The ordination to Deacon of Monk Dositheos Konidis was observed during the All-night Vigil at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on Tuesday 22 December 2021/ 4 January 2022.
Monk Dositheos, with passport name Elias Konidis, came to Jerusalem and the Patriarchate as a novice Monk from the Monastery of his monastic training and was tonsured a Monk.
Having been tested at the Central Monastery of the Patriarchate in the appointed to him duties, he was found worthy to be ordained as a Deacon by the decision of the Holy and Sacred Synod.
The ordination was incorporated in the Divine Liturgy according to the Typikon Order of the Church. Before the ordination, the ordaining Metropolitan Isychios of Kapitolias admonished Father Dositheos regarding the importance and holiness of the Hierodeacon’s Office as follows:
“Dear Subdeacon Dositheos,
Great and honourable indeed is this day for you, when by the holy decision of our much-caring Father and Patriarch Theophilos III and the Synodical confirmation, you are deemed worthy of the high honour of the ordination to Deacon.
In exceeding love to our Lord and Saviour Christ, and in wholehearted devotion to the Most Holy Mother of Churches, you have forsaken your parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and came to the Holy Land to serve with all your strength and devote yourself to the All-holy places of our Lord, which are connected to the earthly presence of our Redeemer, and gush living waters and divine grace, along with rivers of blessings to those who come to venerate them in faith.
Within a short time of your presence as a Monk in our Venerable Patriarchate of Jerusalem, you have shown perfect obedience and exemplary willingness to do your duty, respect for the elders, love for the younger ones. For this and as a really short period that completed long times, you claim today with the grace of the Holy Sepulchre to enter the first degree of the Priesthood.
I am more than sure of the various feelings that overwhelm your noble soul and heart. The joy and rejoicing are possessed by fear and awe because you certainly feel the magnitude of the responsibility you take on. Do not be cowardly though, but have courage in the benefactor Christ, whom you will serve actively from today.
With a humble mind face the Οne who extended Ηis hands on the Cross, out of His unspoken philanthropy to the human race. He is our consolation and strength in Him only do we hope. For this reason, in all your actions, you should try to follow His example as the safe type and order of salvation.
Your human weakness may make you believe this is a hard-to-bear achievement, but you should always have before your eyes, and hear the Lord’s philanthropic words: “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:30).
For this, come in sober mind and a contrite heart to receive from my unworthy hands the Grace of the All-mighty Holy Spirit, Who fills and safeguards the militant Church of Christ.
The prayers of His Beatitude, our Father and Patriarch, of the members of our Holy and Sacred Synod and all your Hagiotaphite brethren are always accompanying you, and especially at this honourable and sacred time of your life.
I pray that the Grace of the All-holy and Life-giving Tomb of our Saviour Christ will safeguard you all the days of your life.”
The about to be ordained Dositheos replied as follows:
“Glory be to God for all things!
Your Eminence Metropolitan Isychios of Kapitolias,
Your Eminence Archbishop Isidoros of Hierapolis and Sacristan of the Holy Sepulchre,
Reverend Elder Dragoman Archimandrite Mattheos,
Reverend Exarch of the Holy Sepulchre in Greece, Archimandrite Raphael,
With the wishes of His Holiness our Father and Patriarch Theofilos, we gathered today to honour our celebrated Saints, to be strengthened and to prepare for the great day of the incarnation of the Lord and God and our Savior Jesus Christ and finally to give me double joy than I would receive, if it were not for your presence, this blessed moment of my personal Pentecost.
First I want to thank everyone who contributed to my biological and spiritual well-being, which made me stand here today. Starting from my relatives in the flesh, my teachers, the Metropolitan of Monemvasia and Sparta Efstathios, the brotherhood of the Holy Monastery of the Forty Saints in Laconia and its Hegoumen, Father Ephraim, who taught me, strengthened and secured me in my first steps in the monastic life, I conclude cordially thanking the Holy Common of the Holy Sepulchre and its Hegoumen, our Father and Patriarch Theofilos, His Eminence, Metropolitan Isychios of Kapitolias, for the honour I receive to be ordained by the General Patriarchal Commissioner, the Elder Dragoman reverend Archimandrite Mattheos, who trusted and supported me in my first steps in these God-trodden places. In general, I thank the Holy and Sacred Synod for the trust it shows in me.
The joy is great. The grace of God brought me to the places where the righteous Abraham was led when obeying the will of God, went out of kinship and place that raised him. This is where the King-prophet David was when his son Absalom was chasing him to kill him to get his throne, but he prayed to God to have mercy on his child because what happens to him is due to his own mistakes. In the place where our Lady was born, where she offered us our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. In the place where our ancestors have left us their indelible passage through the centuries to this day.
I will close my speech of thanks with a wish. Our Catholicon that dominates the Church of the Resurrection, after the great catastrophe it suffered in 1810, united the Greeks everywhere in its reconstruction, so that since then it is called “The miracle of the faith of the Greeks”. I wish in these special moments that we pass to maintain our unity and oneness.
Thank you all for your love and forgive any of my mistakes!”
At the invocation of the Divine Grace, the Monks, Nuns and laity present exclaimed “Axios!” for the ordained.
After the Divine Liturgy, the new Hierodeacon offered a reception to all who honoured him, at the office of Geronda Sacristan, Archbishop Isidoros of Hierapolis.
In the morning the newly ordained came to the Patriarchate Headquarters and received the blessing and Fatherly admonitions from His Beatitude.
THE SIXTEENTH ENTHRONEMENT ANNIVERSARY OF HIS BEATITUDE THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM
On Monday, 9/22 November 2021, the Patriarchate celebrated the sixteenth election and enthronement anniversary of His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos at the glorious throne of the Mother of Churches.
For this joyful and important event, there was a Doxology at the Catholicon of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at 10.30 a.m. The Doxology was led by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos with co-celebrants the Hagiotaphite High Priests, Hieromonks and Deacons, and the participation in prayer of Monks and Nuns from all areas of the Patriarchate’s jurisdiction, along with laity faithful, and the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr Evangelos Vlioras.
After the Doxology, bells tolling, everybody returned to the Patriarchate Headquarters.
At the Great Hall, Geronda Secretary-General, His Eminence Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina addressed His Beatitude on behalf of the Holy and Sacred Synod and the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood as follows:
“Your Beatitude Father and Master,
A rather joyful and important event has gathered today the reverend members of our Venerable Hagiotaphite Brotherhood and the Christian congregation of the Church in a gathering of Doxology at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
This event is Your Beatitude’s election and enthronement at the glorious and martyr’s throne of the Mother of Churches, sixteen years ago, by the canonical and unanimous voting of the members of the Holy and Sacred Synod and the representatives of our Rum Orthodox Arab-speaking flock. This happened after a period of harsh testing which endangered but did not destroy the vessel of the Church. Then the Brotherhood stood up to its height and the demands of its mission, condemned and renounced the illegal agreements of deporting property of the Patriarchate of incalculable material and cultural value, undermining the Status Quo of the Old City of Jerusalem and placed Your Beatitude on the Patriarchal Throne, to guide the vessel of the Church from the stormy sea of foggy corruption in the prosperous port of honesty, justice and transparency.
Having received the order, Your Beatitude did not waste any time, nor hesitated on toils and pains and efforts, but on the contrary, rushed with all Your might to costly court trials and meetings with local and foreign people of authority and influence for the refutation of the illegal agreements which were signed without the approval of our Holy and Sacred Synod and the knowledge of the Brotherhood. This interest You Beatitude extended to the utilization of the property of the Holy Sepulchre in Greece through a system of financial transparency, able to bring to the Patriarchate income corresponding to its heavy costs. With the same responsibility and sensitivity, Your Beatitude was also responded to the financial reports submitted by the Exarch of the Holy Sepulchre in the Church of Cyprus.
Your Beatitude exhibited also a lively, practical and effective interest in the preservation of the Pilgrimage rights of the Brotherhood and our nation in cooperation with the Custody of the Franciscans in the Holy Land, through the reverting of attempts to create permanent situations by the Armenians, such as the case of the placing of curtains by us at the God-receiving Cave in Bethlehem, the cathode of the Orthodox Icon in the Cave during our Vespers when our Feast of Epiphany coincides with the Armenian Christmas and it is a Sunday or a Monday. Moreover, the removing of the barriers the Armenians illegally placed on the façade of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the exercising of our right to offer incense inside the altar of the Armenian chapel of Saint Helen and our attitude regarding this matter on the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the cessation of the Armenians’ work at their chapel of Saint John the Theologian in the courtyard of the Holy Sepulchre until an agreement among the Three Major Communities is reached.
The actions and efforts of Your Beatitude for the preservation of the Church property and the Pilgrimage rights of the Patriarchate did not in the least divert You from exercising the pure Pastoral work through Your title as the Hegoumen of the Brotherhood or as the Patriarch of the Rum Orthodox Arab-speaking flock of ours. Over the past years and during the current one of the pandemic, Your Beatitude visited the celebrating Holy Monasteries and Communities and strengthened the mindset of the Monks and the faithful either by words or by financial help. Similarly, You have received at the Patriarchate Priests and caretakers of the flock and guided them to the most convenient for them solution to their Communities’ problems. However, the most tangible support of Your Beatitude and the Patriarchate to the flock has been the recent agreement between the Patriarchate and the international company Raouabi, after the gaining of the relevant licence by the Jerusalem Municipality, for the construction of the “Al-Quds Lana” in Bir Nabala Beit Hanina in East Jerusalem on property that belongs to the Patriarchate. This will include four hundred flats, a school, shops, offices, a mall, recreation areas and parking spaces and will offer great relief in the suffocating housing problem of the Community of Jerusalem.
The new radiographic machine donated to the clinic ‘Saint Benedictos’ by Mr Athanasios Martinos by Your Beatitude’s actions and those of the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr Evangelos Vlioras will contribute to the better medical care of the flock members and of every ill person, regardless of religion and nationality.
For the prosperity of the Christians in the Holy Land, the cooperation between the local Christian Churches was cultivated by the care of Your Beatitude at the Patriarchate. We have maintained the community in Christ among the brotherly Orthodox Churches, with Your Beatitude always stressing the necessity of continuation of the dialogue for the solving of pressing issues.
For the continuation, increase and enrichment of the God-pleasing work of Your Beatitude, the Holy and Sacred Synod and the whole Brotherhood stand by Your side and walk along with You, with each member offering his own qualifications, experience, education, love in Christ, obedience and respect to the Patriarchal institution and to You, its Primate, who “stands in type and place of Christ”.
On behalf of the Holy and Sacred Synod and the Brotherhood, I raise my glass on a toast Your Beatitude, wishing You many happy returns, peaceful, joyful, stable and fruitful, in strong governmental power, by the Holy Spirit, and in jubilation of Your children, as fruitful newly planted olive trees, surrounding Your table, for the praise of our blessed nation and the glory of our Trinitarian God. So be it.”
Then the Consul General of Greece Mr Vlioras addressed His Beatitude, followed by the representatives of the communities of the flock, the representative of the Russian Church and others.
Thanking all those, His Beatitude addressed all as follows:
“I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name forever and ever” (Psalm 145:1), King-Prophet David chants.
Your Excellency Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem, Mr Evangelos Vlioras,
Reverend Holy Fathers and Brothers,
The vineyard of the Lord, namely the Holy Church of Jerusalem, “which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself” (Psalm 80:15-16), celebrates today the sixteenth anniversary of the settlement of Our Mediocrity at the Apostolic Throne of the Holy and righteous James the Brother of God and its First Hierarch.
This festal anniversary does not refer to Our unworthiness, but to the God-founded and Apostolic institution of the Church “and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28), according to the Evangelist Luke.
That is why, along with the Reverend members of the Venerable Hagiotaphite Brotherhood, we went to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where we rendered a thanksgiving Doxology to our Holy Trinitarian God, “which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13) according to Paul.
Our care and ministry so far of the Patriarch, Hegoumen, Monastic and Shepherd “on the throne of grace of the High Priest, our Lord Jesus Christ, who came from Heavens, from Whom we receive mercy and grace” (ref. Hebrews 4:14-15), that is the throne of the Mother of Churches and the Holy Zion, the dwelling place of God, has only one purpose; the keeping of the God-given Apostolic tradition and the consignment of the healthy faith and the keeping the word of truth right, through Jesus Christ, according to the witness of Saint John the Evangelist; “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
Moreover, to the preservation of the All-holy Shrines which are the tangible and true witnesses of the great mystery of reverence (1 Tim. 3:16), but also to the holy places of the logical worship as well as the defence of the irrefutable and sovereign rights of the noble and royal nation of the Rum Orthodox Christians.
Nevertheless, hearkening to the Lord’s command: “that you should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me” (Acts 1:4), we have not ceased raising our voice toward all directions in this country and internationally in favour of the non-alteration of the multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-ethnic character of the Holy City of Jerusalem, which is the spiritual capital of the whole world, especially for the moral and material strengthening of the Christians living in the Holy Land.
This is what we do under the care of the Holy Presence, the leading institutional role of our Venerable Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the internationally recognized, in the exercise of its spiritual and religious mission, but also in the care for the preservation of the existing Status Quo, both in its pilgrimage and demographic character in the Holy City of Jerusalem, threatened by those who lurk for its deterioration. “Casting all your care upon him; for He careth for you”, Saint Peter advises (1 Peter 5:7).
This sixteenth enthronement anniversary of Our Mediocrity calls us not to boasting, but to vigilance. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8), the Chief of the Apostles Peter says. “For our boast is in Christ”, Saint Paul preaches, “the testimony of our conscience” (ref. 2 Cor. 1:12).
Keeping “this rule” (Gal. 6:16), namely Paul’s word, “the testimony of our conscience” we are called to complete our ministry, to “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Tim. 4:5), in the contemporary world of globalization through which “the mystery of iniquity doth already work” (2 Thess. 2:7), namely, “blasphemy, pride, foolishness” (Mark 7:22).
In Our ministry as a Patriarch and Hegoumen at the Apostolic and martyr’s throne of Saint James the Brother of God, We have as colleagues and co-celebrants our reverend and dear in Christ Fathers and Hagiotaphite brothers, the High Priests, Priests, Hieromonks, Deacons and Monks, distinguished for their Godly zeal and sacrificial Hagiotaphite self-sacrifice, who hear to the words of the Holy Hieromartyr Ignatios of Antioch: “Let us love one another in unity, and let no one see his fellow man according to the flesh, but in Christ Jesus. Let there be nothing among us able to divide us; but be united with the Bishop, submitting to God through him in Christ”.
Truly we say that our struggle is a struggle against the craftiness of deception (Eph. 4:14) and division, namely the schism of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of the Ecumenical Orthodoxy. “… every city or house divided against itself shall not stand” (Matt. 12:25) the Lord says. That is why we who serve in the holy places of the Nativity, Crucifixion and Resurrection of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ, “by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:11), do not cease praying for the keeping of the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3).
These methods of delusion, division and falsehood of the devil are recorded in the sacred history of the past, but also of the present era, of the Church in general and of the Church of Jerusalem in particular, that is, of the Rum Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which is calumniated but not vanquished by the sons of the darkness of this century (Luke 18: 8).
Let us entreat our God the Father of lights and truth, “to guide our steps to the working of his commandments” through the intercessions of our Most-Blessed Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, and of our Father among the Saints Nectarios of Pentapolis. May the grace of the All-holy and Life-giving Tomb of our Saviour Christ fortify all of us in the ministry of the All-holy Shrines, the true witnesses of our faith, and of the shepherding of our Christian flock which is tested by the pandemic plague of coronavirus.
For all these, we call upon all who prayed along with Us and honoured with their presence this enthronement anniversary of Ours, wishing them strength from on high, the enlightening power of the Holy Sepulchre, patience and every blessing from God, expressing also Our warm thanks to all who addressed Us; Geronda Secretary-General, His Eminence Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, who spoke on behalf of the Holy Synod and our Hagiotaphite Brotherhood, His Excellency the Consul General of Greece Mr Evangelos Vlioras, Reverend Archimandrite Alexander the representative of the Brotherly Holy Church of Russia, who conveyed the wishes of His Beatitude the Patriarch of Moscow Cyril, His Eminence Metropolitan Kyriakos of Nazareth who spoke on behalf of our flock in Nazareth, His Eminence the Archbishop Damascene of Yaffo who spoke on behalf of our flock in Yaffo, Reverend Father Charalambos Bandour who spoke on behalf of Saint James Cathedral, Reverend Archimandrite Philotheos who spoke on behalf of the Community of Acre-Ptolemais, the Principal of Saint Demetrios School of the Patriarchate Mr Samir Zananir and the teachers Mrs Kafetzi and Mr Kongos, Mr Moris Sabela who spoke on behalf of the polyclinic ‘Saint Benedictos’, His Eminence Archbishop Aristovoulos of Madaba who spoke on behalf of the Russian-speaking community in Ashdod, Mr Athanasios Abu Eta and Ode Issa, the Hagiographer Gabriel and all who participated in the celebration of this enthronement anniversary.”
After the ceremony at the Patriarchate’s Hall, there was a monastic meal at the refectory of the Patriarchate.
THE FEAST OF THE HOLY GREAT MARTYR GEORGE AT THE PATRIARCHATE
On Tuesday, 3/ 16 November 2021, the Patriarchate celebrated the feast of the Holy Glorious Great Martyr George the Trophy-bearer at the Holy Church dedicated to him where his tomb lies in Lod, a Church built by Saint Helen.
On this feast, the Church commemorates the translation of the Saint’s relics from Rome, where he suffered a martyr’s death for Christ, to Lod, the hometown of his mother.
For this reason, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Geronda Secretary-General, His Eminence Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina with the co-celebration of Hagiotaphite Hieromonks along with the Hegoumen Hieromonk Marcellus and Hierodeacon Eulogios. The chanting was delivered by the Lod Community Byzantine choir in Arabic, at the attendance of a large congregation of faithful who venerated the Saint’s tomb, as well as the with the honorary presence of the representative of the Greek Embassy in Tel Aviv Mr Anastasios Konstantaras and of the Embassy of Georgia Mr David.
His Eminence delivered the following Sermon to this congregation:
“Reverend Fathers and Brethren in Christ,
As known, the Church celebrates the commemoration of the martyrdom of the Holy Great Martyr George the Trophy-bearer on 23rd April. Today, on 3rd November, we celebrate the commemoration of the translation of his relics and the consecration of the Church dedicated to him in Lod.
What is the truth regarding these two events? The translation of the Saint’s relics and the consecration of his Church?
The memory of the Church has kept the information that before Saint George martyred in Rome, during the reign of Emperor Diocletian, he had asked his servant to transfer his body and left the will to distribute his belongings to his mother’s homeland. On his father’s side, the Saint was from Cappadocia, of Asia Minor. On his mother’s side, he was Palestinian.
Faithful to Saint George’s command, after his martyrdom his servant transferred his relics to his mother’s hometown, Lod. This transfer coincided with the visit and action of Saint Helen in the Holy Land. During that period, Saint Helen built the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem and many other Churches, at the places where our Lord walked and lived. After the suggestion and supplication of the Christians in Lod, who already venerated and honoured Saint George’s relics, Saint Helen built the Church above the Saint’s tomb in Lod. This Church is one of the oldest of Christianity and belongs to the Holy shrines of the Church of Jerusalem.
In this Church, we venerate a small piece of Saint George’s relics, as the Church of Jerusalem has given other pieces to other Churches. By venerating the Saint’s relic, just as we do with the Holy Icons, we are sanctified, we receive God’s grace, which is abundant in the relic because through it the Saint shed his blood for Christ, we receive healings when we are sick because the Saint’s relics have healing powers.
Numerous are the pilgrims who have come to Lod today, the Saint’s hometown, which is also called in his honour as Georgioupolis, to venerate his relic and ask for his help.
This feast today with the Holy Eucharist as the main event is a great blessing for the city of Lod and especially for the Rum Orthodox Community. We convey the wishes and blessings of His Beatitude the Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos to the energetic Hegoumen Father Marcellus, to the caretakers, the Rum Orthodox flock, to all who celebrate today, to our dear brethren in Christ co-celebrant Priests, and to the diplomatic representatives of various countries who honour with their presence this feast. We ask Saint George to intercede with the Lord and be our helper in the difficulties of our lives and protect our health from every illness and especially from the covid-19 virus. So be it.”
After the Divine Liturgy, the Hegoumen Hieromonk Marcellus and the Community Council hosted a meal for His Eminence and His entourage.
For this feast, the Divine Liturgy was also celebrated at the Holy Monastery of Saint George of the Hospital by Reverend Archimandrite Philotheos, under the hospitality of Abbess Pansemni and at the Holy Monastery of Saint George in the Jewish Quarter by Archimandrite Makarios, hosted by nun Christina and also at the Church of Saint George of Beitjala by His Eminence Metropolitan Joachim of Helenoupolis under the hospitality of the Hegoumen Archimandrite Ananias.
THE NATIONAL HOLIDAY OF OCTOBER 28, 1940 AT THE PATRIARCHATE
On Thursday morning, 15/28 October 2021, the Patriarchate celebrated the commemoration of the national anniversary of 1940.
For this feast, there was a Doxology at the Catholicon of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, to our Almighty God, who released our country from the Italian military attack of 1940 and the barbaric occupation of the Nazis, which followed (1945) and let it to freedom. The Service included also a prayer for the repose of the souls of our fathers who fought bravely and fell gloriously in this fight for freedom.
The Doxology was led by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos with the co-celebration of the Hagiotaphite Archbishops, Hieromonks and Deacons, with the participation in prayer of Monks, Nuns, members of the Greek community of Jerusalem, at the presence of the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr Evangelos Vlioras and members of the Greek Consulate.
After the Doxology there was a reception at the Patriarchate Reception Hall, where His Beatitude addressed those present as follows:
“Today we honour the anniversary of 28th October 1940. This historical event is interwoven with the known “NO” of the Greeks to the boldest claim of the then fascist state of Italy, to occupy “through its armed forces strategic points of Greek territory”. Italy was in alliance with the demonic and brutal Nazi and Hitler regime of Germany.
The unbridled belligerence of the powerful forces of the Axis and their advance into the homeland was interrupted by the really strong resistance of the Greeks, who fought for the divine gifts of freedom and national independence, that is, territorial integrity.
Once again, the Greek nation in its glorious and multidimensional long history showed its unwavering faith in the ancestral legacy of the natural and moral values of patriotism, righteousness and freedom, as well as absolute respect for the human person. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5:1).
The “No” of 28th October 1940 should not be considered a simple landmark of global history, but rather a reminder of the ongoing battle in the world between the sons of light against the sons of darkness, and of the power of truth against the power of lie and arrogance. “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let until he be taken out of the way” (2 Thess. 2:7) Saint Paul denotes.
In the dark night of the acting mystery of lawlessness but also of insanity in the so-called “Age of the New Order”, the epic of “No of 1940”, that is, the moral values it embodies, shines as a perpetual beacon to those in the sea of darkness, and for this, we are called to vigilance at the urging of the wise Paul: “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” (1 Cor. 16:13).
Our Venerable Hagiotaphite Brotherhood, honouring as it should the epic of 1940 and joyfully participating in this commemoration of freedom and sacrificial victory, of the humiliating disaster and displacement of the hated Nazi occupying military forces, has come down to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where we offered a thanksgiving Doxology to our God and Saviour Jesus Christ, Who was crucified and resurrected for us.
Moreover, we rendered interceding prayers for the eternal memory and blessed repose of the souls of all our Fathers and Brethren who fought for our faith and country and fell gloriously in the battlefields.
For those allow Us to raise Our glass on a toast and exclaim:
Long live 28th October 1940!
Long live the “No”!
Long live Hellas!
Long live the noble nation of the Rum Orthodox!
Long live the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood!”
The Consul General of Greece, Mr Evangelos Vlioras, also addressed the following address:
Distinguished High Priests,
Ladies and gentlemen,
National anniversaries are milestones, occasions for reflection, which in the course of time bring back to our minds the events that have forged the collective historical memory of Greeks everywhere.
Today’s anniversary of October 28, 1940, 81 years since that glorious moment that is a point of reference for Hellenism everywhere, gives us the opportunity to recall in our minds and hearts the generation of men, women and children who filled the collective our History with countless pages of heroism, self-denial and self-sacrifice.
In the mountains of Epirus, in the Forts of Macedonia, in the waters of the Aegean, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, in the Middle East, in occupied Greece, in all the “places where it had no daily life and feasts”, to use the expression of Odysseus Elytis, the Greeks, gave what they had most valuable to preserve our national independence and integrity, timeless ideals of all the Struggles of the Nation from 1821 until today.
The letters, from the Front, of the Greek soldiers, show the self-denial, the original, primitive patriotism and the strong will of the Greeks, to fight for the freedom, independence and integrity of the homeland, knowing well that the price of freedom is always high.
At the beginning of November 1940, the soldier Spilios Latsinos wrote to his mother and brothers:
“My beloved mother and my beloved brothers. As things are going, they look good for our army and I will be very happy since we were given the honour to go first from our regiment to take part in the battle. I address my whole family, that is, to all that I love in this world, and I will always ask you to wish more to God that our army wins than to save myself. “
At the end of November, Athanasios Kourouklis sends the following letter to his son, who is serving in the Navy, informing him that his brother was killed.
“Andrea, we are fine. Our favourite child, Christos, was killed. My child, your mother gives you her blessing, not to be upset at all. Be faithful. “
To these bastions of the homeland, who defended, “without death”, our national independence, to those who fell in battle and to those who returned from the front with a soul full of bitterness and fear, to those who fought the ruthless beast of fascism and Nazism, setting a living example of hope to the peoples of fearful Europe, to the mothers and wives who waited or mourned, to the children who were orphaned, to these “few of our brothers”, we pay tribute today.
October 28, 1940, marks the denial of totalitarianism, the resistance to fascism, our commitment to freedom and national dignity and summarizes, in a historic moment, the memories, experiences and values that have always guided our national life.
It is therefore a special honour for the Consul General of Greece to address the Hellenism of the Holy Land on this special day of remembrance and pride.
As those who are in the Holy Land, we today reflect with emotion the contribution of the Greeks of Jerusalem to the Struggle of 1940.
More than 40 volunteers thickened the lines of the Armed Forces of Free Greece. When the fortunes of the War turned out to be negative for the Allied Struggle, Jerusalem and our Consulate General became, in 1942 for three months, the seat of the government of Free Greece.
On this historic day, we especially mention the Sailor Electrician Anestis Zografos, who gave his life in the sinking of the Katsoni Submarine in Skiathos on September 14, 1943, and the Sailor Engineer Emmanuel Mykonos, who was killed during the impact of a mine on Okrino 1943. The bones of the latter as well as 20 of his other comrades-in-arms, always loyal to duty, were transported from Turkey to Greece in 1947 and deposited in the ossuary of the Monument to the Fallen of our Navy.
Distinguished High Priests,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today, as in our historical past, the ancient Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood testify and strengthen the dynamic presence of Hellenism in the Holy Land.
The Patriarchate of Jerusalem, as the pre-eminent exponent of our Orthodox faith and Hellenism in the Holy Land, has been and remains a living example of godly life, faith and hope and guardian of the moral and spiritual values of Greek and Orthodox witness.
In our time, as in any other, national unity and vigilance, adherence to the moral and spiritual values of our Orthodox faith and the ideals of freedom and democracy, are essential supplies for our effective response to every struggle.
The anniversary of October 28, 1940, reminds us that the solidarity, and the strong will of the Greek people to maintain their freedom and national pride, determined the victorious outcome of this struggle.
This historic day is also a milestone between the present, the past and the future. By remembering the past, we guide our steps in the present and envision a better future for our country and for the whole world.
With feelings of pride for yesterday and optimism for today and tomorrow, let us renew our promise to stand on the ramparts of the struggle for freedom and our national independence and progress.
Long live the 28th of October 1940!
Long live Greece!”
THE THIRTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF THE EPISCOPAL OFFICE OF METROPOLITAN KYRIAKOS OF NAZARETH
On Sunday, 11/24 October 2021, Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the 7th Ecumenical Synod (AD 787), who restored the holy icons, His Eminence Metropolitan Kyriakos of Nazareth celebrated the anniversary of thirty years of prosperous, fruitful and under good oath Episcopal Office in the Metropolis of Nazareth.
On this occasion, the Episcopal Divine Liturgy was celebrated at the Shrine of the Holy Church of the Metropolis dedicated to the Annunciation of the Theotokos. The Liturgy was officiated by the celebrating Metropolitan Kyriakos of Nazareth. His Holy Beatitude, our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos was represented by His Eminence Archbishop Methodios of Tabor, who came from Jerusalem, and co-celebrated at the Liturgy along with His Eminence Metropolitan Joachim of Helenoupolis. Co-celebrants also were, Elder Kamarasis Archimandrite Nectarios, the Hegoumen of Tiberias Archimandrite Parthenios and Hierodeacon Eulogios, the Hegoumens of the Holy Monasteries of Galilee, the Priests of the Shrine of Nazareth and other Priests from the neighbouring communities. The Service was attended by the President of the Nazareth Community, the caretakers of the Church, Mr Caesar Marjie and a large congregation.
During the service His Eminence Methodios read the address of His Beatitude as per below:
“To His Eminence, Metropolitan Kyriakos of Nazareth, brother in Christ and co-celebrant to Our Mediocrity, a holy greeting in Christ Jesus.
Through this Patriarchal writing, we joyfully participate in the gleeful day of your dearly beloved holiness, on the completion of a prosperous thirty-year ministry in the Holy Shrine of the Annunciation of the Theotokos, and your God-pleasing pastoral care in the God-redeemed Holy Metropolis of Nazareth of our Rum Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, congratulating you with all Our heart.
It is indeed right that our reverend flock in Nazareth honours your holiness, for which you have given yourself in your Episcopal Office in this Metropolis, defending as a genuine Hagiotaphite Father the irrefutable privileges and rights of the Patriarchate in the Holy Land and this is in praise and benefit of our Holy Congregation and our Rum Orthodox Patriarchate.
Congratulating again your dearly beloved holiness, and wishing many happy returns in health and strength, for the benefit you the flock that has been entrusted to you, we offer you the holy osculation from the All-holy and Life-giving Sepulchre and remain.”
At noon, His Eminence Metropolitan of Nazareth offered a meal and thanked His Beatitude and all who honoured him as follows:
“Your Eminence, Archbishop Methodios of Tabor, Representative of His Holy Beatitude,
Your Eminence, Holy brother Joachim, Metropolitan of Helenoupolis,
Beloved Fathers and Brethren,
The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the intercessions of our Most Holy Lady Theotokos and all the Saints, especially of my patron Saint our Holy glorious Father Kyriakos the Anchorite, have deemed us worthy to be present today in the gathering of the Eucharistic Doxology, on the occasion of the completion of thirty years since that blessed day of my entrance in the Holy city of Nazareth as a Metropolitan.
I owe special whole-hearted thanksgiving to His Beatitude, our Father and Patriarch Theophilos, for His Patriarchal support and care about the needs and the difficulties we face in the course of our humble Episcopal ministry in Nazareth, as well as for His Patriarchal blessing today, which is expressed through the presence of two dear brother Bishops, His Eminence Archbishop Methodios of Tabor and His Eminence Metropolitan Joachim of Helenoupolis.
I also thank warmly the President and the members of the Community Council for their good cooperation and precious help in the mission of the Metropolis, and also the President and the members of the Committee of the High Council.
Especially and gratefully, I thank for their love my beloved Priests, who unceasingly day and night serve our communities without complaint, these special and blessed people of Nazareth, and in this manner, we walk down the same path, in prayer, patience and love, in our feeble strength, but nevertheless, amidst God’s Providence. To Him belongs all glory, honour and worship, to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.”
PRIEST’S ORDINATION FOR THE ARAB-SPEAKING FLOCK AT THE PATRIARCHATE
On Sunday morning, 10/23 October 2021, during the Divine Liturgy at the Horrendous Golgotha, His Eminence Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina officiated the ordination to Priest of Deacon Elias Spyridon Awad, who has been appointed to serve at the Arab-speaking flock of the Patriarchate in Zdeide, a town of the Acre-Ptolemais district in northern Israel.
Co-celebrants to His Eminence were, the Patriarchal Representative in Acre-Ptolemais Archimandrite Philotheos and Priests from Acre, the ministering Priests of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Archdeacon Mark. The chanting was delivered by Hierodeacon Simeon and the Service was attended by faithful Christians from Jerusalem and pilgrims, the wife and children of the newly ordained Priest, and members of the Zdeide Community.
Before the ordination His Eminence addressed Fr Elias as follows:
“Most devout Deacon Elias,
Beloved Brethren in Christ,
At the holiest place of the world, the Horrendous Golgotha, the place of the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross, and at the All-holy Sepulchre, the place of His Resurrection from the dead, do we observe at this hour the most Holy Sacrament of the Church, the Eucharist, and within it, the Sacrament of your ordination to Priest.
The Church of Jerusalem, the Mother of Churches, by the decision of H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos and the Holy and Sacred Synod, calls you today to receive the Grace of the Holy Spirit and be placed at the second degree of Priesthood.
It is a great honour that the Church gives you, but also great is the responsibility it places upon you because it has appreciated the simplicity and the humility of your manner of living as well as the stability of your repentance. From henceforth, the Church places its trust on you to officiate the Baptism, so that new people will become its members, the Holy Eucharist, to give the Body and Blood of Christ, the Unction, and all other Sacraments, so that the people will find healing in their bodies and souls and be sanctified and saved.
For the success of your Priestly ministry, you should apply the Lord’s words, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation” (Matt. 26:41), and “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life” (John 5:39). Study the Holy Bible and preach it to the faithful, like it is explained by the old God-bearing Fathers of the Church, such as Basil the Great, John Chrysostom, Gregory the Theologian, and more recent ones, like Saint Nectarios.
The Church draws your attention so that you do not deviate either to the right or to the left, but to walk the straight path of Orthodoxy, keeping in fear and great attention the consignment that will be given to you in a few minutes.
At the hour of your ordination as well as during the full course of your priestly ministry, be sure that you will be accompanied by the prayers of H.H.B. the Patriarch of Jerusalem and of my mediocrity, of the Patriarchal Representative in Acre Archimandrite Philotheos and other co-celebrant Priests who are your brethren, of your blessed father Presbyter Spyridon, your wife and children, who you brought up “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4), the representatives of Zdeide Community, which has been appointed as the place of your ministry, and all who honour you with their presence.
In fear of God and trust, kneel and pray to receive the Grace of the Holy Spirit and become a chosen vessel of God, a new man and preacher of His wonders.”
After the Dismissal of the Divine Liturgy, the newly ordained Priest paid his respect to His Beatitude, while His Beatitude admonished him in fatherly and spiritual words for the encouragement of his ministry in the Zdeide community.
PASTORAL MEETING OF H.H.B. THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM THEOPHILOS WITH THE RAMALLAH DISTRICT PRIESTS
On Tuesday morning, 6/19 October 2021, the day of the commemoration of the Holy Glorious Apostle Thomas, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated at the Holy Church of the Transfiguration of our Lord in Ramallah.
Co-celebrants and participants in prayer in this Liturgy were by the invitation and preparation of the Hegoumen of Ramallah Archimandrite Galaktion the Priests of the Ramallah District in the West Bank; Ramallah Priest Fr Iakovos, Jifna Priest Fr George Awad, Ein Arik Priest Fr Nickolaos, Taybe Priest Fr David, Zababde Priest Fr Athanasios, Hegoumen of Beit Jala and the Monastery of the Shepherds Archimandrite Ignatios, Beit Jala Priests Yuseph Hodali, Paul and Elias, Nazareth ministering Priest Simeon, Patriarchal Representative of Acre-Ptolemais Archimandrite Philotheos, Hegoumen of Haifa Archimandrite Artemios, Abelin Priest Fr Savvas, Hegoumen of Rafidia Archimandrite Leontios, Caretaker of Bourkin Monk Bissarion, Yaffo Priest Fr Constantin, Jifna former Priest Fr Andreas, Saint James Cathedral Priest George Baramki, Bethlehem Priests Spyridon, Issa Thaljie and George Jakaman.
H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos participated in the Liturgy, having arrived from Jerusalem with their Eminences, Geronda Secretary-General Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, Metropolitan Joachim of Helenoupolis and Archdeacon Mark.
His Beatitude addressed all present as follows:
“Behold, bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord, which by night stand in the house of the Lord” (Psalm 134:1), the psalmist sings.
Beloved Fathers and Brethren in Christ,
Let us bless our Holy Trinitarian God who deemed us, His ministers, worthy, to gather in the beautiful city of Ramallah under the wings of our Holy Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, to show our unity in Christ on the one hand, “for we are members one of another in Christ” (Eph. 4:25); and on the other, to show our identity in Christ, “as it is fit in the Lord” (Col. 3:18).
And the unity refers to the mission appointed by the Church of the ordained spiritual shepherd, according to Paul’s words: “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Eph. 4:11-13).
While the identity refers to our unbreakable bond with the Name of Christ, Who, “God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name” (Phil. 2:9), according to Paul.
It is noteworthy that our identity in Christ does not refute, but on the contrary strengthens the love of the country, the love of the place we were born, according to the example set by our Lord Jesus, Who “when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue” (Matt. 13:54, Luke 4:16). Nevertheless, “here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come” (Hebrews 13:14).
Our clergy meeting, which takes place at the occupied by Israel territory of the Palestinian State, has special importance for our reverend Christian flock as well as for the reverend Priests who serve in the various towns; their liturgical, namely the Eucharistic ministry and pastoral care is more necessary than ever.
And we say this, because the Deacon, namely the Priest of the Church is an abettor of our Chief Shepherd, Christ, and His “fellow-workers unto the kingdom of God” (Col. 4:11), according to the Chief of the Apostles Paul, Athanasius and Cyril of Alexandria, and by the confirmation of the Cappadocians, Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, John Chrysostom and other God-bearing Fathers.
These Great and God-bearing Fathers of the Church became imitators of Saint Paul according to his command: “For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus, I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me” (1 Cor. 4:15-16).
Indeed, they became imitators of Saint Paul as per his advice to Timothy: “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness…That thou keep this commandment without spot…O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so-called” (1 Timothy 6:11-20).
Our Holy Church and especially our Venerable Rum Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, like another Arc and caring mother, never ceased its care for our tested flock, and not only, through the unceasing prayers at the All-holy and Life-giving Sepulchre of our Lord Jesus Christ, and through the good works. “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18).
Concluding this Fatherly and Patriarchal greeting in our Lord we wish for the good outcome and increase in Christ during the proceedings of our meeting, always bearing in our minds and hearts the words of Saint Chrysostom: “The Priesthood is held on earth, however, it has the order of heavenly things”.
The Grace of our God and Saviour through the intercessions of the Most Blessed Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary and all the Saints be we us all. Amen.”
His Beatitude and the clergy meeting were welcomed by the Mayor of Ramallah, Mr Farah Hadid.
DEACON’S ORDINATION FOR THE RUM ORTHODOX ARAB-SPEAKING FLOCK
On Saturday morning, 3/16 October 2021 at the Horrendous Golgotha His Eminence Metropolitan Isychios of Kapitolias officiated the ordination to Deacon of Elias Spyridon, son of the blessed Presbyter Spyridon from Abelin, a town in Northern Israel, the Acre-Ptolemais district.
Co-celebrants to His Eminence were, the Patriarchal Representative in Acre-Ptolemais district Archimandrite Philotheos and Arab-speaking Priests from northern Israel, along with the wife and children of the ordained and many faithful Christians.
According to the decision of the Holy and Sacred Synod, the newly ordained Deacon will be ordained a Priest after the appointed time for his preparation, to serve at the community of Zdeide in northern Israel.
Before the ordination, His Eminence delivered the following pastoral words about the office of Priesthood:
كلمة متروبوليت كابيتولياس إيسيخيوس الجزيل الإحترام في رسامة الشماس الياس إسبيريدون عواد
يشرفني أن أكون حاضراً بينكم في هذا اليوم المميّز. فلقد شعرت بفرح عظيم عندما كلفني صاحب الغبطة كيريوس كيريوس ثيوفيلوس الثالث والمجمع المقدس بان أناب عنه في هذه الرسامة المقدسة. “وألا ما احسن وما أجمل أن يسكن الإخوة معاً”. فهذا فرح عظيم في السماء وعلى الأرض, حيث يُسام خادم جليلٌ للعلي.
إن العلي قد إختارك أيها الشماس لتخدم رعيته وتقود شعبه الى برّ الخلاص. فرسالتك عظيمة بما أن القدير ذاته قد إختارك. “فاحفظ الوديعة” التي سلمك إياها الرب الإله. إعرف جيداً أنك ستواجه الأخطار في هذا العالم, لكنك ستتخطاها وتحظى بالنصر الإلهي “لأن الله معنا”. إتخذ أباك المرحوم المغبوط إسبيريدون عواد قدوةً, فهو مثال للراعي الصالح الذي “يبذل نفسه عن الخراف”. ورغم هذه المهمة الصعبة لا تخف أبداً, “لأنه يوصي ملائكته بك ليحفظوك في جميع طرقك”, حيث سيهبك الرب الصبر والقوة على هذا الحمل الثقيل.
يبارك لك صاحب الغبطة كيريوس كيريوس ثيوفيلوس الثالث وكافة أعضاء المجمع المقدس هذه الرسامة الأولى. نبارك أيضاً لعائلتك ولذويك وللجليل الأعلى هذا الإبن البار, الذي “حمل الصليب كالنير وتبع المسيح عن أيمان”. لهم منا كل التقدير والإحترام. فليحفظك وليحفظهم الثالوث القدوس ولتحل بركته عليكم كافةً.
متروبوليت كابيتولياس إيسيخيوس
The ordained heard attentively these words and humbly kneeled to receive the grace of the Holy Spirit, through the placing of the Metropolitan’s hands.
After the Liturgy, the new Deacon and the Episcopal entourage went to the Patriarchate Headquarters to thank His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos for this honour and His Beatitude admonished him as a Father and blessed him for the prosperity of his ministry.
The Deacon replied to His Beatitude’s words as follows:
بإسم الآب والإبن والروح القدس آمين
غبطة البطريرك كيريوس كيريوس ثيوفيلوس الثالث بطريرك المدينة المقدسة أورشليم وسائر فلسطين والأردن والسادة المطارنة الأجلاء وجميع أعضاء المجمع المقدس المُوقر.
يا صاحب الغبطة, بعد تقبيل أياديكم الطاهرة أتقدم لغبطتكم بالشكر والإحترام لقبولكم رجعتي الى أحضان طاعتكم والكنيسة الواحدة كالإبن الذي كان ضالاً ورجع الى أبيه تائباً. وعلى قراركم المقدس لمنحكم لي بركتكم وموافقتكم على سيامتي شماساً في هذا اليوم ومن ثم في الأسبوع القادم سيامتي كاهناً في مطرانية عكا. فأتوجه بطلب من غبطتكم طالباً صلواتكم وأدعيتكم المستجابة بأكن أكون عند حسن ظن غبطتكم وطاعتكم وأقوم بواجبي بكل محبة وصبر لخدمة الكنيسة والرعية على أتم وأحسن وجه, وأكون مطيعاً لقرارت غبطتكم والمجمع المقدس.
من خلال نعمة الروح القدس التي إنسكبت عليّ بوضع أيديكم الطاهرة في هذا اليوم أدعو لغبطتكم بدوام الصحة والعافية وأن يزيدكم الرب القوة والحكمة والقداسة, آمين.
وأتوجه بالشكر أيضاً لقدس الأرشمندريت فيلوثيوس الوكيل البطريركي في مطرانية بتوليماييس في مدينة عكا وجميع أخوتي الكهنة الذين رافقوني اليوم مع جميع الحضور الكريم. وأشكر أيضاً زوجتي وأولادي الذين رافقوني وسيرافقوني الى كل الأيام.
أشكركم جميعاً وأشكر الله بربنا يسوع المسيح أولاً وآخراً الذي رتّب لهذا اليوم المبارك. آمين
DEACON’S ORDINATION AT THE PATRIARCHATE
The ordination of the Monk Anastasios Kirmitzakis to Deacon was observed at the All-night Vigil at the Holy Sepulchre on 1st/14th October 2021.
He has been serving at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as a novice monk and having been tested and proven worthy, the Holy and Sacred Synod approved his joining of the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood through the Monk’s tonsure, and consequently his receiving the first degree of the Priesthood as a Deacon.
His ordination to Deacon was officiated by the Geronda Sacristan of the Holy Sepulchre, His Eminence Archbishop Isidoros of Hierapolis.
Before the ordination, His Eminence delivered the following spiritual words regarding Priesthood:
“Most devout subdeacon Anastasios,
Our Holy Church, a little while ago, prayed through my hands to your head and begged the Holy Spirit to claim you with the following gifts:
First: To love the dignity of the house of God.
Second: to stand guard at the gates of the Temple and to light the lamp, that is, the candle on the tabernacle of the Glory of God,
and third: to settle down and take root within the Church and to be cultivated within it, like an olive tree, producing fruits of righteousness, until you are perfected by the grace of the Holy Spirit, and receive the reward that is due to those who please the Lord.
It is certain that you loved the dignity of the house of God because you already serve and take care of the universally unique Holy Temple, the All-holy Church of the Resurrection, which contains the All-holy and Life-giving Sepulchre of our Lord and the Horrendous Golgotha.
The grace of the Holy Spirit led your steps and took you on a journey from the city of Saint Demetrius, the Holy See, the capital of our Macedonia, Thessaloniki, and brought you to the Holy Land.
It made you worthy to stand at the gates of the Holy and Life-giving Tomb and to receive the pious Pilgrims, just as the Angel received the Myrrh-bearers and to announce to them the joyful message that Christ is Risen!
You have already remained vigilant and participated in chanting in the Divine and Holy Liturgy, leading the candle of the Holy Gifts at the Great Entrance, as the prophets preceded and prepared the coming of the Lord God and Word.
The obedience, which you showed, your patience in the difficult times of temptation, your meekness, your willingness to perform your ministry, the love with which you surround your brothers, did not pass unnoticed.
His Beatitude, our Father and Patriarch Theophilos III has been watching your course for a long time and having appreciated your spiritual progress, He decided together with the Holy and Sacred Synod to place you in the bosom of the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood as a Monk, and promote you to the office of the Deacon soon afterwards.
From your new position of the Deacon, you are invited to enter the Holy Altar, to stand next to the Holy Table and to serve the Holy Sacraments.
In your ministry, you will have the living example of the First Deacon and First Martyr Saint Stephen. Just like him, you will find yourself in the midst of various temptations and you will be in danger. For this reason, we ask the Divine Grace to fill you with Faith and spiritual power, so that you may be able to overcome any temptation.
His Beatitude, our Father and Patriarch, the Holy and Sacred Synod and all the Hagiotaphite Fathers will support and help you in this new state, to stand firm in this spiritual struggle to the end with the help of God.
The grace of God will cover you and the Holy Light, which gushes through the Holy and Life-giving Tomb will enlighten you and dissolve the darkness of this world.
And now, bow down your knees and humbly accept the coming of the Holy and Ritual Spirit, Who will alter you and turn you into a vessel of His election.”
The Divine Liturgy and the ordination were attended by Hagiotaphite Fathers, Monks, Nuns and pilgrims, who exclaimed the “Axios” at the ordination.
After Dismissal, Geronda Sacristan, His Eminence Archbishop Isidoros of Hierapolis offered a reception for the ordained and those who honoured him at the Sacristan’s Office.
In the morning, the newly ordained Deacon paid his respect to His Beatitude and asked for His blessing.
THE HAGIOTAPHITE ARCHIMANDRITE ANTHIMOS HAS SLEPT IN THE LORD
Before midnight on Thursday 20 August/ 2 September 2021, after an old age illness over the last few months, the elder Archimandrite Anthimos Theocharakis slept in the Lord at the age of 90. He was the Hegoumen of the Monastery of Men of Galilee on the Mount of Olives.
The Hagiotaphite Brotherhood, which the departed served so well according to his monastic vows, observed his funeral service under the lead of H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos at the central Monastery in Saint Thecla’s chapel at 4:00 p.m. on Friday 21 August /3 September 2021. Co-celebrants to His Beatitude were the Hagiotaphite Archbishops, Hieromonks and Hierodeacons, at the presence of the Consul General of Greece Mr Evangelos Vlioras and the participation in prayer of Monks, Nuns and representatives of the Arab-speaking flock from the Communities the departed served.
The eulogy was delivered by the Secretary-General His Eminence Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina as follows:
“Your Beatitude Father and Master,
Reverend chorea of Hierarchs,
Mr Consul General of Greece,
Beloved Brethren in Christ,
In profound sorrow and contrition, we stand before the dead body of the yesterday-departed to the Lord, our elder brother, Hagiotaphite Archimandrite Anthimos. We stand wondering, how did this mystery happen? How have we become one with decay? How did we mingle with death? How was the harmonious bond between soul and body broken? How was the soul violently separated from the body? The answer to our human thoughts comes from the Church hymnographer’s words, ‘the taste of the wood of old in Eden became sorrow for Adam’; meaning that man was cut off from the union of the source of life by his own free will and brought death upon himself.
Out of His boundless mercy, God did not suffer to see His creature in decay and perdition and became man in Christ, was made incarnate and received death, so that He may save His creature this way. Our consolation in this dreadful time of death, by God’s Providence, is Christ our God, who assures us that “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25). Similarly, comforting is the assurance of the Church in its prayers that burying a dead body is not death to those who believe in Christ, but a translation from the temporary to the eternal life, from the earthly to the heavenly, from sorrow to gladness. It is the cherishing of the heavenly pastures not “through a glass, darkly; but face to face” (1 Cor. 13:12).
In the certainty of this faith, we surpass our human sorrow for the separation from our dear brother and accompany him to his last heavenly residence. We bring to our memory that he came to the Holy Land from Crete, where he was born, at a young age and devoted himself to our Holy Community. He joined our Venerable Hagiotaphite Brotherhood and received the Monastic Schema, followed by the Office of Priesthood. Ever since, having love for his brethren, never judging anyone, being hopeful, condescending and pleasant, he served the Church of Jerusalem, the Mother of Churches and the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood therein. He served in good faith, with zeal and Hagiotaphite, Pilgrimage and Pastoral devotion in various posts; as Hegoumen of the Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor, at the Monastery of Praetorion, at the Tomb of the Theotokos in Gethsemane, at the Great Martyr George in Lydda, at the Sarantarion Mount, at the Monastery of Elisha in Jericho by the sycamore tree of Zacchaeus. For the last twenty years, he had been the Hegoumen of the Holy Monastery of Men of Galilee (Galili Viri) on the Mount of Olives, where he kept weekly Services, as he did at the chapel of the Dormition. He renovated the Monastery, building a new wing at his own expense.
Accompanying him at his departure today with these pleasant memories, we entreat our merciful God to count these good words of his and forsake his wrongdoings, whether voluntary or involuntary and place his soul in Paradise, among the holy and the righteous, granting him the joy of the light of His three-sun Divinity. So be it.
May his memory be everlasting!”
The departed Archimandrite to the eternal dwelling places of the Lord was buried at the Cemetery of the Holy Zion.