His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew officiates at the Vesper Service of St. Menas in Constantinople. (Photo by Ecumenical Patriarchate/Nikos Papachristou)
CONSTANTINOPLE – His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, on the sacred commemoration of the Holy Martyrs Menas, Victor, and Vincent, presided from the Throne at the Vespers that took place in the Church of Saint Menas in Constantinople. The sermon was preached by Third Deacon Kallinikos.
After the Vespers, His All-Holiness spoke to the congregation and referred to his recent visit to the United States.
The Patriarch said, among other things:
“During our Patriarchal visit to America, we not only had the honor of meeting with the political and state leadership of the country: His Excellency the President of the United States, Mr. Biden; the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mrs. Pelosi; and the Secretary of State, Mr. Blinken, but also to visit two communities in the towns of Weirton in West Virginia and South Bend in Indiana, which belong to the Holy Metropolis of Pittsburgh and Chicago, respectively.
“In both of these communities we distinguished, with particular paternal pride, piety, patience, nobility, courage, philanthropy, dignity, solidarity and above all, faith in God, a well-grounded faith, living and stable. It is this faith that nourishes the blessed efforts of today’s parishioners in faraway America to preserve and protect the legacy of their fathers and to ensure a continued Orthodox presence in these areas. The Omogenia of America also has all those virtues which characterize our Genos in every corner of the Earth.”
The Patriarch also said that, “for the same reason, when we visit our churches and communities here in the Constantinople as their Archbishop and shepherd, we feel like a real pilgrim not just to the church buildings, but of the living Church that our beloved Christians are, all of you, the people of God, who know how to guard Thermopylae.” He added that, “even when these churches and Communities do not have the old glamor and glory, they still speak of the fullness of the life to which the Lord has called us. We always see in them the truth of life in Christ, which is eternal and indestructible and unaffected by time and other external destructive factors. Christ Himself tells us, “if there be two or three gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20).”
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