The activities and initiatives taken by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 2019, as well as his hopes and expectations for the new year, were mentioned by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on Sunday, December 22, in his speech in the community hall of St. Nicholas in Neochori Bosporus, after the Divine Liturgy, at which he officiated.
Referring to the initiatives of the Patriarchate, Patriarch Bartholomew said that the most important one was granting Autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine, giving millions of Ukrainian Orthodox brethren the opportunity to restore their normality and “to be able to run and direct local church’s affairs without being dependent on any other Church.”
“They accused us of granting them, as Constantinople, only a partial, half Autocephaly. That is not true. We have given them a full Autocephaly, like to all other churches, in the past centuries and more recently, who have been granted Autocephaly from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which, I should note, is the only Church entitled by the sacred canons and by the historical act of the Church to grant Autocephaly. So, we granted them a full Autocephaly. They will take the Holy Myron from us, such as order and tradition, and otherwise, once they have chosen their own primate, Epiphaniy, and his Holy Synod thereon, we have no reason to interfere, unless they ask us for our advice on any difficulty they may face in their ecclesiastical life.”
The Patriarch then referred to the election of new dynamic hierarchs to the Archdioceses of America, Australia, and Thyateira, and to the enrichment of the Patriarchal Court with new clergy.
Speaking about the timeless interest of Mother Church in protecting the natural environment, he underlined the lack of will of the powerful states to support the implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, as was evident at the recent session in Madrid.
Patriarch Bartholomew wished 2020 to be blessed, fruitful, and “above all to bring more peace to the world that so desperately needs it.”
“There are some promising points on the horizon for our Halki Seminary. I wish we would not be proven wrong once again and be able to see the reopening of our Theological School in the ’20s.”