1

THE FEAST OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AT THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY TRINITY OF THE RUSSIAN MISSIA

On Monday, May 31/ June 13 2022, the feast of the Holy Spirit was celebrated at the Church of the Holy Trinity of the Russian MISSIA of the Moscow Patriarchate, which is located in the New City of Jerusalem not far away from New Gate.

In this marvellous Church, the Divine Liturgy was officiated by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos, along with their Eminences, the Archbishop of Constantina Aristarchos, the Metropolitan Joachim of Helenoupolis, the Head of the Russian MISSIA Archimandrite Alexander, the Elder Kamarasis Archimandrite Nectarios, and Archdeacon Mark. The chanting was delivered by the Church choir of the Nuns who serve at this Church, in the presence of a noble congregation of Russian and Arab-speaking faithful Christians.

His Beatitude delivered the following sermon to this congregation:

“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49) the Lord said to His Disciples.

Your Grace, Archimandrite Alexander, Representative in Jerusalem of H.H. Beatitude to the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Cyril,

Beloved Brethren in Christ,

Noble Christians

The Grace of the Comforter Spirit has gathered us all in the Holy Church in Jerusalem of the Ecclesiastical MISSIA of the brotherly Church of Russia, to co-celebrate in Eucharist the All-holy and life-giving and Almighty Spirit, the One Person of the Triune God, Who is of one essence and glory with the Father and the Son.

According to Saint Gregory the Theologian, today “we celebrate Pentecost and the coming of the Spirit, and the time appointed for the promise and the fulfilment of hope. How great is the mystery! It is both exceeding great and most venerable” (Vespers, Sticheron 1).

Indeed, the fulfilment of the disciples by the Holy Spirit when they were gathered in the Upper Room is a great and most respected mystery (Acts 2:1-2). And this, on the one hand, because the Disciples “were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4), and on the other, because this Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Son and Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who holds together the whole institution of the Church. According to the Lord’s word, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). And this “Holy Spirit hath ever been and is and shall be, neither beginning nor ending; but He is ever ranked and numbered together with the Father and the Son” Saint Gregory theologises (Sunday of Pentecost, Matins, Praises, Troparion 2).

According to Saint Paul, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:22-23). Referring to the various spiritual gifts, the wise Paul says: “All these [gifts] worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:11-13).

This one body in which we have been baptized, my dear brethren, is no other than the body of the Church, namely the body of Christ, in which we have been grafted through the gift and the communion of the Holy Spirit and we have put on the new man (ref. Col. 3:10). That is why Saint Cyril of Alexandria says regarding the Lord’s word “it is better for you that I may go” (ref. John): “it is necessary for us to become communicants and partakers of the divine nature of the Word, or rather, to leave our own life and be transformed into another in newness of life which will be pleasing to God. However, this was impossible for us in any other way, but with the communion and participation in the Holy Spirit. And the most appropriate time for the sending down of the Holy Spirit to us was the time after the departure of our Saviour Christ”.

The power of the Holy Spirit is the one which holds together the whole institution of the Church as the hymnographer says: “The Holy Spirit provideth all things; He gushed forth prophesy; He perfecteth the priesthood; he hath taught wisdom to the illiterate. He hath shown forth the fishermen as theologians. He holdeth together the whole institution of the Church” (Vespers, Sticheron 3).

Indeed, the Holy Spirit went down on the Apostles and made their hearts pure and installed in their deepest soul “a right spirit” which is the Holy Spirit, as Isychios interprets it. According to Origen, “at first the heart is made pure and immediately afterwards the Spirit is installed in the depths”. As the psalmist says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).

This right spirit is no other than the Spirit in unity and peace in Christ. This is the Spirit that sustains the unity among the faithful and the body of the Church according to Saint Paul’s advice: “I, therefore, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called…Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling” (Eph. 4:1-4). Likewise, Saint Ignatios the God-bearer urges the Christians of Philadelphia; “love unity, abstain from divisions; become imitators of Christ, as He became an imitator of His Father”.

It is noteworthy also, that by the power of the Holy Spirit the Apostles spoke of the marvels of God in tongues, the languages of all the nations that lived in Jerusalem on the great day of Pentecost (ref. Acts 2:1-11).

The local Churches are called to project these wonders of God, namely “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3), as we live in a world of confusion and lawlessness and apostasy, paying heed to the hymnographer’s voice: “of old the tongues were confounded because of the audacity in the building of the tower, but now the tongues are made wise for the sake of the glory of Divine knowledge. There, God condemned the impious because of their offence; and here, Christ hath enlightened the fishermen by the Spirit. At that time the confusion of tongues was wrought for punishment, but now the concord of tongues hath been inaugurated for the salvation of our souls” (Pentecost Vespers, Aposticha, Glory).

Let us, my dear brethren, as “children of the Church, full of light”, entreat the Theotokos “who lent flesh to the Word”, that by her intercessions the Spirit of Truth may dwell in us. And let us say along with the hymnographer: “Draw nigh unto us, draw nigh, Thou Who art everywhere present, and even as Thou art ever with Thine Apostles, so do Thou also unite to Thyself us who long for Thee, O Compassionate One, that being united with Thee, we may praise and glorify Thine All-holy Spirit” (Oikos). Amen. Many happy returns”.

The Divine Liturgy was followed by a meal at the hotel Sergei near the MISSIA. His Beatitude delivered the following address there:

“Dear Father Alexander,

Mr Ambassador,

Your Eminences,

Your Graces,

Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Beloved Monastics,

Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Today we have been blessed to celebrate once again the Divine Liturgy on the Monday of the Holy Spirit in this great church dedicated to the Holy Trinity.

As we have sung joyfully today:

When the Most High came down and confounded tongues of men,

He divined the nations.

When he dispensed the tongues of fire, he called all to unity,

And with one voice we glorify the Most Holy Spirit.

(Kontakion of the Feast)

So we rejoice in the unity to which we have been called in our beloved Orthodox Church.

We come to this feast today with the words of the Psalmist in our hearts:

Create in me a clean heart O God,

And put a new and right spirit within me.

(Ps. 50[51]:10)

We are commanded to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, precisely because there is one body and one Spirit (Eph. 4:30.

As we gather here, we do so in the full realization of the challenges that we face in our world and in our Church. These challenges should come as no surprise to us because even in the scriptures we are given warnings.

In the Gospel of Saint Luke, we read that there will be on the earth distress among nations, violence, fear and distress of every kind (cf. Luke 20:20-28). Nor is the Church safe from such dangers, as Saint Paul warns that there should be no divisions (the Greek word is “schisms” ) within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another (1 Cor. 12:25).

We know full well that the truth is also of what Saint Paul goes on to say: If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together (1 Cor. 12:26).

But on this joyous celebration of the Holy Spirit, we are reminded of the freedom that is the gift of the Holy Spirit in the Church: Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Cor. 3:17). This is the freedom that is the guarantee of our peace and our unity, a freedom that is not just for the Church, but for all mankind. As the hymnographer reminds us at Pentecost the Most High called all into unity.

In our world today, people of religious faith, and especially Christians, are in many places under pressure. Globalization threatens the uniqueness of cultures, societies, and religious traditions. The Church of Jerusalem, as the Mother of all the Churches, gives her life for the unity of the Church, and down the ages, the Patriarchate has been the guardian and the guarantee of the Christian values of the Scriptures and the Holy Tradition. Just as our Lord Jesus Christ longed to gather the children of Jerusalem together as a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings, so the Church of Jerusalem has gathered her children for protection and succour (cf. Matt. 23:37).

At the first Pentecost, the people heard the disciples speak to them of the great deeds of God (Acts 2:11). This is the role of the mission of the Church of Jerusalem, to be a witness of the great deeds of God, and to embody in our life the freedom and the unity that are God’s gifts to the Church and to the human family.

May God grant us all the Heavenly Comforter, the Spirit of truth, the treasury blessings which fill all things, so that we may reflect more clearly the freedom and unity to which we are called.

Thank you”.

From Secretariat-General

 




THE STUDENTS OF THE PATRIARCHAL SCHOOL OF ZION VISIT HIS BEATITUDE THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM THEOPHILOS

On Saturday, June 11, 2022, the graduates of the Patriarchal School of Zion visited the His Beatitude the Patriarch of Jerusalem at His office, on the occasion of the end of the School year.

On this visit the graduate novice Simeon Lianoudakis addressed His Beatitude on behalf of the students as follows:

Τό Σάββατο, 11 Ἰουνίου 2022, οἱ ἀπόφοιτοι καί τελειόφοιτοι τῆς Πατριαρχικῆς Σχολῆς Σιών ἐπισκέφθηκαν τό Γραφεῖο τοῦ Μακαριωτάτου Πατριάρχου Ἱεροσολύμων ἐπί τή λήξει τῶν μαθημάτων τῆς Σχολῆς.

Your Beatitude Father and Master,

Reverend Managing Director of the School,

At the end of the school year and our student cycle, in deep emotion, we would like to express from the bottom of our hearts our thanks for what you have offered us.

Since our arrival in the Holy Land, the Patriarchate and the Brotherhood welcomed us with paternal affection and love. They shaped our character and enriched us with spiritual goods and many unforgettable experiences that will accompany us for the rest of our lives.

First of all, we would like to thank You, Your Beatitude, for the interest You have shown as well as for the love You have expressed towards us in many ways. In addition, we would like to thank the Most Reverend Archbishop of Hierapolis, Isidoros, Chairman of the school board, who made sure that we never miss anything. Next, we want to thank the Managing Director, Father Mattheos, for the time he devoted, the effort and the sacrifices he made to always be by our side and to support us. Together with him, the people in charge who contributed to the work of the boarding school and the school for our education. Of course, we would like to thank the teachers, who also in their part, helped us to expand our knowledge and horizons.

Finally, we would like to thank You once again for the opportunity you have given us to live in the Holy Land, where our Lord Jesus Christ taught and lived. Also, for us, the visits to the Holy Pilgrimages of the Holy Land and to Constantinople were very important.

We venerate Your holy right hand”.

His Beatitude blessed them, wished them success in their exam results and safe return to Jerusalem after their summer vacations, by the blessing of the Resurrected Christ and the Holy Sepulchre, and success in any activity they chose to pursue in the future.

From Secretariat-General




US ENVOY: PRESIDENT BIDEN IS CONCERNED WITH JERUSALEM CHURCH AFFAIRS

His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III, Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem, received today, Friday June 10, His Excellency Hady Amr, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israel-Palestinian Affairs and Press and Public Diplomacy, at the Patriarchate.

After Mr. Amr conveyed the US President Joe Biden’s concern with the affairs and challenges facing Churches of the Holy Land, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III stressed that Christians in Jerusalem are under strain due to systematic attempts by Israeli radicals to rid the Holy City of the Christian presence.

The Patriarch added that Churches of the Holy Land are unified in their position to preserve the authentic Christian heritage and presence in Jerusalem despite all challenges put forward by radical Israeli organizations.

His Beatitude later spoke about how the radical Ateret Cohanim organization’s dubious legal battle to take over the Imperial Hotel at Jaffa Gate has potential danger on the entrance to the Christian Quarter and the Status Quo of the city, as it is the main entrance for the Christian pilgrims to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and other churches headquarters. With the court’s ruling in favour of Ateret Cohanim this week, His Beatitude added that all legal procedures are exhausted. Despite this unfair ruling the Churches remain steadfast in their commitment to support the current tenants of the properties and a vision for a multi-religious and multi-ethnic Jerusalem, despite the actions of Ateret Cohanim. His Beatitude added that the Christian properties at the New Gate are in danger as well, as the local authorities are pushing forward significant changes to the area.

The meeting highlighted how the plans of the Israeli Nature and Park Authority, who are acting in accordance with the Israeli radical group Elad, attempted to expand the Jerusalem Walls National Park into the Mount of Olives. Patriarch Theophilos explained how this plan would have entirely or partially encircled 20 Christian sites without consultation with the Churches, essentially confiscating and nationalizing Christian Holy Sites. His Beatitude stressed that although the plan was withdrawn, but is expected to be proposed again later in the year, causing Churches further distress. 

Furthermore, the Patriarch of Jerusalem spoke about the restrictions implemented on freedom of Christian worshippers, paired with a lack of police enforcement in response to religiously motivated attacks against Christians, that have created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation to those who wish to practice their faith freely in Jerusalem. His Beatitude said that this year, on Saturday of the Holy Light, Jerusalem’s police restricted pilgrims and local Christians alike from entering the Christian Quarter, blocking access to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. More often than not, the police used uncalled-for violence to prevent worshippers from making their pilgrimage to the site.

His Beatitude added that attacks against Christians and clergymen, at the hands of radical Israelis, have been increasing in Jerusalem, as well as vandalism against church properties, and verbal and physical abuse against priests are increasingly commonplace, particularly on Saturday nights. His Beatitude explained that an increasing aggressivity from radical Israelis is most prominent on Mount Zion, where Dormition Abbey and the Orthodox Garden are often targeted. The past Monday, June 6th, a church groundskeeper was threatened to have his eyes burned out with cigarettes and was told that he would be found and killed for attempting to secure the Christian property. Those said that Police rarely investigate these incidents, so much so that many clergy do not report crimes due to law enforcement turning a blind eye so frequently.

On the otherhand, Mr. Amr stated that the U.S. State Department is concerned with Christian heritage and presence in the Holy Land with special concern for the issue of Christian property at Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem. His Excellency also mentioned President Biden’s interest in meeting with Heads of Churches, to listen to their concerns on his upcoming visit to the region.

 




THE CHIEF OF THE HELLENIC NATIONAL DEFENCE GENERAL STAFF VISITS THE PATRIARCHATE

On Wednesday, May 27/ June 8, 2022, the Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff Mr Constantinos Floros visited the Patriarchate, accompanied by his wife Anna-Maria Tsirikoni and his associates.

The group was received by His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos and Hagiotaphite Fathers.

Mr Floros said he feels honour and piety as this is his first visit to the Holy Land and the Patriarchate.

His Beatitude explained to the Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff and his associates the importance of Jerusalem and especially of the City inside the Walls, whose heart is Golgotha, the Holy Sepulchre and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which was built by Saint Helen.

The Patriarchate of Jerusalem is the guardian of these shrines, along with the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood. This mission of safeguarding the Holy Places is carried out by the Patriarchate and the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood since the Byzantine Christian era and from AD 638, the times of the Arab occupation with the Patriarch Sophronios and from the Ottoman occupation to the present, over three Governmental states, of Israel, the Palestinian Autonomy, Jordan and Qatar.

By the Divine power and the power of its history, the Patriarchate continues its pacifying and conciliatory mission, it faces and overcomes the recent challenges against the Christians. The role of the Patriarchate is also to bring unity among the Orthodox Churches, especially under the current circumstances.

The General Mr Floros thanked His Beatitude for His informative words and asked for His prayers for the strengthening of the Hellenic army, especially under the present political conjunctures.

For this visit, His Beatitude offered the General a cross and a book of the history of Jerusalem by blessed Archbishop Chrysostom Papadopoulos, a silver painting of Jerusalem and an icon of the Theotokos, and blessings from Jerusalem for the members of the group.

Mr Floros offered His Beatitude a board of the General Staff of the National Defence and the book “Τά ἐθνικά Εὐαγγέλια τοῦ Ἱεροῦ Ἀγῶνος”.

Asking for His Beatitude’s blessings, the Delegation led by Mr Floros left to venerate the Holy Sepulchre.

From Secretariat-General




HIS BEATITUDE THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM CELEBRATES THE DIVINE LITURGY AT THE COMMUNITY TUR’AN OF GALILEE

On Sunday, May 23/ June 5, 2022, the Patriarchate celebrated the Feast of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council in Nice, under the order of Constantine the Great, where they refuted Arius and established the doctrine of the One Essence of the Son with the Father as read in the Creed.

This feast was celebrated in all the Churches of the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate and at the Holy Church of Saint George the Trophy Bearer in the Community Tur’an of Galilee, near the town of Cana. The Liturgy was officiated by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos, with the co-celebration of their Eminences, Metropolitan Kyriakos of Nazareth, Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, the Dean Priest of the Community Fr Spyridon, Fr Simeon and other Arab-speaking and Russian Priests. The chanting was delivered by Archimandrite Artemios, the Hegoumen of Haifa, in Greek and the parish choir in Arabic. The Liturgy was attended by the Orthodox congregation of this parish which the Hagiotaphite Archimandrites Timotheos and Hilarion served in the past.

Before the Holy Communion His Beatitude delivered the following Sermon in Greek and in Arabic and offered an icon to be kept in the Church:

“Making careful inquiry, with the Divine Spirit’s guidance, and joining together all knowledge of things spiritual, as the scribes of God, the august Fathers wrote that most blessed Symbol, the august Creed of our holy faith, wherein they clearly teach that, with His Begetter, the Word of God is also co-beginningless and is consubstantial with Him in truth. For these godly-minded all-glorious, and truly blessed Saints openly followed with fervent faith all that the Apostles taught” (Matins, Troparion 1 of the Fathers, Praises) the hymnographer of the Church proclaims.

Beloved Brethren in Christ,

Noble Christians

The Grace of the All-holy Spirit has guided our footsteps to your town Tur’an of Galilee, to co-celebrate today, on the seventh Sunday after Pascha the First Ecumenical Council of Nice, of the three-hundred and eighteen God-bearing Fathers in AD 325.

These God-bearing Fathers, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and through the hands of the Apostles, who bore the Spirit, became genuine descendants of Christ’s Disciples and Apostles and Shepherds and Teachers of the Church as the most genuine servants of Christ, and followers of the Apostle’s teachings, as the hymnographer says.

Today’s Gospel narrative according to the Evangelist John refers to the Episcopal prayer that the Lord prays to God the Father for His disciples, saying: “Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves” (John 17:11-13).

In His prayer, our Lord Jesus Christ asks God the Father that His disciples may remain united in Him as well as with each other in the bond of love according to the prototype of the union of Christ the Son and Word of God with His Father. On the other hand, He asks His Father that the Disciples may have in them the perfect joy that He feels, as He returns to God the Father. Interpreting the Lord’s word, “that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves” (John 17:13), Saint Cyril of Alexandria wonders: “what is that fulfilled joy? To know and believe not only that Christ was human for us, but that He was human in everything among us except sin, and that He is the true God”.

The Holy Church of Christ honours especially the God-bearing and Spirit-bearing Fathers because they fought like the Apostles of Christ for the unity of the faith, namely the steadfastness of the faith, and of course, for the unity of the Church, whose the whole institution is composed by the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Fathers of the Church, my dear brethren, are those who set the doctrine of the one Triune God, one Trinity, of the same essence and divinity, and gave to the Church the mystery of Theology, which is the Holy Trinity, as the hymnographer of the Church says: “Let us acclaim today those mystical trumpets of the Spirit, namely the God-bearing Fathers, who, in the midst of the Church, sang a harmonious song of Theology, teaching that the Trinity is one, identical in essence and Godhead; they are the refuters of Arius and the foremost warriors of the Orthodox. And they ever intercede with the Lord that our souls find mercy” (Glory of Vespers).

The Fathers that convened the First Ecumenical Council in Nice in AD 325 refuted, as it is known, the heretic Arius, because along with those who had the same beliefs as him, he “erred concerning the truth” (ref. 2 Tim. 2:18). Therefore, we, my dear ones, are called to the same thing as the Holy Fathers, according to Saint Paul, so that we carefully follow his God-inspired words to his disciple: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker” (2 Tim. 2:15-17).

Indeed, my brethren, it is just like a canker that the irreverent messages of the “so-called” New Order are brought forth, the messages of the Globalization. The aim of the New Order is the denial of the principles and redeeming morals of the Gospel, namely the denial of Christ and His Name. “God also hath highly exalted him and given him a name which is above every name” (Phil. 2:9). However, we should not be afraid, because our Lord Jesus Christ promised His Disciples before departing from them and ascending into the heavens: “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:18). I will not leave you alone, I will come in a short while to you through the other Comforter, namely the Spirit of Truth, which will abide in you and unite you with me as members of mine.

Behold, therefore, why the Lord asks God the Father “that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves” (John 17:13). Christ is the joy of the Church and also the joy of those who love Him and commune with His precious Body and Blood. That is why He says, “enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matt. 25:23). And according to Saint Paul, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace” (Gal. 5:22). 

This joy of the Holy Spirit did the Most Blessed Mother of God enjoy when the Saviour fulfilled the mystery that had been hidden for centuries at His Ascension in the Heavens, as the hymnographer says: “for it was meet that she who, as should also partake of the surpassing joy of the glorification of Thy flesh, O Master, whereof we also have partaken through Thine Ascension to the Heavens, and we glorify Thy great mercy toward us” (Both Now, Aposticha Vespers). Moreover, “following the divine doctrines (of the Fathers) and believing with assurance, we worship, in one Godhead, the Father, Son and All-holy Spirit, the Trinity one in essence” (Glory, Aposticha of Vespers). Amen! Many happy returns.”

At the meal His Beatitude again addressed all present as follows:

“Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name. He is thy praise, and he is thy God, that hath done for thee these great and terrible things, which thine eyes have seen” (Deuteronomy 10: 2021), the Holy Bible writes.

Honourable President and Respected members of the Ecclesiastical Committee,

Reverend Holy Fathers and Brothers,

Beloved Brethren,

Today’s celebration of the Holy Fathers who convened the First Ecumenical Council in Nice in AD 325, which was under the order of the pious Emperor of the Rum Orthodox Christians Constantine the Great, has special importance for us Christians who live in the Holy Land and for the wider Middle East.

We say this because indeed the historical and great event of the First Ecumenical Council of the Church signified the precision of the Orthodox faith on the one hand, and on the other, it shaped the cultural and national-religious identity of the faithful members of the Church.

The First Ecumenical Council in Nice is the one that handed over to the Orthodox Church the name “Roumiye” and to the citizens of the Empire the title “Rum”. And this is because the Church is the body of Christ and bears His name, “which is above all other name” (Phil. 2:9), and it had a super national character according to Saint Paul’s teaching: “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26-28).

This very unadulterated apostolic tradition of the faith which was kept by the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council, as well as the spiritual grandeur of the cultural heritage of Romiosyni is carried out by the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Church of Jerusalem, the Mother of all Churches.

The unceasing and living historical presence of the Rum Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem throughout the centuries is the irrefutable witness of the Christian presence in the Holy Land and of the sacred institution of the Church which has been founded by the redeeming blood of Christ.

The God-bearing Fathers who gathered from all parts of the earth in Nice gave the doctrine of our Orthodox faith and Theology, namely the doctrine of the Holy Trinity through the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit and not through contemplative reasonings and philosophical inventions, as Saint Gregory the Theologian says: “we theologise with the simplicity of the fishermen’s faith”.

Our Holy Church of Jerusalem, my dear brethren, is not only the point of reference for us Christians, but also the guarantee of our existence according to the Lord’s word: “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18).

Let our boast then be the God of our Fathers and the Church of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ, Who was Ascended into the Heavens and has not been separated from us. Many happy and blessed returns. Amen!”

At noon the Community hosted a meal for His Beatitude and the members of His Entourage.

After the meal the couple Abu Rami and Im-Rami honoured at their house the Patriarchal Entourage with a variety of delicacies.

From Secretariat-General




THE COMMEMORATION OF THE GOD-CROWNED SOVEREIGNS AND EQUAL TO THE APOSTLES CONSTANTINE AND HELEN AT THE PATRIARCHATE

On Friday, May 21/ June 3, 2022, the Patriarchate celebrated the commemoration of the Holy glorious God-crowned and equal to the Apostles Constantine and Helen.

On this feast the Church celebrates that after Constantine the Great accepted the Holy Baptism, and received the sign that appeared in the sky for him with the Cross writing “be victorious with this” and made it an emblem for his army, he defeated the followers of Maxentius and recognized Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Country. His mother Helen came to Jerusalem and discovered the Holy Cross and the places of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and built the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, inaugurating Constantine’s Rum-Christian era from AD 326-336.

This feast was celebrated at the Monastic Church of Saints Constantine and Helen of the Brotherhood, with Great Vespers on Thursday afternoon and the Divine Liturgy on Friday morning, officiated by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos, along with the ministering Priests of the Church, with first in rank the Typikon Keeper Archimandrite Alexios. The service was attended by the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr Evangelos Vlioras, representatives from the Patriarchates of Moscow and Romania, many pilgrims and local faithful.

After the Divine Liturgy, the Patriarchal Entourage headed to the Patriarchate Reception Hall via the Central Monastery gate and received the small loaves of bread that had been prepared by the baker Nun Seraphima.

There His Beatitude addressed those present as follows:

“Not from man did great Constantine with his blest mother Helen receive the royal sovereignty but by God’s grace from Heaven. For he beheld the divine Cross as a bright flashing trophy. With it he was victorious over all who opposed him and he destroyed the deceit and error of all the idols while making strong throughout the world Orthodox faith and practice” (Matins Exaposteilarion).

Your Excellency Consul General of Greece Mr Evangelos Vlioras,

Reverend Holy Fathers and Brethren,

Noble Christians

Today the Holy Church of Christ, and especially the Church of Jerusalem most joyfully celebrates the sacred commemoration of the Holy glorious God-crowned and great sovereigns Constantine and Helen, who became equal to Christ’s Apostles and Fathers of Romiosyni, as well as founders of the beautiful Monasteries and magnificent Churches around the shrines of the Holy Land, such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem, among others.

Constantine the Great received the calling from the Lord and the knowledge from the Holy Spirit and significantly contributed to the recognition not only of the Christian faith as the official religion of the Empire but also the support of the institution of God’s Church.

Two primary events point out the contribution of Constantine the Great in his grandiose work for the Church; First, the invitation of the distinguished Church Fathers at the First Ecumenical Council of Nice in AD 325, which condiment the heresy of Arianism. Second, the pilgrimage of his mother Helen to the Holy Land and the greatest of her achievements, the discovery of the wood of the Precious Cross, along with the establishment of the Order of the Studious (“Spoudaioi” in Greek, referring to those who endeavoured in studying the teachings of Christ), namely of the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood.

Let us hear at this point the words written in a letter by Constantine the Great to the Persian King Sepori about the care of the people of God: “By keeping the divine faith I earn the light of truth. Guided by the light of truth I gain consciousness of the divine faith” (Eusebius on Constantine the Great, Book 4, ch.9). And in another letter to the Bishop Makarios of Jerusalem about the construction of the Holy Sepulchre, he writes: “It is righteous to beautify the value of the most marvellous place in the world”.

Needless to say, the Christian character of the Holy Land and of Jerusalem is entirely attributed to the God-inspired initiative and actions of the Holy Sovereigns Constantine and Helen.

Honouring all these gratefully, our Holy Church of Jerusalem, for their commemoration held the Patriarchal Divine Liturgy at the Monastic Church dedicated to them, rendering thus a thanksgiving Doxology to the Holy Triune God.

And let us say along with the hymnographer, Constantine most respected, along with your pious mother Helen, pray to Christ our God to grant remission of sins to those who celebrate your holy commemoration. Amen. Many Happy returns!

At noon there was a festal monastic meal.

From Secretariat-General




THE PLATINUM JUBILEE OF THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND ELIZABETH

On Thursday 2nd June 2022, the Geronda Secretary-General His Eminence Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina and Archdeacon Mark represented His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos at the English Consulate of East Jerusalem at the festive ceremony of the platinum jubilee of seventy (70) years of the reign of the Queen of England Elizabeth.

From Secretariat-General

 




MEETING OF HIS BAETITUDE PATRIARCH THEOPHILOS III WITH A DELEGATION FROM THE EUROPEAN UNION

His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III, Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem, along with Latin Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Melkite Greek Catholic Bishop Yasser Ayyash, and Rev. Don Binder on behalf of the Episcopal Diocese, met on Wednesday evening, June 1, with a delegation from the European Union, and took turns discussing the reality of the hardships Christians endure on daily basis in the Holy City of Jerusalem.

During the meeting which was held at the Imperial Hotel in Jerusalem, and was followed by a dinner, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III delivered the following speech:

 

“Respected Members of the European Diplomatic Corps,
Distinguished Experts in the MENA Region,
Beloved Fellow Heads of the Churches,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We welcome you warmly to the Imperial Hotel and to the historic pilgrims’ gateway to the Holy Sepulchre in the Holy City of Jerusalem.
We are deeply encouraged by your visit, and we wish to commend you on your desire to consult with the Heads of the Churches and Christian Communities of the Holy Land, especially at this time when the integrity of this region and the future of the Christian presence here are uncertain as at no other period in our lifetime.
For centuries this Holy City and the Holy Land, and indeed the entire region of the Middle East has been the home to a great civilisation. This region of the divine-human encounter has woven a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-religious tapestry of peoples that is at the heart of our collective identity. This rich heritage, in which Jews, Christians, and Muslims have grown and lived side by side for generations, is being undermined by a fresh and destructive radicalism on the part of those who wish to see this great tapestry picked apart.
The challenges that we face are serious and pernicious, for they strike at the heart of our uniqueness. As is well known, we face the provocations of radical groups that seek to make this city and this region exclusively their own. We are meeting this evening in the great focal point of this conflict, which is the Imperial Hotel, which is next door to the Petra Hotels, which are the target of Israeli radical groups to make permanent changes in the Christian Quarter of this Quarter. Furthermore, another entrance to the Christian Quarter, the New Gate, which also leads to the Holy Sepulchre, is under the same pressure and condition. The consequences of their intention are incalculable and will change the character of this City forever, to the detriment of the Christian presence. Our mission is always to keep the Holy City open to all, without distinction or discrimination.
We face other challenges, including the consequences of the ongoing pandemic, the economic situation, the restrictions that Christians are facing from the political situation, and the lack of opportunity for our young people to aspire to a better future.
We have only one mission; to ensure the integrity of the Christian character of the Holy City of Jerusalem and the Holy Land, and to do all that we can to enable the Christian presence in this region to remain here and flourish. We believe that our historic experience as those who have built this multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious society together with our Jewish and Muslim sisters and brothers who also understand the reality of our region, has the capacity to maintain this identity on which centuries of common life have been built.
This mission is not just for ourselves alone. This historic identity of the Holy Land is of enduring importance to our world. Here are the seeds of a genuine, stable, and strong diverse society that can be a model for others. And because of the religious significance of this region for the three Abrahamic traditions, which make up the majority of the religions of the world, the future of our world is directly related to the future of this region.
The Heads of the Churches have always been ready, and continue to stand ready, to work with the European Union and your respective governments, as well as with all sides of our society in this region, for lasting solutions to the challenges that we face, so that the unique witness of this land of the divine-human encounter, which brings hope to the countless millions of people every day, might be an example of encouragement to all.
Once again, we thank you for your visit to us, and with eagerness, we look forward to working in close collaboration with you.
Thank you”.

From Secretariat-General

 




THE VISIT OF THE PRIME MINISTER OF GEORGIA TO THE PATRIARCHATE

On Monday afternoon, May 17/30, 2022, the Prime Minister of Georgia Mr Irakli Garibashvili visited the Patriarchate, accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Ilia Darchiashvili, the Head of the State Security Service Mr Grigol Liluasvili, the Head of Government Administration Mr Revaz Javelidze and the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Mr Lasha Zhvania.

His Excellency the PM and his entourage were warmly received by His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos and Hagiotaphite Fathers, among whom the Patriarchal Commissioner, His Eminence Metropolitan Isychios of Kapitolias, Geronda Secretary-General, His Eminence Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, the Elder Dragoman Archimandrite Mattheos, His Eminence Archbishop Philoumenos of Pella, Archdeacon Mark and the Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod Hierodeacon Simeon.

During this visit His Beatitude addressed His Excellency the Prime Minister of Georgia as per below:

“Your Excellency, Mr Prime Minister,

Mr Garibashvili,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are very glad to welcome you and your distinguished delegation to our Patriarchate in this joyous Paschal season.

The Patriarchate of Jerusalem, that is to say, the Church of Jerusalem, is the Mother of all the Churches, for it was founded on the redeeming blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, who suffered, died, and was raised from the dead in this Holy City.

Thanks to the great Roman Christian emperors Constantine and his mother Helen, who took care of the Holy Places in the Holy Land and established the well-known order of the Spoudaei, which became the current monastic community of the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood, the Brotherhood of the Holy Tomb.

It is precisely this monastic community of the Holy Tomb that has been instrumental in guarding, serving, and maintaining the Holy Places, our Churches, and our Monasteries down the ages as places of prayer and worship, and therefore as places that are accessible to pilgrims and visitors without distinction.

Needless to say, the Holy Places have been sustained by the sacrifices of blood and of money.   Many have given their lives to protect them, and many benefactors have given from their financial resources to support them.   For these sacrifices, we give thanks to Almighty God.

We welcome you, Your Excellency, as a leader and as a representative of an Orthodox country and a brotherly Orthodox Church.   This means that the Church of Jerusalem and the Church of Georgia and its faithful belong to the same Body of Christ and His Church.   This is why it is imperative, as Saint Paul commands, that we are always eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3).

The challenges that we are facing here in the Holy City of Jerusalem are well known, for Jerusalem is the spiritual capital of the whole world and especially for the Orthodox Christian nations and peoples.

Our mission here is to promote the values of our Orthodox Christian tradition and heritage, which are no other than the values enshrined in the Holy Scriptures of both the Old and the New Testaments and in the Sacred Tradition of the Church.

The love of Christ and His peace, justice and reconciliation are the pillars of the Church of Jerusalem.

The Rum Orthodox Patriarchate, that is the Church of Jerusalem, as the Mother Church embraces everyone without distinction or discrimination.   This is why our Patriarchate enjoys the great respect of both the Israeli authorities and of course the Palestinian and Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan authorities as well, as you witnessed yesterday evening at our meeting in Amman.

Your Excellency, we take this opportunity to express our appreciation for your firmness and straightforward stand against globalization, which neglects Christian values.

We are therefore pleased to bestow upon you the Cross of the Holy Tomb of Our Lord Jesus Christ, so that you may be protected and inspired always by the salvific message of the Cross of the Righteous One.

Christ is risen!

Thank you”.

The address was followed by the exchange of presents; the PM gave His Beatitude an icon of the Georgian Saint Ashot, while His Beatitude offered the Prime Minister a big icon of the renovated Sacred Edicule, icons of the Mother of God to the members of the Delegation and the Ambassador and finally Mr Garibashvili was awarded the honorary medal of the Grand Commander of the Order of Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.

Thanking for the warm reception of His Beatitude, the PM and the members of the Delegation left to venerate the Holy Sepulchre, where they were received by Geronda Sacristan, His Eminence Archbishop Isidoros of Hierapolis. Before this visit, the Delegation had visited the Holy Monastery of the Holy Cross, where Georgian Monks throve in the past.

From Secretariat-General

 




EIGHTY-MEMBER GROUP OF THE GREEK NAVY VISITS THE PATRIARCHATE

On Friday afternoon, May 14/27, 2022, a group of eighty members of the Greek Navy visited the Patriarchate, accompanied by the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr Evangelos Vlioras and the Honorary Consul of Greece in Haifa Mr Constantinos Zinovios.

The group was received by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos and Hagiotaphite Fathers.

In His talk to the group, His Beatitude said that they have visited the holiest part of the earth because it has received the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and also received Himself in the All-holy Sepulchre, which was proven to be both new and empty, as Christ has risen from the dead.

Jerusalem is the spiritual capital of the whole world due to these two events, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection of Christ.

His Beatitude wished the members of this Naval Mission to have the power of the Master Christ and the Grace of the Holy Sepulchre to defend our country with renewed strength.

For this visit, they offered His Beatitude a coat of arms of the Navy, while the latter offered them blessings from Jerusalem and His blessing to visit the Holy Sepulchre and then attend a meal that the Patriarchate had prepared for them.

From Secretariat-General