The bonds of mutual appreciation and long-lasting friendship that attached him to the late Metropolitan Nicholas of Fthiotida were mentioned by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who welcomed on Monday, September 23, in the Phanar, a group of pilgrims from the Metropolis of Fthiotida, with the locum tenens, Metropolitan Ignatius of Demetrias and Almyros, in the lead.
“With the late Metropolitan we had a mental communication, we had a friendship and a brotherhood in Christ, we corresponded,” said the Ecumenical Patriarch.
He also added that the late Metropolitan Nicholas of Fthiotida “loved and respected the First-Throne Church of Constantinople, and I am sure that his feelings towards Constantinople were also transmitted to his flock. To all of you. And your presence here today, clergy and people, is a testament to your veneration and devotion to our Ecumenical Patriarchate, which you know under what adverse conditions is trying to fulfill the ecumenical mission entrusted to it by God. We have been here as the Ecumenical Patriarchate for 1700 years now, fighting the good fight, being persecuted, being slandered; however, we fortunately withstand everything with the grace of God. And we go on.”
The Ecumenical Patriarch wished the new Metropolitan of Fthiotida, who will be elected by the Holy Synod of the Hierarchy of the Church of Greece, which meets on October 8, “to be a worthy successor of the late Nicholas, to love you, to embrace you.” He wished the flock “to receive him and welcome him with a spirit of obedience and humility.”
He also wished that the new Metropolitan will “have the clergy as his precious associates, and will promote the ecclesiastical work of your Metropolis to the glory of God.”
The Ecumenical Patriarch also spoke warmly about Metropolitan Ignatius of Demetrias and Almyros, with whom he later had a private meeting. “He has always been on the side of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and he, like the late Nicholas, has always been a supporter of the positions of the First-Throne Church, helped us in the preparatory stages of the Holy and Great Synod, and recently on the Ukrainian issue, and has always stand by us. I seize the opportunity to express our gratitude to him and the patriarchal contentment.”