On Christmas Eve, December 24, 2019, the Ecumenical Patriarchate was full of young people from Greek diaspora, who sang the traditional Christmas carols and received the best wishes from their spiritual father, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
In his speech to the youth of the Greek diaspora, either girls or boys, he pointed out, “At Christmas life becomes the most important thing, people are calmer, the essence of reality is revealed to us, the heart speaks, people become meek, and the gate of the Heaven is open. The feast is ‘a day of thanksgiving and praise to God’, not a holiday. When we celebrate without mentioning God, then it is not exactly a true feast. We celebrate ourselves.”
Referring to the way Christmas is celebrated in the age of globalisation, “totally cut off from the Nativity of Christ, ‘Christmas’, that is, ‘without Christ’,” the Ecumenical Patriarch emphasised: “We resist. And we do this more widely and in the same way we celebrate all our great celebrations, that is with a traditional and Christian way in Constantinople. But it is not only us. We represent a history, a culture, a language, and identity.”
The Ecumenical Patriarch spoke of the Greek diaspora, which has to preserve, promote, and keep on those traditions. “You were born and raised here, and you must stay here. You are faithful keepers of the priceless heritage of your Fathers and of the way of life of the Greek community. You must be proud to be children of Constantinople, which is one of the most important cities in history. You must realise the burden of your responsibility. In addition, you have the full support of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. You are the flock of the Great Church of Constantinopole and you must remain devoted to the Ecumenical Patriarchate following the example of your ancestors.”