On the afternoon of Saturday the 6th/19th of October 2013, the Secretariat of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy visited the Patriarchate.

The delegation, consisting of approximately thirty-five members, was received by His Beatitude Theophilos in the presence of Fathers of the Holy Sepulcher.

During the visit, Secretary General Mr Anastasios Nerantzis pointed out that the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy consists of distinguished members from twenty-five Orthodox countries, with Greece and Russia being the Assembly’s pillars and guarantors.

In his address to His Beatitude, the President of the General Assembly, Mr Sergei Popov said:

“We are especially pleased to visit the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the most ancient religious institution in the Holy Land. Its peacemaking, conciliatory and political role, since 451 AD onwards, we deeply appreciate, alongside the personal work of Your Beatitude”.

“We are also pleased over the fact that our paths cross, namely the path of the Patriarchate and the path of our organization, as we too aim and pursue the promotion of peace, change which is personal and social alike, and reconciliation. It is with emotion that we visit the Holy Sepulcher and the Patriarchate, in solidarity to its work in the flaring region of the Middle East and beyond”.

In His reply speech, His Beatitude expressed his joy over the fact that the Orthodox Church is today assigned with an important role in the life of humanity. Its foremost task is man’s healing, change, conciliation; it does not promote political interests or the objectives of globalization. This is the work of the Orthodox Church in its entirety, especially so of the Church of Jerusalem from where the Christian truth emerged as a message of peace, change and justice.

For its work the Patriarchate enjoys the respect and appreciation not only of the other Churches but also of political governments and religions in the area, Judaism and Islam. That is why the Patriarchate expects support and solidarity, not undermining. It maintains the sanctity of the All-Holy Sites of Pilgrimage which are not to be visited only as museums but also as functional spaces.

“The sites of pilgrimage are worthy of respect for Christians, Muslims and Jews”, His Beatitude pointed out.

“Political and religious groups claim exclusivity to Jerusalem. Jerusalem, as we all know, is internationally a corpus separatum. For us, Jerusalem is the spiritual capital of the whole world” said His Beatitude and went on to add:

“[…] For this reason the Patriarchate plays a role in the settlement of the political status of Jerusalem. That is why we have been trying to convince our Orthodox brothers to support the Patriarchate and not use it to achieve political goals. I mean that the Patriarchate has offered blood and money for Christians. We happily receive both Orthodox and non-Orthodox pilgrims because their presence attests to the fact that the sites of pilgrimage belong to the whole world. There is in Jerusalem the paradox of multicultural tension and at the same time peaceful coexistence. The Patriarchate is the only autocephalous and indigenous Church, hence in it meet the most extreme with the most moderate elements”.

At the end of his speech His Beatitude offered the President of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy, Mr Sergei Popov, and Secretary General, Mr Anastasios Nerantzis, the “History of the Church of Jerusalem”, a depiction of the Nativity and icons of the Holy Sepulcher; He also offered Jerusalemite eulogias to all members of the Assembly.

Subsequently, the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy left for two-day assignments in the city of Bethlehem where they visited the Basilica of the Nativity.

From the Secretariat-General



During the period between the 21st to the 25th of September/ 4th to 8th October 2013, the Patriarchate of Serbia celebrated the 1700th anniversary of the Edictum Mediolanense, issued by Constantine the Great (in 313 AD) who hailed from the ancient city of Naissos, namely present-day Nis, Serbia. The Edict of Milan allowed the Christian religion within the Roman state.

His Beatitude Theophilos, our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem, accompanied by His Eminence Aristarchos, Archbishop of Constantina and Elder Secretary-General; His Eminence Makarios, Archbishop of Kattara, who had pursued theological studies in the Belgrade Faculty of Theology, and Archdeacon f. Athanasios.

His Beatitude and retinue, who arrived in Belgrade on the evening of Friday, the 21st of September/4th of October 2013, were received by His Beatitude Irinej, Patriarch of Serbia, in the presence of Prelates, Hieromonks and Hierodeacons.

During this warm reception, His Beatitude Irinej thanked His Beatitude Theophilos for accepting the invitation of the Church of Serbia to participate in the celebrations for the recognition of the Christian religion by means of the Edict of Milan, adding he was particularly happy about the pilgrims coming from the Holy Sepulcher.

In response, His Beatitude Theophilos extended His thanks for the warm reception and for the reason that, beyond the significance of the Edict of Milan for the Church and the world, the very meeting of the Heads of Orthodox Churches or their representatives was in itself significant for further tightening their relations.

In the meantime, His Beatitude Anastasios, Archbishop of Albania, arrived, and was cordially received by the Patriarchs of Serbia and Jerusalem, who were still at the airport with their respective Retinues.

On the following day, Saturday the 22nd of September/5th of October 2013, Doxology was held in honour of the event at the great and historical Cathedral of Sts Taxiarchai which stands in the center of Belgrade, opposite the Patriarchate.

During Doxology, the Patriarch of Serbia addressed the Heads of Churches and their retinues, whilst the Most Reverend Irinej, Metropolitan of Baska, translated into impeccable ancient Greek. The Patriarch underlined the importance of the work of Constantine the Great and of significance of the Edict issued by him, as well as the significance of the Gathering of the Heads of Churches in his birthplace of Nis, with the aim of working together towards the resolution of problems and for a broader fraternal society in favour of justice, love and unity in the world.

On behalf of the Heads of Churches spoke the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Greek, whilst the Metropolitan of Baska translated into Serbian.

After the apolysis of the liturgy, a reception followed at the Patriarchate of Serbia.

From there, the Heads of Churches and their retinues visited the Serbian President, His Excellency Mr Tomislav Nicolic. Mr Nicolic expressed his joy over the celebrations held by the Church and the State of Serbia as well as for the Inter-Orthodox participation.

Following a short rest break, the Heads of Churches and their Retinues left for the city of Nis. After a three-hour drive, they held Doxology at the Cathedral of Sts Constantine and Helena in Nis.

On the morning of Sunday the 23rd of September/5th of October 2013, an Inter-Orthodox Patriarchal Joint Liturgy was held at the forecourt of the aforementioned Cathedral. Participating in the Joint Liturgy were thousands of pious Serbs, led by their President, Mr Tomislav Nicolic.

At the conclusion of the liturgy, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew made a speech.

Subsequently, the Patriarch of Serbia conferred the medal of St Constantine the Great, first class, to each of the Heads of the Orthodox Churches, and to the President of the Republic of Serbia, Mr Tomislav Nicolic. The Prelates accompanying the Heads of Churches were decorated with the medal of St Constantine, second class.

Lunch followed, during which each Primate made an address. The address of His Beatitude Theophilos may be read here in English: https://en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/2013/10/11/3130

Due to pastoral requirements, namely the feast of St Thekla, His Beatitude left on the morning of Monday the 27th of September/ 7th of October 2013, whilst His Eminence Makarios, Archbishop of Kattara, undertook to represent the Patriarchate in the rest of the festive celebrations of the Church of Serbia.

From Belgrade, His Beatitude flew for Constantinople with Turkish Airlines and from there arrived in Jerusalem during the early hours of Monday the 24th of September/7th of October 2013, in order to lead the procession for the feast of St Thekla, Great Martyr and Equal to the Apostles.

From the Secretariat-General


On Tuesday the 4th/17th of September 2013, a holy water rite was performed on the occasion of the start of the new school year 2013-2014 in the Patriarchal Hieratic School on the hill of St Sion.

The rite was performed by His Beatitude Theophilos, Our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem, who was accompanied by the Elder Secretary-General Aristarchos, Archbishop of Constantina, and Archdeacon f. Athanasios. Attending the rite were, from the School Board, Hierodeacon f. Martyrios; the Principal, Physics teacher monk f. Fotios, detached teachers from Greece and Cyprus, the School’s pastor and  Hegoumen of the Monastery of Hojeva, Archimandrite Constantinos, the new Consul-General of Greece to Jerusalem, Mr Georgios Zacharoudiakis, his associate Ms Aspasia Mitsi, students, fifteen in all, and some of their parents.

After the rite, at the School’s Events Hall, the Principal f. Fotios addressed His Beatitude, teachers and students in the speech available through the video below.

In His reply speech, His Beatitude said that the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulcher, the future members of which are today’s novices, and which carries the ecumenical mission of safeguarding the All-Holy Sites of Pilgrimage, celebrated today the spiritual opening of the new school year in order to bless those who teach and those who are being taught the god-pleasing work of education.

Special reference was made to the presence and the work of the Patriarchate and Brotherhood in the holy and ecumenical city of Jerusalem, at all times, especially so during this difficult period facing the Middle East and the rest of the world.

His Beatitude wished the students diligence in Christ’s education, spiritual achievements and sense of honour maintained by those attending the School. He also wished for more students in order for the School to pursue its mission in a more effective way.

Through a few words, the Greek Consul-General reiterated the will of Greece to support the education of the Brotherhood at the School and urged students to prove worthy of our national and religious tradition, serving the Church and the Nation, as required by them.

From the Secretariat-General



On Tuesday the 16th/29th of August 2013, the Spiritual Center of the Bethlehem Pilgrimage was officially inaugurated.  

The Center is set up at a residence near the Basilica of the Nativity, and the Central Monastery of the Greek Orthodox located within. The residence was purchased and renovated by the Patriarchal Commissioner in Bethlehem, His Eminence Theophylaktos, Archbishop of Jordan.

The Center is intended to include various teaching and educational departments for the youth of the Arab-speaking congregation in Bethlehem (Rum Orthodox), i.e. courses on the History of the Holy Land, the Church of Jerusalem, the Holy Sites, Byzantine Music, computer literacy, foreign languages etc.

By means of these courses and other events to be hosted at the Center, young people will have the opportunity to meet and communicate with one another, overcoming isolation and alienation caused by the unstable political situation and financial adversities facing both Bethlehem and its environs.

The administration of the Center shall be undertaken by His Eminence Theophylaktos, Archbishop of Jordan, alongside selected associates from the Bethlehem congregation, i.e. theologian Mr Jandala Masri, and Mr Georgios Kharan with the blessing, approval and guidance of His Beatitude Theophilos and of the Holy and Sacred Synod.

The inauguration ceremony was preceded by a meeting of the heads of the three Communities – Greek Orthodox, Franciscan and Armenian – at the Bethlehem office of the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mr Mahmoud Abbas – Abu Mazen, with his representatives, focused on working together on the manner in which officials and pilgrims will be received at the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Subsequently, the Patriarchal Commissioner in Bethlehem, Theophylaktos, hosted lunch for His Beatitude and retinue, as well as for high-ranked officials of the Palestinian Authority, Sheiks of the region, Mr George Bassus and to approximately two hundred members of our congregation in Bethlehem and other communities.

Lunch was followed by the Center’s opening ceremony and the blessing of the water by His Beatitude.

On this very significant event for the life of our Greek Orthodox Community and all towns in Bethlehem, His Beatitude made a speech in Arabic which may be read here https://en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/ar/2013/08/28/2662 wishing success of the Center’s objectives for the benefit of those partaking in its activities.

 At the conclusion of His speech, His Beatitude was given a letter by the Judicial Assembly of the Palestinian Authority addressed to President Abu Mazen, wherein His Beatitude is praised for His cooperation towards peace, inter-religious coexistence and contribution to the Palestinian people. The letter, in Arabic, may be read here: https://en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/ar/2013/08/28/2665

Upon leaving the Center, His Beatitude consecrated the Chapel of the Holy Innocents near the Basilica, recently renovated by Theophylaktos, Archbishop of Jordan.

From the Secretariat-General



Your Beatitude,

It is sincere privilege and profound honour to greet our esteemed guests and my fellow pilgrims of the Order of Saint Andrew to this historical and hallowed pilgrimage in the Holy Land and the sacred city of Jerusalem, where we are humble guests of Your Beatitude Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III, the 141ST Patriarch of the ancient Orthodox Christian Church of Jerusalem.

Your mere title, Your Beatitude, introduces us to the auspicious and awesome region that we find ourselves today. For you are the spiritual leader of the Orthodox Christians in the old city of Jerusalem and all Palestine, Syria and Arabia, beyond the Jordan River and Cana of Galilee, and finally Holy Zion. This city isone of the oldest and holiest in the world; it has been sacred to the people of the Old Testament for 3000 years and to the people of the New Testament for 2000 years. This territory has been trodden by the feet of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; it is here in Bethlehem, that Christ was born and lived, preached sermons and performed miracles, was crucified and risen. It is in the surrounding sanctified waters that Christ was baptized, walked on the sea, and healed the paralytic. It is from here that Christianity spread like fire throughout the world. And it is here that your revered predecessor, Apostle Iacovos, the brother of our Lord, presided over the first Church Council at which gathered the Holy Apostles and Disciples of our risen Savior Jesus Christ.

As you know, Your Beatitude, the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in America are the devoted lay servants and committed defenders of the Sacred See of Saint Andrew, the first called of the Apostles. Yet, we all hold in the highest esteem the maternal source and spiritual birthplace of the Christian Church, which was established on the day of Pentecost with the descent of the Holy Spirit on Christ’s disciples.

It is truly a blessing and inspiration for us to be here during this Paschal Season. We will be able to chant Christ is Risen before the empty tomb of our Lord. We will be here, on the divine day of the Ascension of our Lord, as it is says in the Creed, when He ”ascended into heaven to sitat the right hand of the Father”. What we will experience in the coming days will remain in our minds and in our hearts for the rest of our lives. It can never be adequately described with words; it can only fittingly be honored with silence.

We thank you for your hospitality, Your Beatitude and for the honor you’ve given us by being our most distinguished guest this evening. We also assure you of our love and support in your sacred of history.

Thank you.

Archon Christopher Pappas,

appointed Regional Commander of

South Central United States


November 29, 2011

It is with feelings of great joy that we greet today the 10th General Assembly of the Council of Churches of the Middle East.

The Church of Cyprus, and we personally, welcome to our island, with great pleasure, the honourable Representatives – clerics and laymen – from the various Churches – members of the Council of Churches of the Middle East. We thank you and we welcome you all. You all, guided by the true spirit of the Christian love, have responded to the invitation and came here, so that all together we will exchange views and respond to the many and serious problems which concern us.

Thirty-seven years after the Initiating Assembly of the Council of Churches of the Middle East in Cyprus, spearheaded by the late Archbishop Macarios III, the Church of Cyprus has the distinguished honour to host the 10th General Assembly. We are confident that this Assembly, as well as the Initiating one, will be a milestone for the future and the history of the Council and for the further development of the Ecumenical Movement in the region.

The presence of all of you here highlights, and also confesses, the great significance and importance, which the current General Assembly of the Council of Churches of the Middle East has. During the critical times that we are experiencing, in which we are witnessing acts of violence, religious fanaticism, intolerance and religious discrimination in the wider region of the

Middle East and North Africa, this General Assembly attracts the immediate interest and attention of all Christians in this sensitive area of our world. Therefore, as religious leaders we need to hear the messages of our peoples for freedom, democracy and dignity against regimes, which – in their agony to survive – spread terror, violence and death to their people.

We have a strong view that the time is here, when all together – all Churches of the Middle East – we have to join forces and work consciously towards resolving many, various and serious problems that exist in our region, especially the prevalence of peace amongst our peoples and countries.

Our responsibility to work for peace, is primarily a result of our responsibility towards God; all human beings were created according to His image. Moreover, the concept of peace is tied up with the presence of God amongst humans and is not limited simply to a word which denotes the absence of war. It has a deeper meaning and this becomes clear from the first moment of the presence of the Saviour on Earth, and the hopeful message of the angels , which is carried to the whole of humanity “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men».

Developments are running fast in our region and we cannot be ordinary observers in what is happening around us, nor can we just follow the events. Our responsibility is to keep in pace with developments and – to the possible extent – to modify them towards the benefit, progress and prosperity of our peoples. Besides, this is required as our duty towards the future generations and towards our children, for which we must secure the right to live in a better, safer and more peaceful world, at local, regional and international levels.

To be able to exercise our role, as the Middle East Council of Churches, and to make an active contribution to a better and happier world in our region, without wars and bloodshed, it is realised that we must resign ourselves to Christian love and, in a spirit of goodwill and understanding, beyond mere rhetorical expressions, in order to see the problems which concern us, to confront the difficulties and challenges, to respond, to make decisions and resolve them. This is the moment at which our words and our values are turned into action and projects, which will contribute to the culture of peace in the region.

Primarily, we highlight the need for reconstruction of the Middle East Council of Churches, so as to make it more effective in its decisions and actions. Undoubtedly, there were and there are economic difficulties, which need to be addressed, taking into account, of course, today’s difficult economic situation, which exists worldwide. However, weaknesses have been observed and the functioning of the Secretariat of the Council, resulting to a lack of coordination and harmonious cooperation between the member churches. All these have to be resolved, otherwise, the Middle East Council of Churches will not be able to respond to the esteemed causes of its establishment and operation.

At the same time, the Middle East Council of Churches should create those appropriate structures and programmes, through which the representatives of the Churches of the Middle East, will be able to meet, discuss, and seek answers to many important issues associated with the Christian presence in the Middle East. However, our commitment to a greater and better understanding and dialogue cannot be limited just among Christians. It is also our responsibility to develop harmonious and friendly relations amongst Christians, Muslims and Jews. Consequently, we must reaffirm the common values of love, mutual respect and understanding, as they are so aptly and beautifully recorded in the Holy Bible: “Let us love one another, for love is for God and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1, John A:7). The opening of an Interreligious Dialogue will enable the Middle East Council of Churches to become the catalyst of developments in the Middle East.

We wish, on this occasion, to express our deep appreciation to the hitherto considerable work and great service of the Council not only to

Christians, but in general and to the people and countries of our region. Undoubtedly, however, much remains to be done.

We reiterate that the current General Assembly of the Council of Middle East Churches is meeting at very difficult and critical times for our region. We all live and experience these. We especially note the sad events of the resurgence of religious fundamentalism and significant violations of religious freedoms.

Unfortunately, we are sorry to say that, also, in the occupied northern area of our island, for almost thirty seven years now, following the invasion by Turkish troops, basic human rights are being violated and religious freedom is not respected. Since then, and in all these years since 1974, to the present day, we have no right to perform our religious duties, to protect and conserve our ancient churches and monasteries. These ancient churches and monasteries have either been destroyed or looted; some were transformed into Muslim mosques, others into leisure centres and others into yards for sheep or stables of animals.

In relation to this, we mention that we, as the Church of Cyprus, know that only through sincere and open dialogue with the Turkish Cypriots, we will be able to overcome our differences and to build trust between us. It is sufficient to stress that the Cyprus problem has never been a religious problem, as we lived peacefully and harmoniously, Greek Christians and Muslim Turkish Cypriots. Therefore, the dialogue with the Turkish Cypriot Muslims in our own country is vitally important.

We stress, once again, that during these critical times, which we undergo, a perfect and harmonious collaboration of all Christians and of all the Churches of the region is needed and required. The current General Assembly of the Council of Middle East Churches is called in this effort to overcome the existing internal problems and other difficulties, and to give evidence of its contribution.

In conclusion, we would like to stress that the peace process is a matter of personal and institutional choice. The power either to increase the pain in the world, or to contribute to healing the wounds, is in our hands. Once again, we stress that it is a matter of choice. Today, we are here following the urgings of Holy Scripture: “my little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth” (1 John, 3:18). We are here because we have made our choices: we have established peace over war, hope over despair, and love over hatred.

 It is with these general considerations, that we welcome the work of the General Assembly and we wish, from the bottom of our heart, success of our efforts, so that soon the spirit of Christian love and Christian peace be established in our countries and our people. Our wholehearted prayer to the Arch-shepherd Christ is that the day will come on which his fervent desire “that they all may be one” (John, 17:21) will become a reality and his faultless prophesy “there will be one flock and one shepherd” (John, 10:16) will come true.


 Holy Archdiocese of Cyprus, 29 November 2011.



Al-Salaamu ‘Aleikum, “Εἰρήνη ὑμῖν!” I greet you all in Peace.

Peace is not just a word for greeting or a word signifying the absence of war. It is something more than a simple word. The notion of Peace is signifying the presence of God among people regardless their religious beliefs and consists a core value in all religions and reaches out all those people, who seek peace according to their own religious traditions and commitments.

Unfortunately, in the area of the Middle East Peace is not present. We often witness, terrible acts of violence that spread death, terror and pain upon people. We are able to observe, also, acts of religious intolerance and discrimination. Recognizing the fact that working for peace constitutes a primary expression of our responsibility which is grounded on the essential goodness of all human beings by virtue of being in God’s image, we gathered, today, the Primates and the Representatives of the Orthodox Churches in the Middle East ready to face the challenges and to move forward, beyond mere rhetorical expressions. We are here to incarnate our ethical values into actions that will contribute to a culture of peace in the area.

Alternative ways that reject violence and war must constantly pursued and persistently proclaimed. For this reason we arrived here, in the Holy Land of Jordan Valley, to found an Inter-Orthodox Institution where the Orthodox Churches will be able to meet and discuss, searching for the answers to the many issues related to the Christian presence in the Middle East. However, our commitment must not be limited within the Christians. It is also our responsibility to develop harmonious relations and better understanding between Christians, Muslims and Jewish. Thus, we have to reaffirm our common values of love, mutual respect and understanding and we have to foster interfaith dialogue within the spirit of the Holy Scripture: “Let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves, is born of God and knows God. He, who doesn’t love, doesn’t know God, for God is love” (1 John: 4, 7). For this reason we would like to extend our greetings to the whole Muslim world, this very special day that signifies the beginning of the Holy month of Ramadan which is a time of reflecting, believing and worshiping God, a time of self-reformation, spiritual cleansing and enlightenment.

TheChurchofCyprus, remains true to the beliefs and ideas of love, peace and of mutual understanding. It is our commitment to promote dialogue between different religions globally, regionally and locally, not only in theory but also in practice. For theChurchofCyprusdialogue with Turkish Cypriots, in our own country is of existential importance, because of the fact that the northern part of our island is enslaved and under Turkish military occupation since 1974.  Since then, basic Human Rights are violated daily and religious freedom is not respected. We have no right to worship in or protect and preserve our centuries old churches and monasteries. TheChurchofCyprusknows that only through sincere and open dialogue with Turkish Cypriot Muslims, we will be able to overcome our differences and build trust with one another. BesidesCyprusproblem has never been a religious problem, as Muslims Turkish Cypriots and Christians Greek Cypriots, used to live together in peace and harmony.

In this respect, the Church of Cyprus, promoting dialogue with the Turkish Cypriot religious leadership, organized last week a Faith Based Interfaith Youth Encounter with the participation of Greek and Turkish Cypriots together with Israeli and Palestinian youth. The main purpose of this initiative was for young people from different faiths (Christians, Moslems, Jewish) and different nationalities to come together and understand the aspirations, worries, and beliefs of each other.  In addition, the Programme gave the opportunity to the youth to discuss the teachings of each religion regarding Human Rights -including the Rights of Religious Freedom and worship- justice, peace, forgiveness, reconciliation and how these could be applied in their daily lives. For this reason the youth were able to visit respective religious sites and follow Friday prayers in a Mosque, Shabbat in a Synagogue on Saturday and the Holy Mass in a Church on Sunday.

With these thoughts, we would like to express our gratitude to Ηis Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III for this initiative. That proves His real and sincere interest for peace in the area. His efforts consists an inspiration and encouragement for our people to reserve the right for the future generations, to live in a better, and more secure and peaceful world.

We would like also to take this opportunity to extend our appreciation and our warm wishes to His Majesty King Abdullah II King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. His Majesty’s continuous efforts for peace and understanding have turnJordaninto an outstanding example of freedom of worshipping. You can observe this through its people and its surroundings.  What is more, His Majesty’s initiatives starting from “Amman Message”, to “The Common World” and to the recent “World Interfaith Harmony Week” have created channels for open dialogue between Christians and Muslims based on two common fundamental religious Commandments; Love of God, and Love of the Neighbour.

In conclusion we would like to emphasize that peacemaking is a matter of individual and institutional choice. The power either to increase the hurt inflicted on our world or to contribute toward its healing is in our hand. Once again, it is a matter of choice. Today, following the instructions of the Bible: “My children, let’s not love in words only, neither with the tongue only, but in deed and truth” (1 John: 3, 18), we came here because we have made a choice: We have chosen peace over war, hope over despair, and love over hate.

†Chrysostomos II Archbishop of Cyprus

 Holy Archbishopric of Cyprus,

           August 1st, 2011.




Between the 22nd of June / 6th of July and the 23rd of June / 7th of July, the Swedish Christian Study Centre (SCSC) located nearby David’s Gate, organised an International Conference on the Christian presence and its heritage in the Holy Land, particularly  that of the cities of Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Gaza.

Amongst the speakers at this Conference, was the representative of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem His Eminence Aristarchos Archbishop of Constantina and Chief Secretary, who held a speech on the theme of Saint Porphyrios Bishop ofGaza– ‘The life and Thought of St. Porphyrios’.

Invitee speaker was also Dr. John N. Tleel, as the representative of the Greek Community in Jerusalem. Dr. Tleel is an elder Jerusalemite, Rum –Orthodox and dentist by profession. He is one of the devoted members of the Patriarchate and author of the book ‘I am Jerusalem’. Dr. Tleel gave a lecture with the title: ‘Profile of the Hellenic Community in Jerusalemin the 20th Century’ which is cited below:

  “International Conference:


 ‘Profile of the Hellenic Community inJerusalemin the 20th Century’

 John N. TIeel, author of “I amJerusalem”

This profile theme, is not a research, or a study, it is not a full history, it is not about personal experiences, it is not a living making of history, but it can be, a tentative and brief combination, of a huge and vast historical contribution, to the Holy City of Jerusalem, 4of the Hellenic Community, or the Hellenic expression, the Hellenic Παροικία (Paroikia) in Jerusalem, in the 20th Century’, and regrettably and sadly, its ultimate decline, and almost fateful disappearance, as it looks today in 201 1.

 Hellenic civilization penetrated and expanded in this part of the world and especially in Jerusalem, in the fourth century BC, when Alexander the Great, sitting victorious on the back of his horse, entered and saw Jerusalem from Mount Scopus, not so far from this room, where we are gathered today, and Sune Fahlgren, our host, and Director of the SCSC, will, certainly and boastfully, ask us later on, to go upstairs on the roof, to view and admire the fantastic panorama of the surrounding Jerusalem area.

 Alexander the Great, fourth century BC, Constantine the Great, fourth century AD, Patriarch Sophronios the Rum. seventh century AD, great makers of theJerusalemhistory, are the interconnected inspirers, to all the 24 BC and AD centuries, of the rich and many-sided Hellenic history ofJerusalem.

 Even before the 20th century, we can discover celebrated names, like Φιλοκτήτης Νέγρης (Philoktitis Negris) (1860) doctor, who published an essay “on cholera”, also the famous doctor Χαράλαμπος Μαζαράκης (Charalambos Mazarakis) (1870), who acted as substitute for the Greek Consulate, Αστεριάδης (Asteriadis), a Government official, who was also Mayor of Jerusalem, Σταματιάδης (Stamatiadis), a doctor, Φλωρέντζου (Florentzou) and many others.

 Until 1948 the Hellenic Community ofJerusalem, or the Paroikia. numbered 2000 residents. They were living in theOldCity, within the walls, in the Hellenic Όμιλος (Homilos), called Greek Colony, in the upper Bakaa, in Katamonas, the ancient Hellenic name and location of the Katamon, and in all the neighborhoods of the Capital of Palestine, which wasJerusalem.

All the 23 Greek/Rum Orthodox convents and monasteries of theOldCity, at that time, not as today, were full and vibrant with Greeks of all ages.

 1902 to World War One

The residents were confined in theOldCity. Outside the Walls, making their appearance, sporadically and fearfully, were various neighborhoods. Institutions and Monasteries belonging to the French, Americans, Germans, Italians, Swedish etc.

At that time the few in number members were professionals, more merchants, employees and technicians.

Among the Professionals were, the doctors: Nikolakis Spyridonos, Photios Eukleidis, Nikiphoros Mazarakis, Nikolaos Papaioannou, Georgios Yerousis, Varnavas Vareltzis.

A parenthesis: Nikiphoros Mazarakis was also the President of the early and already Benevolent Hellenic Association “Ευποιία” (Eupoiia) and served as director in theIsraeliteHospitalas well. Nikolaos Papaioannou was the physician of Patriarch Damianos. End of the parenthesis.

Chemists: Christakis Gaitanopoulos, Neoklis Ioannidis, Argyrios Mavromichalis.

 A personal parenthesis, for the sake of the Hellenic History in the 20th Century: My mother came toJerusalemfrom Mathytos, sometime before its destruction in 1915. Mathytos is situated in the north of thePeninsulaofThraki, on the west side of the Hellisponte and not far from theDardanelles. Today it makes the western or European part ofTurkey. My mother came for an eye treatment, at theSt. JohnOphthalmicHospital. Her brother Evangelos, was already inJerusalem, but she stayed in the house of the Chemist Neoclis Ioannidis and his wife Euthalia, until she married my Palestinian father. Euthalia was the sister of the knownJerusalemhistorian of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, Chrysostomos Papadopoulos, and later on, Archbishop of Athens and allGreeceand author of ‘The History of theChurchofJerusalem”. Neoclis was the Pharmacist at the drug store and the hospital of the Patriarchate, located in theOldCity, in the old and first floor, under the two upper structures, of today’s, two-storiedGloriaHotel, built in 1951 and 1969. This much, much older part of the three stories building, during the Jordanian rule 1948-1967, served as the main office of the Palestinian/ Jordanian Mayor of Jerusalem, as well as the Municipality. Today, 201 1, this nearby Rum Orthodox monument in the Old City, a hospital and a pharmacy, during the Ottoman occupation, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, today, is an Israeli Municipal annex. End of the parenthesis.

Advocate: Symeon Petasis.

Architects: Nikiphoros Petasis, Christodoulos Spyridonidis.

Professors: Georgios Vrachypedis, Konstantinos Eli ad is, Georgios Modinos, Nikolaos Lodis, Agapitos Arfaras, Nikolaos Ka’iretlidou and many others.

Merchants: Theodoros Inglesis, Minas Spathopoulos, Christiphoros Christophorou, Antonios Kapelos, Sakelaris, Konstantinos Micha’ilidis, Avramidis, Konstantinidis, Lambrou, Dedas (Chadjipetrou), Sotiriou and many others.

Book-seller: Dimitrios Takos.

 During that early, important and active period, the Greek Government was no less active. Γρυπάρης (Gryparis) was the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece, and Μιλτιάδης

Ραφαήλ (Miltiadis Raphael) was serving as Consul of Greece in Jerusalem.

 Some names as a tribute to the memory of the families of that time and period:

Avramidi, Aga, Anastasiadi, Argyriadi, Atseli, Attaliotou, And read L Apergi. Alamanidou, Avgerinou, Valvi, Vasiliadou, Vareltzi, Velazertou, Vozemberg, Voskopoulou, Gavrielidou, Galtanopoulou, Karafylaki, Yerasimou, Yerousi, Georgiadou, Georgiadou, Yerousi, Georgiou, Yianniou, Daga, Danielidou, Deda, Dimitriadou, Drakouli, Zafiriadou, Zographou Zographou, Inglesi, Inglesi, Ignatiadou, loannidou, Kaloudi, Kantopoulou, Kara’itlidou, Carnapa, Karaphylaki, Katsinopoulou, Keladitou, Kretekidou, Lambrou, Laskaridou, Louvari, Lykidou, Malafatopoulou, Matzaridou, Mauridou, Banes, Megasthenous, Meimaraki, Mykonos, Misyrli, Michailidou, Moustaki, Moutafidou, Mylona, Mystakidou, Nikolaidou, Nikolaidou, Ninon, Panaretou, Papadopoulou, Patetsou, Patlakou, Petridi, Podia, Poteri, Protoppapa, Reveli, Repanidou, Savvidou, Saridi, Solomonidi, Strafti, Sphaellou, Philippidou, Flamba, Fokylidou, Chatzipetraki, Chnaroyannaki, Chouli, Antoniou and, and…

In 1902, with the Greek Consul General I. Alexandropoulos at the head, and some of the persons already mentioned above: Nikiphoros Mazarakis, Nikolaos. Spyridonos, Photios Eukleidou, Nikolaos Papaioannou, Georgios Yerousis, Christakis Gaitanopoulos and Konstantinos Eliadis, and with the generous donation offered by the great benefactor and the knownJerusalembuilder. Archimandrite Euphthymios, the Greek Orthodox Superior (Skevophylax) of the Church of the Anastasis (Resurrection), the area and the land of the GREEK COLONY was chosen. The holy earth ofJerusalemwas dug and the foundations, for the building of the first houses and the Club (Λέσχη), were placed.


The start of 1920

 The war was over. The British enteredJerusalem. A new wind of hope began blowing, the community started again to reorganize itself, after the destructive effects of the war. New names of university graduates, doctors, chemists, teachers etc., were added to the list of the professionals.

In 1922 the “Φιλόπτωχος Ελληνική Αδελφότης” (Charitable Hellenic Brotherhood) was founded. The founders were seven members of the community.

 In 1924 the first women’s Association was founded: “η Ένωσις Ελληνίδων Κυριών” “η Οδηγήτρια”, (The Hellenic Ladies Union). Photo Mavromichali was the foundress, and Sophia Spyridonos was the first President, of a committee of nine members.

 The Hellenic Boy Scout Movement, the oldest inPalestine, was founded by Markos Lioufis, in 1920. He came fromCairo. He organized the movement and made it a member of the Universal Scout Family. In 1950, after participating in the Pan-Hellenic Jamboree, inDionysos,Greece, the Boy Scout Association (1928) became a member of the Scouts of Greece. Some leading names for the sake of history: Evangelos Solomonidis, Elias Kareklas, Christophoros Christophorou, Konstantinos Papadopoulos, Panayiotis Ignelis, Kyriakos Papanastasiou, Chrysostomos Karathanasis, Ioannis Ardizoglou, Evangelos Kaloudis.

Back inJerusalemfrom the Jamboree in Dionysos, in 1950,1 was asked to contribute to the activities of the Greek Boy Scouts. Reluctantly, and with mixed feelings, I consented. It was a mission impossible, in difficult, uncertain and changing political times. From 1952 to 1973, I published the Greek Scouts Magazine “To Τρίφυλλο”, (To Triphyllo, the Trefoil), the Scouts emblem, and “Al-Zambaka” in Arabic. Initially it was stenciled and in Greek only, but blossomed, not only into a multilingual printed magazine, but also ecumenical, serving the entire population. In 1957, ” To Σώμα Ελλήνων Προσκόπων”, the Boy Scouts ofGreece, honourned me with the ” Special Service Medal”, “Μετάλλιον Ευδόκιμου Υπηρεσίας”. It was not for me, but it meant ” O! Hellene Scouts of Jerusalem, thank you for, τοις κείνων ρήμασι πειθόμενοι”, (Thermopylai, “the hot gates,” 480 BC, Leonidas with the 300 Spartiates). The Medal was conferred on me, by Greek Consul General Pavlos Pantermalis, on behalf ofGreece, at the Greek Consulate in theOldCity, in St. Anne’s Greek Orthodox Monastery. The Consulate also became a ‘distinguished refugee’ in theOldCity!

 Scouts are sometimes the mosaic mirror ofJerusalem. Parading inJerusalemwith their national Greek Scout flag waving, on Hellenic national days, the Greek Scouts, entered the Church of the Holy Sepulchre with the flag, and then folding it, and placing it behind the door, on the right side of the Church of the Anastasis. This was an exclusive right.

 In 1928, the “Social and Athletic Association “Ηρακλής, (Hercules)” was founded, and in the middle of the century, a new Association, the “Ολυμπιακός” (Olympic) replaced it.

 In 1938 the “Hellenic Community of Jerusalem”, “Η Ελληνική Κοινότης Ιεροσολύμων”, was founded. The long awaited dream and event at last was realized. It was an official and historic recognition. The first Executive Committee: Themistoklis Saoulis, the first President, and members: Socratis Tokatlidis, Pangratios Vareltzis, Eugenios Philalithis, Argyrios Ignatiadis, Emmanouil Kasotis, and Antonios Antipas. M. Sakelariadis and Dimitrios Papas were the involved Consuls General of Greece.

 In 1938, and for the first time, the Greek Government, injected some modern Greek education into the classic Gymnasium of the Patriarchate. They sent three professors: Georgios Chronopoulos, and Apostolos Chatziemmanouil, philologists, and Dimitrios Photopoulos, for mathematics, physics, and chemistry. My brother David and I, were fortunate, to have known them as our professors, as well as friends.


1940 World War TWO

 October 28, 1940, the famous and historic: OXI-NO! The Greeks fought heroically an unequal war, against the invading Italians and Germans, but eventually the Germans occupiedGreece. The war and the occupation brought temporarily, a change in the Hellenic demographic map ofJerusalem. Greek refugees fleeing the German occupation, took refuge inPalestineand especially inJerusalem. King George the second ofGreecemade a historic visit toJerusalem. Patriarch Timotheos and the King, in the Church of the Anastasis (Holy Sepulchre). The Patriarch addresses the King: “Your Majesty, you are the first Hellene King,

who visits the Holy Places, after the triumphal entry of Emperor Heracleios, into the Holy City of Jerusalem”, in 630 then, and today,2011, inthis Swedish room, we are “Celebrating the first 2000 years of Christian Heritage in the Holy Land”. And eleven years more.

 The Hellenic community took an active share and fought also in the war. Two young Jerusalemites, Anestis Zographos and Manolis Mykonos gave their lives serving in the submarine “Papanikolis”, and in the destroyer “Adrias”. Moreover the twenty years old, Chrysanthi Antipa, was one of the victims, at theKingDavidHotelexplosion. Then, I was an eye- witness, of the passing by, in front of me, of the terrible mass of funerals.

 A tribute to the valiantJerusalemyoung men who fought:

 1) Avramidis K., 2) Abouggelis N., 3) Arkeftidis or Ardizoglou S., 4) Yanniou An.,

5)Danielidis Str., 6) Dimitriadis Chr., 7) Iordanou Pan., 8)Kalamatianos P.,

9) Kalogeropoulos Γ., 10)KaraphylakisI., 11)Katsopoulos St., 12) Michailidis Γ.,

13) Papadopoulos Em., 14), Plakas G.,15) Potaris N.,16) Sophoulis Em., 17) Spathopoulos ΑΙ.,

18) Tsichlakis Gavr.,19) Christophorou Chr., 20) Anthopoulos Α., 21) Dimitriadis P.,

22)DimitropoulosI., 23) Zacharakis Γ., 24) Zografou P., 25) Zographos F.,

26) Kalogeropoulos D., 27) Kardasopoulos B., 28) Kosmidis Γ., 29) Kaskaridis N.,

30) Bogdanidis D., 31) Papanikolaou K., 32) Mykonos ΑΙ., 33)MykonosManolis,

34) Zografos Anestis, 35) Papadopoulos Α., 36) Papadopoulos H., 37) Spathopoulos G.,

38) Tsichlakis K., 39) Chavounitis Th., 40) Elenitsas K., 41) Elenitsas P., 42) Sophoulis Γ.

 A solemn moment of History! Patriarch Timotheos, ατή Λέσχη, in the Hellenic club, addresses the newly mobilized and offers to each one of them a cross.


May 1948

 Jerusalem was cut in two. When history is cruel, it is also indiscriminate and makes no distinction. The fate of the Palestinian Arabs, was also the fate of the Palestinian Hellenic Community. The majority of the families took refuge in theOldCity. Many names, are immortalized in the last issue of the Magazine Triphyllo (1973), as well as in I amJerusalem. It was the beginning of the bitter dispersal. For a little they continued struggling and coping with the situation and at the same time continuing faithfully their activities. To my profound conviction, this Jerusalem Hellenic Community of the 20th century, wherever in the world they settled,Jerusalemand onlyJerusalem, wasJerusalem. And this should be our eternal tribute to them.

The result, two Communities emerged, one in theJordanianOldCityand around, and one in the Israeli side, and around the Hellenic club.

 Today, and after the 1948 and 1967 wars, still two Committees exist for the few remaining persons, one in the Old City, East Jerusalem: Dr. Konstantinos Petrakis, Dr. Nikolaos Ninos, Vailios Triantaphyllidis, Ioannis Ardizoglou, Georgios Stavridis, and Georgios Varaclas, and one in the old Greek Colony, West Jerusalem: Vasilios Tzaferis, president, Konstantinos Anastasiou, vice-president, Vasilios Triantaphyllidis, secretary, Konstantinos Moumtzoglou, treasurer, Anastasios Damianos, commissioner, Panayiotis Secherlis,

Alexandras Korfiatis, consultants, and two members from theOldCity, Nikolaos Ninos, and Sophia Vottarou.

 And, I cannot leave out, the charitable Ladies of theOldCity: Sophia Vottarou, Eleni Petraki, El I i Solomonidou, Mariana Banayan, Phano Papanastasiou, Theodora Panayiotopoulou-Vasiliadou and Artemis Anastasiou.

On the 15 of May, 2011, the Committee in the Israeli side ofJerusalem, invited me to attend an Easter Festivity at the famous and historic Greek Club, in the historic Hellenic Colony, known, as the Greek Colony. The Greek Consul General Mr. Sotirios Athanasiou, his wife, Mrs. Kantiana, a handful of the traditional Greek Jerusalemites, and more non Greeks were present. The nostalgia for the glorious past was deeply felt.

Ending wishfully, and thinking hopefully, I feel confident, that the Hellenic Phoenix of Jerusalem, shall rise again from its ashes, and this time, before being completely burnt!”



– Archimandrite Kleopas koikylidis, 1905.

-Konstantinos Mavridis, Bulletin, “Ελληνική Ζωή”, (Hellenic Life, 1946)

-Irini Philalithi- Mavromichali, Magazine, “To Triphyllo” (1972-1973 No. 110-113)

-John N. Tleel, “I am Jerusalem” (2007 Second Edition)

 OldCity Jerusalem July 6,2011 Bilda

Swedish Christian Study Centre

Chief Secretary’s Office.



On Monday the 2nd of May 2011, during the visit of the Armenians  to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, on the occasion of the feast of Easter, His Eminence Metropolitan Nourhan has addressed His Beatitude Theophilos III, Patriarch of Jerusalem with the following words:

“Your Beatitude and dear Brothers,

When on that first Sunday of Easter, the Oil Bearing Women went to the tomb of the Lord, they were worried about who would roll away the rock that served as the door of the tomb. But when they got there, they found it had already been rolled away.

For the past few years the rock of misunderstanding, distrust and intolerance acted as a rock that divided two religious institutions that worshipped the same Lord, and separated brothers from seeing and communicating with each other. We created for ourselves an unhealthy atmosphere of distrust. I am very glad that after a few years of sad incidents we have made the right decision to emerge from the dark tunnel of mutual suspicion and self-humiliation. I think we are perfectly capable of minimizing and marginalizing details and only by doing so we will be able to uphold the spirit and the true meaning of our feasts.

Last week, when Armenians marked the 96th Anniversary of their Genocide, our thoughts naturally went also to our Greek brothers and sisters who were martyred in Pontus and Smyrna. Christianity until today feels the immense loss of the Byzantine Empire and consequently thousands of our sanctuaries and holy places that are in ruins in Turkey today. Our pain is common, and only Greeks and Armenians realize what it means to lose a huge part of their spiritual as well as historical heritage. Our two nations, who have experienced martyrdom and live daily with the pain of loss, have the responsibility to collaborate closely to be a witness to other churches. We can do this best in Jerusalem and this should be our main task and guiding spirit. We are One Body and One entity, when one is weakened the rest will start caving in.

Your Beatitude, on behalf of our Patriarch, Abp. Torkom Manoogian and members of the St. James Brotherhood, please accept our sincerest wishes for a Happy Easter to you and to the members of your brotherhood. We wish you well, a long and healthy life.

Christos Anesty!”

Chief Secretary’s Office


December 29, 2010

On Wednesday, December 16th / 29th 2010, the Leaders of the Christian Churches of the Holy Land visited the Presidential Mansion of the State of Israel on the occasion of the New Year, as has been custom during the last few decades. This visit initially included a reception and, later, a ceremony that comprised the performance of fine musical compositions by the musician Mr. Yair Dalal from Bagdad. Following that a ceremony was held during which the President of the State of Israel, Mr. Shimon Peres, greeted and welcomed the Leaders of the Christian Churches and their escorts, Archpriests, Priests and laymen and wished  them and  their Communities a peaceful and blessed New secular year 2011.

Specifically he said: «I am happy about your response to the invitation for this event.  For us, the state of Israel, each person or religious institution is free to believe in all things of his, her or its own choice.  We have a common Fatherin Godand common heavens in the skies, therefore it is the duty of the religions, irrespective of their differences, to bring peace to the world just as it is the duty of the politicians.

The peace process is difficult; however, peace is a dire necessity.  I think that we have no other choice because we live in an era of high technology particularly regarding weapons.  Please allow me to caution that time is running out.  Palestinians are preparing to establish their own state.  The wiser means towards peace is to desire the progress of your adversary.  The better your adversary, the better it is to make peace with him.  Additionally, the necessity of peace is more imperative  for the reason that we have moved from the war on the battlefields, as was most often the case in the past, and have entered the era of the terrorist phenomenon  which, in order to confront it, requires the cooperation of many civil and religious entities..  We, the state of Israel,  are preparing ourselves for the ‘two states’ solution, in which you, the religious leaders, will most likely assume a very important role.  Please pray for peace to our one Father and God.  I wish for you and  your Communities that the new year of 2011 will be a year of peace, prayer, understanding, hope, cooperation, progress and success».

After that, His Beatitude The Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III was invited to speak on behalf of the leaders of all the Churches of the Holy Land that were present. His speech, in English, is as follows (please access URL https://en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/2010/12/29/1093/ )

Whereupon the event, on the occasion of the new secular year 2011 held at the Presidential Mansion, ended.

Chief Secretary’s Office.