The capital of Orthodoxy, the main city of the once glorious Byzantine Empire, Constantinople, which according to the decision of the holy Ecumenical Councils is the First Throne of Orthodoxy and the dwelling place of the Great Church of Christ, today again became the focal point of gathering. Hundreds of faithful gathered to take part in the celebration of the Holy Apostles Bartholomew and Barnabas and the name day of His All-Holiness, the Archbishop of Constantinople – New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch Mr. Bartholomew.
Hierarchs, clergy, monks, and faithful from the entire Orthodox ecumene arrived to pour out their prayers in the glorious and all-honoured Patriarchal Monastery dedicated to the Life-Giving Fountain of the Most Holy Theotokos – Balaklya. This is the place where the Ecumenical Patriarch traditionally celebrates his name day on the day of the holy apostles Bartholomew and Barnabas.
The ancient and glorious church of the Mother of God rejoiced today, rendering worthy honour to the Primate of the Orthodox Church, who zealously, with holy responsibility and sacred dedication, safeguards the purity of the Orthodox faith and maintains the sacred order in the Church of God. All present rejoiced, sparkling with unearthly joy, the entire Orthodox community celebrated, expressing its conciliar love to their First-Throned Patriarch – a sincere and warm love, emanating from humility and respect for the Holy Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils.
With the blessing of our respected hierarch, Metropolitan Mr. Timothy, our monastic communities from the monasteries: Bigorski, Rajcica, and Prechista, led by our beloved Elder, the Bishop of Antania Mr. Parthenius, also joined this festive celebration. We are immensely grateful that, for the second time, after the decision of the Ecumenical Patriarch to restore the Ohrid Archbishopric to canonical unity with the entire Orthodoxy, we can be part of this universal joy. With special love, we joined our prayers to the assembly of the faithful and paid respect, expressing our filial love and gratitude to the Father of the Orthodox, congratulating him on his name day.
At the festive celebration, the Metropolitan of Tetovo-Gostivar Mr. Joseph was also present, as a representative of our respected Archbishop, and was accorded special honour by His All-Holiness.
A special joy for the Ecumenical Patriarch was also the singing of the choir “Metropolitan Kosmas of Prechista,” accompanied by the musicians Peter Hristov and Vlatko Zataratoski, who, after the Vespers service, enriched the festive celebration with several performances of traditional folk songs with Orthodox content, delighting all present in the courtyard of the Monastery Balaklya.
The eve of the Holy Apostles Bartholomew and Barnabas marks the beginning of the name day festival of His All-Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch Mr. Bartholomew, which will continue throughout the next day, with the Divine Liturgy in the God-guarded Phanar, in the heart of Orthodoxy.