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84th Birthday of the Ecumenical Patriarch – Many Blessed Years, Your All-Holiness!

The 29th day of February appears in calendars once every four years. On such a “rare” day, in the year 1940, His All-Holiness our Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was born, who in-turn is a great and indeed, rare ecclesiastical personality.

His All-Holiness was born in the village of Agioi Theodoroi in Imbros. His parents were the late Christos and Meropi Archondonis. They baptised him Dimitrios and provided him with a Christocentric upbringing and education.

From a young age, he assisted the priest of his village, the late Father Asterios, in the serving of the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, following him closely to all the churches and chapels of the island. With the help of his spiritual father, Elder Metropolitan Meliton of Chalcedon, he studied the sacred science at the Theological School of Halki. When he reached the age of 21, he had already decided that he would dedicate himself to the priesthood and that for the rest of his life he would sacrifice himself daily for the Church.

This he continues to do for over 63 years – that is, three quarters, exactly, of his life and existence up until now – with important milestones along this blessed course of ministry, such as the following dates:

1961: Ordination to the diaconate, by the then Metropolitan of Imbros and Tenedos, later Elder Metropolitan of Chalcedon Meliton Hatzis.

1969: Ordination to the Priesthood and elevation to the office of Archimandrite, by the late Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras.

1972: Attainment of the role of Director of the Personal Patriarchal Office, of the Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios.

1973: Promotion to Metropolitan of Philadelphia.

1990: Election as Elder Metropolitan of Chalcedon.

1991: Election as Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch.

For over 32 years, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew brightens and adorns the Ecumenical Throne, standing tall in the martyred Phanar as a pillar of love, unity and hope for the Orthodox world. In addition, as a personality with international prestige and recognition, he has contributed significantly to highlighting the role of the venerable centre of Orthodoxy throughout the world.

On today’s joyous occasion of his sacred birthday, we wholeheartedly wish our Ecumenical Patriarch many more healthy and fruitful years, and we express our gratitude for his recent decisions along with the Holy and Sacred Synod, for our Archdiocese, to establish a Eparchial Synod and regional bishops in our local Church. We offer, at the same time, our filial love and our absolute respect to his person, as well as the feelings of joy and anticipation of the entire Christian plenitude of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia for his upcoming Apostolic Visit to the fifth continent, this coming October.

Many blessed years, Your All-Holiness!

From the ‘Vema’ editorial team.