The calendar wrote August 13, 1961, when the then 21-year-old Dimitrios Archontonis received the first degree of priesthood. This was the starting point of an auspicious and sacrificial ministry in the Orthodox Church, which today completes 61 full years.
That charismatic young man, who came to the Metropolitan Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos, in Imvros, to be ordained a deacon by the then Metropolitan of Imvros and Tenedos, blessed Meliton Hatzis, is the current Ecumenical Patriarch, His All-Holiness Bartholomew.
In fact, he received the name Bartholomew during that ordination, on August 13, 1961, in honour of the Imbrian hieromonk and teacher of the Genus, Bartholomew of Koutloumousiou (1772-1851).
His ordination to the priesthood took place in 1969, followed by the tonsuring to Archimandrite, until then in 1973 he was promoted to Metropolitan of Philadelphia.
After the falling asleep in the Lord of the Elder Metropolitan Meliton of Chalcedon, he was unanimously elected in his succession in 1990, while in October of the following year he was elected Ecumenical Patriarch.
Starting on November 2nd, 1991, the day he was enthroned in the Patriarchal Church in the Phanar, His All-Holiness has written a brilliant path as a spiritual leader of the Orthodox and has been recognised as a personality of worldwide prestige.
As today he completes 61 years of priesthood and, in a few months, 31 years of Patriarchy, it is the prayer of all of us that God grant him health, long life and strength, to continue to serve the Patriarchal Throne with the same vigor and to inspire all of humanity!