From the enthronement of His Eminence Metropolitan Philotheos of Thessaloniki. He is accompanied by the Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece, Metropolitan Emannuel Geron of Chalcedon. (Photo by Raphael Georgiadis / EUROKINISSI)
THESSALONIKI – The enthronement of the new Metropolitan Philotheos of Thessaloniki, took place in the sacred Cathedral of Aghia Sophia in Thessaloniki in the presence of His Beatitude Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, Ieronymos, a multitude of hierarchs, a delegation from Mount Athos, representatives of military authorities, politicians, and a multitude of faithful. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was represented by Metropolitan Emmanuel Geron of Chalcedon.
In his enthronement homily Metropolitan Philotheos chose to begin with verses from the poem by George Seferis titled ‘An Old Man on the Riverbank’: “I want nothing more than to speak simply, to be granted this grace. Because we have loaded even the song with so much music that gradually it sinks, and we have adorned our art so much that its face is eaten away by its embellishments, and it is time to say our few words.”
Addressing the youth who thirst for life, the new Metropolitan of Thessaloniki spoke to them with lyrics from the song ‘Thirst’ by Nikos Portokaloglou: “It’s not friends, all-nighters, cigarettes, drinks, the music, the music around the same fire. Old dreams, journeys with new sails. It’s nothing of all these, and it’s all of them. It is this thirst for life that keeps us alive. Friends and acquaintances, young men and women, despite the disruptions of the times, despite the temptations of history, the thirst and hope for a clear sky, for this pure air of true life, the one who beckons to you from afar, is none other than Christ who calls us all to the harbor of the church, to overcome the frozen loneliness through the warmth of love and true fellowship.”
The new Metropolitan spoke directed to those gathered, confiding that, “I want to get to know you. In this special introduction, the priests and deacons of the local church hold a unique position, with whom we must remain united like the strings with the guitar.” Particularly moved, he added, “during this momentous moment in which I open my heart to you, I want to thank you again for accompanying me in my entrance and enthronement in the Local Church of Thessaloniki. Pray for me, and rest assured that I do the same for you.”
Archbishop Ieronymos emphasized that the election of the new Metropolitan Philotheos of Thessaloniki, “was a difficult decision, and the criteria were not only age-related but deeper and more substantial, mainly theological.” He mentioned that through their collaboration, he appreciated “his character, ecclesiastical mindset, theological thinking, education, and reflection.”
Metropolitan Varnavas of Neapoleos and Stavroupoleos, as the deputy locum tenens, handed over the pastoral staff of responsibility to the new Metropolitan of Thessaloniki for his new beginning. Former Metropolitan Anthimos of Thessaloniki was present in the Aghia Sophia Cathedral and stood by the side of the new metropolitan.
The government was represented by Minister of State Makis Voridis, who conveyed the greetings of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and expressed his commitment to close cooperation with the new Metropolitan. Apostolos Tzitzikostas, the regional governor of Central Macedonia, stated, “Your Eminence, from today the Region of Central Macedonia and I personally are at your disposal, with genuine and deep feelings of appreciation. For the good of Thessaloniki, for the good of Macedonia, for our homeland, and all our fellow citizens. Welcome.”
The newly-elected mayor of Thessaloniki, Stelios Angeloudis, after the enthronement of the new Metropolitan, emphasized that “today is a day of celebration and joy for the Holy Metropolis of Thessaloniki. Our city welcomes a worthy Hierarch, determined and militant, with a genuine and sincere disposition for contributing. A charismatic personality, who honors me with his friendship and is distinguished by the simplicity of his manners, profound piety, and tireless diligence.”
The enthronement ceremony was also attended by the Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation Christos Staikouras, Deputy Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Stathis Konstantinidis, Secretary of the Parliamentary Group of New Democracy Stavros Kalafatis, President of PASOK-KINAL Nikos Androulakis, President of the Parliamentary Group of SYRIZA Socrates Famellos, representatives of other parties, and members of parliament.
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