The Holy Mother Church in Constantinople, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, continues to envelope us with its maternal tenderness and graces, gathering us all again, as once the Apostles in the days of Pentecost, for the continuation of the graceful streams, the festive joy, and the thanksgiving communion from Phanar to Taksim, in the temple dedicated to the Holy Trinity. Today’s Divine Liturgy was officiated by His Beatitude the Archbishop of Ohrid, Mr. Stefan, in co-celebration with the bishops of Heraclea, Mr. Clement and of Antania. Mr. Parthenius, our beloved Elder and Abbot, together with hieromonks and hierodeacons from the Ecumenical Patriarchate and from our Ohrid Archbishopric, and His All-Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch, Mr. Bartholomew, was prayerfully present in the holy altar. The numerous faithful people present there and the groups with children were witnesses to the unearthly joy and beauty that emanated from the unity in Christ’s love for which we are especially grateful.
His Grace, the Bishop of Trallia, Mr. Benjamin, read the greeting speech on behalf of the archiepiscopal head of the community of the Holy Trinity Stavrodromion (Taksim), His Eminence the Metropolitan of Saranda Ecclesies, Mr. Andrew, who was unable to attend for justified reasons:
You eagerly awaited the Angel of the Lord, who stirred the water not at Siloam, but at Constantinople, the spring of spiritual renewal of the Orthodox and the healing of inner Orthodox divisions. Your immersed prayer, your zeal, and your patience were answered, as the Scripture says: Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (Rom. 8:26).
So, Most Reverend, and you brothers, have courage and faith in the renewing and transforming power and energy of the Holy Spirit, Who supplements our deficiencies and heals our weaknesses and the damages caused by them. Remain firm and faithful in what the Holy Spirit commands and in what dictates your place in the Church and your sacred duty to God and history.
Today, therefore, or in other words, today like yesterday, we enjoy the grandeur of joy and unity and of the power of God’s grace through the Church, specifically through the Constantinople Mother Church. You are in the centre of the Most Holy Constantinople Archbishopric. In our sacred church, the ecclesiastical life has been preserved in the centre of the City for a long time. We struggle according to the spiritual and canonical commandments of our Archipastor, the Ecumenical Patriarch, thus walking the path of salvation.
I am convinced that His All-Holiness, this wise man of our Church, and the canonical accuracy of the church Act for your restoration in unity, will surely encounter hospitality and a broad spirit that will implement it, with knowledge of the spiritual benefit of the people of God and the needs of His Church.
Expressing again my warm gratitude to our All-Holy Patriarch for his blessed presence and for his co-prayerful participation today, in this magnificent Sacred church, we wish the future to be much better than the past! May tomorrow be a building that will have today as its foundation!
Most Reverend, in memory of Your holy service today, accept, as a touching memory, a small token of gratitude on behalf of the board of our Community, as well as on my behalf.
Many years to come!
The Archbishop expressed his heartfelt gratitude for the love and hospitality of the Patriarchate and for the bright personality of the unforgettable Ecumenical Patriarch, Mr. Bartholomew, who at the table of love did not fail once again to thank our Archbishop and our Hierarchs on behalf of the First-Throned Mother Church:
Most Holy Archbishop of Ohrid, Mr. Stephen, together with your honourable company,
This is the mysterious and special gift of your Mother, of the Great Church of Christ – the love. “Perfect love casteth out fear” (3 Jn. 4:18). We are not afraid of human complications and changes. We love ecclesiastically, that is, Christ-imitating. One thing is showing love, and another is just talking about it. Love has its price, pain, sorrow, because it casts its gaze towards eternity and does not serve only the present.
The life of the Great Church is both very significant and very turbulent. It is interesting, because it is Christ-like. We invite you once again to be disciples and participants of this sacred heritage. Come and receive from the water of the City, so that you could renew and revitalize the Local Church of Ohrid. Now you are given the opportunity to reposition yourself in the events of the Church. Open your wings, high-flyers, and notice the life and deeds of your Mother.
At this hour, we lay our Patriarchal satisfaction, as much as towards the Most Holy brother, the holy Archbishop of Ohrid Mr. Mr. Stephen, so much towards the hierarchy around him as well, because we noticed your good disposition and attitude towards the Great Church of Christ. Also towards the state leaders of North Macedonia, for their maturity and stability.
It would be an oversight here if we do not note with praise the catalytic contribution of the whole brotherhood of the Holy Bigorski Monastery, spiritually guided by the God-loving Bishop of Antania Mr. Parthenius – especially acknowledging his personal efforts – for the whole process of healing and overcoming of this long and terrible schism.
We left with exalted feelings from the aristocratic hospitality and magnificent Liturgies at the Mother Church in Constantinople, and especially from the unique, charismatic, and highly dignified, but above all deeply spiritual and enlightened personality of the Ecumenical Patriarch and Father of the Orthodox, His All-Holiness, Mr. Bartholomew of Constantinople. We lit our lamps from the Phanar of Orthodoxy and filled them with the oil of graceful and generous embrace of the Mother church, which has forever imprinted on our hearts.
With spiritual ecstasy and grateful feelings, we departed from the Metropolis of the once glorious Roman Empire, which still testifies to the spirit and upbringing of the spiritual men of Rome, sacrificially preserving the aristocratic spirit of Orthodox splendour. Our hearts were immersed in prayers for the well-being of the holy churches of God and for the unification of all in the love of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, authentically preserved in the first-throned Mother Church in the City of Theotokos – Constantinople, under the patronage and protection of our Most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary.