The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, on the occasion of the Leave-taking of the Feast of Pascha, officiated on Tuesday, 24 May 2023 during the Divine Liturgy at the Holy Church of Saint George Potiras-Antifonitis, Phanar.
In his homily, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, referring to the feast on which “Christ is Risen” was chanted for the last time this year, pointed out that our faith in the salvific event of the Resurrection “always remains alive throughout the year and throughout our lives . In our Risen Lord and Saviour we ‘live and move and are’”. He then said:
“All church feast days, moveable and immovable, revolve around the great feast of Pascha. The Holy Resurrection of Christ is the source and the destination of our spiritual life, the starting point and the end of our life in Christ. Our Lord by His death and resurrection gave life even to those who were in the graves, to the dead. He animates and gives life to each of us and awaits our personal response to His divine call to meet Him in His kingdom.
Let us live, then, as children of our Risen Redeemer, let us walk as children of light, “not as unwise, but as wise”, and let us be full of radiance and love for everyone! Let’s take in our hand our candle, lit by the eternal and holy light of His Resurrection, not only to illuminate our own path but also to pass on this light to those sitting in darkness and the shadow of death”.
The Ecumenical Patriarch then commented:
“The new creation that the Risen Lord gives us does not allow hatred and enmity, but only love, love without limits, tolerance, and understanding. However, everyone knows that we are genuine disciples of the Risen One, if we have love for each other and for everything. And if we always preach only peace and fellowship between people and peoples, and not war, baptizing it, in fact, “holy”, in order to be liked and to flatter an authoritarian worldly power! There has never been and certainly will not be a “holy war”! Sanctity and war are two concepts that are inherently opposed to each other and mutually exclusive, unable to co-exist in any way!
This truth is not forgotten by the Holy Great Church of Christ, which, over the centuries, from this city, despite the many changes and rearrangements, has not stopped for a moment to announce to the ends of the earth, to those near and far, “the joyful message of the Resurrection”, to sing “Christ is Risen”, to experience the Resurrection of the Lord as a living reality, as an existential event in the life of the faithful”.
Subsequently, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew expressed his Patriarchal satisfaction for the work carried out in the local Community by Bishop Adrianos of Halicarnassus, Overseer of the Phanar-Golden Horn District, who was temporarily absent for health reasons, to whom he extended warm wishes for a speedy recovery. He also congratulated Father Philotheos Kelepouris, Oikonomos of the Holy Archdiocese of Constantinople for their local ministry, who addressed the Ecumenical Patriarch on behalf of the District Overseer, as well as Father Athanasios Mamasis, who serve the priestly needs of the Community.
In the afternoon, the Ecumenical Patriarch officiated at the Venerable Patriarchal Church of Saint George during Vespers for the feast of the Lord’s Ascension.
Photos: Nikos Papachristou / Ecumenical Patriarchate