THESSALONIKI – His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece commemorated in the Diptychs the name of the Metropolitan Epiphanios of Kiev and All Ukraine during their concelebration of the Divine Liturgy at the ancient Church of Panagia Achiropoietos in Thessaloniki on Saturday, October 19.
By that act, the Church of Greece recognized in the most official and ecclesiastical way the Autocephaly of the Church of Ukraine which was granted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in January.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew thanked Archbishop Ieronymos for the respect he displayed towards the Autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church issue and for his coordination with the Ecumenical Patriarchate. It is emphasized here that traditionally the Church of Greece cooperates with the Ecumenical Patriarchate on ecclesiastical issues.
The Patriarch said that Archbishop Ieronymos addressed last week the Hierarchy of the Church of Greece and “he identified with the canonical decisions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He also wrote the name of Metropolitan Epiphanios of Kiev and All Ukraine on the Diptychs. It is about satisfying a rightful demand,” of the faithful of Ukraine, “which had been on hold for many years, and therefore a schism arose,” the Patriarch explained. He added that “we look forward to the visit of Metropolitan Epiphanios of Kiev to Greece. Our Ukrainian brothers will see that the Greeks, who taught them the Christian faith, as well as to read and write, will welcome them with open arms. We want them to feel real love from our side.”
The Ecumenical Patriarch talked about the history of the church and the icon of Panagia Hodegetria that is housed there. He stressed, “the greatness of our history mainly depends on the future. The Greek Community is able to survive in this world under the condition that we respect our past.”
He also expressed concern for the low birth rate and abortion, and said “we have to defend the rights of any unborn child.” He then referred to the decisions of the Pan-Orthodox Council on this matter and said, “the right to give birth is a fundamental human right.”
Metropolitan Anthimos of Thessaloniki thanked Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Archbishop Ieronymos and the hierarchs, who attended the Patriarchal Liturgy, and referred to the events organized by the Centre for Byzantine Research in Thessaloniki. Metropolitan Anthimos said that “Thessaloniki is the symbol of the Greek Community since ancient times.”