In the afternoon of the Monday of the Holy Spirit, the 11th/24th of June 2013, the Prime Minister of Georgia, His Excellency Mr Bidzina Ivanishvilli, on a visit to Israel, arrived at the Patriarchate of Jerusalem accompanied by a delegation of approximately thirty five of his associates, including the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Finance and Diaspora.

The Prime Minister and his retinue were received at the Hall of the Throne by His Beatitude Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, in the presence of the Guardians of the Holy Sepulcher, including the Most Reverend Isychios, Metropolitan of Capitolias and Patriarchal Commissioner; the Grand Chancellor Aristarchos, Archbishop of Constantina, the Most Reverend Methodios, Archbishop of Thavorio, and the former Protosyncellus of the Holy Archbishopric of Cyprus, f. Ieronymos.

Welcoming the Prime Minister of Georgia, His Beatitude addressed him in English as follows (see link: https://en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/2013/06/25/2550/ ) and conferred upon him the supreme honour of the Patriarchate, namely the Cross of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher, for the reverence he extends towards the Holy Sepulcher and for his piousness. A fine icon of St George and a cross were offered to the Prime Minister’s wife.

Deeply moved, the Prime Minister thanked His Beatitude, saying that the honour conferred upon him was reflected onto the Church and the nation of Georgia, and that this honour would be for him a source of strength for the accomplishment of his mission and the creation of conditions of cooperation between Church and state. He then offered HB a plaque bearing the picture of an ancient temple of the Church of Georgia, conveying the wishes of His Beatitude Elias, the Patriarch of Georgia, and an invitation to visit the country of Georgia. Finally, he thanked HB for welcoming Georgian pilgrims to the Holy Land and supporting Christians on an international level.

After his visit to the Patriarchate, His Excellency the Prime Minister of Georgia, accompanied by His Beatitude, visited the All-holy Church of the Resurrection and paid his respect to the Holy Sepulcher and the Horrendous Golgotha.

The Prime Minister’s call was concluded with a visit to the Chapel of Adam.

From the Secretariat-General



Koufr Yassif, Friday the 21th of June, 2013


Your Excellency (Mr. Bahij Mansour),

We would like to extend our sincerest appreciation for the honor of joining you in your bittersweet farewell from your position as the director of Interreligious Affairs in Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We also bid you wishes for success as you take on your new role as Israel’s ambassador to the Caribbean Islands.

Throughout your years of service you have been a true asset to Israel’s various communities, and especially attentive to the needs of our Christian communities. Your absence will surely be felt. As a result of your dedication to harmonious coexistence, you have managed to cultivate and promote relations amongst Israel’s religious establishments, Druze, Muslim, and Christian communities, which are based on mutual respect.

We hope and pray that your new assignment will be a continuation of achievement, and that you meet it with the same fervor that you have possessed throughout your extensive diplomatic career. Your contributions will undoubtedly be significant.

May God enlighten the path ahead of you, and grant you success and longevity in your life and in your paramount career.


His Beatitude


Patriarch of Jerusalem


On Friday 1st/14th of June 2013, the new Ambassador of Bulgaria to Israel, Mr Dimitar Mihailov, together with the Deputy Ambassador, visited His Beatitude Theophilos, Our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem, in order to submit his credentials on the occasion of the commencement of his term.

His Beatitude welcomed the newly appointed Bulgarian ambassador with whom he discussed issues pertaining to countries of the Middle East, where Mr Mihailov had served in the past, but also the preservation of the status quo in Jerusalem, the situation in Syria, the abduction of two Syrian prelates and the situation of Christians in the Middle East.

The Bulgarian ambassador conveyed to His Beatitude the fraternal embrace of Neophytos, the new Patriarch of Bulgaria, at the election and enthronement of whom the Patriarchate had been represented by the Most Reverend Timotheos, Metropolitan of Bostroi, and the Very Reverend Archimandrite Ieronymos.

Mr Mihailov thanked His Beatitude for the participation of the Church of Bulgaria in the Holy Light ceremony on Holy Saturday and for the stance of the Patriarch of Jerusalem in favour of the Bulgarian Church, in its hour of need.

In his reply, His Beatitude informed the Ambassador on the religious and cultural contribution of the Patriarchate since its dawn, during the days of the Byzantine Empire, to nowadays.

Upon that, His Beatitude and the Ambassador proceeded to mutually exchange gifts.

From the Secretariat-General



On the evening of Tuesday, the 22nd of May/4th of June 2013, a reception was hosted in honour of the recently ordained Philoumenos, Archbishop of Pella, organized by his clan in his birthplace of Fhes, a suburb of Amman, Jordan. The Arab community is structured according to this division system across tribes of cultures (known as clans), namely wider family groups.

Archbishop Philoumenos was honoured by the presence of His Beatitude Theophilos, Our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem, and of his retinue from Jerusalem, namely Aristarchos, Archbishop of Constantina and Grand Chancellor, f. Issa Musleh, head of the Arab section at the Patriarchate’s Press Office, Hegoumen Archimandrite f. Ieronymos and his holy aides, and several dignitaries and laymen, numbering approximately 500, residents of Fhes and other cities, members of the family and clan of the Most Reverend Philoumenos and in the presence of the Prime-minister of Jordan, Mr Abdullah Ensour.

During the course of the dinner and reception, the Most Reverend Archbishop of Pella addressed His Beatitude, welcoming and thanking Him on his election, paying tribute to his birthplace, Fhes, and expressing his gratitude to his parents, the members of his clan, his compatriots and His Majesty the King of Jordan.

Addresses were also directed by other State and communal delegates, who referred to the history of the city of Pella-Irbet, the name of which has been conferred on the title of the Most Reverend Philoumenos from the beginning of Christianity, when between the years 70-132 AD it was inhabited by Christians of Jerusalem. Reference was also made to the honour bestowed upon the city through the election of the Most Reverend Philoumenos, and to the conditions of peaceful coexistence among Christians and Muslims under the tolerant and wise rule of His Majesty, King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein.

His Beatitude Theophilos, Our Father and the Patriarch of Jerusalem, offering an icon of the Mother of God as present to the Most Reverend Archbishop Philoumenos, closed the reception with this reply, at link: https://en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/ar/2013/06/04/2444/

On the following day, Wednesday the 23rd of May/5th June 2013, His Beatitude visited the city of Irbet in Northern Jordan and was informed on the renovation works underway for the installation of the recently appointed Patriarchal Commissioner of Northern Jordan Towns, Philoumenos, the Archbishop of Pella.

From the Secretariat-General



The Patriarchate celebrated the feast of the Samaritan Woman on Sunday the 20th of May/ 2nd of June 2013, at the pilgrimage site of Jacob’s Well.

On the word of the Old Testament and the Gospel of John in the New Testament (Jn, 4, 1-38), the Well was dug in the land of Samaria by Jacob the patriarch between the mountains Yeval and Yoresin.

At this precise Well did the Samaritan woman, who arrived here from the town of Sychar in order to draw water, came upon the Lord who, as by fishing, initiated her into Himself as Christ and changed her life so that she would depart from sin and receive holiness and this very testimony. Indeed, she is commemorated within the cycle of movable feasts on the fourth Sunday after Easter.

It is in this Pilgrimage site that, in the course of our days, the neomartyr St Philoumen of the Holy Sepulcher died a martyric death. The site has been laudably exalted since a few years by its Hegoumen, the Archimandrite father Ioustinos by means of the construction of a magnificent Church, an ornament to the city of Neapolis. Here, on the aforementioned day, His Beatitude Theophilos, Our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem, officiated the divine liturgy together with Patriarchal Vicar, Esychios, the Right Reverend Metropolitan of Kapitolias; His Eminence Aristarchos, the Archbishop of Constantina and Grand Chancellor; His Eminence Damaskinos, the Archbishop of Ioppi; His Eminence Theophylaktos, the Archbishop of Iordanis; his Eminence Philoumenos, the Archbishop of Pella; Hieromonks of the Holy Sepulcher and Priests of major parishes from townships adjoining Neapolis, such as Raphidia, Toumba and Zampapde, in the presence of the faithful who had reached Neapolis from adjoining towns.

During the Koinonikon of the Divine Liturgy, His Beatitude proclaimed to everyone the word of God in the Greek language.

This is an excerpt from His speech:

Today, on the fifth Sunday after Easter, the Church of Christ celebrates the feast of the Samaritan woman in this very site where also lies the Well of Jacob the Patriarch.

This site is of special importance, for it is not only a historical and sacred one, but also a site evangelizing the testimony of Our Lord Jesus Christ, that God is a spirit and those that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth (Jn 4, 24). In addition, the spiritual well built upon the actual Jacob’s well, namely the holy Altar of this splendid Church in honour of St Photini, the Samaritan Woman, attests to the Word of our Savior Christ to the Samaritan Woman and to any man with a thirst for the salvaging truth, that: “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (Jn 4, 13-14).  

The Divine Liturgy was followed by a litany thrice around the Holy Church.

After the litany, the proprietor and hegoumen, Archimandrite f. Ioustinos, hosted a festive meal for His Beatitude, His Retinue and scores of people.

From the Secretariat- General



At 5:00 pm of Saturday the 19th of May/1st of June 2013, the graduation ceremony of 20 graduating students took place at the hall of ceremonies of “St Demetrius” Patriarchal School, in the presence of His Beatitude Theophilos III, Our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem; the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem, Mr Soterios Athanasiou and his honorable wife, a Greek Language teacher at the School; the representative of the Republic of Cyprus to the Palestinian Autonomy, Mr Antonios Samoutis, the representative of the Palestinian Autonomy Minister of Education, Mr Samir Gabriye, the Chairman of the School Board of Patriarchal Schools in Israel; the Most Reverend Esychios, Metropolitan of Kapitolia, the Grand Chancellor Aristarchos, Archbishop of Constantina; the Patriarchal Commissioner in Irbet, Jordan, His Eminence Philoumenos, Archbishop of Pella; Archdeacon f. Athanasios, Hierodeacon f. Eulogios, the School’s Principal Mr Samir Zananiri, teachers at the School and the graduates’ parents and other relatives.

The building of the School of “St Demetrius” which was essentially the latest expansion of the Patriarchate towards the Jaffa Gate, served as the Patriarchate School from which most of the either departed or living guardians of the Holy Sepulcher had graduated until the year 1970, when the School was transferred to the building now standing out on top of the Hill of St Sion.

The premises of the Hieratic School were offered from 1985 onwards by Diodoros, the Late Patriarch of Jerusalem, for the accommodation of a Preschool, an Elementary School, a High School and a Lyceum, maintained by the Patriarchate under the name “St Demetrius”, owing to the existence within the school complex, of an ancient Chapel in honor of the glorified great martyr St Demetrius the Myrrh-Bearer.

The well-organized ceremony began with the prayer “Christ is risen” in Greek and “Al Massih Kam” in Arab, followed by recitations of the National Palestinian Anthem and the Greek National Anthem.

The School Principal, Mr Samir Zananiri went on to extend his gratitude to His Beatitude for the moral and material help offered by the Patriarchate to the School, to Mr Hanna Amire, Chairman of the Committee on Christian Affairs, for the financial aid provided by the Palestinian Autonomy towards repairs and renovations at the School, and also praised the graduates for their performance and ethics, wishing that they successfully pursue their studies and perform well in society.

Two graduates offered flowers to his Beatitude and the Chairman of the School Board for their support to the School.

Students at the Preschool, Elementary School, High School and Lyceum, boys and girls alike, performed Palestinian dances.

Three representatives of the graduating students spoke on behalf of their peers, one in Arab, one in English and one in Greek, pointing out how difficult it is to be diligent and perform well, and how such difficulties may be overcome with the help of parents and teachers, to whom they extended their deep gratitude.  

A touching moment at the ceremony was the presentation of the Principal with an honorary plaque and the “change of guard” between this year’s (2012-2013) graduating students and seniors of the next academic year.

The ceremony was concluded with an address of His Beatitude in Arab, as follows at:https://en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/ar/2013/06/01/2429/ stressing the importance attributed by the Patriarchate to the education of youth at schools maintained on its own expenses and the donations of charity foundations where the coexistence of Christian and Muslim students is favored and promoted and greatly contributes to the peaceful symbiosis and cooperation between such fellow students.

The ceremony closed with His Beatitude and the Professors conferring the titles to the graduating students, followed by the Palestinian National Anthem and His Beatitude’s prayer for longevity.

From the Secretariat-General



Sochi, 27 of May, 2013

Esteemed Vladimir Vladimirovitch,

Your Holiness,

Your Eminences,

Reverend Fathers,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!

Christos voskresiye! Vayistenu voskresiye!

It is a great honour for us to be received by you, Your Excellency, here in Moscow, and as we are here with you, we recall with great warmth your most recent visit to the Holy Land and to Jerusalem, when we welcomed you as a pilgrim to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Church of the Nativity, and the Baptism Site in Jordan. The Holy Land has always held a special place in the hearts and imaginations of the Russian people, and we know of your commitment; and devotion.

Just as the light from the Holy Fire was brought to Russia just a short time ago at Pascha, so we bring with us the blessings and the light of the resurrection from the empty Tomb of our Lord Jesus Christ. For this light is the hope of the world.

We are here on our eirenicon – our visit of kinship to our Sister Church of Russia – and we are also here to give spiritual encouragement to all the Russian peoples. The mission of the Church always faces great challenges, even in the best of circumstances, and we know that this is a time in which the religious traditions and moral values of the Holy Orthodox Church of Russia are under some pressure.

We come in our turn, as you know full well, from a region that is volatile and where many communities, among them Christian communities, face real danger. We remain steadfast In our mission tο proclaim with all the means in our power the saving message of our faith, which is nothing less than the love and reconciliation of Cod. It is crucial for the integrity and the future of the Middle East that we maintain genuine mutual respect between faiths, cultures and ethnicities in our region.

We would like to assure you, Your Excellency, of our appreciation of your tireless efforts in defending Christian moral values and in supposing the Russian Orthodox Church as she works for the unity of the Russian peoples.

We appreciate deeply your concern for Jerusalem and the Holy Land, and we repeat our thanks to you for all that you have done on our behalf. We value your attention to help to contain those forces that threaten the peace and stability of the world, and especially of the Middle East. We know that you bear a heavy burden of leadership.

We know that you uphold the sacredness of Jerusalem by encouraging pilgrimages of the Russian people to the Holy Land.   Pilgrimages are crucial for us, for they accomplish two things. On the one hand, pilgrimage to the Holy Land opens to the faithful and to others of goodwill the mystery of Cod and the reality of our sacred history. And on the other hand, pilgrimage also safe-guards the Patriarchate, and encourages our local Palestinian Christian communities, spread across the Jurisdiction of the Patriarchate in Israel, Palestine, the Hashemlte Kingdom of Jordan, and Qatar, to know that they are not forgotten as they face huge challenges.

Thank you again for your warm welcome. Please allow us, in recognition of your leadership and your work on behalf of the Church in the Holy Land, to bestow on you the Order of the Holy Tomb. And we pray for Cod’s blessing on you, your family, and on all the people of your beloved Russia.

Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed! Christos voskresiye! Vayistenu voskresiye!

Thank you.

His Beatitude

Theophilos III

Patriarch of Jerusalem



Holy City of Jerusalem, 16 May 2013


Your Excellency, Father Pierbattista

Mademoiselle Nebel,

Dear Fathers and Brothers,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

 Al- Masiach qam! Hakken qam!


We are delighted to welcome you today to the new Bookshop of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the opening and dedication of which we recently celebrated. This Bookshop is a visible extension of the mission of the Patriarchate, and its prominence here at the Jaffa Gate is a sign to all pilgrims and visitors both of the Christian character of Jerusalem and of the religious, cultural and ethnic diversity that is such a vital component of our common life in the HolyCity.

We are gathered here today for the purpose of celebrating a wonderful endeavor. For today we are launching the DVD of the World Premiere of the Eucharistic Symphony, which took place in the Garden of Gethsemane on 22 September 2012. This symphony was composed by Father Armando Pierucci and the production of this DVD has been ion the capable hands  of Mademoiselle Veronique  Nebel. Through her labour of devotion, all those who love the Holy Land, and who work for peace, justice and mutual co-existence, may be inspired by this remarkable event. We thank you most warmly for your work.

This Eucharistic Symphony is important for two reasons.

First, it emphasizes the truth that at the heart of the Christian life is the Eucharistic Liturgy. It is the Eucharist that makes the Church, and it is right that a symphony that gathers Christian voices should have at its heart this great action of the Church in which earth and heaven are joined.

And secondly, by gathering voices from twelve different Christian liturgical traditions, we could have no more eloquent testimony to the rich diversity of the life of the Christian communities of the Holy Land. Jerusalem is a city of many voices, voices that, by God’s grace, are made for harmony. It is this harmony that must always be at the heart of our common witness to the Gospel in the Holy Land, and in desiring to promote “increased mutual awareness” between ChristianChurches and for the respect of religious freedom” , this project has an admirable goal.

This is a critical period in the history of our city and region, and we are glad to support a project that seeks to uphold the fundamental values and values of our heritage.

Once again, we thank you. Mademoiselle Nebel. for your work in making the Eucharistic Symphony available in this way, and we invite you all to Stay after this time of opening remarks to view excerpts from the DVD in the Bookshop.

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

 Al- Masiach qam! Hakken qam!


His Beatitude


Patriarch of Jerusalem



Holy City of Jerusalem, 8 May 2013


Your Beatitude,

Your Eminences,

Reverend Fathers,

Dear Members of the Brotherhood of Saint James,


It is the day of the Resurrection.

Let us shine brightly for the festival, and also embrace one another-And thus let us cry aloud,

Christ  is risen from the dead; by death he has trampled death,

and to those in the tombs he has granted life”,  (Anastaseos imera).

We greet you, Your Beatitude, in the light and the grace of this Joyful Feast of Feasts, when the Church rejoices in the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ over the power of death. This day of resurrection is. therefore, a day of new birth for humanity and the world, for the gate of heaven is now open to all.

We are especially glad to share in this celebration with you, Your Beatitude, on this first Easter after your election. We have worked together in the past, and with your election we look, forward to a deeper and stronger relationship between our two Brotherhoods as we move in to the future.

We have been greatly encouraged during this Holy Week and Easter celebration that all has gone smoothly and well In the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and in the Hoiy places, and we Cannot emphasize too strongly the importance of the message to the world of our peaceful co existence. The eyes of all look to Jerusalem in hope, and we are the servants and guardians of those places that are signs to them of this hope: Our privilege comes with a great responsibility.

We know of Your Beatitude’s commitment to this mission- In this time of challenge and uncertainty in our region, our mission is of even greater importance than at any period the past. The  future well-being of the Christian presence in the Holy Land, and the future assurance of the Christian character of Jerusalem, rest on our work together for the sake of these fundamental objectives.

So we are encouraged, and we wish to express to Your Beatitude our commitment to do all in our power to show a united Christian witness at this delicate time in our history, so that the world may see Jerusalem to be a city of genuine coexistence and enduring peace-”

May Christ, our true God, who is risen from the dead, prosper this work by his grace, and may His glorious resurrection from the dead give us courage and confidence in our mission.

We assure you, Your Beatitude, of our prayers for you and for the swift confirmation of your election. And we pray for God’s grace on the Brotherhood of Saint James and the entire Armenian community of the Holy Land.

Christ is risen! He is risen Indeed!

Thank you.

His Beatitude


Patriarch of Jerusalem


Holy City of Jerusalem, 7 May 2013

Your Beatitudes,

Your Eminences,

Your Graces,

Dear Fathers,

Beloved Members of our Respective Brotherhoods,

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed? Al-Masiach qam! Hakken qam!

We welcome you today with the Paschal greeting that echoes down the ages and is the great affirmation of the victory of God over our human death. This is the heart of our Christian faith, that for love of us God the Father raised our Lord Jesus Christ from death, and destroyed the power of death for ever.

At this solemn and joyful time, the Church proclaims that by descending into Hades, our Lord Jesus Christ despoiled death and darkness. In vanquishing Hades, our Lord won great spoils – we and all humanity arte the inestimable and precious spoils that he won. In the light of the resurrection, God has opened the gates of heaven to all, and claimed the whole creation for Himself. As we read in the Gospel of Saint John, our Lord affirms “this is the will of [the Father] who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day”, (Jn- 6:39).

It is God’s love for the world that lies at the heart of our mission as Churches and Christian communities in the Holy Land. We have been entrusted with the care not just of our own communities, but of all peoples, regardless of ethnic, cultural, and religious affiliation, and our mission is to ensure the diversity that has always marked the civilization of this region. The Holy Land is a beacon for Christians of the Middle East and therefore must be also a beacon to the world of genuine co-existence and mutual respect. Throughout the turbulent history of our region, Jerusalem and the Holy Land have remained an anchor for all.

Despite many difficulties, ours is also the mission to ensure the ongoing presence of the Christian communities of our region, and to guarantee the essential Christian character of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. The Holy Places are a unique focus of sacred history, and we have a moral obligation to live the sacrificial, cruciform life of those to whom this great gift and mission have been given. For we are both the people of the cross and also the people of the resurrection. This is our heritage and our life, and we are experiencing each year a growing number of pilgrims who long for the spiritual benefits that the Holy Places make tangible for them.

We can never rest from this mission, especially at this time when our region is under particular pressure and when we are facing unprecedented challenge and uncertainty. Our prayers at this season of light and hope are especially with the two bishops in Syria who are being held hostage, His Eminence Metropolitan Paul Yazigi of the Rum Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, and His Eminence Mar Cregorios Ibrahim, the Syrian Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo. Allow us now to express our sympathy especially to you, Archbishop Sewerios, on this terrible act against your brother Archbishop of Aleppo. As we all know, their kidnapping represents a serious threat to the well-being of our Christian communities and our co-existence, and we make an appeal to their kidnappers to release the bishops quickly and unharmed.

In spite of the challenges that we face, in the words of Saint Paul, “we do not lose heart” ,(2 Cor. 4:16). Ours must always be a message of hope over despair, joy over sadness, light over darkness, life over death. For we are “convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in ail creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”, (Rom. 8:38-39).

For “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and giving life to those in the tomb”, (Paschal Troparion). This is our message of hope at this glorious Feast of Feasts, and this is the ground of our confidence in our mission in Jerusalem and our entire region.

May we, on whom so great responsibility has been laid, always be mindful of the mission that is ours, to proclaim the life-giving Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and his resurrection from the dead. This is the hope of our region, and of our world.

Thank you again for the greetings you have expressed. May the peace and joy of this Paschal Feast fill our hearts.

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Al-Masiach qam! Hakken qam!

His Beatitude


Patriarch of Jerusalem