CONSTANTINOPLE. The First Throne Church of Constantinople celebrated its Thronal Fest of its establisher St. Andrew the First Called Apostle of Christ. His all Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew officiated at the Divine Liturgy on Saturday November 30 with concelebrant His Beatitude Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Antonis Diamataris represented the Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the Greek Government. Ioannis Amanatidis represented the opposite party SYRIZA.
Mr. Diamataris said to the Athens Press that “I feel very happy that God enabled me to participate in the Thronal Fest of our venerable Ecumenical Patriarchate. Every visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and every meeting with His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is a special blessing and joy.”
Mr. Diamataris read the Symbol of Faith and also the Lord’s Prayer at the Patriarchal Divine Liturgy.
A delegation of the Church of Rome visited the Ecumenical Patriarchate and attended the Thronal celebration. The delegation, led by Cardinal Curt Koch, was received cordially by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
At the Vesper Service the day before Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria officiated. He conveyed “the greetings of the ancient and historic Patriarchates and Thrones to Ukraine” and added that “through the centuries these Churches and Thrones do not ask for evidence of History, because these Churches are History and the Church herself” sending messages to multiple recipients.
Patriarch Theodore also said that “few can understand Ukraine like I do,” itemizing the difficulties and tribulations he went through while serving as Exarch of the Patriarchate of Alexandria in Odessa.
As he said, “the Mother Church of Constantinople and the Church of Alexandria went through difficulties and among the sisters Churches also saw martyr Ukraine. How can the ancient churches not feel your pulse?” Patriarch Theodore asked the Ukrainian delegation.
Also many representatives from the Churches of Cyprus and Ukraine and from the Vatican attended the Divine Liturgy. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew commemorated Metropolitan Epiphanios of Kyiv which was written in the Diptychs. It is sated here that the fact that a Metropolitan the Church of Cyprus, specifically Vasilios of Constantia and Ammochostos, attended the commemoration was of particular importance. Archbishop Yevstratiy of Chernihiv and Nizhyn from the Orthodox Church of Ukraine also concelebrated the Divine Liturgy.
Vasilios Grigoriadis a graduate of Hellenic College in Boston was ordained new Deacon by the Ecumenical Patriarch giving him the name of Apostle Barnabas.
Metropolitan Makarios of Gortys and Arkadia of Crete was the preacher at the Liturgy. He said that “it was a very important day not only for the Ecumenical Patriarchate but also for the entire Orthodoxy.
After the dismissal of the Divine Liturgy Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew addressed the official representatives of the Church of Rome stressing that their presence was a proof of the peaceful coexistence between the two sister Churches.
His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew delivers his homily at the end of the Liturgy of the Thronal Celebration. Shown are His Beatitude Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Antonis Diamataris and Ioannis Amanatidis represented of SYRIZA. (Photo by Ecumenical Patriarchate/ Nikos Manginas)
The Patriarch expressed satisfaction with the fact that the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, which has been working on this issue for forty years has made progress on the discussion of a very important text entitled “Primacy and Synodality in the Second Millennium and Today.”
The Patriarch also thanked Pope Francis, who gave recently fragments of the relics of St. Peter to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He said “This is extremely important. The faithful will be able to venerate the relics, and therefore they will have the opportunity to deal with several subjects through dialogue. It is really nice for us to meet the Heads of the Churches, but it is also important for the faithful as well.”
He asked Cardinal Koch to convey his brotherly wishes to Pope Francis. He said “The quest for the restoration of full communion between the Orthodox and the Catholic Churches is not only a matter of theological dialogue. We could reach our targets by other means within the Church world. Mutual respect and appreciation are very important in order to establish better relations between the two Churches.”