On the occasion of the Thronal Feast of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, many representatives from the Churches of Cyprus and Ukraine and from the Vatican attended the Divine Liturgy which was concelebrated by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria in Constantinople. The event provided an ideal opportunity to show that the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Alexandria remain united despite the pressure and the sanctions of the Patriarchate of Moscow due to the issue of the autocephaly of the Church of Ukraine.
Not surprisingly, the two Patriarchs commemorated Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv which was written in the Diptychs. However, the fact that one bishop from the Church of Cyprus, Metropolitan Vasilios of Constantia and Ammochostos, attended the commemoration was of particular importance. Archbishop Yevstratiy of Chernihiv and Nizhyn from the Orthodox Church of Ukraine also concelebrated the Divine Liturgy.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: Division gives considerable impetus to restore unity
Vasilios Grigoriadis was ordained new Deacon of the Patriarchal Court by the Ecumenical Patriarch. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew praised him for having served as a clergyman at the Phanar despite the significant reduction in the Greek population in Constantinople. He also gave him the name of Apostle Barnabas and advised him to always follow the example of the Saint and to adhere to the principles of good pastoral work.
Metropolitan Makarios of Gortys and Arkadia: Whoever wants to undermine the Mother Church of Constantinople, one must eradicate the Holy Fathers, the tradition, and the legacy of Orthodoxy
Metropolitan Makarios of Gortys and Arkadia stressed that it was a very important day not only for the Ecumenical Patriarchate but also for Orthodoxy as a whole. He also spoke of the Ecumenical Patriarch’s brave decision to grant autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine. He said, “The threats and the libellous things that are said about you are unfair because you managed to grant autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which is a part of an independent state. History will prove your brave decision right. You will be praised by the Orthodox Ukrainian people as you will be a part of their history from now on.”
He added that not granting autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine would be inconsistent with the spirit of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as it is the Ecumenical Patriarchate that has been granting autocephaly to all Orthodox Churches of independent states. He also spoke of the importance of the Ecumenical Patriarchate at many levels within the Church world over the centuries and said that whoever wanted to undermine the Mother Church of Constantinople, one must eradicate the Holy Fathers, the tradition, and the legacy of Orthodoxy. He added, “Orthodoxy is inextricably linked to historical facts, as stated by a very important theologian of the 20th century, Georges Florovsky. To know our history is the only way to enhance our spiritual well-being and to combat dogmatism.”