of the redeeming mystery of the divine providence; the place of the nativity, crucifixion and three-day burial and resurrection of our Saviour Christ, as his hymnographer says: “Sore didst thou desire to see and to worship the Tomb of Him Whoever is, O wise George; and coming thereto, thou didst deem it a holy thing to die through asceticism with Him that was slain for His compassion’s sake” (Matins, Ode 7 Troparion 3).

In other words, blessed George sought the “immaculate and painless” life of Christ’s friends, namely the continuing city of the Kingdom of Heaven (Hebrews 13:14). He sought to put on Christ, “dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto” (1 Tim. 6:16), that is why he came to the Jordan desert, to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, according to Saint Paul’s preaching: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27).

In interpreting these words of Paul, Saint Photios says: “We put on Christ and the Holy Spirit, not as a garment that surrounds us exteriorly, but in a manner that we fill our heart and mind with light and grace”. The one who has filled his heart with the light and grace becomes a saint, according to the Holy One who has called us, and you have been born into holiness, because it is written: “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16), Saint Peter preaches, referencing the book of Leviticus (Lev. 11:44) and the urging of our Lord Jesus Christ “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48).

It is noteworthy though, that the words “be ye holy and perfect” do not refer to the essence of God but to the good works and actions and to all virtues in general. “For we are not able to become similar to the essence of God, but we can only imitate God by improving in virtues”, Saint Athanasios the Great says. “To become strangers to every malice as much as it can be possible, in both words and actions and in thought, cleansing yourselves from the impurity of malice, this is a true imitation of the divine perfection”, Saint Gregory of Nyssa says.

Of this divine perfection and holiness did Saint George become an imitator through his ascetic striving, like another John the Baptist in the Jordan desert, in Hozeva, preaching by his own example the utmost humility of Christ and His perfect love. This is also testified by his hymnographer: “The Monastery of Hozeva hath found in thee a rule and most exact example for the pursuit of every form of virtuous works, O wise George, boast of the righteous. Therefore, those who have passed their lives in godliness leap for joy with thee unto the ages” (Matins, Ode 8, Troparion 3).

Indeed, my dear brethren, Saint George became the modest ornament of the monastics and his Monastery of Hozeva a place of sanctification and confession of his commemoration (Psalm 30:4) according to the psalmist, where the light and truth of Christ, Who was baptised in the Jordan led a multitude of righteous and saints, among whom is Saint John from Caesarea, who also lived in ascesis here, and Saint John the New from Romania, whose incorrupt and fragrant relic confesses the faith of the fishermen Apostles and testifies the luminous Resurrection of Christ; the victory of Christ’s death over the death of corruption and sin.

Let us pray to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, so that we who celebrate the commemoration of Saint George, may gain the redeeming light of Christ’s glory. And let us say along with the hymnographer: “With one accord, let us faithful laud with hymns God the Word, Who came forth from God, and Who ineffably took on flesh from a pure Virgin for us and in wisdom past telling descended to make Adam new again, who by eating fell grievously down into corruption’s pits” (Matins, Ode9, Heirmos). Amen. Many happy returns!”

After dismissal, the Hegoumen Archimandrite Constantine hosted a monastic meal.

On Saturday 9/22 January 2022 the Divine Liturgy was celebrated at the Monastery of the recently discovered Cemetery of the Hozevite holy martyrs. The church was built in their memory by the current Hegoumen Archimandrite Constantine. The icon of the holy martyrs is posted below with the chapel on the background.

From Secretariat-General




THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE OF GREECE VISITS THE PATRIARCHATE

On Thursday morning 7/20 January 2022, the Minister of Defence of Greece Mr Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos visited the Patriarchate while on a visit in the State of Israel. The Minister was accompanied by his associates, Mr Athanasios Valaris, Mr Eleftherios Agelopoulos, the Ambassador of Greece in Tel Aviv Mr Kyriakos Loukakis and the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr Evangelos Vlioras.

The visitors were received by His Beatitude and Hagiotaphite Fathers, saying: “Your visit coincides with a period of political tension and developments, and therefore we welcome you with great joy. The guardian of the Holy Shrines in the Holy Land welcomes you. It welcomes you to a region governed by political forces, whose interests are in many respects contradictory. The Patriarchate is called upon to play an important conciliatory role in this political space. This it does, when pressed by extreme radical elements, from which we are called to liberate the ownership of the Patriarchate in the area of ​​the Gate of David. For this reason, we have come to cooperate with the other churches to undertake a campaign for its liberation. If these elements prevail, the status of the Old City will change. All Christians are deprived of their entry into the Temple of the Resurrection. Greece is called to fulfil its duty in this matter and advocate with the Patriarchate in its favour.

Greece has a great asset here, and that is the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.”

The Minister thanked for the welcoming reception and His Beatitude’s words and stated that the Patriarchate should fulfil its mission, namely its role to remain a vessel of conciliation and peace, and asked the Brotherhood to pray for Greece and that from this visit they received not only the blessing of power but also another impression of the life of the Patriarchate.

For this visit, His Beatitude offered the Minister an icon of the Edicule of the Holy Sepulchre, as it is after the renovation, an icon of the Theotokos, the book of blessed John Tleel “I am Jerusalem” and blessings from Jerusalem for his associates.

The Minister offered His Beatitude a board of the Ministry of Defence as a reminder that ‘the Ministry of Defence always supports the Patriarchate’.

After these, the Minister went to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where he was welcomed by the Geronda Sacristan, His Eminence Archbishop Isidoros of Hierapolis.

From Secretariat-General




PRESIDENT ABBAS MEETS WITH PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM THEOPHILOS III

Jerusalem 2022.01.18
 
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas received yesterday, Monday January 17, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III.
 
During the afternoon meeting, His Excellency President Abbas valued the recent statements issued by the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem and affirmed that the State of Palestine will continue to support the people of Jerusalem, and will protect Islamic and Christian holy sites in light of the attacks they are being subjected to by Israeli radical groups. 
 
His Excellency the President noted “We share with you the importance of carrying out more vital projects that contribute to the consolidation of the Christian presence in Jerusalem and the rest of the Holy Land, and we highly value your undertaking such projects, and your international campaign aimed at exposing violations of the rights of believers in the Holy Land.”
 
His Excellency stressed the importance of continuing coordination between all relevant authorities through the Higher Presidential Committee on Church Affairs.
 
In return, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos greeted the Palestinian President by saying: “We come to you from the city of Jerusalem, bearing hope coupled with a dazzling spirituality derived from our Christian and Islamic holy sites, which have withstood throughout history despite all the difficult circumstances that our region has gone through.”
 
His Beatitude affirmed that the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem have decided to carry out an international campaign that puts the Christian world in the form of violations committed against the Holy City, especially with regards to Orthodox real estate threatened to be seized by radical groups in Omar Ibn Al-Khattab Square in Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem, which is the main route of pilgrims to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the various monasteries, in addition to the process of distorting the cultural and historical identity of New Gate area.
 
In addition, His Beatitude stressed that he raises his voice loudly at this special time of the year, Christmas, to confirm that the Holy Land is not only the land of the birth of Christ, but the land of the birth of Christianity, and added that the entire world is responsible for the survival of Christians in the Holy Land and the Middle East in general.
 

The meeting was attended by the Head of the Higher Presidential Committee on Church Affairs, Mr. Ramzi Khoury; the Palestinian Supreme Sharia Judge, Mahmoud Al-Habash; and the diplomatic advisor to the President, Mr. Majdi Al-Khalidi.