The Resurrection of the Lord was solemnly celebrated in the Centre of Orthodoxy in accordance with the long ecclesiastical tradition and order.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew presided over the Divine Liturgy of the Resurrection in the courtyard of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, accompanied by Metropolitans Meliton of Philadelphia, Eirinaios of Myriofyton and Peristasis, Chrysostomos of Myra, Andreas of Saranda Ekklisies, Ioakeim of Bursa, as well as the clergy of the Patriarchal Court.
He addressed a special message on the celebration of Easter to the congregation, especially to all those tested by the pandemic. He made special reference to “those in the research and nursing centers who fight to serve the humankind with self-denial so that we overcome this cruel ordeal.”
Specifically, the Ecumenical Patriarch said:
Dear brothers and sisters,
Most beloved children in the Lord,
The good message “Christ is risen!”, the heavenly praise and the universal eucharist spread all over the world. This joyful message transformed even then, that Saturday night, the dark end of betrayal, mockery, cross, death, grave into the most impressive lighting, from the “Let there be light” of the Creation to the never-failing light of Heavenly Kingdom.
That Saturday night culminated in the joyful Easter. After all, our life is like the night of the Holy Saturday before God!
At this moment, the glorious and Resurrection, which we gathered here, at the Pentecostal Altar of martyrdom and testimony of the Truth of Christ, the thought of your Patriarch comes from the Crucified Lantern, from the walls of the Queen, to reach all those who at night, they feel the weight of suffering and sorrow unbearable.
I am thinking of the intensive care unit and in the hospitals, where earthly life is confronted with death, which is foreign to our nature, the “last enemy,” according to Saint Paul.
My heart beats with all those who mourn tonight their loved one who was lost due to the pandemic. My soul blesses, again and again, those in the research and nursing centers who fight to serve humankind with self-denial so that we overcome this cruel ordeal.
After all, this is Easter! It is a passage. And the passage is never idyllic! It always bears the stigmas of anguish and fear of the unknown.
As a passage we experience Easter this year as well. A passage, beyond the sufferings of the pandemic, to the restoration of face-to-face communication, which we missed so much, a passage to a blessed Promised Land, after the painful wandering in the desert of the deadly disease.
In order to build this hope of ours, but also of all our hope and expectation, there is no more solid ground than the fact of the Resurrection of Christ! Our life is not possible without Christ!
On this Easter night, the agony, the fear, the death, the unpredictability, all our alienations, all over the world, in the depths of every broken heart, now and in the future, await Him, the resurrected Redeemer, the victor of decay, pain and death, in order to be transformed into “what no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived, the things God has prepared for those who love him.”
Christ is risen!
The Resurrection service was attended by the Consul General of Greece in Constantinople, Georgia Sultanopoulou, with her spouse, Ambassador Ioannis Raptakis, as well as pilgrims from abroad and believers from Constantinople. The Brotherhood of Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate “Panagia Pammakaristos” was represented by its General Secretary, Konstantinos Delikostantis, Archon Didaskalos of the Great Church of Christ.
The Ecumenical Patriarch presided over the Resurrection Divine Liturgy, accompanied by the hierarchs.