“This year was especially important for the Mother Church of Constantinople because at its very beginning we had the blessing of God to grant as Ecumenical Patriarchate the Tomos of Autocephaly in our sister, now, Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” the Ecumenical Patriarch highlighted after the Divine Liturgy, at which he presided today, Thursday, December 12, at the celebration of Saint Spyridon, Bishop of Trimythous, in the omonymous Patriarchal and Stavropegic Skete in Halki.
“Disputed as it may have been and still is by some,” continued the Ecumenical Patriarch, “it is now an ecclesiastical fact, recorded as a historical one, and this young sister Church of ours has been added to the list of the Autocephalous Churches.”
The Patriarch, on the occasion of today’s celebration, referred to the life of the Wonderworker Saint Spyridon and especially to his simplicity and humility.
“And we wish for world peace, which is disrupted in many parts of the world, far and wide, and human blood is unjustly shed, the blood of young people. Therefore, our Church will not stop praying for world peace.”
Right afterwards, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew introduced Metropolitan Panteleimon of Maroneia and Komotini who was present and urged him to address spiritual words to the congregation.
Metropolitan Panteleimon, who shepherds one of the Exarchates of the Throne, in the so-called “New Lands,” referred to today’s feast but also to the importance of the doctrines in our Church, which “are not mere legal formalities but have a soteriological dimension.”
The Metropolitan of Maroneia pointed out that “staying within the Church and obeying their Christian Bishop wherever they are is preferable to any differentiation. I want to ask you, Your All-Holiness, to wish us all, clergy and lay people, to be united and faithful to the tradition of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, which the Holy Great Church of Christ that you drive steadily, guards with great faithfulness and militancy.”