A Divine Liturgy was held in the Holy Church of the Dormition of the Virgin, in the community of Panagia of Thassos presided over by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and co-officiated by Archbishop of Athens and all Greece Ieronymos and Metropolitan of Kyiv and all Ukraine Epiphaniy, while several High Priests participated.
Metropolitan Epiphaniy addressing the Patriarch, the Archbishop and the Metropolitan Philippi of Neapolis and Thassos, Stefanos, did not hide his joy and emotion for the historic, as he described it, coexistence of the three Primates and the joint liturgy they performed.
“Words cannot express the spiritual joy for today’s Divine Liturgy”, he noted and added: “We bear witness to the unity of the Church of Christ all here together”.
Addressing the Patriarch, he emphasized: “Your All-Holiness, you dedicated your life to the unity of the Church and made every effort for the success of the Holy and Great Synod in order to provide a solution to chronic problems of the Orthodox Church and restoring the unity of the Church of Ukraine and of North Macedonia”.
Also, he continued: “Some deny church communion for the sake of power. They seek secular power and wealth” and he called them to “give up stubbornness and return to the truth and unity of the church”.
He also thanked the Greek people for the support they show to his country and the important humanitarian aid they have sent during this difficult period. “We Ukrainians,” he emphasized, “are fighting for our country, for our Church and for our people.”
Addressing the Archbishop, he expressed his joy for the fraternal love that both he and the Church of Greece have shown to the pious people of Ukraine.
In his speech, the Ecumenical Patriarch, making a reference to the significant historical course of the church, emphasized that in its centuries-long course, despite the problems and difficult conditions, it always manages to find the right path in the end and successfully face all the problems.
His All-Holiness made a brief review of the problem that the Church of Ukraine had been facing for a number of years, noting that the “Ecumenical Patriarchate restored a big problem, with much care and deep study.” He even characterized the Ukrainian schism as “difficult, thorny and intractable” because political forces were also involved in it.
On the subject of the validity of the ordinations that mainly is raised the Russian Church, but also of the so-called self-ordained bishops in the Church of Ukraine, His All-Holiness was absolutely categorical.
He characterized them as “a distortion of the truth” and “a fallacy that only serves expediency” to add that all that is being circulated “are fiction, products of targeted propaganda. And some people are well aware of the propaganda”.
In many parts of his speech, the head of Orthodoxy emphasized the great and tireless efforts made by the Ecumenical Patriarchate over many years, in order to find a solution to the issue of the Church of Ukraine, underlining that many times they addressed all the parties involved to present their views, so as a sustainable solution accepted by all to be found.
He also referred to the stance of the Archbishop of Athens, saying that the Church of Greece and Ieronymos always put the best interests of the church first.
At the end of the Divine Liturgy, the Metropolitan of Kyiv and all Ukraine distributed the antidoro to the faithful who attended the liturgy, and gave to them a commemorative icon.
Last night, the Municipality declared the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece honorary citizens of the island, while presenting a commemorative plaque – for his visit to the island – to the Metropolitan of Kyiv.