Thronal Feast of the Ecumenical Patriarchate

The Ecumenical Patriarchate honored the memory of its founder, the Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called. On Monday 30 November 2020, a solemn Divine Liturgy was presided by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in concelebration with their Eminences Metropolitans Theoleptos of Iconium and Metropolitan Maximos of Selyvria in the Patriarchal Church of St. George, at the Phanar. The homily was preached by the Chief Secretary of the Holy Synod, the Very Reverend Archimandrite Ioakeim Billis.

The Divine Liturgy was attended by the official delegation of the Church of Rome, headed by His Eminence Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, as well as by His Excellency the Prime Minister of Ukraine Mr. Denys Shmyhal, acompanied by members of his cabinet, and a delegation of the autonomous Orthodox Church of Finland.

At the end of the Divine Liturgy, the Ecumenical Patriarch addressed the official delegation of the Roman Catholic Church with these words: Continue reading

The Ecumenical Patriarch prayed for the victims of the Great Famine in Ukraine

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew served a memorial service on 28 November 2020 at the Patriarchal Church at the Phanar for the victims of the Great Famine (Holodomor) in Ukraine on the occasion of the 87th anniversary of one of the greatest tragedies in the modern history of the country, during which millions of people died of starvation.

The service was attended by His Eminence Metropolitan Kyrillos of Imvros and Tenedos, His Grace Bishop Adrianos of Alikarnassos, the Very Reverend Archimandrite Charalampy Nichev who is responsible for the Ukrainian Community, the Consul General of Ukraine in Istanbul Mr. Oleksandr Gaman, as well as officials of the Consulate and members of the Ukrainian Community of Istanbul.

Following the memorial service, His All-Holiness delivered the following homily: Continue reading

In memoriam Patriarch Irinej of Serbia (1930-2020)

On 20 November 2020, His Beatitude Patriarch Irinej of Serbia reposed in the Lord at the age of  90 due to COVID-19. The funeral service was celebrated on 22 November 2020  in the new cathedral of Saint Sava in Belgrade. The body of Patriarch Irinej was then buried in the crypt of the church that was built especially for the burial of Serbian hierarchs.

Born Miroslav Gavrilović on 28 August 1930, he was the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Serbia  from 22 January 2010 until his death on 20 November 2020, after having been the bishop of Niš between 1975 and 2010.

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew sent the following letter of condolences to the Orthodox Church of Serbia on the passing of His Beatitude Patriarch Irinej: Continue reading

The Primate of Church of Cyprus commemorated the Primate of Church of Ukraine in the diptychs

His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus, Primate of Church of Cyprus, has commemorated His Beatitude Metropolitan Epiphaniy of Kyiv, Primate of Church of Ukraine, in the diptychs during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy on 24 October 2020, which implies the recognition of the tomos of autocephaly of the Church of Ukraine granted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate on 6 January 2019.

On 20 October 2020, His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus has sent the following letter to His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in which he explained his decision: Continue reading

The Annual Conference of Secretaries of World Christian Communions met online

The Annual Conference of Secretaries of World Christian Communions met online on 20-22 October 2020 due to the pandemic of covid-19. The annual Conference of Secretaries of World Christian Communions brings together representatives from diverse Christian traditions to exchange information and to discuss their work and fellowship together.

Secretaries heard reports from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Orthodox Church of Russia, Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity of the Roman Catholic Church, World Council of Churches, Baptist World Alliance, Global Pentecostalism, World Communion of Reformed Churches, Disciples Ecumenical Consultative Council, International Old Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Mennonite World Conference, Moravian Church Worldwide Unity Board, Organization of African Independent Churches, Global Christian Forum, World Convention of the Churches of Christ, World Evangelical Alliance, World Methodist Council, Lutheran World Federation, Anglican Communion, The Salvation Army, Friends World Committee for Consultation, Armenian Apostolic Church, and the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventists.

Besides discussing the state of bilateral dialogues and contemporary topics related to the ecumenical movement, the secretaries also reflected on the present day pandemic of covid-19.

This informal ecumenical forum, dating back to 1957, sees itself as “communions of churches belonging to the same tradition and held together by this common heritage, conscious of living in the same universal fellowship and giving to this consciousness at least some structured visible expression.”

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew attended the International Meeting of Prayer for Peace “No One Is Saved Alone – Peace and Fraternity”

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew visited Rome on 19-22 October 2020 to attend and speak at the International Meeting of prayer for peace “No One Is Saved Alone – Peace and Fraternity”, organized in Rome on 20 October 2020 by the Community of Sant’Egidio. On 19 October, His All-Holiness chaired a prayer. On 21 October 2020, the Ecumenical Patriarch received the title of Honorary Doctor from the Pontifical University of Antonianum. On the same occasion, His All-Holiness had a special meeting with His Holiness Pope Francis.

It is in the spirit of the words of encyclical “Fratelli Tutti” of His Holiness Pope Francis that the Community of Sant’Egidio has promoted the International Meeting of Prayer for Peace between the large world religions, titled: “No one is saved alone – Peace and fraternity“.

In his laudatio at the Pontifical University of Antonianum, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin emphasized that there is deep, true harmony between the teaching of Pope Francis and that of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. He emphasized that in the figure of the Ecumenical Patriarch we can find “a particularly significant example because of his heartfelt concern for the environmental crisis and, even more so, for his profound reflection on the ecological theme”, recalling how Patriarch Bartholomew had been “a source of inspiration” for Pope Francis.


The annual plenary meeting of the International Commission for the Anglican–Orthodox Theological Dialogue

The annual plenary meeting of the International Commission for the Anglican–Orthodox Theological Dialogue (ICAOTD) due to take place in Greece in October 2020 was cancelled because of Covid restrictions. Instead, the commission gathered for a video conference on Monday 19 October 2020.

The Co-Chairs of the Dialogue are Metropolitan Athenagoras of Belgium (Ecumenical Patriarchate) and The Rt Revd Dr Richard Clarke, retired Archbishop of Armagh (Anglican Communion).

During the meeting the members of the Commission brought news from their Churches and requests for prayer. The Commission also heard news that their agreed statement on ecology, Stewards of Creation: A Hope-Filled Ecology had been published on 19 October 2020. An update was received on the drafting of a statement on ethical issues surrounding the end of life.

The Commission joined together in prayer and continue to pray with hope for the Church and the World in difficult times. Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul. (Acts 4.32)

The Commission will reconvene in Greece between 18 and 25 October 2021.

Stewards of Creation: A Hope-Filled Ecology. The Canterbury Statement

An important Agreed Statement on ecology was published by the Anglican Communion and the Orthodox Churches on Monday 18 October. This is the work of the International Commission for Anglican–Orthodox Theological Dialogue (ICAOTD), which brings together theologians from around the world from both families of Churches. The text was completed in a meeting at Canterbury Cathedral.

Stewards of Creation: A Hope-Filled Ecology sets out a distinctive way to speak of our place in the created order. It builds on the Commission’s previous work, In the Image and Likeness of God: A Hope-Filled Anthropology, and considers the implications of the Christian understanding of the human person for how we should live as part of creation.  This report speaks an important message at a time of great urgency. The environmental crisis deepens, and there is a deep need for everyone to enrich their sense of the givenness and beauty of God’s world.

The Rt Revd Richard Clarke is Co-Chair of the Commission and Metropolitan Athenagoras of Belgium (Ecumenical Patriarchate) is the Orthodox Co-Chair. Together they said, ‘In this statement we call on all people, in the light of our agreement, to be filled with wonder and gratitude to God for the gift of creation, and to exercise true restraint in our use of the power that God gives to humanity, so that we may properly and reverently safeguard God’s creation.’

Stewards of Creation is available on Amazon in Europe, North America and Japan, and may also be downloaded from the Anglican Communion website at

Visit of the President of Ukraine Mr. Volodymyr Zelensky to the Ecumenical Patriarchate

On 16 October 2020, the President of Ukraine, Mr. Volodymyr Zelensky, visited the Ecumenical Patriarchate where he was received with great honor. He was accompanied by his wife Mrs. Olena Zelenska and a large group of officials from the Presidency and the Government of Ukraine, the Ambassador of Ukraine to Ankara Mr. Andrii Sybiha and the Consul General of the country in Istanbul, Mr. Oleksandr Gaman.

Upon their arrival, they visited the Patriarchal Cathedral, where His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel of France presided over a prayer service for the Ukrainian people. Then President Zelensky was received in the Patriarchal Office by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. During their cordial special meeting, President Zelensky invited His All-Holiness to pay an official visit to Ukraine in 2021, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the independence of Ukraine. Continue reading

In Memoriam Metropolitan Gennadios of Italy and Malta (1937-2020)

On 16 October 2020, His Eminence Metropolitan Gennadios of Italy and Malta has fallen asleep in the Lord.

Gennadios, aka Tsampìcos Zervós, was born in Kremastì on the island of Rhodes on 8 July 1937. He studied theology at the Halki Theological School in Istanbul. He was ordained deacon on 16 April 1960 by the then Metropolitan of Rhodes Spyridon in the Holy Monastery of the Holy Trinity in Halki and was then sent by the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras to Italy, to Naples, to continue his postgraduate studies. There, he presented a doctoral thesis in theology on “The Contribution of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for Christian Unity”, which was the first historical work written in a Catholic University by a Greek Orthodox cleric.

For ten years he taught Patristic Theology at the Institute of Saint Nicholas in Bari. During his fifty-year service in Italy, he brilliantly and effectively developed pastoral activities in the ecclesiastical, spiritual and social field, thanks to which he received as recognition, by the authorities of the Italian Republic, the decoration of Grand Official. He actively participated, as a representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in numerous scientific conferences and ecclesiastical events. Continue reading