On Tuesday, January 11th / 24th 2023, the Patriarchate celebrated the feast of our Holy Father Theodosius the Cenobiarch in the Holy Monastery, located in the area between the Village of the Shepherds and the Holy Lavra of Saint Savva the sanctified and the adjacent so-called village of Abediye.

On this day, the Church remembers that Saint Theodosius came from Mogarissa in Cappadocia, he came to the Holy Land in the year 451, when he was 27 years old, he joined the Order of the Studious of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Then he lived as a monk in the Monastery formerly called “Seat of Ikelia” near Jerusalem and in the area where the cave was, where the Magi spent the night “returning by another way to their homeland” (Matthew 2:12).

In this area he founded the Coenobitic Monastery for the training of novice monks, trained in common life, obedience and humility, without being deemed suitable for entering the Monastery – Lavra for an ascetic life. Due to his extreme virtue, he was appointed Cenobiarch, i.e. Leader of the entire Coenobitic life in Palestine and he cooperated after his compatriot Saint Savva for the protection of the doctrine of the Fourth Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in the year 451 AD. That is, that Christ our God, has one hypostasis in two natures, the divine and the human.

In his Holy Monastery, he received monks of various nationalities. The monks worked as manual labourers and from this income maintained charitable institutions such as a nursing home and an orphanage. Due to the Monastery’s location near the Shepherds Village village, it maintained a coenobitic character for the help of the needy asking for help. The Monastery had four churches and about seven hundred monks.

In this famous Monastery, the centre of monastic life and doctrinal correctness of the 5th and 6th centuries, a Divine Liturgy was held in honour of its founder, Saint Theodosius, during a vigil on the night of January 11/24, 2023, officiated by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos, with the co-celebration of their Eminences, the Archbishops Aristarchos of Constantina and Theodosios of Sebasteia, Hagiotaphite Hieromonks, among whom the Dragoman Archimandrite Mattheos, Archdeacon Mark and Hierodeacon Eulogios. The chanting was delivered by Hierodeacon Simeon and Mr Gotsopoulos and by a choir made up of members of the flock from the neighbouring areas, with the participation of monks, nuns and pilgrims.

Before the Holy Communion His Beatitude delivered the following Sermon:

“Thou didst secretly enter into the noetic darkness of the Divine Light, O all-blessed Theodosius; 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, Ode 8, Troparion 4).

Beloved brothers in Christ,

Reverend Christians and pilgrims,

Christ, the Son and Word of God, who was baptized in the Jordan, and who renewed and regenerated the aged man by sin, brought us all together in this Holy Monastery of Abba Theodosius the Cenobiarch, to celebrate his venerable memory.

Our holy Father Theodosius, who loved Christ from a young age, left his native country, the town of Mogarrisa in Cappadocia, and retreated to the Holy Land, where he lived the monastic life, during the reign of Markianus.

According to his biographer, Cyril Scythopolitis, our holy Father Theodosius was shown to be a citizen of heaven, the great beauty of Palestine and the boast of the desert, and the General and support of the monastic figure and the right doctrines and defender, guide and protector of the Coenobitic Canon.

It is noteworthy that the God-bearing Theodosius became not only “the support of the monastic schema”, but also the general and champion of the correct doctrines. And this because when he entered the holy city of Jerusalem and was lodged in the Tower of David, by the elder Longinus of Cappadocia, of the monastic order, “of the Studious of the Holy Resurrection of our God Christ”, namely of the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood, he was not allowed to departure to the monasteries of the desert of Palestine, “due to the schism of the monks in the desert who did not partake of the Catholic Church, but were subject to the strife and ill-will” of Eutychus and Dioscorus

In other words, the Church of Jerusalem and the monasticism in the desert, a numerous place of anchorites, was tested by the malice, the heresy of monophysitism,  monoenergeticism and Monothelitism. Our holy Father Theodosius was “a general and champion of the Orthodox doctrines, that is, of the Orthodox teaching and faith, as his hymnographer also eloquently states: “Calling thy teaching to remembrance, O Theodosius, we proclaim Christ in two essences, acknowledging the two natural wills and energies and authorities in God who was baptized in the flesh” (Matins, Ode 9, Troparion 3).

The dedication of the God-bearer Theodosius to the healthy Orthodox faith made him a Temple of the Holy Spirit. Clothed with power from on high according to the proclamation of our Lord Jesus Christ to His disciples: “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), he worked many miracles.

It is said of him, Saint Theodosius, as his biographer mentions, that he did three outstandingly meritorious deeds, firstly, the most exacting exercise of true and orthodox faith from youth to old age, secondly, his kindness to strangers and the poor, and his impersonal philanthropy, the third and the unceasing celebration of the Divine Liturgy.

This is why the hymnographer exclaims, saying: “Thou didst secretly enter into the noetic darkness of the Divine Light, O all-blessed Theodosius; 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, Ode 8, Troparion 4).

In other words, the blessed Theodosius, like another Moses, entered the place where God was (Exodus 20,21). According to Saint Dionysios of Areopagite, this divine “gnophos” (noetic darkness) is the unattainable light”. According to Saint John the Theologian: “God is light, and in Him, there is no darkness” (1 John 1, 5). And according to Saint Gregory of Nyssa, the “slates written by the finger of God” are the voice of God. “The letters in the slates, the voice of God.” Through whom the revelation of the mysteries took place.” According to the celestial Paul, the Lord God is ” Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see” (1 Tim. 6,16).

From the above, it is demonstrated, my beloved brothers, that the faithful and genuine members of the Church, of the Body of Christ, belong to the communion of saints. ” God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord”, (1 Cor. 1,9) preaches Saint Paul, who prays for us, ” That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints” (Eph. 1, 17-18).

  This wealth of the glory of God was inherited by our holy Father Theodosius, who is being honoured today. This wealth, says Saint Chrysostom, is “the ineffable glory of God”, so he wonders: “what word is able to describe that glory?” [of God]?”

This wealth of God’s glory is provided by Christ as an inheritance in His Church and through His saints, as the psalmist says: “God is wonderful in His saints” (Psalm 67:36).

We beseech God’s Saint Theodosius the Great, my beloved brothers, to be ambassador, after the blessed Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, to the noetic Sun of Righteousness, who came to Jordan to be baptized by John, to enlighten us and the whole world. Amen. Many happy returns”.

After the Divine Liturgy, the renovator of the Monastery, elderly Archimandrite Hierotheos, offered a treat to the Patriarchal entourage.

From Secretariat-General



On Saturday, January 8th/21st, 2023, the memory of Saints George and John the Hozevites was celebrated by the Patriarchate in the Holy Monastery of Hozeva, located on the left bank of the Brook Horrath in its Jericho flow.

On this day, the Church remembers that Saint John came to the Holy Monastery of Hozeva, having resigned his Bishopric in Caesarea, and became a pole of spiritual attraction, and Saint George came from Lefkara of Cyprus and renovated the Monastery after the Persian invasion of 614 AD.

The memory of these holy men was honoured with an all-night vigil after the preface by the Hegoumen Archimandrite Constantine of His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos, with the following address:

“Rejoice, rules of extreme humility,”

“Rejoice, images of clear wisdom”,

Your Beatitude, Father and Master,

And Your honourable Entourage,

We have gathered once more to celebrate the annual memory of the two Holy Founders of the historical HozozHoHeva Lavra, George and John, and the three thousand Hozevite martyrs the day after tomorrow.

Their virtues are many! Based on the most meaningful, excellent spiritual teaching of our Holy Father George, a virtue above all:

Holy humility!

In the teaching of the Saint to the Hozevite Monks, “About pride”, we read:

“Humility, humility, exaltation (that is, boasting) has the Only Begotten Son of God, who humbled Himself to death, death on the Cross… I tell you, brothers, that there was no Greek or Jew or Samaritan who had true humility and he is not loved and much loved by God and men… so let us acquire these virtues: humility and reverence. Struggle, brothers, supporting each other in humility.”

This is what our Holy Father George taught the Hozevites. Not only did he teach, but also practiced!

Both Saints John and George were possessed, not only by humility but above all, by extreme and genuine humility. The distinct, indeed, difference between the two concepts is clarified by our Holy Father Nikitas Stithatos in the second hundred of his chapters:

“Humility is achieved by all suffering and by the external efforts of virtue… Humility, however, is what is divine and heavenly and is born… through the influx of the Holy Spirit”. (Philokalia, volume 4 p.86,87, 1st edition 1987, “The Orchard of the Virgin Mary”).


The sublime precisely humility, which is completely lacking in our days, please pray, Your Beatitude Father and Master, that we may all acquire it. And indeed, we may walk in life with moderation, in the bond of the Lord’s love, Amen”.

Consequently, the all-night vigil followed, officiated by His Beatitude, with the co-celebration of their Eminences, the Archbishops, Aristarchos of Constantina, Isidoros of Hierapolis, Hagiotaphite Hieromonks, among whom the Elder Kamarasis Archimandrite Nectarios, the Hozevite Hieromonk Chrysogonos, at the changing of Mr Stavros Christos, cantor in the Church of Saint Paraskevi of Attica, Mr Papadimitriou Nikolaos, choir leader of the Holy Church of Saint Kyriaki in Pyrgos Elia, Mr Stavros Ioannou choir leader in the Holy Church of Saint Dimitrios of Tripoli, Mr Theotokatos Nikolaos left choir singer in the H. Church of Prophet Elias of the Municipality of Saint Paraskevi Attica, Mr Kamtsios Elias and Panagiotis, right and left choir singers respectively of the chapel of the Holy Apostles of the Municipality of Saint Paraskevi Attica, after the monks of the Monastery, with the participation of many people for the first time after the last covid-19 pandemic.

Before the Holy Communion, His Beatitude delivered the solemn sermon as follows:

“And I said: this change hath been wrought by the right hand of the Most High”, (Ps. 76,11) exclaims the psalmist,

Beloved Holy Fathers and Brothers in Christ,

The redeeming Grace of God and our Saviour Christ, who appeared in the Jordan, brought us all together in this Holy place of Hozeva, so that we may solemnly honour the sacred memory of our Holy Father George the Hozevite.

Burning from childhood with the desire for a solitary and ascetic life, to which he was drawn, and after remaining in the service of his elderly parents until their death, he left his native island of Cyprus for the Holy Land. Then his brother the monk Heraklides receives him and leads him to the famous for its austerity and its holy monks, the coenobitic monastery of Hozeva.

Let’s listen to his hymnographer saying: “Neither lengthiness of the road nor severity of the place could avail to weaken thy strong and fiery zeal to make thy journey to God; and when thou joyously hadst arrive da the places that were trod by the feet of our Lord and God, thou, O righteous George, leftest nothing undone till through thy labours and ascetic deeds thou camest unto the Sion in Heaven’s heights” (Vespers, sticheron 2).

Indeed, “the fire of our Saint George’s education to God” is strengthened by the Davidic words “I have longed for Thy salvation, O Lord, and Thy law is my meditation” (Psalms 118, 174) from one; and the strict (hard) his practice on the other hand, in Lavra. “The insults of the warrior devil did not settle the citadel of his soul,” says the hymn. And this, because the blessed George had as a model of imitation our Lord Jesus Christ, according to the commandment of Saint Paul: ” Be ye, therefore, followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour” (Eph. 5, 1-2).

Interpreting these words of Paul, Saint Chrysostom says: “See that the suffering because of the enemy, is a smell of fragrance and also a welcome sacrifice; if you die, then it a sacrifice; this is to imitate God.”

The imitation of God, that is, of our Saviour Christ, is nothing other than the alteration of the right hand of the Most High, Who “became like us and was greatly altered himself”, as Saint Cyril of Alexandria says, adding: “and everyone, out of malice returning, or remaining in virtue and prosper, let him say: -Now I start; this change, which the right hand of the Most High has bestowed, may it be the greatest advance through the striving of reverence. The precept of virtue does not exist when he does not change. It is also said that the Only Begotten (Son and Word of God) is changed, as the descent of the divine nature to the human form and a kind of change, not by expulsion (=rejection) but by adoption.

Our holy Father George also achieved this exact change according to Christ, “having been trained in virtue through the gymnasiums (=practice) of piety, of the right professed faith. Also worth noting is the fact that the Holy George, like another Paul, dwelt on earth as a disembodied angel, unceasingly glorifying the Holy Triune God and receiving his divine radiance.

Saint George, born as a vessel of the enlightening Grace of the Holy Spirit and following in the footsteps of Saint John the Forerunner and Baptist preaching repentance in the desert of Jordan, echoed and evangelized through the mouth of the psalmist, the greatness and saving truth of Christ, saying: “I have proclaimed the good tidings of Thy righteousness in the great congregation; lo, my lips I shall not restrain; Lord, Thou knowest it. Thy righteousness have I not hid in my heart; Thy truth and Thy salvation have I declared (Ps. 39, 11-12).

True witnesses of this event have been the multitude of monks, the ascetics in this holy Monastery of Hozeva, in which John the bishop-to-be of Caesarea of Palestine and John our New Father from Romania, who is before our eyes and his incorruptible and fragrant relic proclaims the Resurrection of God and our Saviour, but also our resurrection in Christ. ” For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection” (Rom. 6:5), preaches the wise Paul.

We, my beloved brothers and venerable monks, who are practising in this sanctified Lavra, beseech the all-wise George standing before God, to grant to those who honour him the illumination of the Holy Spirit who appeared in the form of a dove in the Jordan and the divine communion.

And after the hymnographer let us say: “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” (Ode 9, Heirmos).

Amen. Many, peaceful and blessed years”.

  After the Dismissal of the vigil, the renovator of the Monastery and its reorganizer, Hegoumen Archimandrite Constantine, offered a solemn feast.

Blessing everyone, His Beatitude ascended the uphill road with the help of the monastery vehicle and boarded the Patriarchate’s car to return to Jerusalem.

From Secretariat-General




The Patriarchate of Jerusalem publishes the letter of His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos under Protocol no. 788 and from December 21, 2022, to His Beatitude Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos regarding the Autocephalous regime of the Holy Monastery of Saint Catherine of Sinai and the canonical order in the case of the celebration of the Divine Liturgy in it, under a Bishop of other ecclesiastical jurisdictions.

This letter reads as follows:

No. Prot.


Your Beatitude Archbishop of Athens and all Greece and President of the Holy Synod of the Holy Church in Christ God in Greece, dear brother and co-minister of Our Mediocrity Mr Ieronymos. Embracing you in a holy kiss we humbly admonish Your Beatitude.

Through these Patriarchal fraternal Letters of Ours, we communicate in the spirit of fraternal love in Christ after Your most beloved and widely studied Beatitude, taking the occasion from this year’s feast of the Holy Glorious Great Martyr Catherine the All-wise in the Holy Monastery of the God-trodden Mount Sinai.

As you know, the long-standing canonical tradition of our Orthodox Church, witnessed in most canonical and synodical documents, (e.g. in the Canonical Letter of the Patriarch of Constantinople Gennadius Scholarios to Maximus Sophianus Hegoumen of the Monastery of Sinai, in the decisions of the Synodical Assembly in Cairo in the year 1557 under the Patriarchs Joachim of Alexandria, Joachim of Antioch and Germanos of Jerusalem, in the decision of the Holy Synod in Moscow in the year 1667, in the Patriarchal Letter of the Ecumenical Patriarch Methodius III), and also in the creeds, the confession which the Archbishops of Sinai have been giving up to the present time before the Patriarchs of Jerusalem at their ordination, as well as in the valid Constitution of the Patriarch of Jerusalem Chrysanthos, which defines this Monastery as being within the limits of the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, for centuries Autocephalous, Autonomous and Independent, administered by the Holy Synod of the Sinaitic Fathers.

This tradition and order from the days of Our election to the Patriarchal Throne, We also, conforming to the Canonical Principles, which were established by Our predecessors, including the great Sinaitic Patriarch of Jerusalem Nektarios, have totally respected, without any intervention neither in the internal administrative issues of the Monastery nor in its external activities.

These being strictly observed, however, a problem has been created recently, as it were, from the non-notification of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem by the Sinaitic Fathers, for the invitation of Hierarchs from other Ecclesiastical jurisdictions, for the purpose of the celebration of the Divine Eucharist in the Holy Monastery, in particular on the feast of Saint Catherine. Every year We send a delegation for this feast, without knowing which High Priests of other Churches we will meet there, thus making Our representatives witnesses of canonical disorder.

At the Divine Liturgy of the feast of Saint Catherine this year, His Eminence the Metropolitan Nikolaos of Mesogaia and Lavreotiki, presided, without any knowledge on Our part, and he commemorated in the Divine Liturgy, apparently due to a misunderstanding, the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece and the Archbishop of Sinai, without any mention of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, in contrast to the liturgical and canonical order that existed in the Venerable Patriarchates. We wonder if the Autonomy of the Monastery or its “Autocephalous”, as the Sinai Fathers claim, annuls the order of the Diptychs and on what canonical basis is this annulment based.

We make known to Your Beatitude that through the above we do not express an intention to catalyze the “Autocephalous” character of the management of the Monastery, but on the contrary, we intend to protect its Status in everything within the framework of the normal mandates of the Fathers and Synods (35th of the Apostles, 2nd  of the Second Ecumenical Council, 20th of Quinisext Council, 13th and 22nd of the Antioch Council, etc.), so we asked the Sinai Fathers to observe the normal order on this issue to ensure “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4.3).

Collocating these, we kindly request from Your Beatitude to recommend to the High Priests of the Church of Greece, any time they wish to celebrate the Divine Liturgy in the Holy Monastery of the God-trodden Mount Sinai, to inform the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, like the High Priests of the Other Orthodox Churches do because the Autonomy of the Monastery does not annul the fact that the Monastery does not stand in some abstract placement but on normal grounds of the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

Whence, attributing to You the embracing in the Lord from the Holy and Life-Giving Tomb of our Saviour Christ, we remain.

In the Holy City of Jerusalem, December 21, 2022

Your Beatitude’s

Beloved brother in Christ


Patriarch of Jerusalem


On Friday, January 13, 2023, in the space between the Bishopric and the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Qatar, a celebratory event of the Twelve Days period was held, following an artistic program from various local traditions.

The artistic program included contemporary Christmas carols by the children of the Orthodox Arabic-speaking Catechetical School, the Greek-speaking Catechetical School, the Russian-speaking Choir, Qatar Arabesque, the Russian-Ukrainian International Centre for Music Kamerton Choir. The dancing Association of the Greeks of Qatar, wearing Greek traditional clothing, danced traditional dances and the Al Kofia Association, wearing traditional Arabic clothing, danced traditional dances and sang traditional songs.

At this event, gifts and objects of reverence were put up for sale, to support the work of the H. Archdiocese. A wide variety of Arabic, Greek, Serbian, Romanian, Moldavian, Russian and Ukrainian cuisine was also presented, offered by various companies and leading members of the flock.

The event was honoured with their presence by the Ambassador of Greece, Mrs Helen Michalopoulou, the Ambassador of Moldova, Mr Lulian Grigorita, the Ambassador of Bulgaria, Mr Plamen Stankov Delev, the Ambassador of Russia, Mr Dimitri Dugadkin, the Ambassador of Georgia, Mr Nikoloz Revazishvili and the Acting Ambassador of Serbia, Mr Slobodan Radeka, as well as representatives of other denominations in Doha.

The large attendance of the Qatari Orthodox and members of other Christian Communities confirmed the success of this activity.

From the Holy Archdiocese of Qatar



On the evening of Friday, December 31, 2022/January 13, 2023, New Year’s Eve, the cutting of the New Year Cake (Vasilopita) took place in the hall of the Patriarchate, in the presence of the Hagiotaphite Fathers, the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem, Mr Evangelos Vlioras, the Greek Community of Jerusalem, the Trustees of the Cathedral of Saint James the Brother of God, the members of our Arabic-speaking flock and pilgrims.

On this occasion, H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos delivered the following address:

“And God said, let there be lights in the firmament of heaven to divide the day from the night? and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years” (Genesis 1:14) the Bible reads.

Our holy Church celebrates a double feast today the feast of the circumcision of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ and of the memory of our holy Father Basil the Great, and brought us all together in this holy place of our Venerable Patriarchate, that we may glorify and give thanks to the holy Triune God for the entrance of the New Year. Moreover, so that we can customarily perform the cutting of Vasilopitta, made in honour of Saint Basil.

God the Father set times and seasons in his own power (cf. Acts 1:7) says the Lord. Interpreting these words of the Lord, Saint Gregory of Nyssa says: “The Father in his own authority established the times, and from the times and everything born in the time we understand that the Father has authority over all these”. And Athanasios the Great points out saying: “about the end of all times [Christ] as the Word knows, as man is ignorant; for the man himself is ignorant of even these things”. According to Cyril of Alexandria: “one should not be curious about the very secret things and hidden in God and through them, the Lord taught”.

Indeed, it is impossible for the human mind to determine the meaning of time and its change without referring to its creator, God the Father, as Saint Paul teaches saying: “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible… all things were created by him, and for him” (Col. 1:16). Therefore, Basil the Great says: “and when now the time has come for the world to be introduced into the creatures … then the flow of time was created as a basis, inherent with the world … a flow that constantly rushes and runs sideways towards it and nowhere ends its path. Isn’t Time something whose past has disappeared, whose future has not yet appeared, and whose present, before it is fully perceived, escapes immediately from the hands of the senses?”

The exit of time, i.e. its appearance after the world but also its change, indicates the course on the one hand of man’s history in the world, on the other hand, of his rebirth in the Holy Spirit, of his hagiographical so-called history. “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted…To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord”(Is. 61,1-2/Lk. 4,18-19) says the Lord.

The Year of the Lord is not other than that, through which Jesus Christ, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost? Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour” (Tit. 3,5-6). We also hear St. Cyril of Alexandria saying: “accepted is the year which, however, we have entered into, washing away sin through holy baptism and becoming communicants with its divine nature, being born into communion through the sharing of the Holy Spirit… as also the all-wise Paul preached “behold, now is the accepted time? behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6,2).

The Church, therefore, the divine-human body of Christ, which is not of this world (Jn. 8:23), celebrates the fact of the change of the year not in a worldly way, but in a Christ-like way. And this is because Christ is the Lord of Time distinguished into the present, past and future on the one hand, and numbered in years on the other. “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, says the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (Rev. John 1:8) according to the testimony of Saint John the Theologian.

In other words, the human intellect’s understanding of the outgoing old and the new incoming Year becomes possible only in the Incarnation of God the Word of Christ, because, as Saint Paul preaches, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away? behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5,17). We become partakers of this newness in Christ in the liturgical and eucharistic act of the Church, as Time becomes season.

Christ has granted us the time that is born in his Church, so that we may cleanse soul and body from all corruption and become beloved to God, as the apostle Barnabas orders in his letter: “let us therefore completely depart from all works of iniquity, lest the works of iniquity overtake us; and let us hate the error of the present time, that in the future we may love”.

These divinely inspired words of the apostle Barnabas call all those who love, according to Basil the Great, “the longed-for beauty, the source of life, the mental light but also the unattainable wisdom”, during this time of the change of the year and the dawning apostasy and iniquity, so that we may reflect on our transgressions, for which our Lord Jesus was delivered and raised for our righteousness (cf. Rom. 4:25). “Let no man deceive you: he that does righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous” (1 John 3:7) orders St. John the Evangelist.

Saluting the dawn of the new year in the Incarnate in Christ from the pure blood of the most blessed Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, we beseech the Great Hierarch of Cappadocia, Saint Basil, the one who has adorned the things of men, that he may also intercede to the circumcised Lord God and our Saviour Jesus Christ for our souls, for the peace of the universe, especially for our tested region of the Middle East and for the cessation of schisms and the restoration of the broken unity of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church.

And after the hymnographer, we say: “God of Gods and Lord, you who are three-present nature, unapproachable, and creator of all, Almighty, we all fall to you, and we entreat you; bless this present year, as a Good one, keep in peace, Your Church, our Venerable Hagiotaphite Brotherhood, our pious Christian flock, the holy city of Jerusalem and the pious nation of the Roman Orthodox. Amen.

Happy, blessed and peaceful New Year 2023, and many happy returns!


Then, as the troparia of the Circumcision of the Lord and of Saint Basil were chanted, His Beatitude cut the cake and distributed its pieces to the pilgrims, praying: “Happy and prosperous New Year 2023” and the students sang the New Year carols in the Hall and later at the cells of the Hagiotaphite Fathers.

From Secretariat-General


On Monday, December 27, 2022/January 9, 2023, the visits of the Christian Churches of Jerusalem took place on the occasion of our Christmas Feast.

First, the Patriarchate was visited by the Fraternity of the Franciscans under its Abbot Custos, Father Francisco Paton, who congratulated our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilo on the Christmas Feast and thanked for the joint cooperation to overcome problems that Christians face, such as at the Gate of David, at Siloam, at the Anglican and Protestant Cemetery on the hill of Holy Zion and also thanked Him for His letter of condolence on the deceased former Pope Benedict XVI.

His Beatitude said the following in English:

“Your Paternity, dear Father Francesco,

Your Eminences,

Your Graces,

Beloved Members of our Respective Brotherhoods, Dear Fathers,

Christ is born!

Glorify him!

We thank you, dear Father Francesco, and your Brotherhood for your gracious greetings as we celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of the Incarnate Logos, our Lord Jesus Christ.   This is always a time of great rejoicing, as the hymnographer reminds us:

Today Christ is born of a Virgin in Bethlehem.

Today he who knows no beginning now begins to be, and the Word Is made flesh.

The powers of heaven greatly rejoice,

and the earth with humankind makes glad.

(Mattins of the Nativity)

As we keep this festive season, we wish to take this opportunity first of all to express our condolences in this formal way on the passing away of His Late Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. We remember with deep respect his visit to the Holy Land in 2009, and his commitment to the Church.

We also are mindful today of your ongoing cooperation in the restoration of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Our mutual commitment to this crucial cooperative venture between our two Brotherhoods remains a powerful sign of hope for the world of the Gospel that we share, and we wish to express our gratitude to you for this shared endeavour. The restoration will make the Church of the Holy Sepulchre an enduring place of pilgrimage for generations to come.

This festive Christmas season reminds us that we are people of prayer and hope.  Our hope is in the Word made Flesh, who united earth and heaven, and who gathers us into a common destiny.  And we remain in the life of the Word made Flesh as long as we remain a community of prayer. Prayer must always embrace everything that we say and do, for prayer is the source of the strength that enables us to live the values of our faith. Prayer enables us to resist secular and political influences, and remain focused on the Gospel, which is the foundation for true peace, justice, and reconciliation.

We rejoice with you and your Brotherhood, dear Father Francesco, in this joyful Christmas season. MAY God bless you and the communities committed to your pastoral care, and MAY the light of the Incarnate Logos shine in our hearts and minds.

We wish you a happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.

Thank you.”


Subsequently, all the other Christian Communities visited the Patriarchate, the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem under the Latin Patriarch Pierre Battista Pizzaballa, the Pre-Chalcedonian Churches, Copts, Syrians and Ethiopians and Lutherans and Anglicans.

The Leader of each Church prayed for peace during the Christmas season and for the continuation of the work to deal with the problems of Christians in the Holy Land.

In response, His Beatitude said the following, in English:

“Beloved Fellow Heads of the Churches,

Your  Excellencies,

 Your Eminences, Your Graces,

Dear Fathers,

Brothers and Sisters,

Christ is born!

Let us glorify him!

We welcome you to our Patriarchate and we thank you for your warm expressions of greeting as we celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of the Incarnate Logos, Our Lord Jesus Christ. As the Church proclaims

Heaven and earth are united today, for Christ is born.

Today has Cod come upon the earth, and humanity up to heaven.

Therefore let us also give glory.

(Compline of the Nativity)

 The Christmas message is the message that by his incarnation, the Eternal Logos has united earth and heaven, so that we may live the values of the Good News of the Gospel. The message of Christmas is most emphatically not a message of discord, or violence, or division. It is the message of the triumph of love and compassion, which is the ground of peace, concord, and harmony.    As Saint Paul reminds us, whatever we do without love is worth nothing (cf. 1 Cor.13:1-3). We Christians commit ourselves to this way of love.

We also seek to make manifest in our common life that Christmas is not a lovely folktale of long ago or a cultural event surrounded by a lot of social and commercial activity.   Christmas is the very revelation of the Logos, the Word that was from the very beginning, through whom, as the Creed declares, all things were made. Let us keep this message of the mystery of the Incarnate Logos at the centre of our mission.

Here our togetherness and our common purpose find their anchor.  And because our togetherness and common purpose are anchored in the mystery of the incarnation, they have proven to be effective. The Christian presence in the Holy Land down the ages has been a force for stability that has worked to prevent acts of extremism, and our work together as spiritual leaders is a living witness to this.

In this same spirit, we stand together against the horrific and senseless desecration of sacred places, like the vandalism of the Anglican cemetery on Mount Zion a few days ago, perpetrated by suspected radicals whose agenda is to tear the fabric of our multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-religious landscape.  This vandalism, occurring at the time of this festive season, is no accident. All our Churches have suffered such indignities, and they are on the rise, and we condemn all acts of religious vandalism from whatever source,  which are designed only to intimidate, insult and inhibit our life together. And we take this opportunity to express our support to our brother, Archbishop Hosam, and the local Anglican Church. We would also like to communicate our appreciation to the Archbishop of Canterbury for his real concern for our predicament here.

We must also express our sincere condolences to the Custos of the Holy Land and his Fraternity and also to the Latin Patriarch on the passing away on New Year’s Eve of His Late Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, who we had the opportunity to welcome to our Patriarchate.

Our Christmas celebration is a celebration of doxology and prayer. Therefore our task first and foremost is to remain a community of prayer not only for ourselves but also for the whole human family. This is precisely what we did in our celebration at the Church of the Nativity, where pilgrims come throughout the year, and which is itself a place of prayer for the whole world. This Holy City, the Holy Places, and our beloved Holy Land are the great arena of prayer, both for individual faithful people as well as for the Churches. Here prayer has seeped into the very stones, and here countless people have been moved to pray. By remaining a community of prayer, we remain grounded in the divine mystery of the Nativity of our Lord and in the spiritual values of his Gospel.

MAY God bless you and the communities you serve and pastor, and MAY the light of the Sun of Righteousness that shines from the Holy Cave in Bethlehem illumine our hearts and minds.

We wish you all a very happy Christmas and a blessed New Year.

Thank you.”


Then the Most Reverend Archbishop Theodosios of Sebastia, as the representative of the Patriarchate, returned their visit to the Syrians, Copts and Ethiopians.

From Secretariat-General


On the evening of Christmas Eve, Friday, December 24, 2022/January 6, 2023, His Beatitude hosted a dinner for the President of the Palestinian State, His Excellency Mr Mahmoud Abbas Abu-Mazen, and for high-ranking Officials of his Government, as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Stayeg, the President of the Supreme Ecclesiastical Palestinian Committee, Mr Ramzi Khouri, and elders of the flock.

In the context of this dinner, His Beatitude addressed the President in English (the address will be posted soon).

From Secretariat-General



On the morning of Friday, December 17/30, 2022, H.H.B our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos, received in his Office the doctor Mr George Naum, son of a priest, President of the Federation of the Byzantine Chanters Association of Greece, Director of the Amarousion and Psychiko Medical Center, accompanied by his wife and by the representative of the European Public Law Organization, Mrs Maria Zozonaki.

Mr Naum informed His Beatitude about the medical prototype achievements of his research and about their relationship and connection with the Theological Church Music, of which he is also a healer, as a member of the body of the Church of Christ and offered His Beatitude the exquisite handwritten musical composition by him and Mr Konstantinos Douzios “Liturgy”.

His Beatitude blessed the work of Mr Naum and wished him the grace of the Holy Sepulchre for the continuation of his outstanding medical, scientific and musical work and presented him with the book of the History of the Church of Jerusalem of the Holy Sepulchre Archbishop of Athens Chrysostomos Pathopadopoulos and a cross for him and his wife and the icon of the Most Holy Theotokos of Jerusalem.

From Secretariat-General



On the morning of Tuesday, December 14th / 27th, 2022, the long-established visits of the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood took place to the local Churches, celebrating their Christmas holiday, in accordance with the Gregorian Calendar.

First, the visit to the Franciscan Brotherhood took place. In it, H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos addressed the Custodian Fr. Francis Paton with the following address in English:

“Your Paternity, Father Francesco,

Your Eminences,

Your Graces,

Beloved Members of our Respective Fraternities,

Dear Fathers,

 We greet you with joy today as you and your communities celebrate the great Feast of the Nativity of the Incarnate Logos, the Word made flesh.

As the hymnographer tells us:

 “Behold, the Most Holy Word comes unto his own

 in a holy body that is not his.

By a wondrous birth he makes his own

   the world that was estranged” .

(Irmos for the Forefeast of the Nativity)

 In this festive Christmas season, it must be our special care to articulate a message of hope, especially for our communities here in the Holy Land.   As we all so fully recognize, we are living through challenges and dangers unprecedented in our lifetime, and our Christian communities in the Holy Land are bearing a terrible burden.   The combination of the consequences of the pandemic, world economic volatility, political uncertainty in the region, and the pressure to emigrate all weigh heavily on our people, especially on our youth.  

What hope can we show our own people?   Can this hope, the Incarnate Logos, our Lord Jesus Christ, reach our own people with life-sustaining force in the face of so much that seems to rob them of life?

The hope that comes to us at Christmas is precisely the expectation that we can live fully in the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious landscape in which Divine Providence has placed us, where there can and must be peace, justice, reconciliation, and mutual respect of those who know themselves to be the sons and daughters of the Creator and Father of all.

Hope is the conviction of those who are confident in God, even in the face of the most terrible of circumstances.   For, as Saint Paul says, we know that affliction produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us (Rom. 5:3-5).   Hope is the resolve that our Lord Jesus Christ has made his own a world that was once estranged, but has now been redeemed by his life, passion, death, and resurrection.

Dear Father Francesco, our unity of purpose in our common mission to guard and serve the Holy Places and to ensure the Christian integrity of the Holy City of Jerusalem and the Holy Land, is itself another sign of hope, for this has produced real fruits.   We wish to express once again our appreciation for all that you have done, and continue to do, in this regard, especially in your firm resolve in the face of provocative behaviour from radical groups.   We are stronger and more effective in this alliance.

ΜΑΥ our partnership ever deepen, that together we and our fraternities may be agents of hope to those entrusted to our pastoral care in the Christian communities of the Holy Land.   In this way, the world may see hope born again in the Holy Land, and the Holy Land may shine as a beacon of hope to the world.

We wish you, the members of your Brotherhood, and all the faithful committed to your care, the blessings and the joy of this Christmas Feast.

Thank you”.


Then the visit to the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem took place. There, His Beatitude addressed the Latin Patriarch His Beatitude Mr Pierre Battista Pizzaballa with the following address in English:

“Your Beatitude, dear Patriarch Pizzaballa,

Your Eminences,

Your Graces,

Dear Fathers,

Beloved in Christ,

We wish to extend to you, Your Beatitude, the greetings and the blessings of this holy season as you and your communities celebrate the Christmas Feast.  As we hear in the hymns at this time of the year:

A Light shall spring forth from the root of Jesse,

 as the prophet full of light foretold…

O ye people, let us say:

Blessed are you, our God who has come among us:

Glory to you.

(Canticle Nine, Mattins, the Forefeast of the Nativity)

The Light that has come is the Incarnate Logos, the Word made Flesh, the Sun of Righteousness who has brought healing in his wings (Malachi 4:2).    By uniting heaven and earth, divinity and humanity in himself, he has brought hope to the world, so that all may know that in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, (2 Cor. 5:19).

As we all well know, we are celebrating this Christmas season at a difficult time for our world and our region.   In every aspect of our life, people are under pressure.   So well-known are the circumstances of our present life that we need not number them all, but their cumulative effect on our communities is extremely serious.   Perhaps most seriously, we see creeping despair, especially among our young people, who do not see a future of possibility for themselves in our region.

We have a message of hope in the Gospel of Christ so that hope may be made manifest in our life today. Our mission is precisely this, to bear witness to the manifestation of hope.

We wish to take this opportunity to acknowledge your commitment, Your Beatitude, to creating a culture of hope in our region, even in the face of tremendous difficulty and challenge. For hope is the only light that can pierce the darkness of despair and futility, and hope must be our constant message as well as our tireless resolve.   The common mission that we share in protecting the Christian character of Jerusalem and the Holy Land and in pastoring the communities entrusted to us is nothing less than a mission of hope. Μay we always keep this hope before us in all that we do.

May God bless you and your communities in this holy season of light and hope, as we celebrate the birth of the living Hope whose light and life shine from the cave in Bethlehem for us all.

Thank you”.

Finally, His Beatitude, accompanied by the Patriarchal Commissioner His Eminence Metropolitan Isychios of Capitolias and the Geronda Chief Secretary His Eminence Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, visited the Apostolic Delegate (Nuncio), that is, the representative of the Vatican in Jerusalem.

Following these, was the visit to the Anglican Archbishop Naum Hossam, who, on the occasion of Christmas and the visit, offered His Beatitude a decorated porcelain plate.

From Secretariat-General


On Sunday, December 12/25, 2022, the Patriarchate celebrated in accordance with its Typikon the feasts of the Holy Forefathers and of our Holy Father Spyridon the Miracle Worker, Bishop of Trimythus.

During the feast of the Holy Forefathers, celebrated on the 1st Sunday after December 11, the Church commemorates and honours the pre-Law and post-Law Forefathers of Christ in the flesh, who were pleasing to God, that is, Adam the Forefather, Enoch and Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the twelve Patriarchs, Moses, David and Daniel and the three Children, Zechariah and John the Forerunner and a multitude of others.

On this occasion, a Divine Liturgy was held in the Church of the Holy Forefathers in the Shepherds’ Village / Beit Sahour, presided over by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos, with the co-celebration of their Eminences, the Metropolitan Isychios of Capitolias, the Archbishops; Aristarchos of Constantina, and Methodios of Tabor, the Metropolitan Joachim of Hellenopolis, the Elder Kamarasis Archimandrite Nectarios, and the Hegoumen of  Beit Jala and Beit Sahour Archimandrite Ignatios, the Priests of this community,  Fr. Issa, Fr. Savvas, Fr. Ioannis and Fr. Georgios. The chanting was delivered by the Community Byzantine choir, as the service was attended by the full congregation of this parish, the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr Evangelos Vlioras and the Mayor of the city Mr Haik.

His Beatitude delivered the following Sermon to this congregation:

“The genealogy of Christ according to the divinity cannot be phrased, however, His lineage according to man is possible, as He became a descendant of man, He who is also the son of man in order to save man”, Saint Gregory Palamas preaches.

Beloved brethren in Christ,

Dear Christians,

The Grace of the Holy Spirit brought us all together today in this holy place of the Village of the Shepherds, where the angel of the Lord gave the good news to us the people of great joy and where there was a multitude of heavenly hosts with the angel praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men” (cf. Luke 2:10-14), so that we may celebrate in Eucharist the memory of the Forefathers in the flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ before the Law of Moses and according to the law; especially of the Patriarch Abraham, in whom first the promise was given, when God said to him  “in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 12:3).

Indeed, as the Holy Bible says, Abraham was given the promise, that is, the promise that, because he obeyed God’s command, through Christ, Who would be one of his descendants, all the peoples of the earth will be blessed. “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice” (Gen. 22:18).

 And according to the psalmist: “His name shall endure forever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed” (Psalm 72:17).  The land of the promise is none other than the land of blessed Palestine and the city of Bethlehem, where, according to the true testimony of the Evangelist Luke, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).

The holy Church of Christ honours the memory of the holy Forefathers, in order to demonstrate through the mouth of the Apostle Peter that: “we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2 Peter 1:16). The Forefathers in general and the Prophets, in particular, refer to this very majesty of the power and presence in human history of the Son and Word of God according to the Father, and of the Son of man according to the Mother.

From the pure flesh of the Ever-Virgin Mary and from the Holy Spirit, the incarnation of God the Word of our Lord Jesus Christ is a universal and irrefutable event, witnessed by sacred and secular history; at the same time, it is also a great mystery, impossible to be understood by the human mind, that is, by human logic: “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (1 Tim. 3:16), Saint Paul preaches.

St. Gregory Palamas, referring to this great mystery of piety, of the so-called divine Providence, asks: “How to form a lineage for the One Who was from the beginning, and was God, and with God, and also was the Word of God, and the Son of God”, (Cf. John 1:1) and He did not have a Father prior to Himself and has a name after the Father “the name above every name” (Phil. 2:9) and “every word?”

Indeed, my beloved brothers, Jesus Christ has a lineage according to His human nature, that is, the human form, which He assumed for the salvation of us humans. “Because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (2 Thess. 2:13), the wise Paul says.

According to the interpreter Zigavinos, the Word God, becoming a man, did not avoid “our disgrace”, that is, he did not despise certain human weaknesses which were not sinful. He assumed the whole of human nature, except for its sin: “For Christ came for this reason also, not to flee (=avoid) our disgrace, but to receive it and relieve it through his own virtues. For He came as a doctor, not as a judge.”

As for the divine nature, i.e. the divinity of Jesus Christ, it is unapproachable and indefinable. “No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18), the evangelist John teaches.  “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see” (1 Tim. 6:16), Saint Paul preaches. “For there shall no man see me, and live” (Exodus 3:20), says the Lord. In the next life, however, those who have reached perfection shall see Him. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8), says the Lord again.

We are also called to this, my beloved brothers, to purify our hearts and properly approach and worship the born Christ, Who “sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready” (Luke 14:17), as we listened to today’s Gospel reading.

Interpreting the above words, Saint Cyril of Alexandria says: “God and Father in Christ has prepared for those on earth, the goods given to the world, the forgiveness of sins, the coming of the Holy Spirit, the splendour of adoption, the kingdom of heaven.” And Saint Paul says: “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Gal. 4:4-5).

Let us also listen to the hymnographer: “Since Thou art the God of peace and the Father of mercies, Thou hast sent unto us Thine Angel of Great Counsel, granting us peace. Wherefore, having been guided to the light of divine knowledge, and watching by night, we glorify Thee, O Friend of man” (Katavasia of Christmas Ode 5).

This Angel of the Great Council of God the Father, the illumination, as it were, of the knowledge of God (Eph. 2:14), our Savior Jesus Christ, Whom the Forefathers prepared and the Prophets foretold, let us also hasten and come in repentance, so that by the intercessions of the Most Blessed Theotokos Mary and the prayers of our holy Father Spyridon the Wonderworker, who is celebrated today, we are blessed with our spiritual rebirth on the one hand and physical renewal on the other. Amen. Many Happy returns and blessed Christmas.”

This was followed by the parade of the Boy Scouts and a reception at the Hegoumeneion, where H.H.B addressed those present through the ministering Priest of the Church, Dean Priest Issa Mousleh as follows:

 “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1), exclaims the psalmist.

Dear Mr Mayor,

President and honourable members of the Ecclesiastical Council,

Holy Fathers and Brothers,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Beloved brethren in Christ,

Today’s solemn commemoration of the holy Forefathers is the harbinger of the great Feast of Christmas.

The truly joyous and universal event of Christmas was overshadowed for a moment by the tragic and sudden death of two innocent and angelic infants, brothers of your biblical Village of the Shepherds. And the psalmist says “As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth” (Psalm 103:15) and our Lord Jesus Christ says: “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (John 11:25-26).

The Birth of Christ refers to the rebirth of us believers and His resurrection, which is a sure guarantee that our hope will not be denied, but we will also be resurrected, as the Apostle Peter preaches saying: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3-4).

This means that the Church of Christ, and especially the Rum Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem constitutes the physical and spiritual Ark, which throughout the centuries guarded and continues to guard the Christian congregation of the Middle East in general and of the Holy Land in particular. The political and social crisis created by the occupation situation and its consequences, the uncertainty and the impasse is enough to demonstrate that the Rum Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem is the only institution that guarantees not only the religious but also the cultural identity of those in the wider area of living Christians.

What is noteworthy in this regard, is the fact that the present Patriarchate, whose ecclesiastical and spiritual jurisdiction includes the State of Palestine, the Gaza Strip, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Emirate of Qatar and the State of Israel, consists of one point of reference, that is, to belong, but also “the unity of the spirit of Christ’s flock in the bond of peace; one body and one spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling”, (Eph. 4, 3-1) according to Saint Paul.

We want to assure you, my beloved brothers, that the Patriarchate of Jerusalem has never ceased to care as much for the protection of the Holy Places and the divine worship performed on them, as for the various needs of its pious flock: “Ask, and it shall be given to you, seek, and you shall find, knock, and it shall be opened to you”, Matthew 7:7), says the Lord. Nevertheless, “let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Cor. 14:40), the Apostle Paul orders.

In conclusion, we wish a blessed Christmas to all of you, and to the parents, tested by great sorrow, of their beloved children who unfortunately and unjustly fell asleep in the Lord, we express our deepest condolences, assuring them that “whether one member suffers, all the members suffer with it” (1 Cor. 12:26). May the Lord God, give rest to the infant angels who have passed away in the Father’s arms. Amen”.

At noon, a meal was offered.

From Secretariat-General