He noted this in his address at the celebrating Holy Church of the Twelve Apostles in Feriköy
“For the Church of Christ, there are no worldly powers. Neither geographical extent, nor the multitudes of its followers, nor material wealth, can be powers for the Church of Christ. Its greatest power is our Lord Jesus Christ and Him crucified,” His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew emphasized in the address he delivered after the Divine Liturgy, in which he presided from the Throne, today, Wednesday, June 30, 2021, for the feast of the Synaxis of the Holy Apostles, at the celebrating Holy Church in Feriköy. With these words, His All-Holiness responded to all those who forget this truth and dream, as he said, of the Ecumenical Patriarchate “somewhere abroad, as a Vatican of Orthodoxy, with worldly glory and power.”
In his address he pointed out that the life and course of the Holy Great Church of Christ through the centuries is similar to that of the Apostles.
“By the power of her Crucified Lord, the Holy Great Church of Christ survived so many difficult moments in the history of her existence, gave the good witness in the world and performed miracles, escaping ‘danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger from false brethren.’ How similar is her life and course through the ages to the life of the Apostles, as we heard it today in the Epistle reading, part of which we repeat: ‘God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death…We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are ill-clad and buffeted and homeless… When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure, when we are cursed, we answer kindly.’
“These things are what the Holy Apostles tell us today, as those who have nothing, and yet possess everything, the Mother Church also repeats this to you, her children and also the beloved of this City. And in all this, and for all this, we glorify the name of the Lord, that he has reserved for us such a privilege, such an honor!”
Previously, the Ecumenical Patriarch made special reference to the Twelve Apostles, “whom we honor today in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. These men did not live only for their time, but are for all ages, the radiant and spotless preachers of the Resurrection, thanks to whom our faith is not in vain nor our preaching empty, as we say in accord with the divinely-guided Paul.”
“The Twelve Apostles, however, were not only preachers of the Resurrection, but also of other great truths and realities of our faith and life in general. Their very calling and election as Apostles, while they were nothing but simple, illiterate and poor people, is a reflection of the truth that God can also raise Abraham’s children from the stones; that God’s criteria differ from those of human beings; and that, therefore, we should not despise anything small, anything cheap, because in the eyes of God these things may have incalculable value and significance. Did he not speak of “the least of His brethren,” with whom he did not disdain to identify Himself? “As you did this to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.”
“God ‘finally proved the Apostles to be mortals,’ as we also are. But do not forget what these last ones, these mortals, these illiterates, these few managed to accomplish: ‘And they went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord’s fellow workers.’ The whole life and action of the Apostles is a strong testimony and proof of this truth, that is, that the power of God ‘is in weakness.’ His Grace is enough for us. The Apostle of the Gentiles reminds us, addressing the Corinthians, that ‘we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God.’”
His All-Holiness expressed his patriarchal satisfaction “to to the Most Holy Brother, the Metropolitan of Kallioupolis and Madytos, Stefanos, Supervisor of the Region of Tataoulon, for his devotion to the service of the Mother Church, as well as for the fact that, in a short period of time, he has already proved in practice his paternal care and affection for the Christian people who are his responsibility. We also congratulate the Hierarchical Head of the Community, Ferikios Osiologiotaton, and dear Fr. Samuel for his fruitful work.” He also praised and thanked the Honorable Archon Exarchos Mr. Konstantinos Santaltzidis, President of the Ecclesiastical Committee, and the Community officials for their contribution and work.
With warm words, His All-Holiness was previously welcomed by His Eminence the Metropolitan of Kallioupolis and Madytos.
“The holy memory of the most wise Apostles” is a “joyful feast” which “took place today” and is a good occasion for all of us to offer our deepest respects and heartfelt regards to Your All-Holiness, of whom, let me say that your holy name day still celebrated today, as your heavenly protector and helper, the Holy Apostle Bartholomew, happens to belong to the choirs of the Twelve Disciples of Christ.
The repetition of the solemn celebration of your sacred nameday takes place under the domes of the renovated Church of the Pillars of the Faith, that is, the glorious and all-praiseworthy Apostles, the successor of whom is the Your All-Holiness. Your presence here, All-Holy Master, we feel is also a tribute to a humble and silent predecessor of yours, the ever-to-be-remembered Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrios, whom you supported with great devotion throughout his Patriarchate, and who served for many years as the Hierarchical Head of our celebrating Community. I am sure that his blessed soul will rejoice today, seeing his immediate successor presiding over this holy feast of Feriköy, “honoring the twelve divine friends of Christ,” blessing and sanctifying the patriarchal clergy and people.
Moreover, your presence now in our celebrating church coincides with the thirtieth year, completed this year of your renowned Patriarchate, which has a primarily apostolic character, because, according to the responsibility entrusted to you by the Lord of the vineyard, you “encircled the whole” and “passed through the entire world, as can be seen; and the Gospel, you have preached, you have spoken to all nations and languages, the preaching of Christ.”
The Honorable Archon Exarchos Mr. Konstantinos Santaltzidis then referred to the work of the Community last year.
Before the Dismissal, His All-Holiness sang a trisagion for the repose of the souls of the ever-to-be-remembered predecessor Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrius, the Hierarchs who were Supervisors of the Region of Tataoulon, and the clergy who served in the Holy Church of the Holy Apostles of Feriköy.
During the Divine Liturgy, there were present His Eminence Metropolitan Kyrillos of Ierapytni and Sitia and the God-loving Bishop Damaskinos of Dorylaio, as well as clerics who accompanied them, Archons Offikialon, and many believers from Istanbul.