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The Ecumenical Patriarch honors the memory of the Hieromartyr Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory V of Constantinople

On the occasion of the historic 200th anniversary of the martyrdom of his predecessor, His All-Holiness issued a special message

Today, April 10, 2021, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, on the occasion of the completion of two hundred years since the martyrdom of the Hieromartyr Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory V of Constantinople, presided from the Throne during the Divine Liturgy at the all-holy Patriarchal Church, and read the blessing of the kollyva, which was “offered in honor and memory” of the celebrated saint.

After the Divine Liturgy, His All-Holiness went, as he does every year, to the Closed Gate of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the place of the hanging of the Ecumenical Patriarch, accompanied by Their Eminences Metropolitan Emmanuel, Geron of Chalcedon, Andreas of Saranta Ekklisies, and Joachim of Bursa, the clergy of the Patriarchal Court, and the faithful. He lit a candle in front of the holy icon of the Hieromartyr Ecumenical Patriarch, placed down spring flowers, and prayed, invoking the grace and intercession of his holy predecessor for the Church and the Genos.

In his Message issued for today’s historic anniversary, the Ecumenical Patriarch recalled that in the long chain of the Archbishops of Constantinople, there are included personalities who lifted the cross with joy and deep awareness, handing it over to their successors with the self-awareness of the martyrs.

“Thus we have Holy Archbishops and Ecumenical Patriarchs who, according to their spiritual gifts and the needs of the ecclesiastical body, poured themselves out in the ministry of the salvation of their flock in various ways and in all things, immovable in the faith and steadfast in its confession, even unto this bloody martyrdom, and whose memory rekindles in the consciousness of the Church the presence of Holy Spirit and strengthens the Orthodox mind in all of us.

“The ecclesiastical memory of one such prominent historical figure, that is, Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory V, on the occasion of the completion of two hundred years from the martyrdom of his holy hierarchical life and the martyrdom of those with him, reaffirms to all of us today that ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever’ (Heb. 3: 8) and shows to the world the value it holds for the holy and immaculate faith of the Orthodox, and the steadfastness, the duty and the unwavering devotion of all, and above all of the shepherds of the rational flock of Christ, to the saving truth of the Cross and to the certainty of the Resurrection.”

As the Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory V highlighted this dimension of the blessed crucifixion in his faith in Christ, he lived and consciously professed it in “the Holy Great Church of Christ in Constantinople, the common nurturer of the Orthodox, with patience and dedication, with effort and sacrifice, with hope and anticipation, far from exclusions, extremes, ephemeral goals and worldly consideration of the facts and the course of history.”

The following is the full text of His All-Holiness’ Message:

In the long chain of the Archbishops of Constantinople, to whom the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, entrusted in early times, in addition to the usual episcopal responsibilities, major and most important duties, as “an easy yoke and a light burden,” according to the voice of the Lord (cf. Matthew 11: 30). there are included personalities who lifted the cross with joy and deep awareness, handing it over to their successors with the self-awareness of the martyrs, in accordance with the requirements of each historical moment. Thus we have Holy Archbishops and Ecumenical Patriarchs who, according to their spiritual gifts and the needs of the ecclesiastical body, poured themselves out in the ministry of the salvation of their flock in various ways and in all things, immovable in the faith and steadfast in its confession, even unto this bloody martyrdom, and whose memory rekindles in the consciousness of the Church the presence of Holy Spirit and strengthens the Orthodox mind in all of us.

The ecclesiastical memory of one such prominent historical figure, that is, Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory V, on the occasion of the completion of two hundred years from the martyrdom of his holy hierarchical life and the martyrdom of those with him, reaffirms to all of us today that ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever’ (Heb. 3: 8) and shows to the world the value it holds for the holy and immaculate faith of the Orthodox, and the steadfastness, the duty and the unwavering devotion of all, and above all of the shepherds of the rational flock of Christ, to the saving truth of the Cross and to the certainty of the Resurrection.

This dimension of the blessed crucifixion in our faith in Christ, dear brothers and children in the Lord, he lived and consciously professed in the Holy Great Church of Christ in Constantinople, the common nurturer of the Orthodox, with patience and dedication, with effort and sacrifice, with hope and anticipation, far from exclusions, extremes, ephemeral goals and worldly consideration of the facts and the course of history.

The Great Church of Christ does everything by its empowering in Christ, in order to win over to the faith those near and far. It does not give up the word and way of the Gospel, but is long-suffering and patient. It preaches mercy, tolerance, and respect for the other person, it always sees them as brethren of the Lord Jesus. It teaches coexistence, and overlooks and looks forward to the return of the erring and to the repentance of the lost.

But it does not throw away the holy things, it preserves the “iota” and the “dot” in the essentials (cf. Matthew 5:18), it insists on the legacy of the Fathers, it defends its honorable traditions and its principles, it does not abandon the good fight. Our predecessor the Hieromartyr Gregory V, honored today by the Mother Church, also preserved the boundaries of these salvific and eschatological perspectives. Like all Saints and Martyrs, he is for this reason an occasion of thanksgiving to God. May the memory of the glorious Holy Hieromartyr Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory, an unchanging guide for all of us, enlighten our thoughts and empower us “to act with illumination and purity, as God wills.”


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