The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew officiated on Tuesday, 8 November at the Divine Liturgy which took place on the occasion of the Feast Day of the Synaxis of the Holy Heavenly Bodiless Powers, at the Community of Mega Revma (The Great Current) on the Bosporus.
The Divine Word was preached by the Patriarchal Deacon, Father Epiphanios Kamianovitz.
Present also for the Divine Liturgy were Metropolitan Dimitrios of Goumenissa, Axioupolis and Polikastros, Metropolitan Athenagoras of Kidonia, Archiepiscopal Proistamenos of the Bosporus District, Metropolitan Andreas of Forty Churches, and Metropolitan Dorotheos of Drama, Bishop Benjamin of Tralles, clergymen and Nuns, Archons of the Holy Great Church of Christ, the Consul General of Greece in Constantinople,
Georgia Sultanopoulou, the Mayor of Megara, Grigorios Stamoulis, with a group of pilgrims from Nea Peramos, and a large number of believers from Constantinople.
Immediately after, the Ecumenical Patriarch conducted a Trisagion for the repose of the souls of the late Patriarchs Sophronius II, Gabriel IV, Constantius II, and Gregory VI, whose remains are buried in the precincts of the Church, as well as for the memory of the blessed Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostom II, as well as other Hierarchs of the Mother Church.
In his speech, during the reception that followed, in the Community Hall, the Ecumenical Patriarch referred to the Supreme Commander Archangels honored by the Church and all the Heavenly and Incorporeal Powers, but also to the correlation between today’s celebration and the mission of the Church.
“Here again today we are here with you and together with the souls of the devoutly sleeping Patriarchs, leaders of the Nation, and simple Christians, praising and honoring the protectors of this picturesque Bosphorus village, the Almighty Archangels Michael and Gabriel and with them all the heavenly and incorporeal Powers.
Doing this as a small debt to our guardian angels, we ask at the same time for their protection and through their intercession to the Lord our strength, so that we can continue here in the Community of Mega Revma, in this City of the Cities and in the Ecumene our whole apostolic life and state. In other words, we invoke the protection of the angelic forces so that we can continue to be “babes in Christ” and at the same time “wise in Christ”. Weak but also strong. Glorious and together and dishonorable. To continue to hunger, to be thirst, to be stagnant, to be restless, to be toiled working with the same hands. May we continue to bless, persecuted to endure, blasphemed in order to plead.
These antinomies and contradictions, which are a characteristic feature of genuine apostolic life, if they are so intense for many, for us who live in the City of Constantine, these are our daily experience, to our praise and to our boast in Christ: ‘Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord.’
This paternal wish we address today to all: to continue united together the life according to the example of the Apostles of illness and poverty according to the world and of strength and prosperity according to God, teaching through our silence and our whole life in the modern world, that “man cannot live by bread alone” and that “our citizenship is in heaven”, where we will co-exist and enjoy together with the bright angelic powers, the good spirits.
And precisely here we see a correlation between today’s celebration and the mission of the Church, which is called in every era to shape and give society good things according to powerful spirits, not only in prayer but in the whole life of the Body of Christ. That is why we do not separate the liturgy in the Church from any other spiritual activity and event in the daily life of the people bearing the name of Christ. Hence from this ever-existing bond, in our own East is found, between Church and school, between divine worship and classical education, between the altar and see, between pulpit and desk”.
The Ecumenical Patriarch continued by saying “This has always been the tradition of the Holy Great Church of Christ, not in isolation of the shepherd from his flock, not only from a position of authority but in coexistence, in progress, at the same time and always together! During our celebration today in this famous holy Church, dear children of the Lord, I blessed you all fatherly, as your Archbishop, but I also wholeheartedly prayed together with you all, as a simple faithful pilgrim.
Indeed, in the courtyard of this church there are the tombs of our venerable Predecessor Ecumenical Patriarchs, and in the basement the tombs of the Moussours, for the repose of whose souls we will pray shortly. That is Church and Nation on the earth, under the earth, for the earth, always together, polar star of the course of our history.
This tradition is not interrupted. It continues and will continue. We assure you of this with all responsibility, as Patriarch of the Romans, conscious bearer of this age-old tradition of our Nation!”.
The Patriarch congratulated and praised their work and contribution to the progress and flourishing of the Community of Mega Revma, Metropolitan Athenagoras of Kydonia “he who is rightly loved and appreciated here by all for his devoted ministry to the Mother Church”, The Great Chatechist, Proistamenos of the Community, Father Chrysanthos, as well as its Board of Trustees chaired by the active Georgios Papaliaris.” To everyone we express the satisfaction of the Church and us personally for their valuable contribution not only to the Mega Revma Community but also to our Orthodox Community in general”.
In another part of his speech, the Ecumenical Patriarch commemorated the blessed Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Nea Justiniana and All Cyprus, who fell asleep on Monday, after many years of testing health and battling with cancer.
“The late brother was a fervent and unyielding defender of the indescribable rights and the pan-Orthodox responsibility of the venerable Ecumenical Throne. His passing away is a great loss both for the Great Church and for us personally, so we spontaneously decided to go to Nicosia in order to attend the funeral service of the late Primate next Saturday. May the memory of Chrysostom Archbishop and Pauline Hierarch live forever and ever!”
In a paternal welcome to all the pilgrims, the Patriarch specifically referred to the presence of Metropolitan Dimitrios of Goumenissa, Axioupoleos, Polikastros, and Metropolitan Dorotheos of Drama.
“We greet with feelings of special love and honor, the holy Brother Metropolitan Dimitrios of Goumenissa, elected Hierarch of the Venerable Ecumenical Throne in the New Lands, who is visiting the Mother Church these days, together with his spiritual child, the new Metropolitan Dorotheos of Drama, the recently elected and ordained in succession to the never-forgotten brother and faithful friend and supporter of my humble self, blessed Metropolitan Paul of Drama, a strong and charismatic Hierarch of which he was very well known for, the faithful and devoted soldier of the Holy Great Church of Christ, whose name of which is always cherished! Welcome, dear brothers and co-ministers, to the City of Constantinople, which is “the eyes of every city, the hearing of the world, the spectacle of the world, the nurturer of churches, the leader of faith, the guide of orthodoxy, the study of reason, the abode of all good”, as Nikitas Choniatis said.
Addressing the new Metropolitan of Drama, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said “Venerable brother Dorotheos, Through the election of your beloved Archoriesthood and assumption of the helm of the local Church of Drama, we believe that a new period of prosperity, progress, and living presence begins with this, in the indelible footsteps of the great legacy bequeathed to you by your late predecessor, thus it is going to always be a source of joy and inspiration for the Mother Church, which is celebrated for its glorious Macedonian Province. We pray to the Lord that he strengthens and enlightens Your Eminence, so that he may “inform” the high ministry of which has been taken up on high”
Before this, the Ecumenical Patriarch was addressed with warm speeches by Metropolitan Athenagoras of Kydonia and Georgios Papaliaris, while following the Patriarch’s exhortation, Metropolitan Dimitrios of Goumenissa also addressed kind and warm words.
The Patriarch at the Celebrating Church of the Holy Archangels, Stenis
On the eve of the Feast Day of the Synaxis of the Holy Archangels, The Ecumenical Patriarch officiated at the Great Vespers at the Celebrating Church of the Archangels, Stenis.
The Divine Word was preached by the Patriarchal Deacon Father Ieronymos Sotirelis.
In his homily, the Ecumenical Patriarch referred to the meaning of the feast day and pointed out, among other things: “The celebration of the Synaxis of the Supreme Archangel Commanders means attention, concord, and unity. When some of the orders of angels fell from heaven together with their leader Lucifer, because of their excessive pride and insolence against God, the Commander-in-Chief Archangel Michael understood the cause of the fall and called the other battalions to preserve their position near the Creator with submission and humility. To the gathered angels he shouted “Let us Attend”, that is, let us pay attention and understand what happened to the fallen ones. It is precisely this gathering of good spirits that we are celebrating today, most beloved brothers, sisters, and children.”
At another point in His homily, He commented “The small size of the Sosthenis Community makes it more friendly and more likable to everyone. And all those who love Steni and continue to work and ensure the continuation of her Community life are dear and praiseworthy to us: everyone, from the Holy Overseer of the Bosphorus Region, the very dear brother Metropolitan Kydonias, the Archimandrite Very Rev. Father Timotheos Railakis-Vranas, but also of all you parishioners and pilgrims of this Holy Church, who with your presence proved that you did not forget this ancestral place and that, according to the command of the Lord, you know how to value small things with great value.
We thank you all for your efforts to keep this remote Church of ours open and we wish you protection under the wings of the Archangels, as we chant in their Apolytikion. May we all be here to celebrate again next year, blessed Christians, and Many Years to everyone and especially to those celebrating this feast day!”
Photos: Nikos Papachristou / Ecumenical Patriarchate