Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew prayed at the Divine Liturgy at the Patriarchal Church of Saint Georgios today, Sunday, October 17, 2021, a day on which the Church commemorates the Fathers of the Second Council of Nicaea, as well as—for the first time since the relevant decision of the Holy Synod—the Synaxis of all the Holy Physicians.
The Divine Liturgy was officiated by Metropolitan Theoliptos of Iconium while Metropolitan Joseph of Buenos Aires, a large number of believers from Constantinople and pilgrims from abroad attended the service.
After his dismissal, the Ecumenical Patriarch read the encyclical for the feast of the Holy Physicians, in which the following are pointed out, among others:
“In the agony, fear, pain and sorrow of the pandemic of the coronavirus, the believers turn to these Saints for they have the gifts of healing.
They are also the special support and example of doctors, nurses and all health care providers, who, throughout the pandemic, have made great efforts to save lives and provide care, treatment and relief to those in need.
The pandemic brought to the surface the fragile side of human nature, the imbalance that exists in the natural environment due to our greed, the division and discord that exists in the wider society, but also the tensions within the Church.
It forced us to reflect on how we experience our faith in the face of the tragic threat of death, the loss of our loved ones, and the loneliness inherent in sickness and mourning.
It led us to seek, with the help and intercession of the Saints, the grace of the God of love. At the same time, the pandemic brought to the surface the true meaning of charity; the need for mobilization and coordination of all actors in society; the necessary cooperation between the Church and medical science.
The pandemic featured brilliant personalities in the medical field, who, like the Saints, excel in medical science and provide care and support to the sick, offer their services with self-sacrifice and devotion, and overcome the human limits to deal with the ramification of the health crisis.
Always taking this into account, the Holy and Sacred Synod decided to establish the Sunday that is the closest to the 17th and 18th of October each year (Synaxis of Holy Unmercenary and Luke the Evangelist) as the day of the Synaxis of the Holy Physicians to honor the essential contribution of medical science and its healers to humankind.”
Immediately afterwards, the Ecumenical Patriarch awarded the offikion of the Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Throne to Fr. Stavros Kofinas, coordinator of the Network of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for Pastoral Health Care, in recognition of his long-lasting contribution to this particularly sensitive area.
In his speech, the Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Throne emphasized, among other things, the following:
“Your All-Holiness, the offikion you are awarding me today honors all those who have contributed to the creation and achievement of the Patriarchal Network. It especially honors my collaborators in the Holy Metropolis of Rhodes and the members of the Organizing Committee. Personally, I feel that it is an indication of Your paternal love and that of the Mother Church. I have no words to describe my deep emotion.
All I can do is assure you that I will never forget this love, not as a memory but as a motivation to “sing to the Lord all of my life.” I promise you that, as long as I live, I will remain by Your side as a mere faithful associate and I will serve You and the Patriarchate with fervent love and devotion so that the affection of the Mother Church may be seen all over the world.”