The Patriarchal and Archbishopric Divine Liturgy was celebrated with great magnificence on Sunday morning in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens.
The Archbishop of Athens and all Greece Ieronymos and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew arrived in the morning with the members of their entourage at the Metropolitan Church of Athens.
In his statements after the Divine Liturgy, Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens referred to the 30 years of patriarchal ministry of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the feast of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary.
“For us Orthodox, just as Christ is not meant without the Virgin Mary, so it is not meant without the Church. The words of Christ are clear and unambiguous. You cannot be by the side of Christ, and your own life is not in proportion to His own life, which is experienced only within the Church.
Your All-Holiness, despite the difficult times, we welcome you today as the Patriarch of the Orthodox Nation.
Your contribution is multifaceted and important. You will always have our undivided respect, love and support. We welcome you once again to the small town and we wish you prosperity and may God grant you many years,” stressed the Archbishop of Athens, and offered the Gospel to the Ecumenical Patriarch.
On his part, the Ecumenical Patriarch stressed that “with great joy we are among you and among the fraternal Hierarchs and the honorable state officials, bringing the infinite love and blessing of the Mother Church and the grace of the Saints of our spiritual homeland. We want to thank you for the honor, the reception, and the love, respect and support of my personal milestone of my journey in the missionary Seat of Constantinople.
We assure you that our thoughts are always with the Greek people so that the unfortunate and resilient, unfortunately, plague of the pandemic is eliminated, and everyone to get out of the crisis with the least suffering and the least losses.
Our souls are filled with joy and peace the fact that our presence in the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Athens announces to all the inseparable unity of the Mother Church and its beloved daughter.
In fact, sometimes there were clouds hanging over our heads, but they did not cause destructive precipitation, but only rain and euphoria, fruitful dialogue and coexistence on the major issues of Orthodoxy, both in the Holy and Great Synod of Crete and in the Ukrainian autocephaly.
In any case, we overcame any problems in our relationships thanks to our strong bond. Your Beatitude, I want you to know you make me happy and you move me with your love to me.
You strengthen and support us in our struggle and in our agony. Nothing has been easy during my patriarchal ministry. However, history called us and we accepted it humbly with fear and joy, with attention and prayer.
We thank you again and again, Holy Brother, for the honors and the support to the Church,” added the Ecumenical Patriarch, and offered engolpia to Archbishop Ieronymos.
Minister of Tourism Vasilis Kikilias, Minister of Education and Religious Affairs Niki Kerameus, Minister of Culture Lina Mendoni, Mayor of Athens Bakoyannis, Regional Governor Giorgos Patoulis, and other representatives of the state and politics attended the service.
Yesterday afternoon, the Ecumenical Patriarch met Archbishop Ieronymos at the seat of the Archdiocese of Athens.
The Ecumenical Patriarch is accompanied by Elder Metropolitans Emmanuel of Chalcedon, Metropolitan Augustine of Germany, Amfilochios of Adrianoupolis, Director of the Representation Office of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Athens, and Bartholomew of Smyrna, Grand Protosyncellus Theodoros, Grand Ecclesiarch Aetius, Director of Ecumenical Patriarch’s Private Office, Tertiary Patriarchal Deacon Kallinikos, Archon Didaskalos of the Nation Konstantinos Delikostantis, Professor emeritus and Director of the First Patriarchal Office, Nikolaos Papachristou, Director of the Press and Communication Office of the Ecumenical Patriarch, and Panagiotis Grafiadellis, employee of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.