Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the historic Monastery of Panagia Faneromeni in Cyzicus. He referred, in his homily, to the recent conversion of Hagia Sophia and the Chora Church into mosques.
“We came to this holy place again this year. We came to the historic Monastery of Panagia Faneromeni in Cyzicus to celebrate in a liturgical gathering the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God. The Leavetaking of the Feast of the Dormition falls today and it reminds us that we must pay homage to this holy place that seems timeless,” he said.
The Ecumenical Patriarch also referred to the towns of Cyzicus and Erdek, which, according to the Ecumenical Patriarch, are deprived of their past glory. “There are no prosperous orthodox communities, churches, monasteries, schools and sacred institutions here any more. But there is the spirit of the Greeks, which was proved indestructible. We can feel it in the air every time we come here. No one is just a visitor. We are all humble pilgrims and we venerate the Theotokos every time we visit the holy monastery in recent years,” the Ecumenical Patriarch pointed out. He also spoke of the Most Holy Theotokos, who is the cornerstone of the Orthodox faith.
At the end of his homily, the Ecumenical Patriarch mentioned the recent conversion of Hagia Sophia and the Chora Church into mosques. “We were hurt by conversion of Hagia Sophia and Chora Church into mosques. These two unique monuments of Constantinople were built as Christian churches. They express the universal spirit of our faith as well as the love and hope of eternity. The unique mosaics and the icons are ‘nourishment for the soul and a remarkable sight for the eyes,’ as the Greek writer and painter, Fotis Kontoglou would say. They are part of the world cultural heritage,” the Ecumenical Patriarch added. “We pray to the God of love, justice, and peace to enlighten the minds and hearts of those in charge,” he concluded.