“We welcome you to the Phanar, after the solemn Doxology at the Patriarchal Church of Great Martyr George the Trophy-bearer, your patron saint,” said Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in his speech, welcoming Archbishop George of Cyprus, who makes a peaceful visit on Friday, March 3, 2023, the first since his election, accompanied by Metropolitan Vasilios of Constantia and Famagusta, Nektarios of Kition, and Chief Secretary of the Holy Synod, Archim. Georgios Christodoulou, Archimandrite Grigorios Ioannidis, Professor at the Theological School of the Church of Cyprus, Deacon Michael Nikolaou, and Michalis Spyrou, Director of the Archdiocesan Office.
Subsequently, the Ecumenical Patriarch, in the presence of the Hierarchy of the Throne in Constantinople as well as Metropolitans Timotheos of Divris and Kitsavidos and Nahum of Strumica, from the Ohrid Archdiocese, added: “In order for the ecclesiastical discourse to have a meaningful impact on people’s lives, “so that the history of the world is not written in the absence of theology”, the pastoral intervention of the Church and the discourse of theology must “touch the existential chords of people”, project the Church as a place and way of existence in love and true freedom. The Church must incarnate and show people why Christ is the Truth about death and life.
The Ecumenical Patriarch then said that the visit of the Archbishop of Cyprus is taking place in a difficult period for inter-Orthodox relations. “Your presence in Constantinople is a gift of God, in a difficult period for inter-Orthodox relations.” Moved by the words of the Ecumenical Patriarch, the Archbishop of Cyprus, in his reply, referred to the centuries-old relationship of the Church of Cyprus with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the spiritual center of Orthodoxy.
The Ecumenical Patriarch, in his reply, expressed his particular joy over the visit of the Primate of the Church of Cyprus and his honorable entourage to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, stressing that the joy of all, however, is overshadowed by unpleasant events, such as the ongoing war in Ukraine, the devastating earthquakes in southeastern Turkey and Syria with tens of thousands of victims, and the recent railway fatality in Greece, which, as he said, shocked the Greek people, and not only.
The Patriarch then referred to the visit of the Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos to the Phanar three years ago, for the celebration of the Sunday of Orthodoxy, and reminded that the late Archbishop was always close to and supported the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He also added that he attended his funeral service not only because it was his duty, but also his inner need and desire. For his part, Archbishop George stressed that the short visit of the Ecumenical Patriarch to Cyprus for the funeral of Archbishop Chrysostomos caused the emotion of all, as he showed the mutual love they had.
Regarding the recent earthquakes, he said that a fundraiser was also held in Cyprus, part of the money raised from which will be handed over to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in order to be distributed to the earthquake victims. Previously, the Archbishop of New Justiniana and All Cyprus presided over the Doxology at the Patriarchal Church, during which Elder Metropolitan Emmanuel° of Chalcedon, Chairman of the Committee on Inter-Orthodox Matters, was present from the Paratronium.
Consul of Greece Danae Vassilakis, believers from Constantinople, and pilgrims from abroad were also present.
Upon his arrival, the Primate of the Church of Cyprus in the strongholds of the Ecumenical Patriarchate was welcomed by Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Myra, members of the Patriarchal Court, and clergymen of the Holy Archdiocese of Constantinople, as well as of the Holy Metropolises of Chalcedon, Derkoi and Princes’ Islands.
At noon, the Ecumenical Patriarch hosted an official lunch in honor of the Archbishop of Cyprus and his entourage at the Patriarchal table.
Photo: Nikos Papachristou / Ecumenical Patriarchate