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HIS BEATITUDE THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM THEOPHILOS CELEBRATES THE DIVINE LITURGY IN THE TOWN OF REINE

On Sunday 10/23 May 2021, His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos celebrated the Divine Liturgy for the feast of the Sunday of the Paralytic man at the Holy Church of Reine town, near the city of Nazareth.

On this Sunday the Church commemorates the Lord’s healing of the man who suffered paralysis for thirty-eight years and had “no man, when the water is troubled, to put him into the sheep’s pool” … but with the Lord’s word, he “took up his bed, and walked” (John 5:2-9).

For this festive event, having first visited the Metropolis of Nazareth, His Beatitude officiated the Divine Liturgy at the Holy Church of Reine Community, with the co-celebration of their Eminences, the Metropolitans Isychios of Kapitolias and Kyriakos of Nazareth, Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, Hagiotaphite Hieromonks, among whom the Hegoumen of the Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Lord in Tabor Archimandrite Hilarion,  Elder Kamarasis Archimandrite Nectarios, Priest Nektarios and the Dean Priest of this Church Father Simeon. The chanting was delivered by the community Byzantine choir.

Before the Holy Communion His Beatitude delivered the following Sermon:

“At the Sheep’s Pool, a man lay in sickness; and when he saw Thee, O Lord, he cried: I have no man, that, when the water is troubled, he might put me therein. But when I go, another anticipateth me and receiveth the healing, and I lie yet in mine infirmity. And straightaway, taking compassion on him, the Saviour saith unto him: For thee, I became man, for thee, I am clothed in flesh, and sayest thou: I have no man? Tale up thy bed and walk. All things are possible for Thee, all things are subject to Thee. Remember us all and have mercy on us. O Holy One, since Thou art the Friend of man” (Vespers, Entreaty, Glory).

Beloved Brethren in Christ,

Noble Christians

The grace of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the One Who is the healer of the bodies and souls, our Lord Jesus Christ, has gathered us all in this holy place of your town, Reine, so that in Paschal joy, we may celebrate the miracle of the paralytic man’s healing, who had been waiting for the healing of his infirmity for thirty-eight years.

The mystery of the Divine Providence in Christ had a sole purpose, the healing, meaning the salvation of the souls and the bodies of us men, from the infirmity, which is the sin, as the hymnographer clearly expresses: “For thee, I became man, for thee, I am clothed in flesh, and sayest thou: I have no man?” the Lord says.

In today’s Gospel narrative of the healing of the paralytic man we distinguish and marvel at the power of patience and hope. The thirty-eight-years sick man was not overwhelmed by despair, because he was drawing power and hope from his faith in the merciful God. “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Luke 18;27) the Lord says. And we say this because the paralytic man was not healed by the Angel, who “went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water” (John 5:4), but by the Master of the Angels, Christ Himself, as Saint Chrysostom notes: “The Angel went down to the pool and troubled the water, and one man was healed; the Master of the Angels went down to the [river] Jordan and troubled the water and healed the whole universe”.

And according to Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Christ’s presence among men is redeeming, meaning it is therapeutic. Let us hear the words of the Holy Father: “Whenever Christ appears, there salvation lies; whether He sees the publican sitting at the receipt of custom, He makes him a Disciple and an Evangelist, whether He is buried with the dead, He raises the dead and makes the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and He passes by the pools, not seeking the buildings, but healing the sick”.

If God the Word, our Lord Jesus Christ in His Incarnation from the pure flesh of the Ever-Virgin Theotokos Mary, through the Holy Spirit, appeared in the heavens and on the earthly world; now through His three-day burial, the cathode into Hades and His glorious and victorious Resurrection, He appeared even to the nethermost depths, as the hymnographer Saint John Damascene says: “When Thou didst descend unto death, O Life Immortal, then didst Thou slay Hades with the lightning of Thy Divinity. And when Thou didst also raise the dead out of the nethermost depths, all the powers in the Heavens cried out: O life-giver, Christ our God, glory be to Thee” (Octoechos Apolytikion tone 2).

Christ’s resurrection my dear Brethren, announced our transition from death into life, into the freedom from the bondage of sin, as Saint Paul preaches: “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2). Interpreting this phrase, Saint Theodoritos says “law of sin means ‘dynasty’ of sin”, while Saint Cyril of Alexandria says: “he calls sin and law of death the carnal mindset which leads us to every evil deed”.

According to Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Jesus chose the bedridden paralytic man because he had a heavy load of sins and long-term suffering due to his sickness …he was sick in both body and soul”, for this reason, He told him “Wilt thou be made whole?” (John 5;6). And our Holy Father Cyril adds: “Because salvation stems from faith, for this the paralytic heard the word ‘wilt’, so that his will would bring the reaction, and this happened only with Jesus’ word, which is not comprehended by the physicians. Those who heal the infirmities of the soul cannot say to anyone; ‘wilt thou be made whole?’ However, Jesus grants the will and receives the faith, and offers the gift [of healing] for free”.

This historic event of the paralytic man’s healing manifested the excessive power of God-man Christ, because He healed an incurable disease, and also showed His philanthropy, because, as Saint Chrysostom says: “the one who was most worthy of His mercy and benevolence, [the paralytic man] did the guardian and philanthropist [Christ] see before all others”.

Indeed, the paralytic man received the mercy and benevolence of Christ because he showed “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21), according to His preaching: “repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). In other words, repentance is considered true when it is accompanied by faith in the Resurrected Christ, as our Redeemer and Saviour, as the only way we are led to God in safety. “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

We, my dear Brethren, are called to face all the trials in our lives but also our infirmities, having as an example the Paralytic man who endured his infirmity for thirty-eight years (John 5:5). And along with the hymnographer, let us entreat the physician of our souls and bodies, saying: “raise up my soul which is palsied by diverse sins and transgressions and by unseemly deeds and acts, that, being saved, I may also cry out: O Compassionate Redeemer, O Christ God, glory to Thy dominion and might” (Kontakion). Amen. Christ is Risen!”

After the Divine Liturgy there was a reception and then a meal, where His Beatitude addressed those present as follows:

“Come all peoples, and learn the power of the awesome mystery! For Christ our Saviour, who is the Word from the beginning, was crucified and freely suffered burial for our sake, rising from the dead that he might save all things: Come, let us worship Him” (Octoechos, Praises tone 3, Troparion 1).

Beloved Brethren in Christ,

Noble President of the Church Committee,

Respected Members

We thank the Holy Trinitarian God Who deemed us worthy to co-celebrate with you, the feast of feasts, the Resurrection of Our God and Saviour Jesus Christ, on the fourth Sunday since Pascha.

The event of the resurrection from the dead of our Lord Jesus Christ is being repeated in the Great Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, namely in the Divine Liturgy, during which we are called to participate in the Body and Blood of the resurrected Christ.

The Holy Church of Christ, and especially the Church of Jerusalem, has preserved throughout the centuries “the good thing which has been committed unto us” (2 Tim. 1:14), which is our Apostolic faith and tradition, along with the unity of the members of the body of the Church and the Rum-Orthodox identity, or better say, their “Al-Intima”.

For the second time this year, we celebrate Easter amidst challenges and sad episodes. Peoples and nations are tested by the fear, insecurity and wounds caused by the covid-19 pandemic and the fire of the warfare. Nevertheless, the hypostatic and unwaning Light of Christ’s Resurrection shines through. And this because “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8), Saint Paul preaches. An undeniable testimony of this truth is the empty Tomb of the Resurrected Christ, our Saviour, but also our Holy Church, the Body of Christ in this world, which became the guardian of the empty Tomb, but also the herald of the joyous and hopeful message “Christ is Risen!”

This very message, “Christ is Risen!”, has given the Christians of the Holy Land the power and the courage to face death, destruction, the oppression of slavery and of fear, but also of the insecurity, always paying heed to Saint Paul’s advice: “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity” (1 Cor. 16:13-14).

This charity in Christ we proclaimed today, both the clergy and the people, in the Divine Liturgy, in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

In conclusion, we assure you, my dear brethren, that the Rum Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem is the spiritual and physical Ark that the Lord has created and no man, for the salvation of those who dwell in it.

Christ is Risen! Many Happy Returns!”

From Secretariat-General

On Sunday 10/23 May 2021, His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos celebrated the Divine Liturgy for the feast of the Sunday of the Paralytic man at the Holy Church of Reine town, near the city of Nazareth.

On this Sunday the Church commemorates the Lord’s healing of the man who suffered paralysis for thirty-eight years and had “no man, when the water is troubled, to put him into the sheep’s pool” … but with the Lord’s word, he “took up his bed, and walked” (John 5:2-9).

For this festive event, having first visited the Metropolis of Nazareth, His Beatitude officiated the Divine Liturgy at the Holy Church of Reine Community, with the co-celebration of their Eminences, the Metropolitans Isychios of Kapitolias and Kyriakos of Nazareth, Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, Hagiotaphite Hieromonks, among whom the Hegoumen of the Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Lord in Tabor Archimandrite Hilarion,  Elder Kamarasis Archimandrite Nectarios, Priest Nektarios and the Dean Priest of this Church Father Simeon. The chanting was delivered by the community Byzantine choir.

Before the Holy Communion His Beatitude delivered the following Sermon:

“At the Sheep’s Pool, a man lay in sickness; and when he saw Thee, O Lord, he cried: I have no man, that, when the water is troubled, he might put me therein. But when I go, another anticipateth me and receiveth the healing, and I lie yet in mine infirmity. And straightaway, taking compassion on him, the Saviour saith unto him: For thee, I became man, for thee, I am clothed in flesh, and sayest thou: I have no man? Tale up thy bed and walk. All things are possible for Thee, all things are subject to Thee. Remember us all and have mercy on us. O Holy One, since Thou art the Friend of man” (Vespers, Entreaty, Glory).

Beloved Brethren in Christ,

Noble Christians

The grace of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the One Who is the healer of the bodies and souls, our Lord Jesus Christ, has gathered us all in this holy place of your town, Reine, so that in Paschal joy, we may celebrate the miracle of the paralytic man’s healing, who had been waiting for the healing of his infirmity for thirty-eight years.

The mystery of the Divine Providence in Christ had a sole purpose, the healing, meaning the salvation of the souls and the bodies of us men, from the infirmity, which is the sin, as the hymnographer clearly expresses: “For thee, I became man, for thee, I am clothed in flesh, and sayest thou: I have no man?” the Lord says.

In today’s Gospel narrative of the healing of the paralytic man we distinguish and marvel at the power of patience and hope. The thirty-eight-years sick man was not overwhelmed by despair, because he was drawing power and hope from his faith in the merciful God. “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Luke 18;27) the Lord says. And we say this because the paralytic man was not healed by the Angel, who “went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water” (John 5:4), but by the Master of the Angels, Christ Himself, as Saint Chrysostom notes: “The Angel went down to the pool and troubled the water, and one man was healed; the Master of the Angels went down to the [river] Jordan and troubled the water and healed the whole universe”.

And according to Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Christ’s presence among men is redeeming, meaning it is therapeutic. Let us hear the words of the Holy Father: “Whenever Christ appears, there salvation lies; whether He sees the publican sitting at the receipt of custom, He makes him a Disciple and an Evangelist, whether He is buried with the dead, He raises the dead and makes the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and He passes by the pools, not seeking the buildings, but healing the sick”.

If God the Word, our Lord Jesus Christ in His Incarnation from the pure flesh of the Ever-Virgin Theotokos Mary, through the Holy Spirit, appeared in the heavens and on the earthly world; now through His three-day burial, the cathode into Hades and His glorious and victorious Resurrection, He appeared even to the nethermost depths, as the hymnographer Saint John Damascene says: “When Thou didst descend unto death, O Life Immortal, then didst Thou slay Hades with the lightning of Thy Divinity. And when Thou didst also raise the dead out of the nethermost depths, all the powers in the Heavens cried out: O life-giver, Christ our God, glory be to Thee” (Octoechos Apolytikion tone 2).

Christ’s resurrection my dear Brethren, announced our transition from death into life, into the freedom from the bondage of sin, as Saint Paul preaches: “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2). Interpreting this phrase, Saint Theodoritos says “law of sin means ‘dynasty’ of sin”, while Saint Cyril of Alexandria says: “he calls sin and law of death the carnal mindset which leads us to every evil deed”.

According to Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Jesus chose the bedridden paralytic man because he had a heavy load of sins and long-term suffering due to his sickness …he was sick in both body and soul”, for this reason, He told him “Wilt thou be made whole?” (John 5;6). And our Holy Father Cyril adds: “Because salvation stems from faith, for this the paralytic heard the word ‘wilt’, so that his will would bring the reaction, and this happened only with Jesus’ word, which is not comprehended by the physicians. Those who heal the infirmities of the soul cannot say to anyone; ‘wilt thou be made whole?’ However, Jesus grants the will and receives the faith, and offers the gift [of healing] for free”.

This historic event of the paralytic man’s healing manifested the excessive power of God-man Christ, because He healed an incurable disease, and also showed His philanthropy, because, as Saint Chrysostom says: “the one who was most worthy of His mercy and benevolence, [the paralytic man] did the guardian and philanthropist [Christ] see before all others”.

Indeed, the paralytic man received the mercy and benevolence of Christ because he showed “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21), according to His preaching: “repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). In other words, repentance is considered true when it is accompanied by faith in the Resurrected Christ, as our Redeemer and Saviour, as the only way we are led to God in safety. “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

We, my dear Brethren, are called to face all the trials in our lives but also our infirmities, having as an example the Paralytic man who endured his infirmity for thirty-eight years (John 5:5). And along with the hymnographer, let us entreat the physician of our souls and bodies, saying: “raise up my soul which is palsied by diverse sins and transgressions and by unseemly deeds and acts, that, being saved, I may also cry out: O Compassionate Redeemer, O Christ God, glory to Thy dominion and might” (Kontakion). Amen. Christ is Risen!”

After the Divine Liturgy there was a reception and then a meal, where His Beatitude addressed those present as follows:

“Come all peoples, and learn the power of the awesome mystery! For Christ our Saviour, who is the Word from the beginning, was crucified and freely suffered burial for our sake, rising from the dead that he might save all things: Come, let us worship Him” (Octoechos, Praises tone 3, Troparion 1).

Beloved Brethren in Christ,

Noble President of the Church Committee,

Respected Members

We thank the Holy Trinitarian God Who deemed us worthy to co-celebrate with you, the feast of feasts, the Resurrection of Our God and Saviour Jesus Christ, on the fourth Sunday since Pascha.

The event of the resurrection from the dead of our Lord Jesus Christ is being repeated in the Great Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, namely in the Divine Liturgy, during which we are called to participate in the Body and Blood of the resurrected Christ.

The Holy Church of Christ, and especially the Church of Jerusalem, has preserved throughout the centuries “the good thing which has been committed unto us” (2 Tim. 1:14), which is our Apostolic faith and tradition, along with the unity of the members of the body of the Church and the Rum-Orthodox identity, or better say, their “Al-Intima”.

For the second time this year, we celebrate Easter amidst challenges and sad episodes. Peoples and nations are tested by the fear, insecurity and wounds caused by the covid-19 pandemic and the fire of the warfare. Nevertheless, the hypostatic and unwaning Light of Christ’s Resurrection shines through. And this because “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8), Saint Paul preaches. An undeniable testimony of this truth is the empty Tomb of the Resurrected Christ, our Saviour, but also our Holy Church, the Body of Christ in this world, which became the guardian of the empty Tomb, but also the herald of the joyous and hopeful message “Christ is Risen!”

This very message, “Christ is Risen!”, has given the Christians of the Holy Land the power and the courage to face death, destruction, the oppression of slavery and of fear, but also of the insecurity, always paying heed to Saint Paul’s advice: “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity” (1 Cor. 16:13-14).

This charity in Christ we proclaimed today, both the clergy and the people, in the Divine Liturgy, in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

In conclusion, we assure you, my dear brethren, that the Rum Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem is the spiritual and physical Ark that the Lord has created and no man, for the salvation of those who dwell in it.

Christ is Risen! Many Happy Returns!”

From Secretariat-GeneralOn Sunday 10/23 May 2021, His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos celebrated the Divine Liturgy for the feast of the Sunday of the Paralytic man at the Holy Church of Rene town, near the city of Nazareth.

On this Sunday the Church commemorates the Lord’s healing of the man who suffered paralysis for thirty-eight years and had “no man, when the water is troubled, to put him into the sheep’s pool” … but with the Lord’s word, he “took up his bed, and walked” (John 5:2-9).

For this festive event, having first visited the Metropolis of Nazareth, His Beatitude officiated the Divine Liturgy at the Holy Church of Rene Community, with the co-celebration of their Eminences, the Metropolitans Isychios of Kapitolias and Kyriakos of Nazareth, Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, Hagiotaphite Hieromonks, among whom the Hegoumen of the Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Lord in Tabor Archimandrite Hilarion,  Elder Kamarasis Archimandrite Nectarios, Priest Nektarios and the Dean Priest of this Church Father Simeon. The chanting was delivered by the community Byzantine choir.

Before the Holy Communion His Beatitude delivered the following Sermon:

“At the Sheep’s Pool, a man lay in sickness; and when he saw Thee, O Lord, he cried: I have no man, that, when the water is troubled, he might put me therein. But when I go, another anticipateth me and receiveth the healing, and I lie yet in mine infirmity. And straightaway, taking compassion on him, the Saviour saith unto him: For thee, I became man, for thee, I am clothed in flesh, and sayest thou: I have no man? Tale up thy bed and walk. All things are possible for Thee, all things are subject to Thee. Remember us all and have mercy on us. O Holy One, since Thou art the Friend of man” (Vespers, Entreaty, Glory).

Beloved Brethren in Christ,

Noble Christians

The grace of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the One Who is the healer of the bodies and souls, our Lord Jesus Christ, has gathered us all in this holy place of your town, Rene, so that in Paschal joy, we may celebrate the miracle of the paralytic man’s healing, who had been waiting for the healing of his infirmity for thirty-eight years.

The mystery of the Divine Providence in Christ had a sole purpose, the healing, meaning the salvation of the souls and the bodies of us men, from the infirmity, which is the sin, as the hymnographer clearly expresses: “For thee, I became man, for thee, I am clothed in flesh, and sayest thou: I have no man?” the Lord says.

In today’s Gospel narrative of the healing of the paralytic man we distinguish and marvel at the power of patience and hope. The thirty-eight-years sick man was not overwhelmed by despair, because he was drawing power and hope from his faith in the merciful God. “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Luke 18;27) the Lord says. And we say this because the paralytic man was not healed by the Angel, who “went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water” (John 5:4), but by the Master of the Angels, Christ Himself, as Saint Chrysostom notes: “The Angel went down to the pool and troubled the water, and one man was healed; the Master of the Angels went down to the [river] Jordan and troubled the water and healed the whole universe”.

And according to Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Christ’s presence among men is redeeming, meaning it is therapeutic. Let us hear the words of the Holy Father: “Whenever Christ appears, there salvation lies; whether He sees the publican sitting at the receipt of custom, He makes him a Disciple and an Evangelist, whether He is buried with the dead, He raises the dead and makes the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and He passes by the pools, not seeking the buildings, but healing the sick”.

If God the Word, our Lord Jesus Christ in His Incarnation from the pure flesh of the Ever-Virgin Theotokos Mary, through the Holy Spirit, appeared in the heavens and on the earthly world; now through His three-day burial, the cathode into Hades and His glorious and victorious Resurrection, He appeared even to the nethermost depths, as the hymnographer Saint John Damascene says: “When Thou didst descend unto death, O Life Immortal, then didst Thou slay Hades with the lightning of Thy Divinity. And when Thou didst also raise the dead out of the nethermost depths, all the powers in the Heavens cried out: O life-giver, Christ our God, glory be to Thee” (Octoechos Apolytikion tone 2).

Christ’s resurrection my dear Brethren, announced our transition from death into life, into the freedom from the bondage of sin, as Saint Paul preaches: “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2). Interpreting this phrase, Saint Theodoritos says “law of sin means ‘dynasty’ of sin”, while Saint Cyril of Alexandria says: “he calls sin and law of death the carnal mindset which leads us to every evil deed”.

According to Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Jesus chose the bedridden paralytic man because he had a heavy load of sins and long-term suffering due to his sickness …he was sick in both body and soul”, for this reason, He told him “Wilt thou be made whole?” (John 5;6). And our Holy Father Cyril adds: “Because salvation stems from faith, for this the paralytic heard the word ‘wilt’, so that his will would bring the reaction, and this happened only with Jesus’ word, which is not comprehended by the physicians. Those who heal the infirmities of the soul cannot say to anyone; ‘wilt thou be made whole?’ However, Jesus grants the will and receives the faith, and offers the gift [of healing] for free”.

This historic event of the paralytic man’s healing manifested the excessive power of God-man Christ, because He healed an incurable disease, and also showed His philanthropy, because, as Saint Chrysostom says: “the one who was most worthy of His mercy and benevolence, [the paralytic man] did the guardian and philanthropist [Christ] see before all others”.

Indeed, the paralytic man received the mercy and benevolence of Christ because he showed “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21), according to His preaching: “repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). In other words, repentance is considered true when it is accompanied by faith in the Resurrected Christ, as our Redeemer and Saviour, as the only way we are led to God in safety. “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

We, my dear Brethren, are called to face all the trials in our lives but also our infirmities, having as an example the Paralytic man who endured his infirmity for thirty-eight years (John 5:5). And along with the hymnographer, let us entreat the physician of our souls and bodies, saying: “raise up my soul which is palsied by diverse sins and transgressions and by unseemly deeds and acts, that, being saved, I may also cry out: O Compassionate Redeemer, O Christ God, glory to Thy dominion and might” (Kontakion). Amen. Christ is Risen!”

After the Divine Liturgy there was a reception and then a meal, where His Beatitude addressed those present as follows:

“Come all peoples, and learn the power of the awesome mystery! For Christ our Saviour, who is the Word from the beginning, was crucified and freely suffered burial for our sake, rising from the dead that he might save all things: Come, let us worship Him” (Octoechos, Praises tone 3, Troparion 1).

Beloved Brethren in Christ,

Noble President of the Church Committee,

Respected Members

We thank the Holy Trinitarian God Who deemed us worthy to co-celebrate with you, the feast of feasts, the Resurrection of Our God and Saviour Jesus Christ, on the fourth Sunday since Pascha.

The event of the resurrection from the dead of our Lord Jesus Christ is being repeated in the Great Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, namely in the Divine Liturgy, during which we are called to participate in the Body and Blood of the resurrected Christ.

The Holy Church of Christ, and especially the Church of Jerusalem, has preserved throughout the centuries “the good thing which has been committed unto us” (2 Tim. 1:14), which is our Apostolic faith and tradition, along with the unity of the members of the body of the Church and the Rum-Orthodox identity, or better say, their “Al-Intima”.

For the second time this year, we celebrate Easter amidst challenges and sad episodes. Peoples and nations are tested by the fear, insecurity and wounds caused by the covid-19 pandemic and the fire of the warfare. Nevertheless, the hypostatic and unwaning Light of Christ’s Resurrection shines through. And this because “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8), Saint Paul preaches. An undeniable testimony of this truth is the empty Tomb of the Resurrected Christ, our Saviour, but also our Holy Church, the Body of Christ in this world, which became the guardian of the empty Tomb, but also the herald of the joyous and hopeful message “Christ is Risen!”

This very message, “Christ is Risen!”, has given the Christians of the Holy Land the power and the courage to face death, destruction, the oppression of slavery and of fear, but also of the insecurity, always paying heed to Saint Paul’s advice: “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity” (1 Cor. 16:13-14).

This charity in Christ we proclaimed today, both the clergy and the people, in the Divine Liturgy, in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

In conclusion, we assure you, my dear brethren, that the Rum Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem is the spiritual and physical Ark that the Lord has created and no man, for the salvation of those who dwell in it.

Christ is Risen! Many Happy Returns!”

From Secretariat-General




HIS BEATITUDE THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM CELEBRATES THE DIVINE LITURGY IN RAMLE – ANCIENT ARIMATHAEA

On Sunday of the Myrrh-bearing Women 3/16 May 2021, His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos officiated the Divine Liturgy at the Holy Church of Ramle Monastery of the Patriarchate.

On this feast the Church commemorates Joseph of Arimathaea – present-day Ramle – who was a noble counsellor, accepting and longing for the Kingdom of God, who dared to go to Pilate and ask for the Body of our Lord, the Crucified Jesus Christ, and having received It, he buried It with the help of the Myrrh-bearing Women at his new Tomb (John 19:38-42, Matt. 27:57-60).

For the commemoration and honour of Joseph of Arimathaea and the Lord’s burial, the Divine Liturgy was officiated by His Beatitude, with the co-celebration of their Eminences the Archbishops: Damascene of Yaffo, Aristarchos of Constantina, Philoumenos of Pella and Metropolitan Joachim of Helenoupolis, along with Hagiotaphite Hieromonks and Deacons. The chanting was delivered by the Ramle Byzantine choir as the Service was attended by the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr Evangleos Vlioras and many faithful Christians with mixed feelings; joy for the end of the pandemic and intense prayer for the ceasefire between Israel and Gaza, and the episodes in the cities of Ramle and Lod.

Before the Holy Communion His Beatitude delivered the following Sermon:

“Let Joseph, the noble counsellor be praised, together with the Myrrh-bearers and the divine disciples, since he also is a herald of the Arising Christ”, the hymnographer of the Church proclaims (Matins, Ode 9, Troparion 15).

Beloved Brethren in Christ,

Noble Christians,

The grace of the hidden disciples of the Lord, Joseph of Arimathaea, the biblical city of Ramle, and Nicodemus, as well as of the Myrrh-bearing Women, have gathered us all in this holy place, to give glory to our Resurrected God, Jesus Christ, who has delivered us from the corruption of death and its darkness.

The undeniable fact of the Resurrection of the Son and Word of God, Christ, is characterized as the primary volcano, whose scorching lava and light have covered the whole creation, and this light is that of the mystery of the divine providence, namely the incarnation of God the Word and our Saviour Jesus Christ.

“Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:31-32) the Lord says. Interpreting these words of the Lord, Saint Cyril of Alexandria says: “When the beast [the devil] was deposed, then Christ drew towards Himself the seduced nation, not only the Jews, but all the people, for their salvation, calling them to Him through faith; for with the Law, the call was limited, but with Christ it is general for all people”.

Their faith in the Resurrected Christ, of both the hidden disciples and the Myrrh bearers, does the Church honour and venerate today on the third Sunday after Pascha. Moreover, these disciples and the Myrrh bearers became witnesses and preachers of the resurrection of Christ. “And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him [Jesus]. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you” (Mark 16:1-7) Mark the Evangelist says.

Indeed, my dear brethren, through His luminous resurrection, our Lord Jesus Christ, who said: “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12), abolished the kingdom of darkness and ignorance and completely overthrew the tyrannical power of the devil over men, as Saint John Damascene says: “Thou didst descend into the deepest parts of the earth, and didst shatter the everlasting bars that held fast those that were fettered, O Christ. And on the third day, like Jonas from the sea monster, Thou didst arise for the grave” (Pascha Canon, Ode 6 Heirmos). And according to Saint Gregory of Nice, through the resurrection of Christ, the power of the death of sin was abolished, and there was a transmutation of our human nature. “The kingdom of life came and the power of death was abolished, and another birth happened, another life, another kind of life, the transmutation – recast of our nature”.

This transmutation or recast of our nature happened through Christ, when He received our human nature through the pure flesh of the Ever-Virgin Theotokos Mary, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and He absolved it [our human nature] from the corruption and from sin. 

And now, through His resurrection, Christ highlighted the human nature as victorious over the bodily death, while through His Ascension to God the Father, He deified the human body ‘the whole substance” He had assumed, as Saint Simeon the translator says.

Behold, therefore, why Saint Chrysostom triumphantly proclaims: “The Lord’s death mortified death”. And according to Saint John Damascene: “we celebrate the mortification of death”, namely the abolishment of our primary enemy, as Saint Paul says: “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15”26).

Saint Gregory Palamas says that the Lord’s resurrection is the renewal of the human nature, it is the reviving and reshaping and restoration to the eternal life of the first Adam, who was devoured by death because of his sin, and through death, [it is] a retrogression towards the earth from which he was created.

As mentioned above, true witnesses of Christ’s resurrection were the Myrrh-bearing Women and especially the Theotokos Maria, the Mother of God, who was the first to see the Lord-risen from the dead, as Saint Gregory Palamas says: “The Theotokos was the first to receive the good news of the Lord’s resurrection, as it was befitting and just, and she was the first to see Him resurrected and delighted in His divine words”.

Commenting on the presence of the Myrrh bearers at the burial and resurrection of Christ, Saint Theophylaktos of Bulgaria notes characteristically: “the condemned nation was the first to receive the vision of the goodness and while the disciples run away, the women endure and wait”. This means that the condemned nation of the women, due to Eve’s disobedience in paradise, was the first to enjoy the vision of the Lord. And this was because Christ’s disciples ran away to hide in fear, but the women persevered.

This very delight of the vision of Christ’s resurrection are we also called to seek, my dear brethren, imitating the hidden disciples, Joseph and Nicodemus and especially the Myrrh-bearing Women. Let us say along with the hymnographer: “Let us arise in the deep dawn and instead of myrrh, offer praise to the Master; and we shall see Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, Who causeth life to dawn for all” (Canon of Pascha, Ode 5).

“Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all” (2 Thess. 3:16).

Christ is risen! Many happy returns!” 

At noon, Archimandrite Niphon hosted a meal for the Patriarchal Entourage and the Consul General, and His Beatitude addressed all present as follows:

“Beloved Brethren in Christ,

Our Holy Church is called the Church of the Resurrection, namely of the light of truth and of the hope of God’s Kingdom. “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).

We comprehend these words of Saint Paul within the Church, especially through our participation in the Divine Liturgy, where we become communicants of the Body and Blood of the resurrected God, our Saviour Christ.

We say this because the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is the heart of the body of the Church, and the protection wall for us Christians, who preach the peace and love of Christ.

The Church of Christ, and especially the Rum Orthodox is the lighthouse that illumes the world with the holy light of the All-holy and Life-giving Tomb, namely the light of Christ’s resurrection.

We celebrate today the three-day burial and resurrection of our Saviour Christ, however, we are not hidden, like His disciples, Joseph and Nicodemus, but like the Myrrh-bearing Women, who dismissed fear, and ran to the Tomb, seeking Christ.

We are called to do this very thing, my dear brethren, and do this not only for ourselves but for all our fellow men, indiscriminately. We are called to always hearken to the Lord’s command: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).

Humanity and especially our region are tested by both the coronavirus pandemic and the difficult political situation and the eruption of violence.

Having our hope in the resurrected Christ, “we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4), praying for the ceasefire and the rule of peace, which is so much needed in the world and in the Holy Land. “For He is our peace”, namely Christ, as Saint Paul preaches (Eph. 2:14).

Christ is risen!”

The feast of the Sunday of the Myrrh bearing Women was also celebrated at the Chapel of the Myrrh bearing Women of Saint James Cathedral, with Vespers on Saturday afternoon and and the Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning. The Services were officiated by His Eminence Archbishop Theophanes of Gerassa, with the co-celebration of the ministering Priests of the Cathedral, Fr Farah/ Haralambos Bandour and George Baramki at the chanting of the Cathedral’s choir under the lead of Mr Rimon Kamar. The Services were attended by the members of the ‘Myrrh bearing Women’ s association and the representative of the Greek General Consulate Mrs Christina Zaharioudaki.

From Secretariat-General

 

 




HIS BEATITUDE THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM THEOPHILOS ADDRESSES THE NEW ANGLICAN BISHOP IN JERUSALEM

On Thursday afternoon, 30 April / 13 May 2021, the enthronement ceremony of the newly-elect Most Reverend Archbishop Hosam Elias Naoum took place at the Holy Cathedral of Saint George of the Anglican Church in Jerusalem. Present at the ceremony were; the new Archbishop’s predecessor, Most Reverent Suheil Dawani, the British Consul in Jerusalem Mr Philip Hall, clergy and laity-members of this Church and representatives of the Churches of Jerusalem, among whom His Beatitude the Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos, His Beatitude the Latin Patriarch in Jerusalem Pierre Battista Pizzaballa and the Custos of the Holy Land, His Grace Father Francesco Patton.

H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos, who was accompanied by His Eminence Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, addressed the new Anglican Archbishop Hosam Elias Naoum, underlining his contribution while he was the Secretary of the Meetings of the Heads of Churches of Jerusalem. His Beatitude’s full address follows below:

“Your Grace, dear Archbishop Hosam,

Dear Mrs Naoum,

Your Grace, Archbishop Michael,

Your Graces,

Reverend Clergy,

Faithful Members of the Anglican Church,

Respected Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We greet you warmly, dear Archbishop Hosam, and your wife and family, on this blessed occasion when you are celebrating both the Feast of the Ascension and your enthronement with the formal beginning of your ministry as the Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem. You are the fifteenth bishop to serve the Anglican Community in Jerusalem, and with your clergy and people, we give thanks to Almighty God that you have been chosen for this responsibility.

As you know full well, you come to your new role at a time of great challenge and a great opportunity. This is a difficult time for our city and for this region. We are still living with the pandemic and its profound social, economic, and spiritual consequences. There is disturbing political and social unrest, and the Christian presence in Jerusalem and the Holy Land face new and growing threats from radical elements who seek to undermine the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious landscape here, in which we have lived for centuries. The Christian character of Jerusalem and the Holy Land is under threat as never before in our lifetime.

Even so, as Saint Paul says, we do not lose heart. In this joyful Eastertide, we are renewed in our hope of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Places, of which the Divine Providence has made us guardians and servants, remain sources of spiritual refreshment both for the local Christian community and for the countless pilgrims. As the new Archbishop of the Anglican Diocese, you bring considerable experience, especially in your highly respected role over many years as the Secretary of the Heads of Churches, among whom you now take your rightful place as the Anglican Archbishop. We also know of the new hope that your new ministry brings to your community.

The Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Anglican Church in the Holy Land have had a long and close history of mutual respect and affection and common purpose in the good state of the Christian presence in the Holy Land. We look forward to deepening our relationship over the years of your leadership and finding fresh ways of journeying on the path of unity. We must never give up our commitment to the full, sacramental unity in Christ that is His will for all who call themselves Christians. The Orthodox Church and the Anglican Community share a special bond, not the least in our common patristic heritage, and this is a foundation on which we can build even closer relations here in our region.

We would like to take this opportunity to mention once again our respect and admiration for your predecessor, Archbishop Suheil, for his committed pastoral ministry and for his attentive collaboration among the Heads of Churches, and we wish him and his wife, Saffeeqa, a happy and healthy retirement.

We would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the role of His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury in his unwavering support for us and for the Christian presence in Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Archbishop Justin, like his predecessors, continues to be a good friend and ally to us here, and for this, we are extremely grateful.

May God bless you, dear Archbishop Hosam, your wife, Rafa, and your family, and all the clergy and people committed to your charge, and may our risen and ascended Lord Jesus Christ enlighten your heart and your mind as you assume this new trust and responsibility.

Thank you.”

From Secretariat-General




HIS BEATITUDE THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM OFFICIATES THE DIVINE LITURGY IN CANA OF GALILEE

On Sunday of Thomas, 26 April/9 May 2021, our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos officiated the Divine Liturgy at the Holy Church of the Shrine in Cana of Galilee.

The Divine Liturgy was observed in commemoration that Thomas touched the Lord’s side and the miracle of turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana.

Co-celebrants to His Beatitude were their Eminences: Metropolitan Kyriakos of Nazareth, Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina and the Hagiotaphite Fathers from the Cana neighbouring districts, Archimandrite Parthenios from Tiberias, and Archimandrite Hilarion from Tabor, along with the Hierodeacons Eulogios and Simeon. The changing was delivered by the Cana Byzantine choir, and the Service was attended by the Orthodox laity from Cana, in joy for the Resurrection of the Lord and for the pandemic almost coming to an end.  

Before the Holy Communion His Beatitude delivered the following Sermon:

“It is the day of Resurrection, let us be radiant, O ye peoples; Pascha, the Lord’s Pascha; for Christ God hath brought us from death unto life, and from earth, unto Heaven, as we sing the triumphal hymn” Saint John Damascene says (Pentekostarion, Easter Sunday, Ode 1, Troparion 1).

Beloved Brethren in Christ,

Noble Christians

The grace of the Holy Spirit has gathered us all in this holy shrine, at the place where our Lord Jesus Christ blessed the marriage and marked the start of His miracles, in order to celebrate the touching of the Lord’s side by Apostle Thomas and the inauguration of Christ’s Resurrection, namely the Pascha, as well as the commemoration of the Wedding in Cana of Galilee.

Today, all of us who participate in this Divine Liturgy, participate in Christ’s Resurrection, in Pascha, as Saint Chrysostom says: “Pascha is not the fasting, but the offering and the sacrifice, the daily observed synaxis [the officiated Holy Eucharist]”.

In other words, “Pascha” is the very Resurrected Christ, therefore, Saint John Damascene calls Christ “Pascha” in his hymns: “O great and most sacred Pascha, Christ; O Wisdom and Word and Power of God”. “…a new and holy Pascha, a mystic Pascha, an all-venerable Pascha, a Pascha that is Christ the Redeemer…a Pascha that hath opened to us the gates of paradise” (Easter Sunday, Ode 9, Troparion 3, Sticheron 1). In essence, Sant Damascene interprets Saint Paul’s words: “For even Christ, our Passover is sacrificed for us” (1 Cor. 5:7). Behold, therefore, why Saint John the hymnographer says: “Pascha the Lord’s Pascha; for Christ God hath brought us from earth unto life, and from earth unto Heaven”.

If Jerusalem became the place of the martyrdom and the testimony of the peak of the signs Christ performed on earth, namely of His sacrifice on the Cross and the victory over death through His Resurrection, according to the foretold: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Cor. 15:54-55 / Isaiah 25:8), also this blessed place of Cana became the testimony of the beginning of the signs and the revelation of the glory of Jesus Christ with the changing of the water into wine here (John 2:1-11).

According to Saint Cyril of Alexandria, the Lord honoured with His presence the Wedding in order to sanctify the beginning of the birth of man, and change the old sadness regarding childbearing, as Saint Paul says: “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). And the glory of our Saviour shone like the sun rays and His Disciples marvelled at it and were made steadfast in their faith.

According to Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, with the changing of the water into wine in Cana, our Lord Jesus Christ confessed [promised] to the sons of the bridal chamber, namely to the baptized members of the body of the Church, the gift of enjoying His body and blood. And our Holy Father continues: “So, in all detail as body and blood we partake of Christ, in this type the body is given, and in this type the blood is given, so that by receiving this communion, the body and blood of Christ, one becomes of one body and blood with Christ. In this manner, we become bearers of Christ, of His body and blood in our body parts. In this manner, we become partakers of the divine nature, according to blessed Peter” (ref. 2 Peter 1:4).

The Lord is One, “and many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book” (John 20:30), Saint John the Evangelist says, testifying the touching of the Resurrected Lord’s side by Apostle Thomas.

The impulsive unfaithfulness of Apostle Thomas, as well as the chance he was given to touch the wounded side of the deified body of the resurrected Christ happened – according to Saint Cyril of Alexandria – “so that we can also securely believe that He resurrected His Temple and that the confession of the communion of the mystical blessing (the Holy Communion) is a confession of Christ’s Resurrection”. Moreover, it is to this cause that we are called, according to Saint John Damascene: “let us partake of the vine of divine gladness and of the Kingdom of Christ, praising Him as God unto the ages” (Easter Sunday, Ode 8, Troparion 2).

In other words, through our participation in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, we are called to become “partakers of the Resurrection and the Kingdom of Christ. And the Kingdom of God is within us” (Luke 17:21).

Interpreting these words, Saint Cyril of Alexandria says: “it is our option and within our power to receive it; for it is possible for every single man to enrich himself with the righteousness in Christ through faith, and having become illumined with every virtue, gain the Kingdom of Heaven. (In more detail: For every man who acquires righteousness through the faith in Christ and is decorated with all virtues, is also worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven). “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men” (Romans 14:17-18) Saint Paul preaches.

Through His signs, in Cana here and throughout His earthly life, as well as by His appearance to His Disciples when Thomas touched His immaculate deified side, after His Resurrection, our Lord Jesus Christ revealed His Kingdom to the world, through His enlisted Church, “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18).

This treasure, namely the Church, the resurrected from the dead body of Christ let us love with all our heart and mind, my dear ones, and along with the hymnographer say: “Christ is risen from the dead, by death He hath overcome death, and to those in the graves, hath He given life”.

Chris is risen! Many happy and blessed returns!”

The Divine Liturgy was followed by a litany around the Church and the reading of the Gospel narrative regarding the miracle at the wedding in Cana by the Lord.

At noon the good keeper and Hegoumen of the Monastery Archimandrite Chrysostom hosted a meal.

From Secretariat-General

 




THE FEAST OF ST GEORGE THE GREAT MARTYR AT THE PATRIARCHATE

On Thursday 23 April/ 6 May 2021, the Patriarchate celebrated the commemoration of the Holy Great Martyr George the Trophy-bearer, in which the Church commemorates his martyrdom in Rome, in AD 303 during the reign of Diocletian.

His commemoration was celebrated as per below:

  1. At the Holy Monastery dedicated to him in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, with Vespers on Wednesday afternoon, led by the Master of Ceremonies Archimandrite Bartholomew. The Divine Liturgy on Thursday morning was officiated by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos, with co-celebrants their Eminences, Metropolitan Isychios of Kapitolias and Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, Elder Kamarasis Archimandrite Nectarios, Archimandrite Kallistos and the Hierodeacons Eulogios and Simeon. The chanting was delivered by Mr Vasilios Gotsopoulos and the Patriarchal School Students, as the service was attended by the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr Evangelos Vlioras and many Nuns of the Patriarchate and faithful Christians.

Before the Holy Communion His Beatitude delivered the following Sermon:

“The all-glorious memorial of the servant hath shined upon us as a companion of the Resurrection of Christ, whereon let us gather, ye faithful, and joyfully keep the feast” (Minaion, Matins, Ode 3, Troparion 1).

Beloved Brethren in Christ,

Noble Christians

The unwaning light of the Resurrection of our Saviour Christ has guided our footsteps to this Holy Monastery dedicated to Saint George the Great Martyr, to celebrate his holy commemoration in boldness.

Saint George became a great martyr of the love of Christ during the brutal persecutions of the Christians by the Roman Emperor Diocletian (AD 284-305). George was the son of a wealthy and noble family of Cappadocia and served as an officer at the Roman army. He confessed his faith in Christ and was seized, subjected to horrible tortures and finally his head was cut off. The Church of the first centuries canonized him among its Great Holy Martyrs. The pre-Christian city of Diospolis in Palestine, our later and modern city of Lydda, where the majestic Church of the Saint is located, erected above the cenotaph of the Saint, became the centre of the Martyr’s honour. Saint George’s honour was spread to all Roman Empire in both the West and the East.

We wonder, why the marvellous and glorious George sought the martyrdom for Christ; “For longing conquered nature, persuading the lover to pass through death to the Beloved, even Christ God, the Saviour of our souls” (Vespers, Aposticha Glory), his hymnographer says. And Prophet-King David says: “As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness” (Psalm 17:15).

Stephen the first-martyr became a viewer of this glory when he was stoned by those who hated him, according to Saint Luke the Evangelist: “being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55).

Both the murdered Prophets of the Old Testament, who foretold the light of the world, namely Christ, and the first-martyr Stephen contributed decisively to the embracing of the brave athlete George of the word of Jesus: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Interpreting these words, Cyril of Alexandria says: “God was known only in Judea, and His Name was great only in Israel, and a deep darkness covered the rest of the earth, as none other nation in the world had the divine and heavenly light, but Israel”.

Indeed, the wise George lives and moves in times when the demonic darkness of idolatry reigns over the whole earth and the Roman Emperors deify themselves and demand worship from all their subjects, much more from the Christians, as his hymnographer says: “As thou manfully strovest in piety and didst cast down deluded impiety, O Martyr, thou troddest down the audacity of the foe; for thy mind being kindled like fire with godly zeal, thou didst quench the ungodly presumption of tyrant kings. Wherefore, as is fitting, in return for the torments thou now hast received the crown and dost grant healings unto all, O most valiant prize winner George” (Matins, Ode 3 Kathisma 1).

The wonderful George is in the chorea of the great martyrs of the Church, because he was not ashamed of the martyrdom of our Lord, as Apostle Paul commands his disciple Timothy: “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God” (2 Tim 1:8). In other words, Saint George became an apostle and a preacher of the redeeming truth of Christ’s Gospel, being inspired by Saint Paul’s preaching: “For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come” (Hebrews 13:14).

And the continuing city is no other than the eternal life in the Kingdom of God, for which the Lord says: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33). ““We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22), Saint Paul preaches.

The martyrs of Christ’s love are the boast and the glory of the Church, and for this reason, they have special honour. This is because the martyrs’ relics bestow healings to those who honour and venerate them, and their incorruptibility testifies and confesses Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

Moreover, the bloody martyrdom of the Holy Martyrs is a practical and unquestionable testimony of the sacrifice of the Son of God and our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross, for the salvation of our human race. That is why Saint Paul says: “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him” (Romans 6:8-9).

Today’s honoured Saint George the Great Martyr and Trophy-bearer was clad in this very death of incorruptibility of Christ, namely the light of Christ’s resurrection. The cultivator of reverence George longed for this Saviour of the world, Who bore our human flesh and was born from the Virgin Theotokos Mary. Therefore, as we honour his sacred commemoration in his Holy Monastery in the Old City of Jerusalem, let us entreat him along with the hymnographer and say: “As thou standest filled with light at the worshipful tribunal of the Sovereign of all, O George, thou crowned Martyr of Christ, preserve by thine entreaties and thy protection those who call on thee with most fervent faith and love” (Matins, Ode 2, Troparion 1). Amen. Christ is Risen!”

After the Divine Liturgy, the renovator of the Monastery Reverend Abbess Marianna hosted a reception for the Patriarchal Entourage and the Congregation at the Hegoumeneion and the courtyard of the Church.

  1. At the Holy Church of Saint George in Acre-Ptolemais, with Vespers on Wednesday afternoon and the Divine Liturgy on Thursday morning, by the Patriarchal Representative Archimandrite Philotheos.
  2. At the Holy Monastery of Saint George of the Hospital in the Old City of Jerusalem, which is adjacent to the Holy Monastery of the Archangels, by Elder Dragoman Archimandrite Mattheos, under the chanting of  Archimandrite Eusevios, with the attendance of monks and laity from Jerusalem. The congregation was offered a reception by Nun Pansemni, who has renovated the Church and preserved the icons.
  3. At the Holy Monastery of Saint George in Beitjalla, an area of Bethlehem and Hebron, in the middle of a Muslim village. His Eminence Archbishop Theophanes of Gerassa observed Vespers and the Divine Liturgy at the chanting of local Byzantine singers, with the attendance of monks, nuns and Palestinian faithful Christians from Bethlehem, Beit Jala, and Beit Sahour.
  4. At the Holy Church of Saint George in Lydda, where the cenotaph of the Saint lies, with the Divine Liturgy in the morning by the Hegoumen Hieromonk Marcellus and the attendance of local faithful Christians.

From Secretariat-General

 

 




HIS BEATITUDE’S SPEECH AT KING ABDULLAH’S II RECEPTION IN JORDAN

His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III met yesterday, April 27, with His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Al Hussein in Jordan, who invited Church leaders in Jerusalem and representatives from the Islamic Endowments to affirm their support for the Jerusalemites in their unwavering efforts to preserve the multicultural identity of the Holy City.

 

His Beatitude gave a speech at the reception, which reads as follow:

 
 

“Your Majesty,

Your Royal Highness,

 

We greet you, Your Majesty, on behalf of the Christian communities of the Holy Land at this time when we are celebrating the Easter season, and we thank you for your welcome and your good wishes to us.

 

On behalf of our fellow Heads of the Churches and Christian Communities of the Holy Land, we wish also to extend to Your Majesty our sincere and heartfelt greetings during this holy season of Ramadan. During this time of fasting, spiritual reflection and prayer, we join with our fellow Muslim brethren in our commitment to the foundation of our common belief, which is a tradition of peace, justice, mutual respect and the shared value of the dignity of human life.

 

All our traditions value the practice of fasting both for the individual believer and also for the wellbeing of the community as a whole; for fasting is conductive to soul searching which enables examination of one’s thoughts and conscience as well as unites us in our complete dependence on Almighty God, reminding us that we share a common humanity and a common human destiny.

 

In this time, we are firmly reminded of our continuing gratitude to Your Majesty for your faithful custodianship of the Christian and Muslim Holy Places in our beloved Holy Land and particularly in the Holy City of Jerusalem. Your Majesty inherits and guards the Covenant of Omar ibn Al-Khattab to our predecessor Patriarch Sophronios with its’ 1,400 years of guardianship of the rights of the churches.

This is the authentic example we have been living, under the Hashemite custodianship in Jerusalem and in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; and is of great encouragement and support to us, especially at a time when the Christian presence in the Holy Land, so vital to the historic peaceful coexistence within our region, is facing new and serious challenges. It is precisely at this time of year, when Christians and Muslims are keeping their holiest seasons, that the Holy Places speak eloquently and provide spiritual refreshment to people of good will both near and far.

 

We wish you, Your Majesty, the Hashemite Royal Family, and all our Muslim brethren, a peaceful and blessed month of Ramadan. May Almighty God bless you, and all the people of our beloved Holy Land.

 

Ramadan Mubarak.”

 

(Photos source: The Royal Hashemite Court Official Website)

 




THE FIRST SERVICE OF THE BRIDEGROOM AT THE PATRIARCHATE

On Palm Sunday evening 12/25 April 2021, the 1st Service of the Bridegroom was held at the Catholicon of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

On this Service of Holy Monday, as well as on Holy Tuesday and Holy Wednesday, the Church projects the Lord to the faithful as the Bridegroom of our souls, with Whom we are called in a mystical union so that with cleansed minds and mortified passions, experience the redeeming Passion of the Cross and the luminous and glorious Resurrection.

This contrite Service was officiated by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos, with the co-prayer of the Hagiotaphite Fathers. The Service was attended by some local faithful Christians, the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr Evangelos Vlioras but not any pilgrims due to the continuing covid-19 restrictions.

At the end of the Service His Beatitude delivered the following Sermon:

“Behold the Bridegroom comes in the middle of the night and blessed is the servant whom He shall find watching, but unworthy is he whom He shall find in slothfulness. Beware then, O my soul, and be not overcome by sleep, lest thou be given over to death and shut out from the Kingdom. But return to soberness and cry aloud: Holy, holy, holy art Thou, O God: through the Theotokos have mercy upon us” (Matins of Holy Monday, Troparion 1).

Beloved brethren in Christ,

Noble Christians

The Holy and Great Week of the Passions of our Lord Jesus Christ begins with the commemoration of the blessed Joseph and of the fig tree which was cursed by the Lord and withered.

And this is so because Joseph depicts Christ. Joseph was Patriarch Jacob’s eleventh son; his brothers were jealous of him, threw him in a pit and sold him to foreign merchants, he was sold again to others in Egypt, where he was slandered for his chastity, sent to prison, to be finally released from prison and receive great glory and honour by the King. Joseph became the Lord of all Egypt, distributing grain to all the people, and throughout his life course, he had imprinted in him the Passions and later on the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to his Synaxarist.

As for the fig tree which was cursed by the Lord and withered, it depicts the synagogue, which did not have the appropriate fruits of virtue and reverence, and became bereft from every spiritual grace through Christ’s curse.

And having Joseph in mind, who is according to the type of Jesus, the hymnographer blesses the vigilant for the salvation of his soul servant. On the contrary, he considers unworthy the lazy servant, who neglects the care of his soul. This negligent servant resembles the fruitless fig tree, therefore, he is condemned to lose his soul.

Our Holy Church, my dear ones, calls us through the hymnographer by saying, “return to soberness, O my soul, crying aloud: Holy, holy, holy art Thou, O God”. Return to soberness, means to recover from the intoxication of the silly and harmful desires and actions, as well as from the darkness of the mind from the fallacy of the wrong teachings, according to Zigavinos and Ecumenios (Ref. 2 Tim. 2:26).

The calling of the Church to return to soberness and of course to be vigilant is in effect until the last hour, however, the Lord is nigh, Saint Paul warns us (Phil. 4:5) and advises us: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Phil.4:8).

Let us hear, my dear ones the voice of Paul and of the Holy Fathers; “the Lord is nigh”, “Christ in His love hastens to His sufferings, He consents to be hung upon the Tree, that He may save mankind” (Matins, Troparion 2).

Let us say along with the hymnographer: “let us fear the punishment of the fig tree, withered because it was unfruitful; and let us bring worthy fruits of repentance unto Christ, who grants us His great mercy” (Aposticha idiomelo 3).

Have a blessed week of the Passions of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, and a Happy Easter. Amen.”

From Secretariat-General




LAZARUS’ SATURDAY IN BETHANY

On Saturday 11/24 April 2021, which is Lazarus’ Saturday according to the Triodion, the commemoration of the resurrection of the Lord’s friend Lazarus, who was dead for four days, was celebrated by the Patriarchate at the Holy Monastery of Martha and Mary.

On this day the Church as a whole and especially the Church of Jerusalem commemorates the narrative according to Saint John the Evangelist; the Lord came from the desert in Bethany and was welcomed by Lazarus’ sisters, Martha and Mary, we went to his tomb and resurrected him saying “Lazarus, come forth” (John 11: 43).

This event, which “signifies the common resurrection” was celebrated on Friday afternoon with Vespers, by the ministering Archimandrite Epiphanios, and on Saturday morning with the Divine Liturgy which was officiated by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos. Co-celebrants to His Beatitude were their Eminences; Metropolitan Isychios of Kapitolias, Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina and Metropolitan Joachim of Helenoupolis, Hagiotaphite Hieromonks, and Arab-speaking Priests, at the chanting of Archimandrite Eusevios and Mr Vasilios Gotsopoulos. The Service was attended by the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr Evangelos Vlioras and a few faithful. There were no pilgrims due to the continuing covid-19 restrictions.

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).

Beloved Brethren in Christ,

Noble Christians

Having completed the forty days that profit to our soul, we are gathered today by the Grace of the Holy Spirit to the historic biblical town of Bethany, Lazarus’ hometown, in order to celebrate his rising from the dead by his friend and our Saviour Jesus Christ.

This event, Lazarus’ rising from the dead, was written in detail by Saint John the Evangelist. And this was done so that it would be believed that Jesus is the Son of God and God and that He was risen, and also that there will be a resurrection of the dead. “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25-26) the Lord says.

Interpreting the Lord’s words, Saint Cyril of Alexandria says: “Fruit and honour of the faith in Christ is the eternal life, and there is no other way for a man’s soul to acquire this. For if we are all risen through Christ, but this life is true, to live eternally in beatitude”. And in more detail, eternal life is the fruit and the reward of faith in Christ, and there is no other way for a man’s soul to acquire this fruit. Even if we are risen because of Christ. This is the true life, to live in eternal beatitude.

And when Jesus heard that Lazarus was gravely ill, He said to his sisters, Martha and Mary that this sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby (ref. John 11:1-4).  “Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it” (John 11:38). “Jesus cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes” (John 11:43-44).

Jesus did these things in front of the Disciples to introduce them to the faith of the resurrection from the dead and prepare them for that, as the hymnographer says: “O Lord, Thy voice destroyed the dominion of hell, and the word of Thy power raised from the tomb him that had been four days dead; and Lazarus became the saving first-fruits of the regeneration of the world”. And elsewhere, “Lord, wishing to give to Thy Disciples the assurance of Thy Resurrection from the dead, Thou hast come to the tomb of Lazarus and called him by name. Then was hell despoiled, and it released the one that had been four days dead, as he called upon Thee: O blessed Lord, glory to Thee” (Lazarus Vespers, stichera 5,6).

It is a true fact that Christ worked marvels during His life on earth (Acts 6:8), namely miracles, such as the resurrection of Jairus’ daughter, (Mark 5:22-43), and the resurrection of the woman’s only son in the town Nain (Luke 7:11-17), in order to reveal the glory of Jesus Christ and the long-ago hidden mystery of the divine providence which was enacted in Him.

Lazarus’ resurrection in this biblical town of Bethany a little while before Christ’s Passion on the Cross was not only a “wondrous sign” revealing the glory of the Son and Word of God, but also “the salvation preface of the regeneration”, namely the common resurrection of all people in the human body of Jesus Christ, as well as the assurance and reply to His disciples’ question: “Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matt. 19:27-28).

According to Zigavinos, “Christ calls regeneration the raising from the dead as a new life”, meaning a second birth and reshaping and regeneration of the creation. “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Phil. 3:20-21) Saint Paul preaches.

Behold, therefore, my dear brethren, why the raising from the dead of the four-days-dead Lazarus is the salvation preface of the common resurrection of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ.

And the common resurrection of Christ does not only refer to the victory over death and corruption of sin, but also to the day and time of judgement according to the witness of Saint John the Evangelist, “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).

We, my dear brethren, having completed the forty days that profit to our soul, and drawing nigh to the Holy Week of the Passions and the three-day burial of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us say along with the hymnographer: “by the intercessions of Lazarus, Martha and Mary, deem us worthy to become viewers of Your Cross and Passion, O Lord, and of the luminous queen of days, the day of Your Resurrection, O friend of man”.

Many happy returns and Happy Easter!”

The Divine Liturgy was followed by a Procession to Lazarus’ tomb under the lead of His Eminence Metropolitan Joachim of Helenoupolis, where the Gospel narrative of Lazarus’ resurrection according to Saint John was read.

Finally, the Episcopal Entourage visited the Bethany Council and then the Elder Abbess Eupraxia hosted a meal for the Patriarchal Entourage at the Hegoumeneion.

From Secretariat-General

 




HIS BEATITUDE THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM CELEBRATES THE DIVINE LITURGY IN EIN KAREM

On Sunday morning, 5/18 April 2021, of the 5th Sunday of Lent, His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos officiated the Divine Liturgy at the Holy Monastery of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist in Ein Karem, which is now adjacent to West Jerusalem, near the Jewish Hospital Hadassa.

This Monastery of Saint John the Baptist was built a long time ago, while the Church in it was built during the Office of the Patriarch of Jerusalem Cyril, around AD 1864. This area is known from the Gospel as “a Judean town in the hill country” where the Mother of God went “in haste and greeted Elizabeth” (Luke 1:39-50), and where “the greatest man born of a woman”, Saint John the Forerunner, was born.

Co-celebrants to His Beatitude were their Eminences; Metropolitan Kyriakos of Nazareth, Metropolitan Joachim of Helenoupolis, Hagiotaphite Fathers, the Head of the Russian Community of the Patriarchate Fr Nikolaos Koulinsky, and Archdeacon Mark. The Service was attended by the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr Evangelos Vlioras, members of the Greek-speaking and Russian-speaking Communities of Jerusalem.

Before the Holy Communion, His Beatitude delivered the following Sermon:

“But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be a servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:42-45).

Beloved Brethren in Christ,

Noble Christians

Today, the fifth Sunday of Lent, our Holy Church commemorates Saint Mary of Egypt, who became an example of humility and repentance for those who wish to be free from the bondage of the passions and sin, and especially from the carnal passions. “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mark 2:17) the Lord says.

These words of the Lord refer to the man who was created according to the image and likeness of God, and he is the grandeur of the logical creation, of the creation of the world.

As a gift of God, repentance gives the sinner the opportunity to come “to the knowledge of the truth” (2Tim. 2:24), namely to be guided to the full and correct knowledge of the truth, by which his salvation in Christ is achieved. According to Saint John of the Ladder, “repentance means the renewal of baptism. Repentance means an agreement with God for a new life. And the repentant is a buyer of humility”.

In other words, repentance predisposes humility, of which Christ became an example, as Saint Paul preaches by saying: “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him and given him a name which is above every name” (Philip. 2:8-9).

Moreover, Christ Himself orders us: “And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be a servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Commenting on this phrase of the Lord, Saint Theophylaktos says: “The Son of Man came to give His life a ransom for many, which is greater than to minister; for when one does not only minister but also dies for the one he serves, what is greater than that or more marvellous? However, this ministry and condensation [of Christ] became glory and elevation for Him and for all”. And Saint Chrysostom says: “Because [Christ] humbled Himself, all creation was able to know Him”.

Sin, namely the sickness of both soul and body, accompanies man throughout his life on earth, as King-Prophet David confesses: “For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me” (Psalm 51:3). And this, because again according to David: “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5).

Likewise, the infinite compassion and mercy of God “from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him” (Psalm 103:17) according to the psalmist. “And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation” (Luke 1:50) according to the testimony of Saint Luke the Evangelist. In other words, my dear brethren, God looks in favour and mercy upon those who turn to Him in fear and reverence, and with a repentant and humble heart.

Precisely this favour and mercy of God did Saint Mary receive when she came to herself and decided to change her life and invoke God’s mercy through her repentance. Therefore, the hymnographer says: “The power of Thy Cross, O Christ, has worked wonders, for even the woman who was once a harlot chose to follow the ascetic way. Casting aside her weakness, bravely she opposed the devil; and having gained the prize of victory, she intercedes for our souls” (Vespers Sticheron).

Indeed, through repentance and of course, the power of the Sacred Cross, Saint Mary achieved the cleansing of her heart and the dwelling of the Holy Spirit in that heart, according to the words of David: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). “Right spirit in us, is not the one that gives us life, but the Spirit of God. This is ‘within’, namely in the very heart of the soul and wills to renew us” Isychios of Jerusalem interprets. According to Origen, “at first the clean heart is formed, then immediately the Spirit is renewed within it”.

Behold, therefore, why repentance is the renewal of baptism and an agreement with God for a new life. Let us hear Saint Paul saying: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many, and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Hebrews 9:27-28). And in more detail, Christ will appear a second time, without carrying the sins of others. And He will appear then to those who are waiting for Him in hope and pain, in order to save them.

It is made clear that the source of repentance is humility, and the source of humility is the Life-giving Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. This path which leads to the source of humility, repentance and the power of the Life-giving Cross was followed and trod, both in words and actions, by today’s honoured Saint Mary of Egypt, who became an example of the redeeming repentance. “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Gal. 5:24), Saint Paul preaches.

As for us, my dear Brethren, let us entreat the Mother of God along with the hymnographer and say: “All-pure Lady, who drivest off the assaults of the harsh calamity, give us help through thine intercessions” (Matins, Ode 3, Theotokion). And you, all-lauded Mary, as you stand in boldness before Christ, intercede for the salvation of our souls”.

Many happy returns and blessed the remaining of Great Lent!”

After the Divine Liturgy, the good keeper of the Monastery Monk Hariton hosted a reception for His Beatitude, His Entourage and the congregation.

From Secretariat-General

 

 




HIS BEATITUDE THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM CELEBRATES THE DIVINE LITURGY ON MOUNT TABOR

On Sunday 29 March/11 April 2021, His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos officiated the Divine Liturgy at the Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Lord on Mount Tabor, with the welcoming of the Hegoumen Archimandrite Ilarion and the Nuns under his obedience.

Before the Holy Communion His Beatitude delivered the following Sermon:

“And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away on the ground, and wallowed foaming…And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:17-24).

Beloved Brethren in Christ,

Noble Christians

Today, on the fourth Sunday of the Great Lent, our Holy Church commemorates Saint John, the author of the Ladder and we read the Gospel narrative regarding the healing of a son, whose father asks for help for his disbelief. Moreover, Saint Mark, the Evangelist does not omit that Christ was preaching to His disciples, telling them that the Son of man will be “delivered into the hands of irreverent men, and they shall kill him; and after that, he is killed, he shall rise the third day” (Mark 9:31).

In His infinite mercy, Christ heals the “son who hath a dumb spirit”, meaning that He liberates him from the bondage and the tormenting captivity of the devil. “ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32) the Lord says. And we wonder, “what is the truth” (John 18:38). Christ is the truth, according to His own testimony: “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). And how is the truth known? Through faith; What faith? That Christ is the Son of God (John 1:34), Who said, “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Matt. 9:13).

It was precisely to this faith to the Son of God, the faith which calls man to repentance, and which has the power to “make all things possible to those who believe” (Mark 9:23) that the father of the possessed son was called.

To the contradictory cry of the father, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:24), the interpreters of this verse, Victor of Antioch and Cyril of Jerusalem distinguish two kinds of faith. Father Victor says: “if he believed, how did he say, help me in my disbelief? Faith is different. The first introductory, the second perfect. Beginning to believe, the father entreated the Lord Who had the power to add what was missing. Likewise, the disciples were saying to the Lord, “Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5).

And Cyril of Jerusalem says; “The name of faith is one, but divided into two. For there is one kind of faith, the dogmatic, which has the consent of the soul; and it is beneficial to the soul, as the Lord says: “He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).

The second kind of faith is that related to the grace which is granted by Christ. “For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:8-9). This faith, which is granted by the grace of the Spirit, is dogmatic and active for the sake of man. And the one who has this faith “shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove, and nothing shall be impossible unto you” (Matt. 17:20).

This faith “which is active for the sake of man” did today’s honoured Saint John of the Ladder receive. According to Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, this faith, which is given by our Orthodox Church and established by the Holy Bible, is we called to acquire and keep, my dear brethren.

Our Holy Apostolic Church is guiding us to this faith, which is active and illumines the soul, through fasting, abstinence from the passions, repentance and prayer during the Great Lent, as Saint Paul says: “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (Eph. 6:16).

Let us entreat the Most Holy Theotokos that by Her intercessions and the supplications of our Holy Father John of the Ladder, we may be worthy to venerate the Holy Passion of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who was transfigured on Mount Tabor, and reach His Holy Resurrection. Amen! Many happy returns!”

From Secretariat-General