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LAZARUS’ SATURDAY AT THE PATRIARCHATE

  1. At the place of the Ascension the Great Vespers was observed on Friday 2/15 April 2022, led by His Eminence Metropolitan Isychios of Kapitolias. Co-celebrants to His Eminence were the Archimandrites Makarios, Kallistos and Dionysios, Priest George Baramki, Hierodeacons Mihail and Dositheos. The chanting was delivered by Hierodeacon Simeon with the Patriarchal School Students and Saint James’ choir under the lead of Mr Rimon Kamar. Within the service of the Compline in the evening, there was a litany to the Church of Men of Galilee which was blessed by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos. On Saturday morning the Divine Liturgy was officiated by His Eminence Metropolitan Isychios of Kapitolias in the presence of Rum Orthodox Palestinian, Russian, Romanian and Greek pilgrims.

The Episcopal Entourage and the congregation were offered a reception by the Caretaker of the Shrine, Monk Achilios.

  1. In Bethany

In remembrance of the resurrection of Lazarus, who came from Bethany, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated on Saturday morning, 3/16 April 2022 at the Monastery of Lazarus’ sisters, Martha and Mary, led by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos. Co-celebrants to His Beatitude were their Eminences the Archbishops, Theophanes of Gerassa, Aristarchos of Constantina, Philoumenos of Pella, the Elder Kamarasis Archimandrite Nectarios, Archimandrites Klaudios and Epiphanios, Palestinian and Russian Priests, as the chanting was delivered by Mr Gotsopoulos and the service was attended by the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr Evangelos Vlioras, pilgrims and local faithful.

Before the Holy Communion His Beatitude delivered the following Sermon:

“Jesus said unto her, 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. Believest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world” (John 11,25-27), Saint John the Evangelist says as an eye witness.

Beloved Brethren in Christ,

Noble Christians and pilgrims

The grace of the brother of Martha and Mary and friend of our Lord Jesus Christ, Lazarus, has gathered us in this holy place of the biblical Bethany, to celebrate Lazarus rising from the dead on the one hand and the confirmation by Christ of our common resurrection before His passion on the Cross on the other.

The detailed narrative of Lazarus’ resurrection from the dead by Saint John the Evangelist is placed just before the triumphant entrance of Jesus Christ in the Holy City of Jerusalem with palm trees’ branches. That is why our Holy Church calls this day “the Saturday before Palm Sunday”, or the Saturday before the Passion Week of our Lord Jesus Christ. “Today Bethany proclaims beforehand the Resurrection of Christ the Giver of life, and it rejoices at the rising of Lazarus” (Matins, Ode one, Troparion 4).

The three-day burial and resurrection from the dead of Jesus Christ is the peak of the mystery of the Divine Providence, namely the incarnation of the Son and Word of our God the Father through the pure flesh of the Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit.

Moreover, it testifies to our freedom from sin and the corruption of death as well as the time of the last judgment, the divine righteousness. “For the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (John 5,28-29) the Lord says. Likewise, the prophet Isaiah said through the Holy Spirit: “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise” (Isaiah 26,19).

Saint Cyril of Alexandria interpreting the Lord’s word in the Gospel “Loose him [Lazarus], and let him go” (John 11,44), says: “To our benefit, He did not untie him by His own hands, so that there would be no chance of slander, but all became witnesses of the miracle. And this is a sample of the catholic resurrection when each one shall be set free, loosened from the bondage of sin and the corruption of death”.

And Saint Paul, showing the greatness of the resurrection of our Saviour Christ says: “But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain” (1 Cor. 15,13-14).

Anticipating the resurrection of the dead, my dear brethren, let us say along with the hymnographer: “Before Thine own death, O Christ, Thou hast raised from hell Lazarus that was four days dead, and hast shaken the dominion of death. Through this one man whom Thou hast loved, Thou hast foretold the deliverance of all men from corruption. We, therefore, worship Thine almighty power and cry; blessed art Thou, O Saviour, who comes in glory, have mercy upon us and save our souls” (Praises, troparia 2,3).

Have a blessed Holy Week and a good Easter! Amen!”

From Secretariat-General




PASCHA 2022 MESSAGE OF H.H.B. THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM THEOPHILOS III

THEOPHILOS III

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

And all Palestine

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

From the Holy and Life-giving Sepulchre

Of the Resurrected Christ

 

“Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay” (Matthew 28, 5-6).

With these comforting words, the Myrrh-bearing Women were encouraged by “the angel that hath come down from heaven and moved the stone of the tomb”, where the crucified Jesus Christ the Nazarene had been buried. The Myrrh-bearing Women, who bore the myrrh in tears, were astounded by the vision of the empty tomb, for this reason, the angel encouraged them with his presence and with the words: “fear not ye”. Appearing “like lightning and white like snow”, he was sitting at the tomb and said to the women: “I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen”. And he was not ashamed to call Him crucified, for this was the good chapter”, according to Saint Chrysostom.

The bright like lightning angel announced something unheard of and impossible for the people. He announced what could happen only by the providence, the will and the power of God. That Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son and Word of God, and crucified in the flesh, having been buried, was risen from the dead and co-resurrected the human flesh He had received along with the whole Adam, by a mighty hand. Out of love for man, Saint Chrysostom explains, “having risen from the royal thrones, God entered the earth and even Hades, and the devil became an opponent not to a naked God but to a God hidden within the human nature” and we see “death being released by death and the curse annulling the curse, and through these, the tyranny of the devil in all things he prevailed is now abolished”. Indeed, through the Saviour’s death, the tyranny of death has been abolished. “Through the Cross, joy came unto the whole world”. Hades became bitter and therefore he was mocked, thinking that he received a common mortal. That is why, in the faith and power of Christ’s Resurrection, the Apostle of nations rephrases the prophesy: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Cor. 15, 54-55).

The Myrrh-bearing women experienced the Resurrection not only from the vision of the empty Tomb and the Angel and the hearing of his words but also from the vision of the Resurrected Lord Himself. “Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me” (Matthew 28, 9-10). Indeed, for forty days the Lord appeared many times as the Apostle Paul testifies, “And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles” (1 Corinthians 15, 5-7), speaking to them, confirming His crucified and resurrected body, receiving food and eating before them. Finally, receiving the worship of the eleven in Galilee, the mountain where Jesus had appointed them, He ordered them to go and teach all nations (Matthew 28, 16-19).

Fulfilling this command, the Apostles received the Holy Spirit and preached unto the ends of the world “the one they had seen with their own eyes and touched with their own hands”, they enchanted the universe, becoming the twelve pillars of the body of the Church, while Christ is its cornerstone. The body of the Church that has been built by the Lord, for which He said “the gates of hell shall not overcome it” (Matthew 16,18), continues throughout the centuries His sanctifying and redeeming mission through His Disciples and their heirs, the Bishops and Priests. In its crucified-and-resurrected course in the world, the Church, vivified by the blood of the Cross, from which it was created, conveys power, hope and joy for the creation, maintenance, refreshment and restoration of man from the ruins and the ashes of wars, repeating the comforting invitation of Christ, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11,28).     

The Church of Jerusalem, appointed by the Resurrected Christ Himself to serve at the places of His appearance in the flesh, being under pressure, especially recently, by radical extremist and hostile to it elements, however, not crushed by them, fights bravely in one accord and unity for the rights of the Christian presence and its flock in the Holy Land and welcomes the pious pilgrims during their pilgrimage as its own flock and sends to them and its pious flock all over the world the Paschal greeting “Christ is risen from the dead, by death He hath tumbled down death and to those in the grave He hath given life!”

         

In the Holy City of Jerusalem, Pascha 2022

Fervent supplicant for all before God,

THEOPHILOS III

Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                    

 

 

 

      /κουσαν ὅτι

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




THE VISIT OF THE MINISTER OF DEVELOPMENT AND ENERGY OF GREECE TO THE PATRIARCHATE

On the afternoon of Monday, March 29 / April 11, 2022, the Minister of Development and Energy of Greece, Mr Konstantinos Skrekas, visited the Patriarchate while on a one-day visit to Israel, accompanied by his associates, Mr Nikolaou Giotopoulos, Mr Theodoros Tsakiris, Mr Manousos Manousakis and the Ambassador of Greece to Tel Aviv Mr Kyriakos Loukakis and the Consul of Greece in Jerusalem Mr Evangelos Vlioras.

His Excellency the Minister and his associates were warmly received by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos and Hagiotaphite Fathers.

During this visit, there was a discussion about the recent tense political situation after the occurrence of severe violence and its victims and about the efforts of the Patriarchate to create an appeal.

There was also a discussion about the help of the Patriarchate to the needy Palestinians – members of this flock and others, about the cancellation of paying the rent of their homes for the year 2020  of the encroachment the Christians undergo of their property, of the hotel “Mikra Petra” and of the irrational security measures of the Police for the ceremony of the Holy Light on Holy Saturday.

At this critical juncture in the history of the Patriarchate, the Minister said that the Greek Government would make every effort to secure the property and the pilgrimage rights for the benefit and prosperity of the Christian element.

For this visit, His Beatitude offered the Minister a plaque of Jerusalem and blessings for his associates, while the latter offered His Beatitude cufflinks set and asked His blessing to venerate the Holy Sepulchre.

From Secretariat-General




AN APPEAL FOR PRAYER BY THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM HIS BEATITUDE THEOPHILOS III

 

Appeal for prayer

 




THE FEAST OF THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE THEOTOKOS AT THE PATRIARCHATE

On Thursday, 25 March / 7 April 2022, the Patriarchate celebrated the Feast of the Annunciation of the Theotokos in Nazareth.

On this feast, the Church commemorates that Archangel Gabriel visited the Most Holy Mary in Nazareth and announced to her that she was going to conceive from the Holy Spirit and give birth to the Incarnate Son of God for the rebirth and salvation of the humankind. When Mary said the words: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38), then along with the bodiless voice of the Angel, the Bodiless One received a body, the Son and Word of God became incarnate and Mary became the Mother of God and Ever-Virgin.

For this feast the Divine Liturgy was celebrated:

  1. At the Shrine of the Annunciation in Nazareth, led by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos, along with their Eminences, the Metropolitans Kyriakos of Nazareth and Isychios of Kapitolias, the Archbishops, Aristarchos of Constantina and Methodios of Tabor, Hagiotaphite Hieromonks, Arab-speaking Priests from the Holy Metropolis of Nazareth, the Elder Kamarasis Archimandrite Nectarios, Archdeacon Mark and Hierodeacon Eulogios. The chanting was delivered by the Nazareth Community Byzantine choir and the service was attended by Rum Orthodox Arab-speaking faithful from Galilee, Russian Orthodox Christians and some Greek pilgrims.

Before the Holy Communion His Beatitude delivered the following Sermon:

“Therefore, the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14, Matt. 1:23) the Prophet Isaiah exclaims.

Beloved Brethren in Christ,

Noble Christians and pilgrims

The grace of the Holy Spirit has gathered us all in this holy place, which has been sanctified by the body of our Lord, this city of Nazareth, to glorify in Eucharist the revelation of “the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ” (Eph. 3:9), the Son of God and Son of the Virgin.

And this Virgin, who had been foretold by the Prophet Isaiah is no other than the one witnessed by Luke the Evangelist, “a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary” (Luke 1:27). Coming to her, the messenger of God Archangel Gabriel said: “Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women… And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus… The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore, also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:26-35).

Indeed, the Ever-Virgin Mary is what the hymnographer has said: “the capital of the salvation of the people”. And this is because “the mystery of Christ’s providence”, namely the faith in Christ, has become the fulfilment of the Law and the Prophets of the Old Testament, as the wise Paul preaches: “But when the fulness 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).

Interpreting the above words of Paul, Ecumenios on the one hand denotes: “he didn’t say through a woman… but by a woman, showing the conceived body of the Lord in her essence, as He became the fruit of her womb”. On the other hand, Eusebius says: “because sin was caused by a woman, it was by a woman that the Saviour came, namely Christ”. That is why Saint Cyril of Alexandria also says in praise: “Rejoice Mary Theotokos, through Whom the unspeakable grace came forth, for which Saint Paul said: “the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11). Rejoice, Mary Mother of God, through whom the true Light our Lord Jesus Christ came forth, who says in the Gospels: “I am the Light of the world” (John 8:12). Rejoice, Mary Theotokos, through whom the light shone to those sitting in the darkness and the shadow of death. “The people which sat in darkness saw great light” (Matt. 4:16). Who is that light, if not our Lord Jesus Christ, the true light, “which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9). Rejoice, Mary the heirloom of the whole world”.

Truly, my dear brethren, the Virgin from Nazareth became the heirloom of the whole world. And this, because the annunciation of the full of grace and blessed among women Mary (Luke 1:28), has provided “a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us” (Hebrews 10:20). In other words, the annunciation of the Mother of God has inaugurated the way of salvation, that is the cure of man from sin, namely the infirmity and the corruption of death. “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 Lord says.

Referring to the resurrection, the wise Paul says: “But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain” (1 Cor. 15:13-14). This means that our resurrection in Christ necessarily predisposes the great mystery of the incarnation of God the Word and our Saviour Jesus Christ through the pure flesh of the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit. Without the power of our faith, it is impossible to reason with or comprehend the mystery of the divine providence in Christ. “Behold, I lay in Sion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded; but on whomsoever, it shall fall, it will grind him to powder” (1 Peter 2:6-7, Matt. 21:44) the Lord says.

This is also phrased in his hymn by Saint John Damascene: “No tongue can speak of your wonderful childbearing, for the order of nature was overruled by God! You were revealed to be a mother above nature, for you remained a Virgin beyond reason and understanding! Your conception was most glorious, Theotokos! The manner of your giving birth was ineffable, Virgin! Knowing you to be the Mother of God, devoutly we pray to you: beseech Him to save our souls” (Octoechos, tone 7, Saturday Vespers Glory).

God’s unsearchable judgments and ways past finding out (ref. Romans 11:33), became known, according to Saint Paul “unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God” (Eph. 3:10). And the Church of Christ claimed through the God-bearing Fathers who have been inspired by the Holy Spirit in the Ecumenical Synods, that the pure Virgin Mary should be called Theotokos (Mother of God). Let us hear the words of Saint Cyril of Alexandria: “it is, therefore, befitting to our correct and unchangeable confession of faith to say Theotokos and confess the Holy Theotokos… for the Holy Virgin did not give birth to divinity, but in flesh, she was in union with the Word of God… and it is thus true that the Virgin became Theotokos, giving birth paradoxically to Christ, making us also partakers of flesh and blood (ref. Hebrews 2:14), and of one essence for her and for us according to the flesh, as he is flesh from the Theotokos Mary”.

Behold, therefore, my dear brethren, why our Holy Church magnifies in praise the Theotokos, to whom the Angel of God Gabriel announced “Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God” (Luke 1:30).

And let us say along with the hymnographer: “All-Holy Virgin, thou art greater in honour than the glorious cherubim. Unable to endure the divine splendour, they veil their faces with their wings as they perform their ministry; but thou dost gaze with thine own eyes upon the incarnate Word. Without ceasing pray to him for our souls” (Triodion Monday of the 5th week, KathismaTheotokion 4), as well as for the ceasefire, for peace in our region and in the whole world. Many happy returns and a blessed Pascha! Amen”.

At noon, His Eminence the Metropolitan Kyriakos of Nazareth hosted a meal for the Patriarchal Entourage, Mr Cezar Marjieh and others, where His Beatitude delivered the following address:

“And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it” (Isaiah 40:5), the prophet Isaiah proclaims.

Your Eminence, Metropolitan Kyriakos of Nazareth,

Reverend Holy Fathers and Brethren,

Your Excellency President Mr Bassim and respected members of the Ecclesiastical Council,

Dear associates,

Our Holy Church celebrates today the joyful and universal event of the Annunciation of the Theotokos, namely the appearance of “the salvation of God”, which took place in your historical and biblical city, Nazareth.

The presence of the Christians in the Holy Land throughout the centuries and of course in the city of Nazareth is proof that testifies to the sacred mission of the Church of Jerusalem which preaches love, peace and the righteousness of Christ. Moreover, it is proof that the Church as the body of Christ, while Christ is its head (ref. Eph. 1:22-23), is the blessed divine fruit of the womb of the pure full of grace Virgin Mary, which bestows the light of life and truth upon the world.

This true light of life and hope shines upon all the people, as another beacon in our historic world of the so-called “New World Order”, where war, disorder, lawlessness and disorder prevail. “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work” (James 3:16), Saint James the Brother of God and first Hierarch of Jerusalem preaches.

We say this to show the exceeding magnitude of the power of the Church and in particular, of the Church of Jerusalem, the Rum-Orthodox Patriarchate, which is the guarantee of the New Testament according to Saint Paul who says: “By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament” (Hebrews 7:22), and in simple words, for as much as Christ became a High Priest, so much more He became a guarantor and broker of the high and eternal Testament.

As for us, my dear brethren, paying heed to the God-inspired voice of Saint Paul: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:12-13), we are called to remain faithful in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of which the Mother of God became also Mother of the Church of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Allow Us to announce the official approval of the funding of the renovation of the Holy Shrine of the Church of the Annunciation of the Theotokos in Nazareth by the known Russian Foundation. We hope to start working on this project as soon as possible by the will of God.

Many happy returns and blessed Pascha”.

  1. At the Theotokos’ Tomb in Gethsemane. The Divine Liturgy was officiated by His Eminence Archbishop Theodosios of Sebastia, with the co-celebration of Archimandrite Klaudios, the ministering Priests of the Shrine, in the presence of the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr Evangelos Vlioras, to who we convey our wished for many happy returns on his Name Day.

The Episcopal Entourage and the congregation were offered a reception by the recently appointed Hegoumen, His Eminence Metropolitan Joachim of Helenoupolis, to whom we wish the intercession of the Most-Holy Theotokos.

From Secretariat-General




“SYRIZA” MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT VISIT THE PATRIARCHATE

On Wednesday, 24 March / 6th April 2022, the envoys of the “SYRIZA” political party, Ioannis Bournous, Dionysios Charalambous Kalamatianos, Dora Augeri, Theopisti Perka, Olympia Teligioridou and Kostas Zahariadis visited the Patriarchate and were received by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos and Hagiotaphite Fathers.

In this meeting, the Parliament members of this delegation asked His Beatitude to inform them of the problems of the Patriarchate and the ways by which they may contribute to their solution.

His Beatitude informed them about the history of the Patriarchate and its land property, the Shrines and the Holy Monasteries of the Old City of Jerusalem and about the pastoral and cultural mission of the Patriarchate, which is mainly pacifying amidst the ongoing political tension in the Holy Land.

The Parliament members also asked and received information about the recent seizure of the ‘little Petra’ hotel by the radical elements who have rented the Jaffa Gate hotels through illegal and obscure contracts.

His Beatitude also referred to the decisive contribution of the President of “SYRIZA” and then Prime Minister of Greece Mr Alexis Tsipras to the Historical Renovation of the Edicule of the Holy Sepulchre.

His Beatitude offered them blessings from Jerusalem and they left to venerate the Holy Sepulchre.

From Secretariat-General




THE CHIEF OF THE HELLENIC AIR FORCE VISITS THE PATRIARCHATE

On Sunday morning, 21 March / 3rd April 2022, the Chief of the Hellenic Air Force, Air Marshal Mr Themistoclis Bourolias, visited the Patriarchate, accompanied by his wife Mr Galateia Peraki and his associates, Colonel Mr George Petrou, Lieutenant Commander Mr Theodoros Tsiros, Airforce Major Mr Nikolaos Papagiannis, Airforce Major Mr Spyridon Lytaris, and Pilot Officer Euphrosyni Liarokap and Pilot Officer Mr Ioannis Karvounis.

Mr Bourolias was received by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos and Hagiotaphite Fathers.

In this meeting, His Beatitude informed the Air Marshal of the recent escalation of the occupation of the Little Petra Hotel and the protest of the Patriarchate after the other churches for the return of this property to its owner.

The Hagiotaphite Brotherhood is in charge of resolving this very serious problem and is fighting for the preservation of Jerusalem and the confirmation of its Christian identity.

The delegation under Mr Bourolias thanked H.H.B. for the reception and the information and left to venerate the Holy Sepulchre and Gethsemane.

His Beatitude wished for the divine power to the Hellenic Air Force for the defence of our homeland and gave them his blessing, the Holy Cross and the icon of the Theotokos of Jerusalem and blessings from Jerusalem for his associates.

Mr Bourolias offered His Beatitude a souvenir emblem of the Hellenic Airforce.

From Secretariat-General




A GROUP OF DEPUTIES OF THE POLITICAL PARTY “SYRIZA” VISITS THE PATRIARCHATE

On the morning of Thursday, 18th / 31st of March 2022, a group of deputies of the “SYRIZA” political party, consisting of Mr Ioannis Amanatidis, Mrs Kalliopi Vetta, Mr Theodoros Dritsas and Mr Andreas Mihaililis visited the Patriarchate.

This group was accepted by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos and Hagiotaphite Fathers.  In the context of this visit, His Beatitude informed the main deputies about the recent creation of an occult illegal situation since the occupation of the hotel “Little Petra” by extreme settlers of Ateret Conanim, about the protest of the Patriarchate for this act and its demand to leave this area and the return of the hotel to its owner, which is the Patriarchate.

The support of the Greek Government in such a solution is of decisive importance and will be duly appreciated.  

There was also a discussion about the decisive contribution of the then Prime Minister of Greece and President of “SYRIZA” Mr Alexis Tsipras in the historical renovation of the Edicule of the Holy Sepulchre.

Asking for the blessing of His Beatitude, the deputies left to venerate the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

From Secretariat-General




A STATEMENT REGARDING THE TRESPASSING OF ‘LITTLE PETRA HOTEL’ BY A RADICAL GROUP

The seizure of the Little Petra Hotel by the radical extremist group Ateret Cohanim is a threat to the continued existence of a Christian Quarter in Jerusalem, and ultimately to peaceful coexistence of the communities of this city. The Heads of Churches have repeatedly warned of the illegitimate actions of extremists, who have followed a pattern of intimidation, violence, and lawless action to drive Christians and Muslims from the city that we share.

The Patriarchate of Jerusalem engaged in good faith negotiations with the Israeli government to settle the status of these Christian heritage properties that sit on the Christian pilgrim route, and through the committee headed by Minister Elazer Stern. We were assured that there would be no changes to the facts on the ground in the Christian Quarter while these negotiations are ongoing. The actions of Ateret Cohanim this week violate that assurance.

In occupying the Greek Orthodox Church’s property, the Little Petra Hotel, Ateret Cohanim has committed criminal acts of break-in and trespass. They act as if they are above the law, with no fear of consequences.

This issue is not about the individual properties, but about the whole character of Jerusalem, including the Christian Quarter. The Little Petra Hotel stands on the pilgrim route for the millions of Christians who visit Jerusalem each year. It is our heritage, and speaks of our very existence in this place.

Israeli radical extremist groups like Ateret Cohanim are already targeting and hijacking our beloved old city of Jerusalem and imposing their illegitimate and dangerous agenda on all sides. We refuse this and we say: this will lead to instability and tension at the time when all are trying to de-escalate and build trust, to build towards justice and peace. Acts of coercion and violence cannot lead to peace.

We demand that this criminal group immediately cease their trespass and get out of our heritage property. We demand that they halt their criminal activities on the Christian pilgrim route and in our beloved Old City.

 

 

 




THE MINISTER OF TOURISM OF GREECE VISITS THE PATRIARCHATE

On the morning of Monday, March 15th / 28th, Mr Vassilios Kikilias, Minister of Tourism of Greece, former Minister of Health and Management of the Pandemic, visited the Patriarchate, accompanied by the Ambassador of Greece in Tel Aviv Mr Kyriakos Loukakis and the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr Evangelos Vlioras.

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

Welcoming the Minister, His Beatitude said that this visit takes place in a critical for the Patriarchate time, that is the pressure of the Christian existence and of the Patriarchate itself by the extreme radical elements involved the opaque contracts of mortgaging the Patriarchate’s hotels in Jaffa Gate.

The Patriarchate, His Beatitude continued, carries on under different governments and adverse conditions its conciliatory, pacifying and balancing role, to keep the Status Quo in the Old City, which means the peaceful co-existence among Christians, Jews and Muslims and it asks for this to be recognized.

The Minister said he came to Jerusalem to venerate the shrines and meet His Beatitude and having carefully listened to His concerns and words, he will act so that the Greek Government officials will intervene and ask the Israeli Government to solve the Patriarchate’s problems in governmental justice, according to its history and work.

On this occasion, His Beatitude offered the Minister a souvenir medal from the renovation of the Sacred Edicule in 2017 and a silver painting of Jerusalem, while Mr Kikilias offered in return a copy of a silver cover of the Holy Gospel.

The Minister thanked His Beatitude for this meeting and the latter wished him success in his mission, before the Minister left to venerate the Holy Sepulchre, where the Geronda Sacristan, His Eminence Archbishop Isidoros of Hierapolis welcomed him.

From Secretariat-General