Metropolitan Emmanuel of France visited Constantinople for the Church New Year (Indiction) and officiated in the morning at the Church of Panagia of Souda along with Preacher Panaretos, Protopresbyter Sergios, Presbyter Athanasios and Hierodeacon Sergios. Bishops Andrianos of Alikarnassus, the Supervisor of the Phanari-Keratios Gulf District, and Maximos of Melitene prayerfully attended in the altar.
The Metropolitan of France thanked, on the one hand, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for the permission and blessing to officiate in that church of historical importance, and on the other hand, Bishop Andianos of Alikarnassus. He then spoke of the Feast of the Placing of the Cincture of the Mother of God: “The Orthodox all over the world pray daily to the Eternal Virgin Mary seeking her intercession to our Lord and Son Jesus Christ. She is our protector and guide. Our ancestors acted the same way in this holy land when they built churches and chapels dedicated to the Theotokos next to the land walls because She has always been redeeming us and leading us towards salvation, as an invisible guide,” he stressed.
“The operation of this blessed parish is a sign of life and strength for all the Orthodox and especially for us who are children of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, but also for the Orthodox from the long-suffering Phanar, our parishes in the small islands of the Pacific Ocean, the villages in Central and South America, the historic cities of Europe, the islands of the Atlantic, the cities of Australia, the missionaries in the Far East, the USA, the Greek islands and Canada,” he added.
“The Ecumenical Patriarchate and our faith are marked on the heart of every Orthodox worldwide. Our last and poorest parish in India is the glory and the pride of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. No one can erase that from history, no matter how many stones one throws, no matter how many mosaics one plasters, no matter how many marbles one covers up with colourful carpets. I think that our faith becomes even stronger and the Ecumenical Patriarchate is, therefore, glorified, rather than offended. When a church is demolished or desecrated, then Orthodoxy does not lament but flourishes and ‘bears more fruit’. Let us not forget that the Church was founded upon the blood of the Martyrs and upon the pain and sorrow of Christians,” he concluded.