Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew presided over the Divine Liturgy celebrated on Tuesday at the Monastery of St. Panteleimon Mount Athos, in Galata, Constantinople, on the occasion of the feast of the memory of St. Panteleimon according to the Julian calendar.
The Divine Liturgy was performed by the Grand Synkellos, James, and Bishop Athenagoras of Nazianzus, Chief Secretary of the Provincial Synod of the Holy Archdiocese of America, along with clergy from the USA, and a number of Russian-speaking faithful were present.
In his speech, His All-Holiness expressed his joy at being at the Metochion of St. Panteleimon to celebrate with members of the Russian-speaking Community.
“It is the motherly love, the affection, the warmth with which the Mother Church embraces all its children without exception, that has brought us here today. It is the love with which Constantinople gave first to the Bulgarians and then to all the Slavic tribes the lights of the Christian faith, the Cyrillic alphabet and culture. It is the love with which it embraced the Ukrainian people and gave them what belonged to them. It is the love with which it has been praying for the cessation of the war in Ukraine for about six months now.
The Mother Church of Constantinople has condemned this war from the very beginning, but it loves all people and is praying for the victims of the war and for a speedy cessation of this war causing so many victims and millions of refugees.
It is the same love of the Mother Church with which it prays for all the Orthodox Primates of the Holy Churches of God, even if some of them do not remember and honour their Mother Church. It is the love of the Mother Church, not the stepmother, but the true and genuine Mother Church, which brought into the canonicity of the Orthodox Church and our brothers and sisters in North Macedonia, recently, and opened the way for this people to enter into the pan-Orthodox family.”
The Patriarch also referred to the conference to be organized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in early September for the Orthodox youth in Turkey, which is expected to be attended by more than 250 young people. “They are not only Greeks, they are not only Arabic-speaking from Antioch, but they are also Russians, and Ukrainians, and Georgians, and Gagauz, and Romanians, all of them, because they are all children of the Mother Church of Constantinople. And we should all be brothers and sisters to each other since we have the same Mother,” His All-Holiness added.
On this occasion, the Patriarch also presented the clerical candidate, Dimitrios Kamyanovich, from Ukraine, an honours graduate of the Faculty of Theology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, who will be ordained deacon during the Divine Liturgy in Panagia Soumela.
And the Patriarch continued:
“I came this morning from the Phanar to bring you, to all of you without exception, this message of love and unity. We are one Pan-Orthodox family. Let us all pray for the cessation of the war in Ukraine. We want peace, we want unity, we want love. Only in this way we can live happily in this world.”
Photos: © Nikos Papachristou / Ecumenical Patriarchate