Thronal Feast at the Ecumenical Patriarchate

In a festive atmosphere, the Ecumenical Patriarchate honored the memory of its founder, the Holy Apostle Andrew the First-called. On 30 November 2018, a Patriarchal and Synodal Divine Liturgy was celebrated at the Patriarchal Church of Saint George at Phanar in Istanbul, during which the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew ordained to the rank of deacon the sub-deacon Andrij Krochak of Ukrainian origin, giving him the name of Iakovos .

A delegation of the Church of Rome headed by Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity attended the Divine Liturgy. Many Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and other Orthodox Autocephalous Churches, clergy, monks and nuns from the City and from Greece were also present, as well as the Deputy Foreign Minister of Greece, Mr. Markos Bolaris, representative of the Greek Government, the Ankara Ambassadors of Greece, Mr. Petros Mavroidis, and of Ukraine, Mr. Andrii Sybiha, the General Consuls of Greece, Mr. Georgios Sultanopoulou, of Ukraine, Mr Oleksander Gaman, of Georgia, Mr Ing Kikvadze, and Mr Rostislav Pavlenko, Advisor to the President of Ukraine, diplomats, Archons of the Great Church of Christ and a multitude of believers. The homily was pronounced by Bishop Makarios of Christoupolis.

After the dismissal, the Ecumenical Patriarch addressed the official delegation of the Roman Catholic Church. Referring to the ongoing dialogue of “love and truth” between the two Churches, which began about half a century ago, Patriarch Bartholomew stressed that the new issues under consideration will give a strong impetus to continuing the effort to address the issues that divide the two Churches. “The official theological dialogue is the other gate of the relations between the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church, which is unthinkable without the parallel dialogue of love. We continue the “dialogue of truth”, which now focuses on the theme of “Primacy and Synodality in the second millennium and today”. We are confident that this theme will give a strong impetus and will positively enrich our official dialogue over the coming years. On the other hand, the difficulties in theological dialogue are connected with the complexity of the topics discussed for centuries in our Churches. The will to continue the path to the godly unity has not been weakened, as it was assured, on the side, and by the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church in Crete. ”

In his speech, the Ecumenical Patriarch also referred to all those who are fighting against the dialogue between the two Churches. “To the representatives of anti-ecumenical and anti-dialogal fundamentalism, we are saying, of course, that they are not the authentic defenders of the ecclesiastical tradition, as they themselves regard themselves, but they misinterpret and falsify the true tradition, and in their knowledge of zeal, they divide the people of God. As the Holy and Great Synod stated, the “common” and “unique” purpose in all the theological dialogues conducted by the Orthodox Church is “the final restoration of the right faith and the love of unity” (Relations of Orthodox Church Towards the Christian world, § 12). The common cup of the Divine Eucharist presupposes the common faith, full agreement on the confession of faith.”

Particular reference was made to the decision of the Church of Russia to interrupt eucharistic communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in response to its decision to grant autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine.

“In the Divine Eucharist, the theandric mystery of the Church is concentrated and the unity of the ecclesiastical body is expressed. As Saint Nicholas Cabasilas said (The Divine Liturgy, PG 150, 452), the Church “is signified in the mysteries”, that is, in the Eucharist, and “through these sacred mysteries, as through the doors, the sun of righteousness enters into the dark world “(N. Cabasilas, Life in Christ, PG 150, 504).

While in our theological dialogue this principle is determined by the relationship of unity in the faith and eucharistic communion, unfortunately, in the ongoing process of granting autocephaly to the people of God in Ukraine by the Ecumenical Throne, as it happened in the past in similar cases, in order to bring peace to Ukraine, to prevent further schisms, to bring rest to the worthy Ukrainian people and to strengthen the unity and stability of the Orthodox Church, the sister Church of Russia reacted to the Ukrainian autocephaly by interrupting eucharistic communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate. In this case, the Eucharist, the central event of ecclesial life, is used, despite the unity in the faith, with ease, as a means of exercising pressure, supposedly to preserve the unity of Orthodoxy, which is thus divided from the unity of faith, an thus communion “in the mysteries” is not perceived, and this is connected with secular criteria, which become a measure of the “character of the world” of the Church. This attitude of the Patriarchate of Moscow lacks a theological and ecclesiological foundation, and is contrary to the Tradition of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.”

In his speech, he also pointed out the importance of the dialogue between the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Churches, which facilitates the common Christian witness in the modern world, which, among other things, is also tested by religious fundamentalism.

“God is present where there is love and solidarity. The authenticity of faith, which approaches man on the basis of this divine origin and in reference to this eternal destiny, strengthens respect for the fellow man, the spirit of diakonia, the struggle for peace and righteousness. In this spirit, the Ecumenical Patriarchate pursues the dialogue with modern civilization and cultures and expresses the testimony of Orthodoxy over the signs of the times. We also welcome many of the interventions of His Holiness Pope Francis of Rome.”

Cardinal Kourt Koch then read out a message from the Pope Francis of Rome, expressing his warmest wishes to the Ecumenical Patriarchate for his patron saint, Holy Apostle Andrew, and referred to the importance of the dialogue between the two Churches and their cooperation for the prevalence of peace in the world. “The search for the re-establishment of full communion is above all a response to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, who on the eve of his Passion prayed that his disciples “may all be one” (Jn 17:21). United we give a more effective response to the needs of so many men and women of our own time, especially those who suffer from poverty, hunger, illness and war. Here I would express my profound gratitude to Your Holiness for your presence at the day of prayer and reflection for peace in the Middle East, held last 7 July in Bari, attended by the Heads of Churches, or their representatives, from that deeply troubled area. It is a source of great comfort to share with Your Holiness the same concerns for the tragic situation of our brothers and sisters in the region. In a world wounded by conflict, the unity of Christians is a sign of hope that must radiate ever more visibly.”

Then, took place in the Hall of the Throne of the Patriarchal Building the speech of the newly ordained Patriarchal Deacon Iakovos, who expressed his filial gratitude and devotion to His All-Holiness. In his speech Patriarch Bartholomew gave patriarchal admonitions to the new clergyman who will minister at the Venerable Center of the Holy Great Church of Christ.

“Dear Father Iakovos, welcome to the queen City, to the Bosporus, to the Center of Orthodoxy. And you came to it voluntarily, spontaneously, to dedicate your soul and body to it and to the its ecumenical ministry and mission, as a faithful servant and deacon, sharing in its joys and sorrows, in its anguish and its glory, its disgrace and euphoria. All of this has always been interwoven with the life of the martyrdom of our divinely glorious Throne, who, despite the adventures of “this life,” and God willing will live up to the end of the ages, despite the rebellion and the unhappiness of its pseudo-brothers. These were never lacking in its life, and indeed among those of this Throne, its many benefactors. We have called you Iakovos to have the grace and the protection of the new Saint of our Church, Iakovos Tsalikis, of Livisi of Makre, from the eparchy of the Archbishop of Telmessos, your elder, and because of this, bearing all the virtues of Hellenism and culture of Asia Minor, which he transplanted everywhere, where he later moved,” said the Ecumenical Patriarch.