Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew arrived on Thursday at London Heathrow International Airport accompanied by a delegation of hierarchs, clergy and staff from the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
He was received and welcomed to the United Kingdom on behalf of all the faithful of the Archdiocese by His Eminence Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain, the V. Rev. Archimandrite Nephon Tsimalis, Director of the Office of the Archbishop, and the Rev. Archdeacon George Tsourous. His Excellency Mr Ioannis Raptakis, Ambassador of the Hellenic Republic, and Mr Gunes Yeslidag, Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of the Republic of Turkiye, were also there and warmly welcomed His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch.
In addition to the celebratory nature of this visit in honour of the Centenary Anniversary of the establishment of the Archdiocese, the Ecumenical Patriarch’s itinerary will have a strong pastoral focus.
Of course, as “First Among Equals” His All-Holiness will fulfil obligations to meet with government officials and institutional heads, but Archbishop Nikitas has also allotted ample time for visits to parishes and ministry centres across London in order to highlight the multifaceted and people-oriented ministries of this historic Archdiocese, sharing first-hand with our Patriarch the pastoral, educational, spiritual, cultural, and charitable efforts of the local Orthodox communities.
On Friday, October 21, 2022, a Doxology of Thanksgiving will be offered at the Church of All Saints in Camden. In the evening, His All-Holiness will celebrate Great Vespers at the Church of St. Nektarios in Battersea, South London, which is also headquarters for “Olive Branch Aid”, the Archdiocesan foodbank. Launched during the Covid Pandemic, this foodbank continuously feeds approximately 7,000 individuals each month. His All-Holiness will meet with the workers and volunteers that tirelessly support this vital social ministry to the marginalized members of our communities.
The day will conclude with a special dinner hosted by the Archdiocesan Clergy Syndesmos and the St. Nektarios community. Over 80 clergymen and their spouses will attend this event in honour of His All-Holiness, and it will be a special opportunity for the ordained members of our Archdiocese to spend an evening with the Ecumenical Patriarch.
On Saturday, October 22, 2022, His All-Holiness will make a pilgrimage to the Patriarchal and Stavropegial Monastery of St. John the Baptist in Essex, where he will celebrate the Divine Liturgy and ordain one of the brother monastics to the Holy Diaconate.
This will be an especially significant visit, as it will be the first time that Patriarch Bartholomew has visited this monastic community and spiritual oasis since the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate canonized its founder and father St. Sophrony in 2019. Although the Monastery belongs directly to the spiritual and administrative jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, it is nevertheless a full part of the spiritual life and pastoral work of the Archdiocese in the United Kingdom.
Later in the afternoon, His All-Holiness will preside at Great Vespers at the Holy Church of St. Demetrios in Edmonton, in North London, one of the Archdiocese’s largest parishes—a parish which also houses a foodbank and a thriving youth and catechetical ministry and Greek language school.
The second full day of the visit will conclude with an “Enlightened Evenings” extraordinary dinner honouring the Ecumenical Patriarch at The Penridge Suite. This dinner is specifically for young adults ages 21–40 and belongs to this fairly new Archdiocesan Ministry, which is focused on networking, fellowship, culture, and gastronomy for young people.
This will be a historic and memorable opportunity for our youth to meet the Patriarch and the members of his delegation “face-to-face”, sharing a rich meal and enjoying live music by the British-Born Cypriot acoustic artist Mr. Christos Liberos.
On Sunday, October 23, 2022, His All-Holiness will concelebrate the Divine Liturgy at the historic Cathedral of the Divine Wisdom, which is of course a glorious replica of the Holy Great Church of Christ in the Queen of Cities.
Orthodox Hierarchs representing Orthodox Autocephalous Churches will also concelebrate, specifically from the historic Archdiocese of New Justianus and All Cyprus and the Orthodox Church of Georgia. Representatives from other Christian Churches, faith Communities, and Diplomatic Missions will be present as well.
Following the Divine Liturgy, a luncheon hosted by the Order of the Archons in honour of the Ecumenical Patriarch will take place at The Hellenic Centre. Archons, religious and community leaders, scholars, representatives of inter-Christian organizations, and diplomats representing traditionally Orthodox lands and non-Orthodox countries will be in attendance.
On Sunday afternoon, the Ecumenical Patriarch will attend an Evensong in his honour and in prayerful support of the Holy Archdiocese as it celebrates its 100th anniversary, at St. James Church in Sussex Gardens. This service will be presided by the Rt. Rev. Jonathan Baker, Bishop of Fulham, Apokrisarios of Lambeth Palace to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
He will be assisted by Fr. Paul Thomas, Vicar of the parish. This visit is particularly important as it is the main ecumenical service that will be offered by the Church of England in honour of the Patriarch’s visit.
The day will conclude with the Centenary Grand Banquet at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, which will have over 830 individuals in attendance. This is by far, the largest banquet hosted by the Archdiocese in recent years. Included in the program are greetings from government officials as well as a special performance by the well-known singer Mario Frangoulis.
On Monday, October 24, 2022, the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain is hosting a London Church Leaders Breakfast in honour of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Over 30 Christian leaders will have the opportunity to enjoy inter-Christian fellowship, discussion, and to be inspired by the paternal exhortations of the Ecumenical Patriarch. Concerning ecumenical activity, this is also a significant gathering aimed to cultivate a stronger culture of solidarity among faith communities and to encourage increased contact and collaboration of Christians in the United Kingdom.
Following the Breakfast, His All-Holiness will travel to the Holy Church of the 12 of Apostles in Hertfordshire to visit and bless the ongoing expansion project of the parish. This parish prides itself on its many growing ministries and a flourishing community life.
In the late afternoon, the Patriarch will be received by Lord Tariq Ahmad, Baron Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for the Middle East, South Asia and the United Nations at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). He will also be received by His Excellency Umit Yalcin, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkiye at the Embassy.
The day will conclude with a private dinner hosted by His Excellency Ioannis Raptakis, Ambassador of the Hellenic Republic to the United Kingdom.
On Tuesday, October 25, 2022, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will be received by His Majesty King Charles III at Buckingham Palace. He will be accompanied to the Palace by a small delegation.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and his Venerable Entourage will return to the Sacred Centre of world Orthodoxy later that day.
His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch BARTHOLOMEW
His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras of Belgium
His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America
The V. Rev. Grand Ecclesiarch Aetius
Director of the Private Patriarchal Office
The V. Rev. Second Deacon Alexandros
Bibliophylax of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
The V. Rev. Grand Archimandrite Agathangelos
Archivist of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
Mr. Nicholas Papachristou
Director of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Press and Communications Office
Mr. Panagiotis Grafiadellis
His Excellency Metropolitan Nektarios of Kition
Official Representative of the Archdiocese of New Justinianus and All Cyprus
His Eminence Metropolitan Theodoritos of Laodicea
Director of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Representation Office in Athens
His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of Sebastia
Rev. Hieromonk Sophronios Vomend
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Mr. Christos Anastasiades
Mrs. Katia Anastasiades