CONSTANTINOPLE – His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, on the occasion of the completion of two hundred years since the martyrdom of the Hieromartyr Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory V of Constantinople, presided from the Throne during the Divine Liturgy at the Patriarchal Church of St. George and offered a memorial Service and blessing of the `kollyva', which was “offered in honor and memory” of the celebrated saint.
After the Divine Liturgy, His All-Holiness went, as he does every year, to the Closed Gate of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the place of the hanging of Ecumenical Patriarch Gregorios accompanied by their Eminences Metropolitan Emmanuel, Geron of Chalcedon, Andreas of Saranta Ekklisies, and Joachim of Bursa, the clergy of the Patriarchal Court, and the faithful. He lit a candle in front of the holy icon of the Hieromartyr Ecumenical Patriarch, placed down spring flowers, and prayed, invoking the grace and intercession of his holy predecessor for the Church and the Genos.
In his Message issued for this historic anniversary, the Ecumenical Patriarch recalled that in the long chain of the Archbishops of Constantinople, there are included personalities who lifted the cross with joy and deep awareness, handing it over to their successors with the self-awareness of the martyrs.
Patriarch Bartholomew said, among other things:
“Thus we have Holy Archbishops and Ecumenical Patriarchs who, according to their spiritual gifts and the needs of the ecclesiastical body, poured themselves out in the ministry of the salvation of their flock in various ways and in all things, immovable in the faith and steadfast in its confession, even unto this bloody martyrdom, and whose memory rekindles in the consciousness of the Church the presence of Holy Spirit and strengthens the Orthodox mind in all of us.
“The ecclesiastical memory of one such prominent historical figure, that is, Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory V, on the occasion of the completion of two hundred years from the martyrdom of his holy hierarchical life and the martyrdom of those with him, reaffirms to all of us today that `Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever' (Heb. 3: 8) and shows to the world the value it holds for the holy and immaculate faith of the Orthodox, and the steadfastness, the duty and the unwavering devotion of all, and above all of the shepherds of the rational flock of Christ, to the saving truth of the Cross and to the certainty of the Resurrection.”
“As Ecumenical Patriarch Gregorios V highlighted this dimension of the blessed crucifixion in his faith in Christ, he lived and consciously professed it in the Holy Great Church of Christ in Constantinople, the common nurturer of the Orthodox, with patience and dedication, with effort and sacrifice, with hope and anticipation, far from exclusions, extremes, ephemeral goals and worldly consideration of the facts and the course of history.”