This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24, KJV)
Constantinople, the Queen of Cities. Phanar, the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The spiritual dignity of Saint Andrew the First-Called Apostle, of the Holy Patriarchs – St. John Chrysostom, St. Gregory the Theologian, St. Photios the Great, and of many other glorious Saints of the Church. The Primate Mother Church of all Orthodoxy, the inexhaustible lamp of apostolic faith, the unquenchable torch of God’s grace, which enlightened many nations with the gospel’s flame, including ours – yesterday blazed upon us with yet another ray of God’s grace. Namely, in the venerable patriarchal church of Saint George the Triumphant, His All-Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, organised reception for all of our monks and nuns from our four monasteries: Bigorski, Rajchica, Prechista, and Knezhino. We came to visit him, guided by our beloved Elder, Bishop Parthenius of Antania, and with the blessing of our respected Debar-Kichevo Metropolitan, Mr Timothy. We were truly honoured to see His All-Holiness the Patriarch and to venerate the holy relics of our Fathers, Saint Basil the Great, St. Gregory the Theologian, and St. John Chrysostom, as well as of the Holy Martyrs St. Euphemia and St. Solomona and the Holy Empress Theophany.
At the warm reception, which was also attended by the respected Metropolitan of Chalcedon, Mr. Emanuel, the Ecumenical Patriarch once again manifested his immense love for the Church of God, as a true father of Orthodoxy. He expressed great respect for our spiritual father and Elder, who had a special address to His All-Holiness. In addition, a monastic message on behalf of all our brothers and sisters was also read before the Patriarch. Then, His All-Holiness addressed us accordingly and expressed his paternal care for all of us and for our Church. Finally, we all took his blessing, kissing his holy right hand.
The meeting in Phanar was a true spiritual feast, filled with the joy of the Resurrection.
We also used our time in Constantinople to venerate the great sanctuaries in this magnificent city. We left the Queen of Cities filled with immense grace and comfort, assured in the paternal protection of His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew.