On Friday morning, July 26, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew discussed the importance of observing the doctrines of the Church, as well as its genuine and authentic ecclesiology, as he celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Church of Saint Paraskevi Pikridiou, which was granted by the Patriarchate to serve the Romanian-speaking community of the City. “Each place has a Bishop, regardless of ethnic origin,” Panayiotos noted.
“Being baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, we live and grow and continue in the truly great Mystery of the Church as children of her image, and have the conscience that the experience of the proper expression of the Church is the foundation of true life. For it is not enough to believe only in dry and established dogmas without genuine and authentic ecclesiology. Dogma is eternal life only within the Church, otherwise it is of no benefit. And the first element of this ecclesiology is that each place has a Bishop, regardless of ethnic origin. This is what we all feel in this City of the Theotokos, because we have children of different ethnic backgrounds, who because of their lives and work in this City are our own flock, as is the case with the Romanian-speaking community here that you are. As well as the fact that if one of the Orthodox members of this City of ours moves to live or work in Bucharest, for example, he or she becomes part of the flock of the Patriarch Daniel of Romania. In each place, then, also one Bishop,” the Ecumenical Patriarch noted in his address in the Community Hall of the church.
“And because you would hear a great deal and you would obviously be aware of the recent actions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Ukraine, we also inform you that the Mother Church of Constantinople for decades received messages, appeals, supplications to resolve the ongoing problem in Ukraine. You know that each Bishop theologically has the same fullness of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. But from a hierarchical standpoint, the Church charged the Archbishop of this city, Constantinople, with additional responsibility. Also, we ourselves, as we have this duty, this hallowed tradition, and recognizing these responsibilities before the Lord, have welcomed devout refugees, and we convened the Synod of the Ukrainian bishops, not excluding anyone. From this Synod emerged the Primate, His Eminence Epiphanios, a beloved brother in Christ, the Metropolitan Bishop of Kiev and all Ukraine, to whom we also granted the Tomos of Autocephaly of the Holy Church of Ukraine, this past Theophany. And so one more daughter Church was born, in the sense of, of course, the internal administration, as the Church is one, as we confess one symbol of faith, and we rejoice and care for it daily to ensure that it preaches in the Holy Spirit and manages its ecclesiastical issues itself.”
In his address, His All-Holiness also referred to the late Patriarch of Jerusalem, Dositheos, whose memory, after the Divine Liturgy, was celebrated in the Trisagion.
“Dositheos of Jerusalem, brothers and children, can be said to have been distinguished for his strong and correct ecclesiological conscience and his unmistakable belief in our pure faith. His letter about Kiev and the attempts to detach it from Constantinople remains monumental. He was sacrificed to the Lord in the Phanar, in the Metohi of the Holy Sepulcher, at the age of 66, and was temporarily buried in the walls of Saint Paraskevi for eight years, and then his relics were transferred to the Monastery of the Forty Martyrs in Jerusalem. During the many years of his Patriarchate, he not only contributed to the Church of Jerusalem, but also to the Great Church of Christ, recognizing the responsibility of Constantinople and nourished by a sound ecclesiastical sense, and for this reason we are eternally grateful to his example.”
Concluding his address, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew urged members of the Romanian-speaking Community of the City to continue to struggle for the good and true witness of Jesus Christ and to cultivate Orthodox belief and morality. “We, as your spiritual father, also have the responsibility for your souls, and we are beside you, vigilant and praying ceaselessly for you, having secured for you a good cleric, Father Sergio Vlad, who is sure to teach that you are an honored flock of the Holy Archdiocese of Constantinople and that your Patriarch loves you very much and unconditionally.”
The Divine Liturgy was attended by the General Consul of Greece in the City, Ms. Georgia Soultanopoulou, and the Romanian Consul in the City, Mr. Alexandru Opaschi.