Today’s special issue is dedicated to the visible Center of Unity of the Orthodox Church throughout the world, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Mother Church of Constantinople, which is covered by wounds and bruises, but also by glory, prestige, history – the tradition built up though many centuries. It is also dedicated to His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew as a token of love and respect for his thirty years of glorious Patriarchy.
It is a brief summary of the life, testimony, and martyrdom of the Mother Church of Constantinople, since while she has been in captivity since 1453. She lives and breathes, albeit with difficulty due to historical circumstances, which depopulated her flock in its historic ecclesiastical areas, eparchies, and centers. And yet her flock has spread ‘to all nations,’ and the salvific message of Christ, which comes to us intact and unaltered, knows no borders, no races, and no language barriers. It is addressed to the Human Being, to every human being, in every corner of the Earth.
The numbers of the natural flock in Constantinople and Turkey in general may be small, but we must not deny our knowledge – not a mere opinion – that the ecumenicity and catholicity that underlie it are not are not founded on numbers, demographic or financial. They are a consequence of the whole truth and life of all in Christ, incarnate and expressed through the Ecumenical Councils and the conscience of the Church, manifested in the form of saints, martyrs, and confessors, who are ‘the post-history’ in present day history.
This special edition coincides with the thirtieth anniversary the enthronement of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who for thirty years has guided the ship of the First-Throned Church, sometimes in the midst of waves and storms, sometimes amid calm and serenity, but always with kindness and dynamism, whatever the external historical circumstances.
The fact that every Sunday he celebrates the Eucharist by proclaiming “Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” the miracle of the procession of the First-Throned Church of Constantinople takes place. A course incomprehensible according to what is conceivable and self-evident in the world, but understood with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete Who “constitutes the whole statue of the Church (όλον συγκροτεί τον θεσμόν της Εκκλησίας).”
The Church is revealed in the Eucharist with the declaration: “Blessed Kingdom of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
This special edition wishes to commemorate and honor the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the 270th successor of St. Andrew the Apostle, the First-Called Disciple of Christ, who expresses the depths of centuries, history, and tradition, and the height of sacred, ecclesiastical, and divine honor.