The Great Vespers and the cutting of the New Year’s pie were solemnly performed on Friday afternoon at the Archdiocesan Chapel of the Annunciation of the Virgin in London.
Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain Nikitas presided over the service while the Divine Word was proclaimed by the Bishop Maximos of Melitini, who referred to the events of the past year.
The Ambassador of Greece to the United Kingdom, Ioannis Raptakis, was present, along with his spouse, Georgia Soultanopoulou, Consul General of Greece in Constantinople.
The Bishop of Melitini, in his speech, among others, said: “By the grace of God, we are preparing full of hope and optimism for the new year 2022. We pray wholeheartedly for better days to come around the world, which has been plagued for the last two years by the terrible coronavirus pandemic. Millions of people worldwide have lost their lives to this pandemic, and many more are grieving the loss of loved ones.
Last year we had to face many difficulties but there were also pleasant events.
Unfortunately, our brothers in the Middle East continue to suffer persecution, war, religious terrorism, and human rights abuses. Refugees continue to lose their lives on the road to a better world, and when they reach their final destination, they are often confronted with racism, violence and rejection.
In Ethiopia, people need our prayers as they are still affected by a violent civil war that started two years ago, with victims of all ages and hundreds of thousands of people starving.
In Greece and Cyprus, we welcome and care for these tormented souls and our charity is an example to be imitated by other peoples. Here in the United Kingdom, thousands of refugees have begun a new life full of hope and optimism. We all work together for peace and harmonious coexistence because that is the core characteristic of Christians.
Especially here, in our local Church, we work hard for the development of good Inter-Christian and Inter-religious relations, with Archbishop Nikitas always being present at the relevant meetings and activities.
As the Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church declared in 2016, “The Orthodox Church strongly condemns the various conflicts and wars, due to fanaticism, originating from religious backgrounds. Deep apprehension causes the permanent voltage increase in repression and prosecution of Christian and other communities because of their faith in mean ANATOLIN and elsewhere, and al apopeirai grubbing Christian Of traditional cradle automatically »(H MISSION OF ORTHODOXOU CHURCH S THE MODERN WORLD).
The Bishop went on to say: “The time that passed, however, also brought pleasant events to our world. With the grace of God and the development of science, which again according to the decisions of the Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church, is a “godly gift to man,” further development of vaccines against the coronavirus pandemic took place as well as the development of related treatments.
With the help of artificial intelligence last June we developed a successful model of genetic processing (CRISPR Cas-9), which significantly reduces the cost and time of future treatments that will save the lives of millions of people suffering from cancer and autoimmune diseases.”
Elsewhere in his speech, the Bishop said: “Despite the difficulties, we see that the world does not lose its power and proceeds to develop with faith and trust in God. In our local Church, in the Holy Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain, with the love of the people, many food distribution centers were developed.
For example, one of our Communities in London offers 8,000 meals a month to the poor and needy, while other Communities also carry out significant charitable work.
We all thank the Archbishop for his tireless efforts to personally organize the charitable work of the Holy Archdiocese, we thank all those who work to implement these programs and even more we thank the blessed people of God who contribute to the development of this work.
Every day that dawns we praise the Lord for all the goods He offers us. Because what we take for granted, such as shelter, bread, clean clothes, the love of our family and friends, other people lack.
There are millions of souls in the mission who have no home, no medicine, they wear the same clothes all the time. There are countless children who have no food or clean water to drink. There are Orthodox Communities in Africa, South America, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Pacific Islands and other parts of the world that do not have the necessities of life, not even a beautiful church like ours, to perform the Eucharist and use improvised huts and ruins.
There are elderly people living alone in a nursing home, forgotten by relatives and friends. There are countless orphans who have never felt motherly love and paternal protection.
There are poor and wounded who have seen their own people murdered, their Churches desecrated, their possessions confiscated, and taken the path of refuge hoping only in God.
These, dear Christians, urge us not to allow ourselves to live a pastoral life, as the Holy Fathers write, but to deal with substantive and practical issues. To support the work of the Ecclesiastical Community and the local Church to which we belong.
To help the work of the mission. Let us stand by the Christians who have abandoned the comforts of this life and devoted themselves to the evangelization of the brethren in distant places.
Moreover, our love and support have no value if they are given only to our friends, because “there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (To Galactians, 3:28).
Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain thanked the Bishop of Melitini for his speech, while he then referred to the life and work of Saint Basil the Great:
“Sait Basil the Great suffered from physical pains and reposed in the Lord at a young age, but this did not stop him from developing a great charitable work, since he himself was in pain with the pain of the poor, the sick, the orphan. He founded the famous “Vasiliada” wherein it one could find consolation, charity and rich love of the Lord.”
In closing, the Archbishop wished Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew who is in the final stage of recovery from the coronavirus and conveyed his wish to all.
He then blessed and distributed the New Year’s pie and all together sang the traditional carols.