CONSTANTINOPLE – On February 20 the newly elected Metropolitan Geron of Chalcedon Emmanuel appeared before His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Hierarchs of the Throne for the `Μikro Minima' (Lesser Message) ceremony.
His All-Holiness addressed Metropolitan Emmanuel and expressed his emotion and great joy, “as we convey to you the evangelical message of your unanimous election as shepherd of the nearby ancient and historic Metropolis of Chalcedon, which we also served for a short time.”
Patriarch Bartholomew continued:
“Your elevation to this eminent bulwark is the reward and crown of your long-term contribution to the Mother Church from various positions, always in exemplary fidelity and devotion to her.
“We especially wish to emphasize and note our appreciation for your valuable contribution to the promotion of inter-Christian and inter-religious dialogues, which are among the priorities of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as well as to the transmission of the voice and testimony of the Orthodoxy in the European institutions in Brussels. Unfortunately, this testimony was broken and damaged through the unwise creation of many Representative Offices of various Orthodox Autocephalous Churches.
“But also in your Eparchy of France, you labored as a real father of your flock, while at the same time the Orthodox Episcopal Assembly under your responsibility has functioned to this day in an orderly manner, insofar as it depended on Your Eminence.
“Your Eminence has always treated us personally in a completely fraternal manner, as a real Simon of Cyrene in the carrying of the cross of the first hierarchical ministry, never refusing service when asked for anything no matter what, and many times, on your own initiative, helped and promoted us and our humble ministry in academic circles and among interfaith contacts. Many official visits and trips abroad of Our Modesty are due to your proposal or mediation. These have always unequivocally promoted our first-throne Church, which we have had the blessing of God to serve for three consecutive decades as its Primate.
“Now you are coming from the West to our East, from the island of Crete from which you come and which, as an Easterner, you know and love well. That is why, after all, you have accepted to be a candidate for the prestigious Eparchy of Chalcedon. Her flock is waiting for you with enthusiasm and admiration, as it has already been informed of your reputation and wide-ranging abilities, and moreover, with high hopes, expectations, filial love and respect. It needs you. It thirsts. And you walk towards it, full of paternal affection, zeal and the disposition to support and build it up in Christ, according to the traditions of our pious Genos and especially of the Great Church and this City.
“Holy and much-beloved brother and colleague, everything is auspicious, we are all waiting for you here, we all envision a better future with your valuable contribution, with your well-known diligence and energetic initiatives, with your support for the complex work of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, especially now when old age does not come alone for your older brother who is speaking to you now.
“Be strong, holy Chalcedon! Blessed shepherd! May the blessing of your legendary predecessor and immortal spiritual father and protector, the late Metropolitan Meliton, accompany you always and everywhere. Axios!”
In his response, His Eminence Metropolitan Geron Emmanuel of Chalcedon expressed to the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Synodic Hierarchs his heartfelt gratitude for his election, while he made special reference to the Fourth Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon, which confessed the unblemished Truth about the two natures of the Lord:
“As a Hierarch, I perceived and I constantly understand and comprehend this dual nature of the God-man as continually existing and growing throughout the life and course of our Holy Church. This is because the Theology of the Holy Table extends to pastoral care. Pastoral care is a struggle for Theology. Theology is not meant to be without awareness and experience of the hierocanonical work of the Holy Fathers. All together. Unconfused. Without modification and mixture.
“The great work of the Metropolitan of Chalcedon, Your All-Holiness, is the respect for the sacred institutions of the Church. The spiritual and hierocanonical majesty of the Great Church of Christ was established in the land where I was called to serve. The supreme jurisdiction of Your Throne, the responsibility of the appeal proceedings, is the sacred common fruit of this Council.
“I am grateful to Your All-Holiness! I am grateful for my new Eparchy and for my entire journey, which I have passed under your inspired direction, under your guidance, as a son to a genuine father.
“I promise to continue with the same but also with more willingness, fidelity, devotion, and dedication to serve the Holy Affairs of the Church, the responsibilities of Your Most Holy Apostolic and Patriarchal Ecumenical Throne, your own holy person, the ideals and sacred things of our Genos, the People of God, and the benefactor of us all, the Mother Church.”
Then, in the Patriarchal Church of Saint George, in the presence of the Hierarchs, the Patriarchal Court, the clergy of the Holy Metropolis of Chalcedon, as well as of other clergy and lay pilgrims, the Metropolitan Emmanuel, Geron of Chalcedon, performed the Service of the `Megalo Minima' (Great Message), during which his election was announced in the Church, and he responded with the text of the Eucharist, accepting the `charge' (το επίταγμα της Εκκλησίας).
After the end of the Megalo Minima the new Shepherd of the Metropolis of Chalcedon accepted the congratulations and wishes of those present.