On Sunday the 15th/28th of July 2013, a Joint Patriarchal, Primatial and Hieratic Service was held in the Square of the Kiev Caves Cathedrals of Lavra.

The exquisite Church of Lavra is dedicated to the Dormition of Theotokos. Its first founder was St Antony of Kiev, approximately in 1095. He was ordained monk in Mount Athos.

In these very deep and very large labyrinthine caverns, either carved or constructed, thousands of monks have lived in austere asceticism from the 11th century onwards. Holy relics are kept in the caves, some exuding myrrh and some imperishable, declaring the power of the grace of our Lord, the crucified and resurrected Jesus Christ, as well as the sanctification of the body and its participation in theosis by grace.

The relics of several Russian saints are kept here, in the Cavern of Upper Lavra. The Cavern also includes many small chapels, such as those of St Theodosios, second founder of Lavra, and a chapel with 13th century mosaic icons on the iconostasis.

In the second Cave, known as the Near Caves, the holy relics of seventy three saints are kept. The Cave contains the chapels of St Theodosios, 12th century St Varlaam, hegoumen of Pecherskiy, the 13th century chapel of St Antony’s Tonsured Monks, and the altar wherein the holy relics are kept.

On the walls of the caverns, small curved conches, closed, attest to being openings of tombs of many unknown saints. The guide also pointed to a grave wherein are kept the bones of twelve architects who died in Lavra and were buried in its cemetery.

This work of architects is appreciated even more if one considers that the whole area of the Caves includes twenty-four ground Churches and six underground.

At the end of this holy and magnificent Pan-Orthodox Joint Service, His Beatitude Theophilos, Our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem, delivered an address on behalf of all Orthodox Churches. The English version of the address may be found here: https://en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/2013/07/28/2713

After the divine Liturgy, an official lunch was held by Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and All-Ukraine for all Prelates and Delegates of Local Orthodox Churches.

Subsequently, the Prelates and Delegates left from Kiev central train station at about 15:50, to arrive in Minsk, Belarus at 23:35 pm.

From the Secretariat-General



Kyiv Monastery of the Caves, Sunday 28 July 2013.

“Your Holiness, my dear Βrother in Christ and

Concelebrant, Kyril,

Patriarch of Moscow and All  Russia, Your Beatitudes,

Your Eminences,

Your Graces,

Venerable Fathers,

Beloved Monastics,

Esteemed Members of the Government and the Civil Service

Dear Sisters & Brothers, the precious children of the

Orthodox    Church,


Grace  to  you  and  peace  from  God our  Father  and  the

Lord Jesus  Christ!  (2 Cor.  1:2)

We greet  you with these words of Saint Paul as we celebrate with you all this great anniversary of the Baptism of “Rus”.We are  honoured to be here, and we thank you, Your Holiness, for the  invitation that you have extended to us to participate in this Patriarchal Divine Liturgy.

 We are reminded today of the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ from the Sermon on the Mount:

 You are  the  light  of the  world… let your light so shine before   others   that  they  may  see  your  good  works  and give  glory   to your  Father  in heaven,  (Mt.   5: 14, 1 6)

 The  light   of which  Our  Lord  speaks is nothing  less than the  uncreated  light   of  the  Father that   has  been  before the   beginning  of  time.       This   is  the   same   light   that shone   from    Mount  Sinai  when   God  gave  the   Law  to Moses.   This  is the  same  light   that  shone  from   Mount Tabor   at  the  Transfiguration   when   Our  Lord  appeared to  the  disciples  with   Moses and  Elijah  and  they  heard the  Father say, “This  is my  Son, the  Beloved; with   him  I am well  pleased;  listen  to  him!”   (Mt.  17:5).

 This  light   shone  also  from   Golgotha, when  the  King  of Glory  was  lifted   up  on  the  cross,  and  made  manifest to the   whole   world    the   true   meaning  and  cost   of   love. This   light   shone  from   Mount Zion  on  Pentecost, when mysterious  tongues  of  flame   rested  on  the   heads   of the   Apostles   and   Our   Lord   bestowed  on   them    the Father’s gift  of the  Holy  Spirit.

This    wonderful,    divine    light    is  the   same   light    of   hope that          continues   to  shine,   even   in  our   own   day,  from   the Holy  Tomb    of  Our   Lord  Jesus    Christ.       It  was  this   light that    inspired   the   first    missionaries   to  these   lands,   and this is  this   same   light    that   continues   to  bring    hope   to people  all over     the  world.

 The   Church    of Jerusalem,   as  the   Scriptures   remind    us, is  the   Mother    of  all  the  Churches  (Gal.  4:26),   and  has  a special  care for  all  the  Orthodox   faithful   around  the World.           We   rejoice    today    especially   in   the   close relationship    that    has   always    existed     between   the Church   in  Russia  and  the   Ukraine  and  the  Church   of Jerusalem.

 In   a   time     of    extreme   need    in   these    lands,    our predecessors   of  blessed      memory,     the       Patriarchs Theophanes  III,  Paisios, and  Dositheos  II of Jerusalem, were   significant   spiritual   and   pastoral  guides   to   the Church     here.          And    so   the    Church    of   “Rus”  was engrafted   into   the   ancient    apostolic  tradition   of   the Church    of  Jerusalem,  and   this   intimacy   our   faithful people   have always  felt.

 For  centuries  pilgrims  from   these  vast  lands  that   have been  sanctified  by the  blood   of  the  martyrs of  the  love of  Christ    have  come   to  the   Holy   Land,   touching   the very   ground    of  our   sacred   history.        We  in  our   turn have  been  strengthened  by your  pilgrimages  to  us, and we  are  all  encouraged  by  the  deep  unity   of  faith   that we  have  in  our  remarkable  diversity  of  culture, history, language, and  ethnicity.

Jerusalem       is  the   home    of   all   humanity,    regardless   of our   origins.    For,  as  the  Scriptures   remind   us,  there   “is no  longer   Jew   or  Greek,   there   is  no  longer   slave  or  free, there    is no  longer    male  or  female,  for  all  of  you  are  one in  Christ   Jesus”,    (Gal.  3:28).

 Today    we   mark    one    of   the    great    events     in   human history   –  an  event   that   continues   to   have   the   deepest significance          for   the    Orthodox     Church      as   a  whole,     and for  the  peoples of  these  lands  in  particular.    For  here,  in   the    year    988,     Prince    Saint    Vladimir    accepted baptism, and  directed  that   the  entire   population   also be  baptized   in  the   waters    of   the   River  Dnieper  just below   this   square,  where   we  are  concelebrating   this Divine  Liturgy   this  morning.

 All   anniversaries  remind  us  both   of  our  origin   and  of our    purpose,   and   this   anniversary  is   no   exception. The   commemoration   of  the   Baptism  of  “Rus”  ties   the present-day  Church of  these  lands  directly  to  the  Rum Orthodox   civilization   of  Byzantium  and  to  the  Church of   New   Rome,   that   is,  the  Church  of  Constantinople, which   has  always been  privileged  with   the  seniority  of love  and  honour among us.

 Tradition   attests    that    it  was   the   Holy   Apostle  Saint Andrew,  a  witness  of  the   light   of  the   resurrection   in Jerusalem,  the   patron    saint   of   the   Great   Church  of Constanlinople,  who first brought the Christian faith to this part of the World. The seed of the Gospel were shown and grew up here and there for the next several centuries.

But   it  is  to   the   sons   of  Thessaloniki    in  the   Byzantine Empire,   Saint   Cyril    and   Saint   Methodios,    Equal-to-the­ Apostles,    that    the   enduring    work    of   enlightening   the Slavic  lands   is credited.

With       the   conversion   of  the   Empress  Saint   Olga,   Equal­ to-the-Apostles,     history    took   a decisive  turn.    She  was the  attentive    grandmother     and   mentor    to   Prince   Saint Vladimir,  also    called     Equal-to-the-Apostles,  who  was the  Constantine     the    Great    of   the    peoples   of    Rus. Saint    Vladimir      eventually      threw       off      his     former paganism     to  embrace  the  Triune    God,   and  the  story   of the   visit    of   his   emissaries   to   Constantinople     is  justly famous.

There,    in  the   celebration    of   the   Divine    Liturgy     in  the Church     of   Hagia    Sophia,   the   emissaries   encountered heaven    on   earth,    and   so   not   just    the   faith,     but   the bright    culture    and  the  mind   of  Byzantium   came  to  Rus’.   This   faith,    culture  and  mind    have   profoundly    shaped and   formed     the   Christian   civilization    of   these      Slavic lands,    even   to   our   own   time,    and   have   given    you    a unity   that   transcends   the   many   ethnic    differences   that the     Orthodox      Church      in   this     part     of    the     world embraces.

Central     to   the    Byzantine   culture     and   mind    that    you have   inherited    is  the   attitude     that   we  find    in  many   of  the   Church   Fathers,   and   especially   in   Saint  Basil   the Great,   that    as  the   missionaries    brought   the   Gospel    to   new   lands,    instead    of   eradicating    the   culture    and   the practices     they    found,    they    Christianised      them.       Thus they  enfolded  the  soul  of the  people  of  Rus’  whom  they converted  into  the  life  of the  Church.

This was the God given genius of Saint Cyril and Saint Methodios, as well as of Saint Olga and Saint Vladimir, and it lies at the heart of the enduring witness of the Orthodox faith in these lands.

 As    we   re-count  the   extraordinary   blessings  that   this noble  Byzantine tradition  has given  to  the  Church here, on  this   anniversary we  also  remember the  many  trials that  the  Church  and  the   peoples of  these   lands   have  endured over   the   centuries.      The   memory  of  these trials,    some   of  them   still   fresh   for   many   of  us,  must not  make  us  forget   or  abandon our  original  inheritance of faith  and  culture.

Quite    the   contrary:     such   trials    must   send   us  back always  to   our   roots,    to   the   life-giving   wells    of   the spiritual  riches  of  the  Gospel and Tradition  that  sustain the   life   of   the   Church  in  all   its  vigour,    and   to  God himself.     As  Saint  Paul  says,  we  know   “that   suffering produces   endurance,     and      endurance  produces character,   and   character   produces   hope,    and   hope does   not   disappoint     us,  because    God’s   love  has   been-­ poured  into  our  hearts  through  the  Holy  Spirit  that  has been  given  to  us”,  (Rom.  5:3-5).

In  this   way ,  we   shall   live   and   present  to   others  an Orthodoxy  that   is  not  simply   a gift  to  us,  but  a gift  for  the  life  of the  world.

Let  us  remember  the  words   of  Our   Lord  Jesus  Christ  with  which  we  began:

You are  the  light  of the  world.

This   Patriarchal  concelebration    with   the  representatives of  all    the     Local    Orthodox     Churches    is   a   blessed challenge  to  us  all.     We do  not  simply   look  to  the  past; we  must   look   to  the  future,   for   Our  God  is  the  One “who  is  and  who was  and who  is  to  come”,   (Rev. 1:8).

 In  the   face   of  all  the   challenges  of  the   present  age,  from    poverty,  to   war,   to   violence,  to   discrimination, and  all  forms   of  division  and  inhumanity,  the  Orthodox Church has  a God-given apostolic  mission and  a moral obligation    to   witness   to   love,  reconciliation,    peace, unity, and  communion.     We are  called  to  be  the  light of  the   world    in  a  time   when   advancing  globalization makes   new   demands  on   us  all.  We  must,   as  the  Scriptures  say,  keep  alert   and  stand   firm   in  our  faith, be courageous, be strong,  doing  all things   in love, (cf.  1 Cor.  16: 13).

We cannot   shrink   from   being  alert  to this  mission to  be the  light   of  the  world.   We must  make  our  united   voice as   a   Church,   as   it   will    be   expressed  in   the   Pan­ Orthodox   Synod   for   which    we   all   fervently   pray,   a reality   not  for  our  own  sake  only,   but  for  the  integrity of the  ministry  of  the  Gospel.    We must   learn  to  live afresh   the  glory   of  Christianity  in  all  its  expressions  as they  are embodied  in the  divinely-inspired   Canons of the  Church.

In  our   own  day   many   Saint   Olgas   and   many   Saint  Vladimirs    come    to    us   looking    for    the    life-giving message of  the  Gospel,  but  they  go  away  disappointed. They  come   searching  for  the  Incarnate Light,   but  they find  only  shadows.   They  come  to  drink  from  the  water of  life,  but  they  cannot   get  near to the  fountain.

We  must    be  honest    with    ourselves   that   this   is  all  too often  true,  and we   must  be   careful  not  to   be   like  the Pharisees   against     whom     Our    Lord    gave    a   stern warning:    “Woe to   you …  for   you lock  people  out  of   the kingdom  of  heaven.    For  you  do  not  go  in yourselves,  and  when  others  are  going  in,  you  stop  them” ,  (Mt. 23:13).

 The  Church   is given  by God for  the  salvation  of  all,  and it   is   our   responsibility    to   ensure   that   the   gates   of salvation  are  held  open  to  all who  seek  “the  true  light, which   enlightens  everyone.”  (ln.  1:9).

Today     we    re-commit    ourselves   to    this    God-given mission. We  gather   here  in  the  shadow  of  this   holy  place, which   has  given   to   the   Church    and   to   these lands    saints,     martyrs,    startsy,   holy    bishops,    and  humble   monks,    who   were   in  their    generations,   and continue  to- be today,  the  edification  and consolation of  the  faithful,    and  lights  to the world.

They     pass   this   joyful    burden    on  to   us,   so  that   the saving Gospel    of    Our    Lord   Jesus    Christ     may    be  preached  to   the   ends   of  the   earth.   We  remember,  as Saint  John     Chrysostom     tells     us,    that     we   venerate    the  martyrs     most   genuinely,  when  we  imitate   their   virtues. May we never  shrink   from  this  vocation.

May   God   strengthen    us  in  this    mission  to   respond  with boldness   to   the commandment    of   Our   Lord  Jesus Christ  to   be  “the   light    of   the   world.”      And   may   the  Most   Holy   Mother   of   God,  the    Ever-Blessed Virgin Mary, Salnt  Cyril  and   Saint Methodios,  Saint Olga  and Saint  Vladimir,   and  the  many  saints  who  rest  here  in this holy Lavra, pray for  us, that we may walk in their footsteps   as the faithful   heirs  of  the  true  prom ises of Our  Lord Jesus Christ.


His Beatitude


Patriarch of Jerusalem.


On Saturday, the 30th of June/13rd of July 2013, the feast of the Gathering of the Twelve Holy Apostles was celebrated at the Holy Monastery dedicated to them, near the western shore of the Tiberian sea, at the centre of the present-day city of Tiberias. This Monastery was discovered on the ruins of an older Monastery, dated to the years of St Helena. At the Church of this Monastery, His Beatitude Theophilos, Our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem officiated the divine Liturgy with the Very Reverend Kyriakos, Metropolitan of Nazareth, the Most Reverend Aristarchos, Archbishop of Constantina, Hegoumens of Monasteries in the vicinity of Tiberias, e.g. the Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor, Archimandrite f. Ilarion, the Holy Monastery of Cana in Galilee, Archimandrite f. Chrysostomos, presbyters of parishes in the region of Galilee and priest-deacons, with the pious participation of Russian-speaking and Arab-speaking faithful, hailing from Galilee and Accra, and amidst chants from the Choir of Accra-Ptolemais under Hegoumen Archimandrite f. Philotheos.  

To the pious congregation, His Beatitude preached the Word of God in Greek. An excerpt of his speech is cited here below:

“…As is well known, this day’s feast is an extension of the great feast in memory of Peter and Paul, the Heads of the Apostles. And this because just as the Prophets in the Old Testament, so too the Holy Apostles in the New Testament make up the foundation stone of the Church of Christ, indeed the cornerstone mentioned in the teachings of the wise Paul: having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord” (Eph. 2, 20-21).

In Arab, the speech may be read here: https://en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/ar/2013/07/13/2552

After the Divine Liturgy, the Hegoumen of the Holy Monastery, Archimandrite f. Timotheos received the guests at the Hegoumen’s quarters. The reception was followed by lunch serving fish from the Tiberian sea.

From the Secretariat-General




On Friday the 29th of June/12th of July 2013, the feast of the glorious saints, Apostles Peter and Paul, was celebrated at the Church dedicated to them in Capernaum. The church, which invites admiration both outside and inside, was built by the late Damianos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, in 1935, on an archeological site with ruins of ancient Capernaum on the west bank of the Tiberian sea.

As is well known, the Lord taught in Capernaum and there performed many of His miracles, after he had left His birthplace of Nazareth. Of them he said: “Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for thee…” (Matthew 11, 21-24).

In this holy Church, His Beatitude Theophilos, Our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem led the Diving Liturgy. Co-officiating were the Most Reverend Kyriacos, Metropolitan of Nazareth, the Elder Chancellor Aristarchos, Archbishop of Constantina, the Elder Sacristan Isidoros, Archbishop of Ierapolis, and priest-monks of the Holy Sepulcher, as well as the Hegoumen of the Monastery of the Apostles in Tiberias f. Timotheos, of the Monastery of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor, f. Ilarion, the Hegoumen in Fhes, Archimandrite f. Ieronymos, presbyters from the Patriarchal Community in the region of Galilee and Accra and many faithful from the Patriarchate’s Arab-speaking, Greek-speaking and English-speaking flock, mainly from its northern jurisdiction, participating in piousness and devoutness.

During the Koinonikon of the Divine Liturgy, His Beatitude preached the word of God to the pious congregation, an excerpt of which is cited here:

A joyful feast shone today over this holy biblical land of Capernaum, the most sacred memory of Sts Peter and Paul, carriers of the spirit and heads of the apostles. They are the sources of pride the benevolent God, the Father, offered to His Church. And this, as Peter became the stone of faith, and Paul the orator of Christ’s Ecumenical Church. The apostolic preaching of these two leading luminaries of the Church had as its source and point of reference the cornerstone of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, God and Saviour of the World, as attested in their epistles. Peter says: “As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him”, come closer and closer to the Lord, who is a stone of life and gives life, and though he was rejected of men who crucified him, before God he is special and honoured (1, Peter: 2-4). And Paul avows that: “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care.  For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3: 10-11) for none other may place a different cornerstone over the one now lying immovable and unshakable on the foundation of the construction, and this cornerstone is Jesus Christ.  

In Arab, the speech may be read here: https://en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/ar/2013/07/13/2555

At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy and the procession, the diligent renovator of the Monastery, Hegoumen f. Eirinarchos invited everyone to a fish lunch.

From the Secretariat-General




On the evening of Saturday the 23rd of June/5th of July 2013, the graduation ceremony was held at the School of Remli of the Rum Orthodox Community.

The School was founded twenty five years ago by the Greek Orthodox Community of Remli in the days of the late Diodoros, Patriarch of Jerusalem, with the Patriarchate’s moral and financial support.

Gradually, the School evolved into a Nursery School, an Elementary, a Gymnasium and a Lyceum numbering today 714 students and 60 teachers. Indeed, it is considered today one of the best in the city, with its students performing very well and succeeding at the exams for the University.

At the ceremony, His Beatitude Theophilos, Our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem, accompanied by the Right Reverend Isychios, Metropolitan of Kapitolias, the Most Reverend Aristarchos, Archbishop of Constantina, the Hegoumen at the Holy Monastery of Myrophorae in Remli, Guardian of the Holy Sepulcher, Archimandrite f. Nephon, conferred the titles upon 61 graduates and went on to address them in Arab, see: https://en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/ar/2013/07/06/2530/

Also attending the ceremony was the Mayor of Remli, Mr Yoel Levy and the President of the Community and one of the school’s founders, Mr Michel Ksur.

From the Secretariat-General



On Thursday the 14th/27th June 2013, the feast of Prophet Eliseus was celebrated by the Patriarchate in Jericho, at the Church dedicated to St Eliseus the Prophet. The existence here of this holy church in the name of St Eliseus is explained by the fact that he, hailing from the town of Meouli in the region of the valley of the river Jordan, was active in the city of Jericho, too. One of the many miracles he had performed in divine power and fortification, was the transformation of the waters of a living spring in Jericho from bitter and deadly to sweet, drinkable and wholesome, to this very day.

From Jericho, the prophet Eliseus departed with his teacher, the Prophet Elias, and on the river Jordan he beheld him being taken up in a fiery chariot, whereupon he requested and received his grace and mantle, with which he crossed the river Jordan. The Holy Monastery dedicated to his name lies on the spot where according to tradition stood Zacchaeus’ sycamore tree.

To this Monastery came His Beatitude Theophilos, Our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem on the morning of the aforementioned day, and led the divine Liturgy. Co-officiating were the Most Reverend Aristarchos, Grand Chancellor and Archbishop of Constantina; the Patriarchal Commissioner in Bethlehem, Theophylaktos, Archbishop of Jordan; Archimandrite f. Ieronymos from the Archbishopric of the Church of Cyprus; the Hegoumen of the Monastery of St Gerasimos of Jordan, Archimandrite f. Chrysostomos; the Hegoumen of the Holy Monastery of Hozeva, Archimandrite f. Constantinos; Archdeacon f. Athanasios and deacon f. Makarios and other Guardians of the Holy Sepulcher. Members of the Greek Orthodox Arab-speaking Community of Jericho and pilgrims from Jerusalem and other cities participated devoutly.

To the pious congregation, His Beatitude preached God’s word, an excerpt of which is cited here:

 Today’s feast of St Eliseus the Prophet coincides with the post-festive period of the Sacred and Great feast of Pentecost, namely the descent of the Holy Spirit in the form of fiery tongues upon the disciples and apostles of God, Our Saviour Jesus Christ. This fact truly has a great significance, as on the illustrious day of Pentecost, the Holy Church of Christ was perfected, according to the words of the Holy Chrysostom.  

And this spirit is the Spirit of promise, and the completion of hope, in other words the Paraclete about whom the Lord said to his disciples: And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth” (Jn 14, 16-17). “He will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning” (Jn 15, 26-27).

[…] This means that all Prophets through whom the truth of the Holy Triadic God was revealed to the world, as well as the Holy Disciples, through whom was preached the Gospel of Salvation, namely Christ, the Incarnate Word, across the entire world, comprise together with the martyrs of Christ’s love, the cornerstones on which is build the visible and invisible house of God, namely, the “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ within which the great and indeed paradoxic sacrament of man’s salvation is performed”. […]

After the Liturgy, His Beatitude read the prayer of the saint’s kollyva [boiled wheat], blessed fruit, figs and graves and was received at the hegoumen’s quarters by the hegoumen, Archimandrite f. Philoumenos, who subsequantly offered lunch to the Patriarchal retinue and the congregation.

From the Secretariat-General



Saint George’s Cathedral – Jerusalem, 26 June 2013.


Your Grace, dear Archbishop Justin,

Your Grace, dear Bishop Suheil,

Mr Dean, dear Father Hosam,

Your Eminences,

Your Graces,

Reverend Fathers,

Distinguished Guests from the wider community of Jerusalem, Esteemed Members of the Diplomatic Service,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


Once again we are delighted to be enjoying the hospitality of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and Saint George’s Cathedral, and we wish to thank you, dear Bishop Suheil and you, dear father Hosam, for the gracious welcome that you always extend to us here. The close and warm relationship that exists between the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Episcopal Diocese and the Cathedral is a long-standing one, and we give thanks to God for the ministry that you exercise on behalf not only of your local community, but also on behalf of the Anglican Communion.

Your Grace. Archbishop Justin, you have seen today some of the fullness of the life of the Christian community here in Jerusalem. Indeed our gathering this afternoon of the Heads of Churches at the Patriarchate, and our gathering this evening, are visible signs of an important truth about the life of Jerusalem, which is our common home, and which is a beacon of light and hope to the world.

By virtue of its secular and religious history, and by virtue of its spiritual significance, Jerusalem is unique among the cities of the world. Here God has made his presence among his people known in a special and particular way, and Jerusalem is a living witness to this eternal reality. In this holy city, heaven and earth have been joined, and sacred history is made visible to the eye of faith.

So it is that Jerusalem can be the exclusive possession of no single individual or group, whether secular or religious. The true nature of Jerusalem is one of unity in diversity, and essential to Jerusalem is our cultural, religious, ethnic, and linguistic richness. Clearly we, to whom the Joy and the burden of the leadership of the Churches has been entrusted, understand that a strong, vibrant and healthy Christian community is indispensable to the true life of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem without such Christian community – a community that is itself, as we see here this evening, a remarkably diverse one – is not conceivable, and we know that you, dear Archbishop Justin, know that, and will make the well-being of the Christian community in this city and in the Holy Land a priority of your own primatial ministry. For Jerusalem is also your home.

Our region continues to face unprecedented and serious challenges and changes. You have just come from Egypt and Jordan, where we know that you have learnt a great deal about the current life of the region. For generations. Jews, Christians, Muslims, Druze, and people of other faiths have lived side by side here. Sometimes relationships have been closer; sometimes they have been more distant. But the peoples of this region share both a common history as well as a common destiny. We must find new ways of genuine co-existence and mutual respect and understanding for there to be the chance of proper justice and lasting peace.

We have no real choice. Any alternative to the truly diverse character of Jerusalem is diminishment, and this is not an option for us as Christians. Security, the protection of human rights, freedom of worship, and the possibilities for self-determination must guaranteed for all. In the task of ensuring that Jerusalem lives its full identity, and fulfills its ancient destiny, no group, and in particular the Christian community, is dispensable.

As we seek to be faithful to our calling as the Christian community of Jerusalem and the Holy Land, and as the Churches seek to find better ways of working together in this spiritual cause, we ask for your prayers, dear Archbishop Justin, as well as your partnership. We are confident that, by God’s grace, Jerusalem will be maintained as a city that gathers all God’s children without distinction into her wide embrace. For there is room here for all.

Thank you.


His Beatitude


Patriarch of Jerusalem.


Jerusalem Patriarchate, 26 June 2013.

Your Grace, dear Archbishop Justin,

Dear Mrs. Welby,

Your Beatitudes,

Your Eminences,

Your Graces,

Reverend Fathers,

Members of our Brotherhoods,

Beloved Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

We welcome you with joy, dear Archbishop Justin, along with your wife, Caroline, and those travelling with you, on this, your first personal pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the Holy Land. For the Orthodox Church, this is the season of Pentecost, and so we recall today the unifying gift of the Holy Spirit.  In our liturgy we sing:

“When the Most High came down and confused the tongues,

He divided the nations;

but when He distributed the tongues of fire,

He called all to unity.

Therefore, with one voice, we glorify the All-Holy Spirit”.

(Kontakion for the Feast of Pentecost)

All Christian Churches and confessions recognize the gift of unity as a fruit of the Holy Spirit, and it is our prayer today, in this gathering here at the Patriarchate of the Heads of the Churches of the Holy Land, that we may know afresh the power of God’s Holy Spirit to unite all faithful Christians in a common mission for the sake of the Gospel of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

You come in the footsteps of your predecessors as Archbishop of Canterbury, all of whom have had a special care and concern for the Holy Land, for the Christian community here, for peace and reconciliation, and for mutual respect and genuine co- existence among all our peoples and traditions.

In particular, we are aware of your long-standing commitment to reconciliation from your years as a residentiary canon of Coventry Cathedral and as co-director of the International Centre for Reconciliation there. The ministry of reconciliation lies at the heart of the life of a bishop, and this experience will doubtless form a mainstay for your life and work as archbishop. All of here who bear the responsibility of leadership in our Churches in the Middle East assure you of our prayers and support as you embark on your primatial ministry.

The pilgrimage that you and Mrs. Welby are making to the Holy Land is a blessing for you, and we hope that in making this pilgrimage so early on in your archiepiscopate, you will be formed by your prayers at, and veneration of, the Holy Places. Here our sacred history becomes incarnate, for hare God has entered our human life, redeemed our common humanity, and restored our ancient destiny. May this living reality of the Holy Places be ever at the heart of your devotion, and may your memory of them be always a strength to you.

But let us not forget that your presence among us is an encouragement to the Christian community of the Holy Land. Of Christian leaders outside the Holy Land, the Archbishop of Canterbury holds a special place and is given unique opportunities by virtue of his office and the relationships with other Christian bodies, with leaders of other faiths, and with governments that few others enjoy.

We encourage you, Your Grace, to keep before the world the life and witness of the Christian community of the Holy Land, and to do all in your power to ensure the future of the Christian community here. We are native to this region, and the well-being and health of the Christian community are absolutely essential to the well-being and the true character of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. We Christians in the Holy Land bear witness to the Divine love of humanity, a love that stops at nothing to accomplish our salvation, which is nothing less than the reconciliation between God and humanity, and between all the diverse members of God’s human family.

This witness brings great joy, but it also comes at a cost. For witness to God’s Jove is nothing less than witness to the cross of Christ, where God’s love for us was shown so completely. We Christians in the Holy Land seek to be the Church of the sacrificial love of Christ, and we do our best to promote mutual respect, peaceful co-existence, lasting peace and justice, not just in word, but in deed.

We know that the relationship between the Church of England and the Anglican Communion and our respective Churches represented here this afternoon has always been good. If our brothers will permit me, we wish to say how important the relationship between the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Anglican Communion has been for both our Churches.

And yet we can all say here today that your concerns are our concerns, just as we pray that our concerns will be your concerns. As Saint Paul so eloquently reminds us:

If one member suffers, all suffer together with it;

if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it, (I Cor. 12:26)

It is our common witness to the reconciling work of the cross that unites us, exemplified for you, Your Grace, in the Cross of Nails of Coventry and for us in the very place of our Lord’s crucifixion that is the place of redemption. The cross is our inspiration as well as our protection, for, as we read in the Letter to the Ephesians:

“…our struggle is not against enemies of flesh and blood…,

but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places”.

(Eph. 6:12)

In token of our shared witness to the cross of Christ, we wish to bestow on you, dear Archbishop Justin, the cross of the Order of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulcher. May the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ be always your protection as well as your strength, and may this bind you to us in prayer and solidarity.

On behalf of the Heads of the Churches, let us once again welcome you and Mrs. Welby.

We assure you of our prayers for your pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and we pray for God’s blessing upon you in your primatial ministry. And we look forward to welcoming you often to Jerusalem and the Holy Land, which is your spiritual home.

Thank you.


His Beatitude


Patriarch of Jerusalem.


On the evening of Wednesday, the 13th/26th of June 2013, the newly-enthroned and elected Archbishop of Canterbury under the Anglican Church, His Grace Mr Justin Welby, accompanied by His Grace the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in Jerusalem, Mr Suheil Dawani, and associates of his Church, visited the Patriarchate.

The Head of the Anglican Church was received by His Beatitude Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, in the presence of Fathers of the Holy Sepulcher, and the heads of other Churches in Jerusalem, namely: the Latin Patriarch in Jerusalem, the Lutheran Bishop, the Coptic Bishop, the Syrian Bishop and a priest of the Ethiopian Church.

The Archbishop, Mr Justin Welby, was given a welcome address by His Beatitude Theophilos (see link:  https://en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/2013/06/26/2572/ ) and was bestowed the supreme honour of the Patriarchate, specifically the Cross of the Order of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulcher, in recognition of his efforts towards conciliation, peace and unity.

After the decoration, His Beatitude presented His Grace with a handbook bearing an icon of St Justin, his namesake philosopher and martyr, the book of the Ecclesiastical History of Jerusalem by Chrysostomos Papadopoulos, two silver candlesticks, a golden cross for his wife, and an icon of Theotokos for his associates.

Touched by this gesture, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Mr Welby, thanked His Beatitude by saying that, albeit British, he found it difficult to express in English words his emotions over the honour bestowed upon him by the Patriarch of Jerusalem and the other Heads of Churches.

“It is for me”, he said, “a great honour indeed, the fact that I find myself in the Holy Land during the period of Pentecost. I come to you in the fear and terror of Crucified Christ, on the word of the Apostle Paul. My first priority is personal and ecclesiastical renewal; the second, the establishment of exchange between churches; and third, the preaching of the Gospel, suffering for the Gospel, just as you suffer in this area, especially Syria. I pray for all of you, that you endure uncomplainingly and courageously. We know how much your Community suffers. Yet, the accomplishment of your mission is possible through God’s grace. You are the guardians and keepers of the All-holy sites of pilgrimage, and you too pray for us profoundly”.

Subsequently, brief addresses were given by the Latin Patriarch in Jerusalem, the Anglican Bishop, the Lutheran, Coptic and Ethiopian Bishops, underlying the need for accord between Christians in the Middle East, and requesting international support to their country, so that they may enjoy equal citizenship rights in the State wherein they reside.

As for the hoary-headed Dr Ioannis Tlil, member of the Christian Community in Jerusalem, he offered the Archbishop his book “I am Jerusalem”.

After a private conversation in the office of His Beatitude, the Archbishop of Canterbury left for his Church.

From the Secretariat-General




On Tuesday the 12th/25th of June 2013, the feast of St Onouphrios was celebrated at the Holy Monastery bearing his name, which lies at the Gihon valley opposite the Pool of Siloam. This Monastery, dedicated to St Onouphrios of Egypt, is one of the ancient Monasteries of the Patriarchate. It lies on rocks and carved tombs of the cemetery which was “purchased for the burial of foreigners” by the chief priests of the Jews for the three hundred silver pieces the repentant Judas Iscariot, who had delivered the Lord, had returned to them (Matthew 27, 6-8).

At the church of this Holy Monastery, founded long ago by Archimandrite Metrophanes, Guardian of the Holy Sepulcher, in 1893, His Beatitude Theophilos, Our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem led the Divine Liturgy. Co-officiating were the Most Reverend Isychios, Metropolitan of Kapitolias and Patriarchal Commissioner; Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, Elder Sacristan; Priest-Monk fr. Christodoulos from the Metropolis of Patras, Priest-Monk fr. Ieronymos from the Archbishopric of Cyprus; the very Reverend Archimandrite Ieronymos, hegoumen in Fhes and Vice-President of Financial Affaris; Archdeacon fr. Athanasios and Priest-Deacon fr. Eulogios.

Monks and nuns participated in this divine Liturgy in devoutness and reverence, together with laymen and laywomen, pilgrims, and residents of Jerusalem and the Hill of St Sion.

To this pious congregation, His Beatitude Theophilos preached the Word of God, an excerpt of which is cited here: 

[…] Hosios Onouphrios, Our Father, set deification as his only purpose in life, bearing in mind the words of the Great Athanasius, that God was humanized, became a human after us, so that us humans would become deified.

This is precisely the purpose of the descent, on behalf of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Paraclete, namely the Holy Spirit, upon the world through His holy Church, to make us into vessels of the perceptible and heavenly light, that is the Holy Spirit, as was the case with our Hosios Onouphrios according to his hagiographer: “A light that is perceptible and heavenly you have received in your heart, of the undefiled Trinity you have become a vessel, Onouphrios. And now among the angels you are counted, crying Alleluia”.

[…] Our Church, my dears, promotes we would say in a special manner the great figures of the martyrs and ascetics of Christ’s love. And this, so that it may be known and revealed to men that the man who does not accept the light of Christ, namely the Holy Spirit, shall remain in darkness”.

“I”, says Christ, “have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness” (John, 12, 46). I have come to the world to be a spiritual light for this man, so that no one of those who believe in me should stay in the moral darkness of sin and fallacy. […]

After the Divine Liturgy, a procession followed to the graves of the Monastery’s proprietors and other men entombed there, where a supplication was made for the repose of the souls of the Fathers there entombed and of the recently departed Nun Serapheima.

After the procession and the apolysis of the Divine Liturgy, there followed a brief reception at the quarters of the Mother Superior, the Very Reverend Paisia.

From the Secretariat General