LAST UPDATE: 14:27
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew arrived in Thessaloniki this morning.
Metropolitan Anthimos of Thessaloniki, along with Metropolitan Stephanos of Kavala and priests of the Metropolis, warmly welcomed the Primate of Orthodoxy at the Macedonia Palace Hotel.
The Ecumenical Patriarch, from there, headed directly to the Region of Central Macedonia to meet with the Regional Governor Apostolos Tzitzikostas. and to inaugurate the new office building of the Region.
Patriarch Bartholomew was welcomed by the Governor of the Region of Central Macedonia, Minister of Interior Takis Theodorikakos, Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Theodoros Karaoglou, the Mayor of Ampelokipoi and Menemeni and candidate president of Greek Central Association of Local Authorities, Lazaros Kyrizoglou and Metropolitan Barnabas of Neapolis and Stavroupolis.
Metropolitan Barnabas of Neapolis, in his greeting, wished the employees indefatigable ministry for the benefit of our people, while Minister of Interior Takis Theodorikakos as a Government Spokesman talked about the ecological nature of the new building, underlying that “This space utilises modern technology to serve the citizens and make them feel at home.”
On his side, Governor of the Region of Central Macedonia Apostolos Tzitzikostas welcomed the Ecumenical Patriarch stressing that “we welcome you with deep emotion, honour and joy to a place where Orthodoxy has a past, a present and a future.”
Patriarch Bartholomew, who celebrated the service of the Sanctification of the Water, praised the creation of a building that is a model of ecology and stressed the need for immediate mobilization to protect the environment.
He pointed out that “It is unacceptable to destroy the natural environment in the name of geopolitical interests” and added that “The protection of the creation is a moral imperative for the Christians.”
At the end of the ceremony, the Ecumenical Patriarch unveiled a marble plaque and symbolically planted an olive tree on the patio of the building.
Afterwards, he visited the Monastery of the Vlatades and performed a Trisagion service at the tomb of the recently deceased and former abbot of the monastery, Metropolitan Panteleimon of Tyroloi and Serention.
He also celebrated the inauguration of the renovated Abbey, wishing a blessed abbacy to Bishop Nikephoros of Amorion.
The Heptapyrgion castle in Thessaloniki was the next stop of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
There, the Ecumenical Patriarch celebrated the reopening of the recently restored chapel of St. Eleftherios.
Afterwards, the head of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Thessaloniki City, Mr. Skiadaresis, presented to the Ecumenical Patriarch the history of the temple and the course of the renovation works, 100 years after its erection.
Patriarch Bartholomew expressed his excitement for his presence in a place “linked to the pain and tears of many brothers,” as he said.
“The hope of freedom is not imprisoned,” he stressed, and congratulated those who worked hard to renovate the chapel.