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HIS HOLINESS THE ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH BARTHOLOMEW VISITS THE METOCHION OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE IN NEOCHORION

On Friday, October 10/23, 2020, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated for the Feast of the Holy Apostle James the Brother of God and first Hierarch of Jerusalem, according to the custom of the Church of Jerusalem, at the Metochion of the Holy Sepulchre in Neochorion of Βosporus. The Liturgy was attended by His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Who addressed our Representative in Constantinople Most Reverend Archbishop Nectarios of Anthedona and the congregation as follows:

Your Eminence, Archbishop Nectarios of Anthedona, Representative of the Holy Sepulchre in the City of Constantine,

Most Reverend Brethren,

Your Excellencies Archons,

Beloved Children in Christ,

We are gathered in this historic Metochion of the Holy Sepulchre in joy and contrition, in order to celebrate with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs the commemoration of Apostle James the Brother of God, one of the primary persons of the ancient Church, the genuine bearer and exponent of the sacred consignment of the Lord, the First Hierarch of the Church of Jerusalem and its patron Saint. Along with our reverent entourage, We came to the Church of the Metochion of Jerusalem in Neochorio, which is dedicated to the Holy Great Martyr George the Trophy Bearer, just like two other Churches-Metochia of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem in Halki and in Phanar, so that we may proclaim “the bond of love” between the Holy Great Church of Christ and the venerable Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which holds this celebration of the Throne today, and to express our feelings of love and honour to its Holy Primate, His Beatitude the Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos.

The Patriarchates of Constantinople and Jerusalem have a long-term tradition of coexistence, cooperation and solidarity, which have produced good fruit for the whole of Orthodoxy and for the protection of the Status Quo in the Holy Land. The All-holy shrines and the holy places where the redeeming news of salvation was heard, and God the Word was made incarnate, the places where the immaculate feet of our Lord Jesus Christ walked, and His words were heard, where He worked the miracles of faith, where the glory of the Lord was revealed in Transfiguration, the Passion and the Resurrection were witnessed, along with the miraculous appearances, the Ascension of the Saviour and the crown of festivities, Pentecost, happened, all these, and “many other things Jesus did” which, as Saint John the Evangelist writes “if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written” (John 21:25), are always in our mind and heart.

We ceaselessly pray to the Founder of the Church, to strengthen His Beatitude our Brother Theophilos and the blessed Hagiotaphite Brotherhood, in the struggle for the protection of the All-holy monuments and shrines. We were expecting the visit of His Beatitude at the centre of Orthodoxy which was scheduled for the beginning of the Church Year, on September 1, 2020, and was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We wait for the visit of the Holy Brother, in a face-to-face meeting, to co-celebrate the Divine Liturgy and discuss the matters of Orthodoxy related to its unity and witness in the contemporary world.

The Church is “God’s answer to the expectation of the world”. It is “the new world and the new paradise”. Being alive “in the world” it bears witness for the truth “that is not of this world”, carrying the Cross of Christ, experiencing and preaching His Resurrection which is the joy of the world. It also foretells and depicts “the common resurrection”, “the unwaning, heirless and eternal day”, in the course toward the eternal Kingdom of God, “the new world” (2 Cor. 5:17), where “there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away”(Revelation 21:4), but there will be a joy that is complete, unspeakable and glorified. To this Church, the place and the way of the salvation of man and of the world, we owe everything, in it we minister its Founder and Head, the Giver of every good thing, being ministered in all things by the unspeakable Divine Philanthropy.

Most Reverend brother, Archbishop of Anthedona,

We praise the good-fruit-bearing ministry for the full duration of your ecclesiastical ministry here, the many toils, your tireless and productive work for the preservation of your Metochia, your sacrificial witness and wise care for the ecclesiastical matters at all times. Thanking you for the kind invitation of Our Mediocrity to participate in the Service in this Metochion of Bosporus, We wish you health and strength to continue your good works. We also congratulate all those who support this holy foundation, with their leader, the Cross-bearer of the Holy Sepulchre and Our dearest Officion-bearer, Mr Panteleimon Vigan.

With these thoughts, and in a festive frame of mind, we express the wishes of Our Mediocrity to His Beatitude, the Head of the Church of Jerusalem, and to all the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood for this Feast of the Throne, praying to the Almighty, Omniscient and Most Generous God, that by the intercessions of the Holy Apostle James the Brother of God and of the Holy Glorious Great Martyr George the Trophy Bearer, He may protect and strengthen the brotherly Church of Jerusalem and grant to its pious clergy and people every kind of heavenly blessing.

Many happy returns to all of you!”

From Secretariat-General




THE LAMENTATIONS OF THE MOST HOLY THEOTOKOS AT THE PATRIARCHATE OF JERUSALEM

On Thursday morning, August 14/27, 2020, Fore-feast of the Dormition, the Service of the Lamentations was held at the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

This ceremony in honour of Theotokos is a part of the Status Quo of the Church of Jerusalem.

For this ceremony, the Hagiotaphite entourage, led by its Hegoumen His Beatitude the Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos, marched from the Patriarchate Headquarters down Via Dolorosa with short stops at the Holy Monasteries of St. Charalambos, Panagia Sayda Naya, Praetorion, The Ancestors of God Joachim and Anna and St. Stephen and arrived at the Hegoumeneion of Gethsemane.

Going down the stairs to the courtyard of the Church of the Dormition of Theotokos Mary, His Beatitude was received by the Hegoumen His Eminence Archbishop Dorotheos of Avela and the Priests in their liturgical vestments with the co-celebrants their Eminences the Archbishops; Theophanes of Gerassa, Aristarchos of Constantina, Isidoros of Hierapolis and Philoumenos of Pella, at the chanting of Hierodeacon Simeon and Mr Vasilios Gotsopoulos, He entered the Church and having given the blessing, He venerated the Tomb of Theotokos and put on His Patriarchal liturgical vestments. The Archbishops put on omoforion and epitrahilion and the Priests felonion.

Once everybody was ready the Priests took the Icon of the Body of the Dormition of Theotokos on the Epitaph and placed it in the centre of the Church.

The three stasis of the Lamentations were chanted. After the Lamentations the Sermon by His Eminence Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina followed as per below;

“Your Beatitude Father and Master,

Your Excellency Consul General of Greece,

Most Reverend Chorea of Hierarchs,

Reverend Fathers and noble pilgrims,

During the Fifteen days of the Dormition fast the attention of the memory, the life and all activity of the Church are centred primarily and especially to the Most Holy Theotokos, the Mother of our God.

From the first day of August, there is a gradual increase of the supplications and all kinds of prayers dedicated to Her, who was chosen by God and became the vessel that held the Creator, contained the uncontainable, conceived by the Holy Spirit and bore as man our Lord Jesus Christ.

All events of honour, respect and reverence for the Most Holy Theotokos reach their climax on 15th of August, which has been set by the Church as the day of the commemoration of Her Dormition.

Celebrating the Fore-feast of the Dormition today, and the main feast tomorrow, we commemorate and recall the whole mission of the Most Holy Theotokos to us men. We commemorate that She accepted to lend flesh from Her flesh to the Word of God Who is without flesh. She conceived the Son of God through the Holy Spirit, became pregnant, went through labour and bore Him in the flesh, swaddled Him, breastfed Him, saw the Wise Men and the Shepherds offering gifts and worshipping Him at the humble Cave in Bethlehem, heard the hymns of the Angels in the heavens chanting “Glory to God in the Highest”, “kept all these words in her heart”(Luke 2:19) and handed all these over to the Evangelists and Apostles and they to the Church in turn. Theotokos led our Lord to circumcision and His naming on the eight-day since His Nativity in the flesh, and to His Entrance and the fortieth-day prayers at the Temple of Solomon, where Simeon the God-receiver held Him in his arms, and she heard in surprise the words “ Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace”(Luke 2:29) and “a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also”(Luke 2:35). Moreover, She held Him in her arms fleeing from Herod’s fury to Egypt and brought Him back to Nazareth again, where they dwelled and from which He was called Nazarene. She followed and watched Him and as a Mother gave Him all He needed in His childhood and youth, when “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man”(Luke 2:52).

Having witnessed all these, and the thing that was beyond any human logic, His conception and bearing without the consummation of conception with a man’s participation, it was natural to say to the servants of the wedding in Cana “Do whatever He tells you to do”(John 2:5). She followed and served Him along with the women who were following Him from Galilee, and “ministered unto him of their substance” (Luke 8:3). She was a witness of the signs and miracles of comfort and healing of the sick, felt the joy for these and the sorrow of the ungrateful condemnation and of the vision of Her beloved Son pierced with the nails of the Cross. She was the first among the Myrrh-bearing Women at the Deposition and the burial, but also at the joy of the Resurrection and at His other appearances after the Resurrection. She experienced the sorrowful-joy of the Ascension and the joy of the sending down of the Holy Spirit the Comforter to Her and to the Apostles by Her Son.

For this mission of Hers, which is beyond any human logic and marvellous, for the unique event which happened once and for all, the faith, the devotion, the love, the complete consistency to Her promise to the Angel at the Annunciation “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word”(Luke 1:38), the Church throughout the centuries, honours and magnifies Her, as She foretold at her meeting with her relative Elizabeth “behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed”(Luke 1:48), accepts Her natural death, and burial in this village of Gethsemane, but also Her translation (metastasis) by Her Son in both soul and body into heaven before the common Resurrection, and Her presence as a Queen at His Right Hand, “arrayed in a vesture of inwoven gold, adorned in varied colours”(Psalm 44: 8), being the first among the members of the triumphant Church, ready to hear the supplications of those who revered Her, to help, support, heal the illnesses, overcome difficulties and temptations, and most of all to set an example with Her Most Holy fife for us.

For Her excessive goodness and love, the Church of Jerusalem, the land where She lived and which She sanctified, honours Her, as it should today, with this Service of the Lamentations around Her Tomb, under the lead of His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos, and prays to Her to intercede for the unity in Christ of the Orthodox Churches, for the peace and good state of the whole world and of the Middle East, for the cessation of the brutal crimes of violence against innocent people and of the existing wars around the globe, for the rescue and treatment of shipwrecked refugees, for the help of the addicted to drugs youth, for the unity of the divided families and for the help of all of us who honour Her today at Her Most Sacred and Life-giving Tomb, so that by Her help we may continually convey a message of reconciliation and love to the world, and a witness of the Christian Orthodox life, to strengthen, comfort, sustain and guide to salvation the fulness of the Church and give Glory to our Trinitarian God. So be it.”

This was followed by Eulogitaria, Praises, Doxology, the procession of the Epitaph to the top of the staircase of the Church and the prayer.

Finally, the icon was placed behind the Tomb of Theotokos under the chanting of the Dormition hymns and a large crowd of faithful approached to venerate it, despite the COVID-19.

After the Service, the Hegoumen His Eminence Archbishop Dorotheos of Avela offered a reception at the Hegoumeneion.

From Secretariat-General




ORDINATION OF A PRIEST FOR THE RUSSIAN FLOCK

After the decision of the Holy and Sacred Synod, Chaired by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos, on Saturday morning, May 31/June 13, 2020, during the Divine Liturgy at the Horrendous Golgotha, His Eminence Archbishop Aristovoulos of Madaba ordained to Priest the Deacon Alexander Yasevich, who has been serving at the Russian-speaking Community in Be‘er Sheba, and will continue his ministry there as a Priest from now on.

His Eminence the Archbishop of Madaba addressed the ordained with the following fatherly words;

“Reverend Deacon Alexander,

Two years ago, we gathered in this Holy Place, the horrendous Rock of Golgotha, to participate in your ordination to the first degree of Priesthood and to witness the alteration of the “Right hand of the Most High”. At the same Holy Place we gathered again today to rejoice together, to celebrate the coming of the Comforter, the feast of the Holy Pentecost and at the same time to witness your promotion to the second degree of Priesthood.

Two years ago, you entered the All-holy Church of the Resurrection as a simple pilgrim and after the completion of the ordination you departed as an angel, a minister of the Holy Mysteries. Today, you arrived at the Horrendous Golgotha as an Angel and in a little while, the divine grace of the All-holy and Ceremonial Spirit will make you partake of “the holy and ultimate degree of the Priesthood, of the interior of the veil dividing the sanctuary from the nave, in the Holy of Holies, where the Holy Angels desire to look down upon and behold with their own eyes the person of the Holy Anafora, and enjoy the Divine and Holy Liturgy”. And again we will witness this unique mystery and exclaim: “this change hath been wrought by the right hand of the Most High”(Psalm 76:10).

Your ordination is not just your personal matter. It is a matter for the whole parish, the members of which have come from southern Israel to support you and rejoice with you, because they are finally getting their own Priest, born and raised in a certain area, in which until recently they used to grow up without being able to be baptized, to celebrate the Feasts of the Church, without the joy of the Church, and in the end to die alone and bury their dead without any ceremony.

By the grace of God we are living in historic moments for the Church of Jerusalem. After 70 years of absolute silence, the holy city of Patriarch Abraham, with the famous well of his treaty with Abimelech, regains its Liturgic life. Since 1948, with the evacuation of the area due to the Arab-Israeli war, the Divine Liturgy in Be‘er Sheba ceased to take place. The only sign that indicated the existence of an old Christian community in the city was the abandoned cemetery in the centre of the Old City.

The dead waited for decades to hear the sound of an incense burner and see a Priest to hold even a sinple memorial service. The old tombs looked like seeds, which were planted in the ground and waited for the right time to take root again and bear fruit. This era came with the fall of Communism and the opening of the borders of the former Soviet Union. Israel was filled with the old Israelites, who spread throughout the land.

However, a portion of these Israelites had one characteristic feature. In addition to the Israelite identity, they brought with them the Christian faith, the Orthodox tradition, the icons, the incense, the fast, the prayer. The Christians became the salt of the local community. They kept their obligations to the state to the fullest. They “ Rendered to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s”, and  now what they should also do was to render “to God the things that are God’s”.

 

Their desire was to have a Priest enter their house, to sanctify them, to enlighten them and to help them keep the flame of the Faith burning. This wish was fulfilled in 2008, on the feast day of St. Spyridon, when God miraculously led my steps to the Negev Desert to perform the first memorial service and I met the first Christians with the help of the venerable Pilgrim Nina, the name of who reminded me of the sister of St. George the Great Martyr, Saint Apostle Nina, who spread the teaching of the Holy Gospel at the inhospitable territories of Georgia as it was then, in the 4th century AD.

Many visits followed, during which I found for myself the magnitude of the faith, the simplicity and the love of the orphaned Christians of the South. I was happy every time the road brought me close to them. With the passage of time, however, I realized that the harvest is too much for the few workers. I was starting to feel tired because of the long distance from Jerusalem, and I was saddened by my inability to be among the Christians of Be‘er Sheba all the time.

Then a new desire was created for me. To find the right Priest, who will come from and live in Be‘er Sheba, so that he can immediately meet the Liturgical needs of Christians and be always present, whenever the parish demands it.

When we refer to the parish of Be‘er Sheba, we do not simply mean the parish of a district. The area in which we are supposed to serve begins east of Aynn Ghent’s springs on the shores of the Dead Sea to reach west to the coastal Ashkalon and end up as far south as the centre of the city of Eilat having as its centre the capital of the desert, Beer Sheba, , and thus covering an area of ​​more than 12,000 square kilometres. Consequently, the presence of the local Priest was absolutely necessary for the correct execution of the pastoral work in such a large and sensitive area.

The choice on you was not accidental. You appeared at the first Divine Liturgy in Be‘er Sheba and have been present on a daily basis ever since. Your ordination as a deacon coincided with my temporary removal, fortunately not for long. With your help, we have managed to find a new place to house the temporary House of prayer until God deems us worthy to build our own Holy Church, dedicated to Patriarch Abraham, the Holy Patriarch St. Sophronios and the Holy Maccabees.

From now on, your responsibilities will increase. The effort will be great. You must cultivate, above all, patience in temptations. His Beatitude our Patriarch, the Holy and Sacred Synod and all the Fathers of the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood have accepted you into the bosom of the Church of Jerusalem and will support you in your mission. Your wife, who has supported you with her love, will stand by you again. Your beloved daughter Maria, who has devoted herself in the treatment of the sick with medicine, is happy and proud of her father. Your little son Paul stands in your shadow and waits for you to teach him from your experience in the Church. We will all stand by you and strengthen you in your new ministry.

We entreat the Holy Spirit to enlighten you, strengthen you and cover you from temptations. And now leave yourself to the will of God and accept the divine gift of Priesthood, in order to sanctify others and to sanctify yourself personally “.

Fr. Alexander returned the address as follows:

“Your Eminence, Dear Fathers, brothers and sisters in Christ!

In this joyful and important day for me, being in the holy place of the Golgotha ​​Rock, where the Cross of the Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ was erected, I would like to thank His Beatitude, our Father and Patriarch Theophilos III, the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Church of Jerusalem and especially Your Eminence Aristovoulos, for the trust you have shown in me.

The Lord brought me to the city of Be‘er Sheba, when you, Your Eminence, began to regularly celebrate the Divine Liturgy there in a small Russian-speaking community, which was located in the Special Homeland of the Patriarch Abraham. After many years, the holy chanting was heard again and the Divine Liturgy began to be celebrated. At that moment, I immediately felt a strong desire to work hard for the Church. I still feel that. In front of me is a large field for action, because the community is developing, and many Russian Christians live in Be’er Sheva and other cities in the south.

I also want to thank our Priest, Father Igor, with whom I had the opportunity to serve as a deacon for almost two years. I want to thank my wife, Xenia, who helps and supports me. I also want to thank our entire community and especially those who have come to my ordination today.  I thank God and ask for your prayers! ”

After these words, His Eminence placed his hands on the head of the ordained and invoked the Divine Grace which heals all infirmities and completes all things lacking.

The ordained received the acclaiming “axios” by the co-praying Hagiotaphite Fathers, his wife, relatives and community members who came to honour him.

After the ordination, the Episcopal entourage and the ordained paid their respects to His Beatitude and thanked Him.

From Secretariat-General     

 

 




THE EPITAPH SERVICE AT THE PATRIARCHATE

On Good Friday evening, April 4/17, 2020, around 9.00 p.m., the modest, contrite but nevertheless magnificent Epitaph Service was held at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre by the Patriarchate. On this Service the Church commemorates the burial and descent in Hades of our Lord Jesus Christ after His crucifixion. There, the Lord preached the message of salvation and release from the darkness and the torments of hell to the departed ones by saying; “come back again into Paradise”. This Service, which is actually the Matins of Holy Saturday, included the Six Psalms, the Canon of Holy Saturday, the procession around the shrines in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, concluding in Horrendous Golgotha.

There, after the reading of the Gospel narrative and the veneration, the Archbishops took the silk corporal of the Epitaph from the Holy Altar of Golgotha and placed it on the Deposition slate, where the Gospel of the deposition was read.

A procession three times around the Sacred Edicule followed and then the silk corporal was placed on the Holy Tomb. The Lamentations were chanted afterward, and the rest of the Service continued with the blessings, praises, Doxology and the Sermon of His Eminence Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina as follows;

“Your Beatitude Father and Master,

Your Excellency Mr. Consul General of Greece,

Reverend chorea of High Priests,

Reverend Fathers,

Noble pilgrims,

This evening of Holy Friday, the Church experiences the crucifixion of the Son and Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth. – “Today hangs upon the wood the One who has hung the earth upon the waters – the bridegroom of the Church has been pierced with nails” -, and with the dawn of Holy Saturday the Church experiences His burial in the flesh – “Thou who art the life hast gone down into the grave O Christ, and the orders of angels marveled – removing Thee from the wood, Joseph of Arimathea buries Thee in a grave”.

The Church lives these two events today, drawing the details from the eye-witnesses of the Holy Scriptures, co-crucified with the One who was crucified for her, and being buried along with Him, who was buried as a mortal man, and went down in Hades.

Commemorating these, the Church believes that Christ’s crucifixion was done by the free will and decision of His crucifiers, foreknown, but not predestined by God. The crucifiers were unable to tolerate that He was the Incarnate Son and Word of God who came on earth, and therefore condemned Him to death. The Church prays for the remission of their sin, just like He asked from the Cross “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Jesus had the power to avoid this death, either as man or by His divine power, however He came into it willingly. Having been betrayed, arrested, mocked, “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth” (Acts 8:32). As the Apostle of the nations says: “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8). By the humility and the kenosis on the Cross, Christ conquered the opposing power and even death. For the Church, Christ’s Cross is the beginning of existence, of life and its resurrection. For this reason, it sings: “we venerate Thy Cross, O Christ and Thy resurrection we worship and glorify”. Therefore St. John Damascene says “His precious Cross is above all the wondrous things Christ worked… and truly the precious and sacred wood, on which Christ placed Himself as a sacrifice for us, is sanctified by the touch of His Holy Body and Blood, it is venerated, [along with] the nails, the lance, the garments, the holy places which are the manger, the cave, Golgotha, the redeeming, life-giving Tomb, Sion, the Acropolis of the Churches, and the like, as Prophet David says, We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool (Psalm 132:7).” (St. John Damascene Edition of the Orthodox Faith). 

               

His feet stood at the place of Horrendous Golgotha. There, during the reign of Pontius Pilate, God “worked salvation in the middle of the earth”. By the Cross of His Son, He united Jews and Greeks in one body, one nation, one Church. He called us, the nations which did not know God, which where far away from Him, to the message of His reconciliation, and we, the gentiles, having accepted this, became friends of God, “That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel” (Ephesians 3:6). God grafted us into the body of the Church. Joining the body of the Church we were taught to live with our fellowmen on earth in reconciliation, righteousness, peace and love, even love towards our enemies, remembering that “our conversation is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20).

However, God’s love for man, Who “spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32), according to St. Paul, has included in the providence of salvation through the cross not only us, the living on earth, introducing us to the path of salvation, but also  the dead, those who were captives of Hades, dwelling in the darkness and the shadow of death, awaiting redemption. Through the Cross, the Son of God went down into Hades, as the One Who has power over both the living and the dead and sought the lost sheep in its darkness, as He did on earth; He sought the fallen man, Adam and his descendants, and in the lightning of His Divinity drew them up saying; “come back again into paradise”. The first to enter paradise was the thief on the cross, who used repentance as the key to it; “Remember me O Lord, in Thy Kingdom”. As St. John Damascene says; “just as the sun of righteousness rose on earth, the deified soul of Christ went down into Hades so that the light might shine upon those who were in the darkness and the shadow of death under the earth…and having released those bound there of old, immediately He departed from the dead, opening the way of resurrection for us” (Publ. of the Orthodox Faith). 

               

The Church of Jerusalem, “which was the first to receive the remission of sins through the resurrection”, boasts for Christ crucified, and praises Him as the one who has fallen asleep in the flesh, today with the epitaph hymns, in this contrite modest Service, officiated by its Primate, His Beatitude the Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos, and prays along with Him, from the empty blessed tomb, that the Lord may look down upon the vineyard of His flock all over the world and guide it and lead it to the glory of the resurrection, and that He may not forsake those who are tested by the deadly virus of the plague, locally and universally, but by His healing power and mercy, He may lead them to refreshment, health, good life and prosperity, and may favorably look down upon the Christians of the Middle East and all who dwell in the Holy Land, wishing to all a joyful, gleeful and blessed Resurrection.”

From Secretariat-General




THE NAME DAY OF HIS BEATITUDE THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM THEOPHILOS

On Saturday, March 15/28, 2020, the Patriarchate celebrated in transference the Name Day of H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos with the Feast of the Holy Forty Martyrs who martyred at the lake of Sebastia of Pontus during the reign of Licinius in 320 A.D., as the Holy Martyr Theophilos was one of them.

  1. In the afternoon.

On the eve of the Feast, after the reading of the 9th Hour at the Monastic Church of Saints Constantine and Helen, the Patriarchal entourage went to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre through the staircase of St. James Cathedral, and held the Service of Great Vespers as “Parresia”. The Service with the Great Entrance and the Blessing of Bread was led by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos and only a few clergy, Geronda Sacristan Most Reverend Archbishop Isidoros of Hierapolis, Dragouman Archimandrite Mattheos and Deacons. Their entrance was allowed by the Israeli Police in cooperation with the Patriarchate, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, from whose consequences may the Lord our God protect us.

After the Service of Vespers the Canon of the Akathist followed, with the 4th Stasis of the Salutations to the Most Holy Theotokos, led by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of Lydda.

  1. On the Feast Day

An All-night Vigil was celebrated at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as the entrance was through St. James Cathedral and the Monastery of Abraham. The Service was officiated by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos, with co-celebrants their Eminences; Metropolitan Isychios of Kapitolias, Archbishops Isidoros of Hierapolis and Aristovoulos of Madaba, Elder Kamarasis Archimandrite Nectarios, Dragouman Archimandrite Mattheos, Archdeacon Mark and Deacon Patrikios, and the participation of the Temple Fathers.

At 11.00 am the following morning, the Doxoloxy was chanted at the Monastic Church of Saints Constantine and Helen with the participation of the Fathers of the Central Monastery.

Afterward, at the Reception Hall of the Patriarchate, Geronda Secretary-General Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina addressed His Beatitude as follows;

“Your Beatitude, Father and Master,

The commemoration of the Holy Forty Martyrs, who fought the good fight and were crowned at the lake of Sebastia of Pontus during the reign of Licinius in 320, is a feast we celebrate at the beginning of March and a stronghold of power and hope for the continuation of the spiritual fight of fasting, which concludes at the fair harbour of the bright day of the Resurrection.

If this feast is celebrated thus by the Church as a whole, it is especially celebrated by the Mother of Churches as it is also related to the fact that Your Beatitude bears the name of one of these martyrs.

Therefore, especially honouring the holy martyr Theophilos and Your Beatitude, this feast was celebrated as Parresia at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, with an All-night Vigil and the Doxology in the morning at the Monastic Church of Saints Constantine and Helen, with the participation of Hagiotaphite Fathers, the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr. Christos Sophianopoulos and the Representative of the Moscow Patriarchate in MISSIA, Reverend Archimandrite Alexander, withing the limits of our ability to gather due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Having thanked the Lord in the Church and prayed for the health and stability of Your Beatitude, and now at the Reception Hall of the Patriarchate, we congratulate You for Your Name day, and offer You the righteous praise for all the good works You have accomplished for the benefit of the unity of Church of Christ in the bond of peace, of the Pilgrimage and territorial rights of our Venerable Hagiotaphite Brotherhood and of the instruction of our reverend flock.

First of all, regarding the unity of the Church, Your Beatitude has made many efforts and actions, continuously underlining the need of the beginning of cultivating a dialogue, in order to achieve reconciliation and peace. Recognizing this contribution for the year 2018, the Moscow Patriarchate and His Holiness Patriarch Alexei II, has awarded You with the price for “outstanding activities in strengthening the unity of the Orthodox Christian nations” and “for upholding and promoting Christian values in the life of society”, at Your visit to Moscow last November after the personal invitation from the President of Russia Mr. Vladimir Putin.

As far as the works of spiritual enhancement and benefit of our flock are concerned, worth mentioning is the cooperation with the Palestinian Authorities for the renovation of the historic Church of St. Moses the Ethiopian in the Rafidia Community near Jacob’s well, the construction of the ikonostasion with the icons of the Sahnin Community in Ptolemaida-Acre district, and the activities of Your Beatitude, the founding of an Athletic Academy in Karak of Jordan and Your Beatitude’s local and international activities for the protection of the property of the Patriarchate in Jaffa Gate and the preservation of the long-term Biblical and internationally established Status Quo of the Old City of Jerusalem, for the benefit of our Brotherhood, of the flock and all the Christians and pilgrims of the Holy Land. 

In order to succeed in these goals, You Beatitude has cultivated good co-operation relations with the Political Authorities. Regarding the relationship with Greece, this was made obvious with the recent President of the Greek Republic Mr. Prokopis Pavlopoulos at the Patriarchate and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, as well as that of the Minister of Tourism of Greece Mr. Haris Theoharous of the Secretary-General of the Public Diplomacy of Consulate and Religious Matters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Alexandris.

As far as the Patriarchate’s relations with the State of Israel are concerned, according to the Gospel’s words “give Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God”, Your Beatitude received at the Patriarchate the New Mayor of Jerusalem, and before the Heads of the local Christian Churches, mentioned the issue of the prominent unjust taxes on the Church properties, and at the ceremony of the Ministry of Tourism of Israel, You stressed the problem of the lack of water in the Christian Monasteries in Mount Tabor. Moreover, at the annual New Year meeting at the Presidential Residence, You asked the President Mr. Rouven Rivlin for the righteous solution of the unsolved issued of the properties of the Patriarchate at Jaffa Gate, with the cancellation of the illegal agreements singed a few years ago. 

Regarding the relations of the Patriarchate with Jordan, they were good, taking into consideration the bonds of the Royal family with the Patriarchate, the Jordanian law of the Patriarchate in 1957 and the custody Jordan exercises over the Christian and Muslim shrines in Jerusalem.

Within these relations, Your Beatitude was warmly welcomed in New Year’s by the whole Mayoralty of Fhes town and His Royal Highness the King of Jordan Abdullah Ibn-Housein Althani hosted a special ceremony for our Christmas Feast, at the Baptism Site of the river Jordan, and received the Heads of the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches, who were guests of our Patriarchate in the brotherly meeting in Amman, for the beginning of the dialogue for the unity in the Orthodox Church, in respect of the “Primate’s honour” of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and all its privileges under our Orthodox tradition.

Your Beatitude has also protected and safeguarded like “the pupil of the eye” the rights of our Hagiotaphite Brotherhood and our nation, every time they were questioned, as was the case at the recent event at the Feast of Epiphany, when the Armenians unsuccessfully tried to prevent the placement of the Orthodox icon at the God-receiving Cave in Bethlehem, a right that has been established with the Status Quo for many years.

Encouraged by these, the Hagiotaphite Fathers stand by Your Beatitude’s side in a common honest fight for the continuing protection of the heritage of our venerable Patriarchate and of our nation in the Holy Land, and the support of our Rum-Orthodox Arab-speaking flock, for the preservation of its identity and its development and increase towards works of common good.

Raising my glass in a toast, Your Beatitude, on behalf of the members of our Holy and Sacred Synod, and all the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood, I wish You health and unshakable stability for many more years, in fruition and abundance of good works, for the praise of our blessed nation and the glory of our Trinitarian God.”

The Archbishop’s address was followed by addresses from the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr. Christos Sophianopoulos, and the Representative of the Moscow Patriarchate, Head of the Russian MISSIA, Archimandrite Alexander.

His Beatitude thanked those present with the following address:

“Nobly enduring things present, and rejoicing in things hoped for, the holy Martyrs said one to another: Shall we not indeed strip off this garment? Yea rather, let us cast off the old man. Bitter is winter, but sweet is Paradise; painful is this freezing, but pleasant shall be that enjoyment. Let us not waver, O fellow soldiers. Let us endure for a little while, that we may put on the crowns of victory given by Christ God, the Saviour of our souls”, Basil the Great says on his sermon on the Forty Martyrs through the mouth fo the hymn writer of the Church. (Minaion March 9, Vespers, first idiomelon).

 Your Excellency, Consul General of Greece Mr. Christos Sophianopoulos,

Reverend Fathers and Brothers,

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

“God is life, and light and those in the hands of God exist is life and light” St. John Damascene says about the souls of the saints, of the righteous ones, according to the Biblical words: “But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and there shall no torment touch them” (Wisdom of Solomon 3:1) and “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His people” (Psalm 115:5).

Indeed, precious in the sight of the Lord was the death of today’s honoured Holy Forty Martyrs and their co-martyr Theophilos, who martyred at the lake of Sebastia. These saints were not afraid of the threats of the tyrants, nor did they flinch by the insults of the torments, as they had the Cross of Christ their divine weapon, as the hymn writer of the Church says; we stand in owe before the struggles of the Holy Martyrs, as being in a mortal body they defeated the bodiless enemies; they were not afraid of the threats of the tyrants, nor were they intimidated by the instults of the torments; they were indeed worthy to be glorified by Christ, and that our souls may receive the great mercy.

The holy forty Martyrs were righteously glorified by Christ, because they sought the glory of God the Father rather than that of the people, as St. John the Evangelist says: “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). For His sake, the Forty soldiers left every army of the world and entered the martyrdom of their blood, preaching not themselves, but the redeeming truth of Christ, Who shone into their hearts the light of knowledge of the glory of God the Father in Him (Christ), (2 Cor. 4:6).

The martyrdom of the glory of God the Father in His Only Begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, Whom all martyrs along with those honoured today imitated, is witnessed and proclaimed continuously at the place of His Passion on the Cross and the three-day burial of our Lord, at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where we celebrated the sacrament of the Eucharist, of the bloodless sacrifice and praised in Doxology our All-merciful God.

The God-bearing Father of the Church Basil, praising the undefeated mind of the forty martyrs, who gladly rejected their last garments, urges us to hear their unity of faith: “We are not being undressed from our clothes, they said, but we denounce the old man in us, the corrupt by the disires of treachery. We thank Thee Lord, that we expel sin along with this garment. Because of the snake we got dressed, but for Christ’s sake we get undressed”.

The sacred commemoration of the Holy Forty Martyrs is calling us, my dear Brothers and Sisters, in the middle of the Great Lent, in order to become imitators of their Christ-like mind, as St. Basil the Great says: “For God is their common Father and everybody is their brother, as they were not born by a man and a woman, but by the adoption of the Spirit, adjusting in the unity through love with each other”.

Our Mediocrity, bearing the name of Theophilos, the co-martyr of the Holy Forth Martyrs, rend glory and thanksgiving to the Holy Trinitarian God on this Holy Feast, in which “we celebrate our salvation” but also our calling in this institutional mission, namely of the Shepherd of the Most Holy Church of Jerusalem, and of the Hegoumen of the Monastic Order of our Venerable Hagiotaphite Brotherhood.

Every virtue and praise is owed to the Saints! They shed their blood, for our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ Who emptied Himself, taking upon Himself the form of a servant; these holy Martyrs of Christ, fighting on earth stepped upon the enemy and banished the falsehood of the idols, therefore they received the grace to heal the illnesses of the sick and while still in life and after death they work miracles, according to the hymn writer of the Church who speaks about the Lord’s words: “And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease” (Matt. 10:1). 

Let us therefore pray to the Holy Forty Martyrs and their co-martyr Theophilos, who have boldness in heaven, so that by their intercesions and those of the Ever-Virgin Mary we may preach Christ Crucified, healer of our souls and bodies, and being free from the the Coronavirus epidemic, we may celebrate the bright Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

For all these, we wish to all who prayed with us, those present and the absent ones (due to the COVID-19 lockdown), strength from on high, the grace of the All-Holy and Life-giving Tomb, patience, and every blessing from God, expressing warm thanks to those who addressed US, Geronda Secretary-General Most Reverend Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, who spoke on behalf of our Hagiotaphite Brotherhood, His Excellency the Consul General of Greece Mr. Christos Sophianopoulos, Reverend Archimandrite Alexander, Head of the Russian MISSIA and representative of the brotherly Holy Church of Russia, who conveyed the wishes of His Beatitude the Patriarch of Moscow Cyril and all others who joined Us in this celebration.

To the health of all of you!”

From Secretariat-General

 

 

 

 




THE FEAST OF SAINTS IOANNIS AND GEORGE THE HOZEVITES

On Tuesday, January 8/21, 2020, the Patriarchate celebrated the commemoration of Saints Ioannis and George the Hozevites with an All-night Vigil at their Holy Monastery, located on the left bank of Brook Chorath, on its route to the Dead Sea, near the town of Jericho.

The Honoured Saints contributed a lot to the rebirth of the monastic life in this Monastery; Ioannis was a former Bishop of Palestine in the 4th century and George came from Cyprus and renovated the Monastery from its ashes after the Persian raid in 614 A.D.

H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos honoured the Feast by officiating the Services, and the Hegoumen of the Monastery Archimandrite Constantine addressed Him as follows;

“Your Beatitude Father and Master with Your Reverend Entourage,

We celebrate today the Holy Owners of the historic Holy Lavra of Hozeva, who faithfully followed in their lives all things St. John Chrysostom refers to in the beginning of his speech on contrition and patience:

“I entreat you my brethren to believe in God’s providence not only from the present things, but also from those of the future. For the things of the present are fighting and striving and an arena; the future ones however, are prizes and crowns and awards. Just like the athlete in the track needs to fight the sweat and dust and the extreme heat along with the fatigue and discomfort, likewise the righteous in the present life needs to suffer a lot and suffer them all courageously, if he wants to ascend to heaven and receive the reward for his hard work.”

Through holy patience, for which Paul the Apostle of Nations says: “tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope” (Romans 5:3-4), the saints won the fight over the passions, accomplished purification and apathy, defeated the world and secularism!

Moreover, through love in Christ which they had in abundance they healed the “wounds” of their fellow men, ascetics, monks under their obedience, and of many pilgrims! The love for our Lord Jesus Christ, which was projected to the fellow men, served them without toil and comforted the people in need.

Once more we will celebrate with a holy All-night Vigil these heroes of patience, of the wondrous beyond words ascesis and – primarily – of love toward Christ and man.

Your Beatitude,

Welcome!”

The All-night Vigil was officiated by His Beatitude, with co-celebrants His Eminences Metropolitan Isychios of Kapitolias, and Archbishop Philoumenos of Pella, along with Hagiotaphite Archimandrites and Priests from other Churches, as the chanting was delivered by Byzantine choir singers from Greece.

His Beatitude delivered the following Sermon to the present congregation;

“For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27), St. Paul preaches.

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Holy Fathers and noble pilgrims

Today the Holy Monastery of Hozeva, being a part of the river Jordan district, has gathered us all in order to honour the commemoration of our Holy Father George the Hozevite in Doxology and Eucharist.

Today the Holy Monastery of Hozeva, along with its Righteous and Holy children  and especially our Holy Father George, is rejoicing in gleefulness because with the Divine Epiphany of our Saviour Jesus Christ by the river Jordan, the humankind “was redeemed from darkness and illumined by the light of Divine knowledge”.

Our Father George became a communicant and participant of this light of the Divine knowledge, namely of Christ, through his “firm and steadfast ascetical travails” in Hozeva desert, which is part of the wilderness of the river Jordan, where St. John the Baptist was preaching saying; “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:1-2). “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. But he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire” (Matthew 3:11).

And the One who “baptizes with the Holy Ghost and with fire” is no other than Christ, who – according to the witness of St. John the Evangelist –  “was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9). In other words, Christ is the natural light, while the Saints received the light by grace, as St. Cyril of Alexandria says: “[Christ] is by essence the Light, He did not partake of it by grace”. Our blessed Father George partook of this light by grace, as his hymn writer says: “Delivered from darkness, thou hast been taken up to the unwaning light, O glorious George; and thou standest before the Almighty and Three-Sun Light with the orders on high, O blessed man, and thou delightest in the splendour that issueth thence and shinest like a fiery beacon upon us who hymn thee”.

Our Holy Church, my dear Brothers and Sisters, honours and venerates the commemoration of its Saints, because they shine brilliantly and illumine with the Divine brightness they have been issued, all those who have been baptized in Christ and have put on Christ, “the Only-begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages; light of light, true God of true God, begotten not made, con-substantial with the Father by whom all things were made” (The Creed).

Indeed, my dear brothers and sisters, “God is wondrous in His saints” (Psalm 67:36) and “wondrous are his witnesses” (118, 129) as the psalmist exclaims. And this is so, because the clouds of the righteous and of the saints of our Church are the citizens who have received the vision of the glory of God in heavens along with the Holy Angels, as St. Paul preaches; “For our conversation is in heaven” (Phil. 3:20). Such a citizen, namely of the heavens, did our Holy Father George, whom we celebrate today, become, who cultivated the wilderness of the Jordan in Hozeva, transforming its stones into a holy spring of the Spirit, from which a multitude of saints, such as Ioannis, and Ioannis the New (from Romania) drank from its spiritual drink, as St. Paul says; “for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ” (1 Cor. 10:4).

The Holy Ancestors of God Joachim and Anna did also drink from this “spiritual Rock that followed them” and bore the Most Blessed Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, from who our Lord Jesus Christ was born, who was baptized by St. John the Baptist in the river Jordan.

Through the intercessions of our righteous and God-bearing Hozevite Fathers, and especially of St. George, we are called to drink of that “spiritual drink”. And along with the hymn writer let us say; “Thou, Who art the Light that enlighteneth all mankind, shining of Thyself with all splendour, O my Jesus, wast baptized in the Jordan’s streams and shonest completely bright, as Thy Father’s con-substantial Light, whereby all creation is enlightened, O Christ, crying to Thee: Blessed art Thou Who hast appeared, our God, glory to Thee”.

The All-night Vigil was followed by a meal offered by the Hegoumen Archimandrite Constantine and his Monks.

From Secretariat-General




DEACON’S ORDINATION AT THE PATRIARCHATE

The ordination to Deacon of Monk Simeon Spyropoulos who has recently been tonsured and joined the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood was held on Thursday night, November 29/ December 12, 2019, towards Friday November 30/ December 13, day of the commemoration of  the Holy Apostle Andrew the First-called at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Hierodeacon Simeon is a graduate of the School of Theology of Athens, the Byzantine Choir Leader at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and a teacher at the Patriarchal School of the Holy Zion.

Monk Simeon was ordained by the Most Reverend Archbishop Methodios of Tabor, who admonished the ordained with fatherly words regarding the significance of the sacrament of Priesthood and of the degree of the Deacon as follows;

 “Most devout Sub-Deacon Simeon,

The Holy and Sacred Synod on its last meeting chaired by His Holy Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III, after your voluntary wish, has decided to join you in the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood and promote you to Deacon.

Therefore , by the will of the Almighty and Omnipotent Great God, with the agreement, care and providence of His Holy Beatitude, along with the decision of the Holy and Sacred Synod, you are called today, to receive the first degree of Priesthood, that of the Deacon, by the placing of the hands of our mediocrity and through the coming down of the All-holy and Ceremonial Spirit, so that from this position you may serve the Church of Christ and its congregation, from your place as a member of our Venerable Hagiotaphite Brotherhood.

This is a great honour for you, as it is for every member of the Brotherhood, but not only this, even more greater are the responsibilities stemming from this position; you are called to deny the world and all worldly things, so that you may become a servant of the ministers of the Sacraments of the Church of Christ, namely of the Bishops and the Priests, according to the commands of the Apostles.

In the course of his life, man has very few days in which he experiences happiness, and one of these days for sure for you, is today. There is a saying that the position one holds does not highlight the man, but on the contrary, man highlights the position. By saying this, I mean that you will fail in your life if you do not believe and serve properly and consciously the One to Whom you have dedicated your life, and if you serve him frivolously.

On the contrary, you will advance and most of all you will be beloved and respected by all, if you believe and confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God, and if you respect yourself first of all, and the ministry you will take on your shoulders, along with the One you will serve.

Saints Gregory of Nyssa and Evagrios say that “you are a Theologian if you pray in truth, and if you pray in truth, you are a Theologian”, which means, that we only become right Theologians and in truth, when we pray correctly, so that we may benefit ourselves and the others; of course it is then that we are correct and true Theologians.

You see my dear ones, how great an importance the Holy Fathers attribute to the correct manner of prayer, otherwise we strive in vain, and we do not benefit our listeners in the least, so you should try to be perfect, as much as it can be possible, irreproachable and holy by Grace, before your God, to walk in the path of His commandments all the days of your life, become a bee in collecting what is best and sweetest and reject whatever is harmful. 

St. Paul, the Apostle of the Nations says: “if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully” (2 Tim. 2:5), consequently our lives, of both clergy and laity, is a struggle enflamed by the flashing arrows of the devil, in order to succeed in the purpose pursued, that of the salvation of our souls.

Certainly you will face difficulties; do not startle, do not flinch; with your bodily eyes and the eyes of your soul gaze towards the Horrendous Golgotha and look at the crucified love, our Lord Jesus Christ, and then you will realize for which reason they put a crown of thorns on His head, but through His sacrifice on the Cross, His three-day burial and finally with His Resurrection from the dead He was justified and managed to put to shame His crucifiers and accusers.

Most devout sub-Deacon Simeon,

As a Hagiotaphite and guardian of the Holy Places which have been sanctified by the Nativity in the flesh, teaching, Crucifixion and Resurrection of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, you are called to be a depositary of the Sacred Consignment in this citadel of Christianity, of whose rampart you owe to be a sleepless guard and ready for any sacrifice, in order to hand it in to the next generation intact, unscathed and unalterable.

As you stand before the gate of this Holy Altar, before you receive this awesome ministry and the heavenly powers, which according to St. Paul “is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy” (Romans 9:16), kneel in humility and entreat the Almighty God, the only One who can remit sins, that He may look favourably upon your weaknesses and send down His All-holy Spirit, just like the day of Pentecost, on you, His humble servant.

Always commemorate your parents in the flesh, who stand by your side at this hour and are surely praying for you and rejoice with your happiness and promotion. Commemorate your relatives, teachers, friends, and if you have any, your enemies. Commemorate also our Father and Patriarch Theophilos III, who has benefited you with much love, and of our Hagiotaphite Brotherhood.

And now, the time has come, that you may come forth with a pure heart and a humble spirit, to receive the grace of the All-holy and Ceremonial Spirit through the placing of hands of our mediocrity; therefore enter into the Holy of Holies, into the All-holy and Life-giving Tomb of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, from which the Light of Life gushes out.

Therefore, rejoicing, enter in your Lord’s joy.

On 30-11-2019, Feast of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First-called”.

The ordination was performed with the invocation of the Divine Grace through the placing of the Archbishop’s hands.

At that time and with the exclamation “Axios” by the Archbishop, the Hagiotaphite Fathers, the students of the School of Zion, Monks and Nuns along with his family and friends, who honoured the ordained also exclaimed “Axios, Axios”.

After the Divine Liturgy, the ordained offered a reception to the ordaining Archbishop and all who honoured him at the Office of Geronda Sacristan, Most Reverend Archbishop Isidoros of Hierapolis.

The following morning, the ordained came to the Patriarchate, thanked His Beatitude and received His blessing.

From Secretariat-General

 




THE 14TH ENTHRONEMENT ANNIVERSARY OF HIS BEATITUDE THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM THEOPHILOS

On Friday, November 9/22, 2019, a Doxology took place at the Catholicon of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for the 14th Election and Enthronement Anniversary of His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos.

The Doxology was officiated by H.H.B. with co-celebrants the Hagiotaphite Archbishops and Hieromonks, Arab-speaking Priests, Deacons and Monks of all the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate, at the presence of the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr. Christos Sophianopoulos and with the participation of a noble congregation from Jerusalem, other Communities of the Arab-speaking flock of the Patriarchate and pilgrims.

After the Doxology, bells tolling, the Patriarchal Entourage returned to the Patriarchate Headquarters.

Geronda Secretary-General, His Eminence Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina addressed His Beatitude as follows;

 “Your Beatitude Father and Master,

The Mother of Churches is rejoicing today in gleefulness on the quite important and happy occasion of Your Beatitude’s Enthronement at the glorious Throne of St. James the Brother of God and First Hierarch of Jerusalem.

This was accomplished through the devoted endeavours of the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood for the preservation of the Status Quo of the Holy Land and of course of the Old City of Jerusalem, which had been undermined by the illegal agreements of mortgaging its land property of incalculable value. With these endeavours, fourteen years ago, in 2005, the Brotherhood through its representative the Holy and Sacred Synod, unanimously and by normal voting “placed up on the lamppost” Your Beatitude as the worthy Shepherd and navigator of the Primeval Church of Jerusalem. The election of Your Beatitude and the subsequent Enthronement with the participation of all Orthodox Churches and with the recognition of all local governments, dispelled the vortex which severely shook but did not submerge the vessel of the Church of Jerusalem and tightened the joints of its mystical body in the bond of peace.

This event was celebrated today as it should, with the festive thanksgiving Doxology in full participation of Monks, clergy and laity at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. And now, in this historic reception hall of the Patriarchate, we rend Your Beatitude the worthy praise for all the “pious, righteous and just things” You have accomplished for the All-holy Shrines, the Brotherhood and the flock.

First of all, as far as the Shrines are concerned, Your Beatitude at all times both in words and in actions and toward all directions has underlined that they are a special blessing, the special and characteristic feature and the irrefutable privilege of the Church of Jerusalem as places of the Divine appearance of Christ, and for this reason, the mission of the Brotherhood is to preserve and serve them as living litourgical places for the teaching and the sanctification of the many noble pilgrims who visit them. Considering the All-holy Shrines a heritage not only of the Brotherhood but of our nation, they have been renovated, as the Sacred Edicule, the roof of the Basilica of Bethlehem, the Holy Monastery of St. John the Baptist by the river Jordan, the current renovation of the God-receiving Cave, and our rights toward them have bravely been protected, such as the right of the presence of the second guard in the interior of the Edicule of the All-holy Tomb for the reception of the Coptic and Syrian Communities after the Divine Liturgy  on the Vigil of Easter and the right of the Elevation of the Holy Cross at the place of its finding, by the against the Status Quo treacherous manner of the Armenians.

The vivid interest of Your Beatitude for the Rum Orthodox Arab-speaking flock and the detailed watch over its related issues has been noted over this period, through the frequent significant funding of the Patriarchate for the completion of the Holy Church of the Nativity of Theotokos in the Community of Sahnin, through the offering of a wood-carved ikonostasion made in Cyprus as well as of the Holy Church of Saints Constantine and Helen in Koufr Smea in the district of Acre, of the recently consecrated Holy Church of St. Savvas the Sanctified in Yafat Nasra near Nazareth, and of the Holy Church of St. Moses the Ethiopian in Rafidia of Nablus, in Samaria.

Along with the other brotherly Orthodox Churches, Your Beatitude has made many efforts to keep the cooperation determined by the tradition of our Orthodox Church for the unity in Christ, projecting the dialogue in wisdom and mediocrity as the solution for the occasionally arising Inter-Orthodox issues. Appreciating this attitude of Yours, our Brotherly Church of Russia has offered You the prize Alexei II for the year 2018, “for outstanding activities in strengthening the unity of the Orthodox Christian nations and for upholding and promoting Christian values in the life of society”. This happened only yesterday in Your visit to Moscow, where You also met with His Excellency the President of Russia Mr. Putin and requested His support for the Christians of the Holy Land and of the Middle East.

Since the beginning of Your Patriarchal Office, the epicenter of the efforts and actions of Your Beatitude has undoubtedly been the by all means preservation of the Biblically established and internationally recognized Status Quo of the Old City of Jerusalem. This Status Quo is being violated and distorted in the case of the prevailing as legitimate of the long-term leases of the Jaffa Gate Hotels of the Patriarchate, which lack transparency and justice and are full of financial corruption. For the abolishment of these agreements, Your Beatitude has energetically worked toward the awareness and mobility of people and organizations, members of influence abroad, as well as within this country. Worth saying is the initiative of Your Beatitude last July this year, to organize a peaceful march of all the local Churches from our Patriarchate to Jaffa Gate in front of the Imperial and Petra hotels, and the subsequent prayer with the reading of a Message conveying internationally our request to preserve Jaffa Gate as the Gate for the entrance of the Heads of Churches of the Old City of Jerusalem to their Seats and as the natural access point of the Christian pilgrims to the Holy Sepulchre, as it has been for centuries.

Encouraged with these accomplished things, Your Beatitude, and warmly congratulating You, the Hagiotaphite Fathers join You in the good fight for the success and the help of God for all initiatives You undertake, and the materialization of all Your aims for the good of our Brotherhood and of the Church of Holy Jerusalem.

Raising my glass in a toast, Your Beatitude, on behalf of the Holy and Sacred Synod and all Hagiotaphite Fathers, I wish You many happy returns, in health, gleefulness, peace and stability, full of Divine strength and enforcement, so that You may increase and enrich Your Patriarchal Office that has been entrusted to You by the Divine Providence, for the benefit and the praise of the blessed nation of the Rum Orthodox and for the Glory of our Trinitarian God.”

Likewise, the Consul General of Greece Mr. Christos Sophianopoulos and the representatives of the Orthodox Churches of the Patriarchate of Moscow and the Patriarchate of Romania addressed His Beatitude.

His Beatitude replied to all with the following words;      

 “Your Excellency Mr. Consul General of Greece,

Reverend Holy Fathers and Brothers,

Beloved Christians,

Noble pilgrims

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3).

The appearing Church of the incarnate God Word in the place of His “provision” (Psalm 132:15) and “of habitation” (Psalm 132:13), our Holy Church of Jerusalem, rejoices today on the completion of the fourteen-year-old ministerial navigation of Our Mediocrity since the taking over of the lot of the ministry (Acts 1:25)] of the Apostolic and Patriarchal Throne of St. James the Brother of God and First Hierarch of Jerusalem.

This sacred and ecclesiastical event possesses a special meaningful significance for the centuries-old expanding mystical body of Christ, the Church, on the one hand, and for its life in the world on the other. And it should be noted that according to St. Paul, the faithful members of the Church are called “fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Eph. 2:19) and that “they dwell on earth but actually live in heaven” according to the epistle to Diognitos(Vol. 2, p. 253).

Because of these, we went to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, escorted by the Reverend members of our Venerable Hagiotaphite Brotherhood, where we rendered a thanksgiving Doxology to our Holy Trinitarian God, Who has been glorified “through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever” (1 Peter 4:11).

Today’s celebrated fourteen-year-old enthronement anniversary does not refer to Our unworthiness, but to the established institution of the Church which has been founded by the redeeming blood of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, on which foundation  “other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11) as St. Paul preaches. And according to St. Ignatios of Antioch; “the apostolic” and “episcopal” throne of the Church encompasses a place of God; “Heads of the Bishops in the place of God, and of the Priests in the place of the synod of the apostles and of the deacons…who have been entrusted the ministry of Jesus Christ” (Epistle to Magnesians 6).

Our Patriarchal, monastic and Pastoral ministry so far, on the Hierarchic and Apostolic throne of St. James the Brother of God, of the Church of Jerusalem, has only one sole purpose, the preservation of the consignment of the healthy faith that has been handed over to Us by the Apostolic succession, and the upholding of the word of truth, and especially of the care of the Christian flock that has been entrusted to us, according to the teaching of St. Paul; “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” (Eph. 4:11-12). Moreover, the preservation of the All-holy Shrines as places of the logic worship and a source of healing, where pilgrims flock from all ends of the earth for their spiritual refreshment, hearkening to the psalmist saying; “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:1-2).

Needless to say that the privileges and sovereign rights of the noble and royal nation of the “Rum Orthodox” Christians on the All-holy Shrines, is a sacred duty in its “ab antiquo” mission in the Holy Land. Therefore, every effort is made to all directions, political and diplomatic, local and international governments to respect the existing multi-cultural and inter-religious Status Quo which has been established by international treaties, for both the biblical shrines and the Holy City of Jerusalem (which on itself is a universal pilgrimage).

Nevertheless, we submit to the advice of the God-inspired Paul; “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3), we have not wasted any time working in all humility for the keeping of the unity of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church of ours, “Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience” (1 Tim. 3:9).

And we say this because Jerusalem, and therefore the Church of Jerusalem, being the primeval and inexhaustible source of the blood of righteousness, of peace and of eternal life, namely of Christ, is the point of reference of reconciliation of all of us, as St. Paul preaches by saying: “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Romans 5:10).   

This fourteenth enthronement anniversary of our Mediocrity calls us not to the boast of the things of our own, but that we “may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God” (Romans 15:17). “For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience” (2 Cor. 1:120. Calling upon this testimony of our conscience, we shall not cease to strive for the good fight in the vineyard of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ, namely in His Church, hearkening to the Lord’s words: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).

Co-witnesses to this annunciation of the testimony of Christ’s light and of the glory of God the Father are our co-workers the reverend and dearest Hagiotaphite Fathers and Brothers, Archbishops, Hieromonks, Deacons and Monks, who are devoted body and soul to our sacred mission.

Let us therefore entreat God the Father of lights and of truth “to guide our steps to the working of His commandments” through the intercessions of our Most Blessed Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary and through the intercessions of our Holy Father Nectarios of Pentapolis. May the Grace of the All-holy and Life-giving Tomb of our Resurrected Saviour Christ fortify all of us who serve in the ministry of the All-holy shrines and in the pastoring of our Christian flock.

With all these, we call upon all who prayed along with us and honoured us with their presence in this festive enthronement anniversary, wishing them strength from on high, the grace of the All-holy Tomb, patience and every blessing from God, expressing our warm thanks to all who addressed us; Geronda Secretary-General, Most Reverend Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, who spoke on behalf of the members of the Holy and Sacred Synod and our Hagiotaphite Brotherhood, His Excellency the Consul General of Greece Mr. Christos Sophianopoulos, Reverend Archimandrite Dometianos, representative of our Holy Brotherly Church of Russia, who conveyed the wishes of His Beatitude the Patriarch of Moscow Cyril, Reverend Archimandrite Theophilos, representative of the Holy Church of Romania, who conveyed the wished of His Beatitude the Patriarch of Romania Daniel, the Most Reverend Metropolitan Kyriakos of Nazareth, who spoke on behalf of our flock in Nazareth, the Most Reverend Archbishop Damascene of Joppa, who spoke on behalf of our flock in Joppa, Reverend Fr. Charalambos Bandour, who spoke on behalf of St. James Cathedral, Reverend Archimandrite Artemios and Fr. Alexander and Fr. Igor who spoke on behalf of the Russian-speaking Community in Ber-Sheba, the Most Reverend Archbishop Christophoros of Kyriakoypolis, who spoke on behalf of our flock in Jordan and on behalf of the Respected Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Mr. Ode Kawas, General Magager of the Education Committee in Palestine, Reverend Fr. Boulos, who spoke on behalf of the Community of Beit Jalla and our dearest Steward Fr. Savvas, who spoke on behalf of Beit Sahour, Mr. Abu Aeta and Mr. Yousef Nasser, and all participating in this festivity of the Enthronement anniversary.

To the health of all of you!”

From Secretariat-General




DOXOLOGY FOR THE NATIONAL ANNIVERSARY OF 28TH OCTOBER

The Doxology at the Catholicon of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for the National Anniversary of 28th October 1940 took place on Monday, October 15/28, 2019.

This Doxology was a thanksgiving to God for His aid in the liberation of our nation from the Italian threat and the German yoke of occupation in the years 1940-1944, and as a prayer for the repose of the souls of our fathers who fought, sacrificed themselves and gloriously fell in the battlefields.

The Doxology was officiated by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos with the participation in prayer of the Archbishops and Priests Hagiotaphite Fathers, at the chanting of the Novice Monk Constantinos Spyropoulos, at the presence of the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr. Christos Sophianopoulos and members of the Greek Consulate, as well as members of the Greek Community and the Arab-speaking flock of the Patriarchate.

After the Doxology, bells tolling, the Patriarchal Entourage returned to the Patriarchate Headquarters, where there was a short reception with reciting of poems by the students of St. Demetrios School of the Patriarchate and the National Anthem, followed by His Beatitude address as below;

“Your Excellency Consul General of Greece Mr. Christos Sophianopoulos,

Reverend Fathers and Brothers,

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ

Today’s anniversary of 28th October 1940 is a remembrance of a great and wondrous action for humankind, and especially for the Greek nation, because the epic of “No” was crucial for the outcome, namely the defeat, of the moral and physical instigators of the devastating World War II.

The recognized by all heroic resistance of the Greek warriors against the marching of the enemy forces of Axis, proved that the nation of the Greeks is governed by native moral and spiritual principles, of both their cultural heritage and Orthodox Christian faith with the tradition of the Holy Fathers.

Faith in righteousness, love for the country, self-sacrifice and especially the dignity of man for the non-negotiable principles of freedom, justice and national independence prevailed over the insanity and wrathful aggressiveness of the Nazi atrocity in the sacred fight of the safeguarding of the national borders and the defense of the territorial integrity of the country.

The “No” of 28th October 1940 was not only the negative answer to the insulters and arrogant treacherous cosmocrats, but mainly to their morbid ideology, namely to the totalitarianism, to fascism and to Nazism.

The Venerable Hagiotaphite Brotherhood, honouring as it should the epic of 1940, and wholeheartedly participating in this victorious commemoration of freedom, after the crushing of the relentless occupation of Nazism, came down to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, for the thanksgiving Doxology to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Crucified and Resurrected.

Moreover, we have prayed for the eternal repose of the souls and everlasting remembrance of our fathers and brothers who fought and gloriously fell in the fight for our faith, country and freedom. 

This very faith in the light of God the Word, Christ, has established the epic of 1940, and we are called to preserve it as a sacred consignment for the generations to come.

For all these, allow Us to raise our glass in a toast and cry out:

Long live 28th October 1940!

Long live the “NO”

Long live Greece!

Long live the noble nation of the Rum Orthodox!

Long live the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood!”

And the Consul General’s address as follows:

“Your Beatitude,

Most Reverend Archbishops,

Reverend Fathers,

Ladies and Gentlemen

We celebrate today a leading event of the modern Greek history. The unanimous rejection by Hellenism on 28th October 1940 of the ultimatum for the unconditional surrender of the Homeland and the concession of its national sovereignty. We celebrate the heroic and unequal struggle for the defense of Greece’s freedom and territorial integrity during World War II, which began with the epic of Pindos. Today is a day of honour and remembrance for all Greeks.

This historical NO demonstrated the moral stature, the love for freedom and the strong sense of justice of the Greeks. Thanks to this code of principles, they opposed overwhelmingly superior forces: the dark fiber forces of fascism and Nazism that sought to impose the bond of totalitarianism and racism on the peoples of Europe and beyond. The sense of justice shielded the Greeks, who, knowing that they fought in fair struggles for their freedom, achieved their first victory against the Axis, sending a message of hope to the other peoples of Europe and delaying the implementation of their more general strategic plan, contributing this way in the final victory of the Allies.

The “NO” showed in the clearest way the common, deep historical consciousness of the Greeks, that fueled and reinforced the patriotism, the vigor, the self-esteem and the great sense of responsibility with which the sacred and the holy were defended. The “No” was precisely the refusal of the Greek people to forget their history and live a petty and submissive life. Today, all Greeks, wherever we are, pay tribute to the fallen and the fighters in the battlefields of 1940-41 in Pindos, in the Macedonian forts, in our seas, in Crete and elsewhere. We honour those who participated in the National Resistance and those who continued to fight, on the side of the Allies, in the battlefields of World War II, the Middle East and Europe. Today we do not forget the hundreds of thousands innocent victims of the Occupation.

In the national heroic effort that began on October 28, 1940, as in any other national endeavor, the dynamic participation and valuable contribution of the Hellenism of the diaspora was crucial. Greece is very proud and grateful for the great contribution of the Greek community in the Middle East and especially of the Hellenism of Jerusalem, which is historically recorded.

Responding to the need to unite all the forces of the Nation, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Mother of Churches, was then and always remains, a key point of reference, the guardian of the moral authority and spiritual merit of our Orthodox faith and proof of unchanging survival potential of the Greek Orthodox tradition, which is a source of strength, inspiration and hope for the future for all of us.

The anniversary of October 28, 1940 has always been and is even more present today, especially for the new generation which needs to understand and embrace its lessons. In an international environment characterized by extensions, disputes and conflicts, often fueled from dark ideologies and distorted attitudes, as in the pre-war period, we, as Greeks, have the responsibility of preservation of our national unity and unanimity of soul, our commitment to the ideals of freedom and democracy, our inspiration from the moral and spiritual values of our Orthodox faith, and our alertness and determination to cope with all kinds of challenges.

Long live the 28th October 1940

Long live Greece!”

A festal reception followed.

From Secretariat-General

 




PRIEST’S ORDINATION AT THE PATRIARCHATE

On Friday, October 12/25, 2019, the ordination to Priest of Deacon George Baramki was held during the Divine Liturgy on Horrendous Golgotha by the Most Reverend Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina.

Fr. George Baramki has been ministering at St. James the Brother of God Cathedral as a Deacon of the Arab-speaking Orthodox Community of Jerusalem, while he is also working as a teacher at the Russian Orthodox Church School of Mount of Olives and Gethsemane in Bethany.

Before the ordination, the Archbishop admonished the ordained as follows, while the latter also read a speech, expressing his fear before the sacrament, but also his hope, that the Comforter will fortify him in his current high ministry.

Address of Geronda Secretary-General Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina at the ordination to Priest of Deacon Hader/George Baramki

 “Reverend Deacon George,

It’s been only a little while since your ordination to Deacon at the Life-giving Tomb of the Lord. Since your ordination to Deacon, you have ministered in devotion, reverence and fear of God at the parish of St. James the Brother of God Cathedral, and in all other ministries appointed to you by the Patriarchate.

The Patriarchate, the Mother of all Churches, and your mother Church, has appreciated your ecclesiastical ministry and simultaneously your educational service at the School of the Russian Church in Bethany, and today, with the blessings of H.H. Beatitude, our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos and of the Holy and Sacred Synod, you are called to receive the office of the Priesthood, to officiate as Priest the Sacraments of the Church and especially that of the Baptism and of the Holy Eucharist, to offer the bloodless sacrifice to the Lord and give His immaculate body and blood to the people of God for the remission of their sins and life everlasting.

In this ministry you will be established today and will always be guided by the Holy Spirit, Who will come down through the invocation and the touching of the hands of the Archbishop, in this place of Golgotha, the horrendous place of the sacrifice of the sinless One, the place where Christ, the Son of God and our Saviour became the propitiatory sacrifice for the remission of our sins.

It is a great blessing, a great honour, but also a great responsibility. Come forward though, and do not hesitate, Christ and the Church are calling you, and remain faithful until death, having as an example those who preceded in this ministry, Apostles, Confessors, Righteous Fathers and Teachers of the Church.

Be sure that from now on you will be accompanied by the prayers of the Hagiotaphite Fathers, the co-celebrant Priests, the commissioners and the congregation of St. James’ Cathedral, of your parents, your pious wife and all those who honour you with their presence, so that you may become worthy of your ministry.” His speech is below as it was read in Arabic;

السيامة الكهنوتية المقدسة لشماس رعية القدس
كاتدرائية القديس يعقوب أخو الرب
الأب الشماس جاورجيوس (خضر) برامكي
“وما من أحد يتولى بنفسه هذا المقام، بل من دعاه الله كما دعا هارون”
(بولس الرسول الإناء المختار في رسالة إلى العبرانيين 5: 4)
الجمعة 12/10/2019 شرقي 25/10/2019 غربي، تذكار القديسين الشّهداء بروبس وطراخوس وأندرونيكوس (مظفّر)
المجد لك يا رب المجد لك
بإسم الآب والإبن والروح القدس الإله الواحد آمين
وَاحِدَةً سَأَلْتُ مِنَ الرَّبِّ وَإِيَّاهَا أَلْتَمِسُ: أَنْ أَسْكُنَ فِي بَيْتِ الرَّبِّ كُلَّ أَيَّامِ حَيَاتِي، لِكَيْ أَعاين بهاء الرَّبِّ، وَأَتَبصر هَيْكَلِهِ.” (مز 26: 4)
قال الرب: اطلُبوا أَوَّلاً مَلَكوتَ الله وبِرَّه وكلُّ تلكَ الأشياءِ تُزادُ لَكُم” (لوقا ١٢: ٣١)
في مستهل كلمتي أود أن أتقدم بالشكر والتقدير لصاحب الغبطة بطريرك المدينة المقدسة أورشليم كيريوس كيريوس ثيوفيلوس الثالث وأعضاء المجمع المقدَّس الموقَّرين على الثقة التي اوكلوها لي للعمل في حقل الرب، ولك يا سيادة الوكيل البطريركي والسكرتير العام رئيس أساقفة قسطنطيني أرسيترخوس الجزيل الإحترام, السَّادة المطارنة الحاضرين، الآباء الكهنة الأجلاء والشمامسة المحبيّ المسيح، رعية القديس يعقوب أخو الرب، الشعب الواقف، إخوتي في الرب يسوع المسيح، جميعكم وجميعكنَّ.
اليوم يا ابي ومرشدي الحكيم والأمين أرسيترخوس على يدكَ سوف تحل نعمة الالهية التي في كل حين تشفي المرضى وتكمل الناقصين.
“أَنَا أَشْكُرُ الْمَسِيحَ يَسُوعَ رَبَّنَا الَّذِي قَوَّانِي، أَنَّهُ حَسِبَنِي أَمِينًا، إِذْ جَعَلَنِي لِلْخِدْمَةِ” (رسالة بولس الرسول الأولى إلى تيموثاوس 1: 12). وأخترني لكي أنال نصيب هذه الخدمة والرسالة المقدسة لأن الله وحده يعرف القلوب. فطلبت الرب فأعطني سؤال قلبي. (مزمور 36: 4) طلبت الرب بإجتهاد فاستجاب لي ومن جميع مخاوفي نجاني. عظموا الرب معي ولنرفع اسمه جميعنا.
أشتهيت أن أصبح خادماً للرب وكاهناً منذ الصغر كنت ارتل كلمات الكاهن في خدمة القداس الإلهي بالبيت وأفكر كيف علي أن انذر نفسي للرب حيث يقول الكاهن في طلبة السلامية لنودع أنفسنا وكل حياتنا للمسيح الاله. لكن فهمت ان الأمر ليس سهلاً أن استودع حياتي للرب للذلك نطلب معونة سيدتنا والدة الإله الدائمة البتولية مريم وجميع القديسين. وأيضاً كانت كلمات الكاهن تدخل الى اعماق قلبي عندما يقول القدسات للقديسين اي جسد المسيح المقدس ودمه الكريم هما القدسات التي ينبغي منحها لمناولة القديسين. أي جميعنا مدعون إلى القداسة لأنه مكتوبٌ «كُونُوا قِدِّيسِينَ لأَنِّي أَنَا قُدُّوسٌ».” (1 بط 1: 16) وعلي أن اجاهد في سبيل بلوغ الكمال. وتعلمتُ أن مَلَكُوتُ السَّمَاوَاتِ يُغْصَبُ، وَالْغَاصِبُونَ يَخْتَطِفُونَهُ.” (مت 11: 12) أي علينا ان نجاهد غير متهاونين مع انفسنا ونغصب ذواتنا على ترك الخطيئة والالتصاق بالله حتى يكون لنا ملكوت السموات.
بهذا اليوم المبارك واقفٌ امامكم إنطلاقاَ من دعوة الرب يسوع المسيح لتلاميذه بقوله “فَاذْهَبُوا وَتَلْمِذُوا جَمِيعَ الأُمَمِ معمدين إياهم بِاسْمِ الآب وَالابْنِ وَالرُّوحِ الْقُدُسِ, وَعَلِّمُوهُمْ أَنْ يَحْفَظُوا جَمِيعَ مَا أَوْصَيْتُكُمْ بِهِ. (متى 28: 19-20 )
من أجل حفظ الوصية وتكملة العمل الرسولي ومحبة الله اقدم نفسي للخدمة. هذه هي وصية الرب أن أُحِب الرَّبَّ إِلهَي مِنْ كُلِّ قَلْبِي، وَمِنْ كُلِّ نَفْسِي، وَمِنْ كُلِّ فِكْري (متى 22: 37) وقال الرب يسوع المسيح لسمعان بطرس: يا سمعان بن يونا، أتحبني أكثر من هؤلاء؟ قال له: نعم يا رب، أنت تعلم أني أحبك. قال له: إرع خرافي (يوحنا 21: 15) وايضاً قال إذهبوا إلى العالم أجمع وبَشِّروا بالإنجيل للخليقة كلِّها” (مرقس 16: 15). فَوَيْلٌ لِي إِنْ كُنْتُ لاَ أُبَشِّرُ.” (1 كو 9: 16)
أَنت يا رب الطَّرِيقُ وَالْحَقُّ وَالْحَيَاةُ. لَيْسَ أَحَدٌ يَأْتِي إِلَى الآبِ إِلاَّ بِكَ (يوحنا 14: 6) يا رب إلى من نذهب؟ وكلام الحياة الأبدية هو عندك” (يوحنا 68:6) أنت يا رب تنير سراجي أنت يا إلهي تضيء ظلمتي (مزمور 17: 28)
امام هذا الفرح الكبير بقبول سر الكهنوت أقف ملتمساً صلواتكم الحارة يا شعب المسيح، لكي أكون عبداً مستحقاً لسماع صوت الرب القائل “نِعِمَّا أَيُّهَا الْعَبْدُ الصَّالِحُ وَالأَمِينُ! كُنْتَ أَمِينًا فِي الْقَلِيلِ فَأُقِيمُكَ عَلَى الْكَثِيرِ. اُدْخُلْ إِلَى فَرَحِ سَيِّدِكَ”(متى21:25) قد حفظت الوديعة أيها الوكيل الأمين التي أوكلتها إليك, فصلوا معي ولأجلي.
ذوقوا وأنظروا ما أطيب الرب. فطوبى للرجل المتوكل عليه ( مزمور 33: 8) الأغنياء افتقروا وجاعوا أما الذين يتقون الرب فلا يعوزهم أي شيء من الخير.
(إنجيل متى 5: 19) ,وتعلمت منذ الضغر انه مَنْ عَمِلَ وَعَلَّمَ، فَهذَا يُدْعَى عَظِيمًا فِي مَلَكُوتِ السَّمَاوَاتِ. ومن أراد أن يكون عظيماً فيكم فليكن لكم خادماً (متى 26:20)
كهنتك يا رب يلبسون البر وأبرارك  يتهللون. رحم الله جميع الكهنة الأرثوذكسين ونخص بالذكر من عائلتي الأب ميخالاكي برامكي الذي تمت سيامته عام 1826 والاب يعقوب برامكي الذي قام بالخدمة 50 عاماً والاب قسطندي برامكي الذي انتقل الى السماوات عام 1918 وايضا الاب الياس يغنم الذي ادخلني الى الهيكل في عمر 40 يوماً والاب جبرا بدور والاب عيسى توما.
قال الرب مَنْ أَرَادَ أَنْ يَتْبَعَنِي، فَلْيَكْفُرْ بِنَفْسِهِ ويَحْمِلْ صَلِيْبَهُ ويَتْبَعْنِي وفي سيامتي للشموسية كان عيد زياح الصليب 14/8/2018 واليوم إرادة الرب ان تكون السيامة الكهنوتية في مكان صلب يسوع المسيح (الجلجثة المقدسة). فَإِنَّ كَلِمَةَ الصَّلِيبِ عِنْدَ الْهَالِكِينَ جَهَالَةٌ، وَأَمَّا عِنْدَنَا نَحْنُ الْمُخَلَّصِينَ فَهِيَ قُوَّةُ اللهِ”( الرسالة الاولى الى أهل كورنتس 1/18)
واشكر الله على محبته وأشكرك يا سيادة المطران على النعمة التي ستنسكب بواسطتك على هامتي أنا الخاطئ، ولكم أيها الآباء مشاركيي في الخدمة،ولكل من حضر ليشاركني هذه الفرحة من قريب ومن بعيد كل منكم باسمه. كما واتوجه بشكري الجزيل الى جمعية حاملات الطيب الأرثوذكسية والملجأ الارثوذكسي ونادي الإتحاد الأرثوذكسي العربي ووكلاء كاتدرائية القديس يعقوب اخو الرب وجميع اللجان وافراد الطائفة الكرام بالقدس والى زوجتي الحبيبة الخورية الجديدة (ماتوشكا ماريا)، أي “الأم الصغيرة“ على وقوفها بجانبي ولن أنسى أبني نيقولاوس سامي المشارك معنا بصلاة وأبني الثاني سابا الذي هو حاضرٌ داخل أحشاء امه هذه السيامة المقدسة. وأمي وأبي لهم مني أسمى آيات العرفان بالجميل.
اشكر كافةَ الآباء الكهنة الذين كابدوا مشقة الطريق لكي يفرحوا معي بهذا اليوم المباركِ، كما اخص بالذكر ابي قدس الأرشمندريت ميلاتيوس الذي كان لي السند القويم، والأب قدس الايكونومس فرح بدور, وابي قدس الأب ميخائيل من دير القديس سابا المتقدس الذي يصلي لعائلتي دائماً، والمرشد الحكيم لعائلتي الأرشمندريت رومان كروسوفكي رئيس البعثة الأرثوذكسية الروسية في أورشليم واشكرالأم اليزابيث رئيسة دير القديسة مريم المجدلية الروسي في القدس والام ماريا وال المديره الأعلى للمدرسة الأرثوذكسية الروسية في العيزرية على ثقتهم ومحبتهم.
فأعدك أيها الرب يسوع المسيح على الجلجثة في مكان صلبك المقدس ستفرح بإبنك لأنني سوف احمل الصليب واشهد لك في حياتي ومستعدٌ للإستشهاد حتى شهادة الدم من اجل كلمة الحق والإيمان المستقيم الأرثوذكسي وفي سبيل محبة يسوع المسيح. “لأَنَّ لِيَ الْحَيَاةَ هِيَ الْمَسِيحُ وَالْمَوْتُ هُوَ رِبْحٌ.” (فيلبي 1: 21). هذا هو اكليل الشهداء .
أيها الشهداء القديسون الذين جاهدتم حسناً وتكللتم تشفعوا الى الرب ان ترحم نفوسنا.
المجد لك أيها المسيح الاله فخر الرسل وبهجة الشهداء.
“اذكرني يا رب متى أتيت في ملكوتك”
قال الرب ولن يندم «أَنْتَ كَاهِنٌ إِلَى الأَبَدِ عَلَى رُتْبَةِ مَلْكِي صَادَقَ».

The ordained was honoured with the presence of co-celebrant Hagiotaphite Fathers and Arab-speaking Priests, friends of his and his wife, and members of the parish of St. James the Brother of God, where he is called to minister as a Priest; all present prayed for him and cried out the “Axios” along with the Archbishop when the newly ordained was being dressed with the priestly vestments.

After the end of the celebration of this Divine Liturgy, the ordained, along with the Episcopal entourage, went to the Patriarchate Reception Hall, and paid his respect and thanksgiving to His Beatitude, while the latter blessed him with the following words and offered him an icon of the Theotokos and of St. Philoumenos;

“Dear Father Hader/George,

The grace of the Holy Spirit has made you today a Steward and minister of the Divine and unspeakable Sacraments of the Church, namely of the mystical body of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Your ministry as a ministering Priest at the Holy Cathedral of St. James the Brother of God is quite honourable, but also quite responsible. And this is so because St. James’ Priests undertake the pastoral care of the precious Community of Jerusalem, especially at a time when the Christian presence is being tested in both the Holy Land and in Jerusalem.

The Holy Church of Jerusalem has called you to work in its Spiritual and geographical vineyard. The harvest is great, and the workers only a few, but what is impossible for the people is made possible by God. The grace and the enlightening power of the Holy Spirit established the uneducated fishermen as great enlighteners of the world, making them apostles and teachers.

Your obedience to your Spiritual Authority, namely the Patriarchate, and your humility, should become the armor of your new Priestly ministry. And your love with all your soul, heart and mind toward God and His Church should be the manner and way of your communication with the flock.

The study of the Holy Bible and the teachings of the Holy Apostles and Evangelists should be the source of your inspiration for the preaching of the Divine Word of the Gospel of Christ. And the study of the writings of the Holy and God-bearing Fathers of the Church should be the safe key for the interpretation and explanation of the Holy Scriptures.

With these Fatherly and Patriarchal words, we wish that the strengthening Grace of the Holy Spirit may establish you a worthy worker of the vineyard of the Lord and of His Church, through the intercessions of the Most Blessed and Ever-Virgin Mary. May you be Axios and secured at all times!”

From Secretariat-General