The enduring contribution Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew referred to the enduring contribution of Mother Church of Constantinople, during the Divine Liturgy that took place today at the Fener for the feast in the memory of Saint Ioannis Chrysostomos, one of the three Great Hierarchs and ecumenical teachers of the Church.
In his speech, Ecumenical Patriarch referred to the personality and the spiritual work of Saint Chrysostomos, who was sent into exile, where he drew his last breath, because he did not hesitate to condemn the deeds and the illegal acts of the secular authority of his time.
“Many times the politicians, especially in non democratic places and countries, are not fond of and do not accept criticism. So, when a spiritual leader, such as Saint Ioannis Chrysostomos, dears to criticize, the political leadership misuses power so as to put him into prison, or exile or extinction”.
Then, he referred to today’s anniversary of 70 years since the enthronement of Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras, who undertook his duties under good conditions, but after a few years not only the Patriarchate but also his congregation faced difficult situations, such as, among others, the events that took place during the September of 1955, “the pogrom that destroyed every Christian element”, the following shutting down of the Theological School of Chalki and the shrinking of the Greek expats.
“The Ecumenical Patriarchate, the leading and suffering Church, endures. It stands firm, right here, it welcomes you, it worships its Saints who empower it, it lights its lamps of Asia Minor, in Cappadocia, Pontus, Pergamon, Ephesus, etc. We encourage the dialogue with other Churches, as Patriarch Athenagoras had envisioned, our Patriarchate revived the Autonomy of Estonia and gave Autocephaly to Ukraine. It is always consistent with the demands of the time, it has visions for the future and, as far as it depends on it, the Church of Constantinople fully fulfils its ecumenical mission”.
He specifically mentioned Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus, who, in a statement a few days ago, said that the Church of Cyprus is always devoted to the Church of Constantinople, which he called “Mother Church”.
“I always call His Eminence of Cyprus ‘a fine and trustworthy man’, because he sticks to his word; he is earnest, as we say, he has freeness of speech. We are grateful to Him, we are proud of Him, and we pray for His health, which has lately started to deteriorate”.