On Sunday 10 September 2023, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew presided over the Divine Liturgy which took place at the Cathedral of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Helsinki, Finland, where he is visiting as part of the celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the granting of Autonomy to the Orthodox Church of Finland. His All-Holiness co-celebrated the Divine Liturgy with His Eminence Archbishop Leo of Helsinki and All Finland, Their Eminences, Metropolitan Arsenios of Kuopio and Karelia, Metropolitan Athenagoras of Kydonia, Metropolitan Ilias of Oulu, Metropolitan Vissarion of Spain and Portugal and Metropolitan Gregorios of Persiteri.
Hierarchs, clergy, Archons of the Great Church of Christ, the Ambassadors of Greece and Cyprus, and hundreds of believers inside and outside the most beautiful red-walled Orthodox Cathedral of Helsinki attended the Divine Liturgy.
In his sermon, His All-Holiness congratulated the local Church on the centennial anniversary of the granting of Autonomy (see the speech here).
After the Dismissal, a speech was delivered by His Eminence Archbishop Leo of Finland, and then His All-Holiness conferred the office of Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Throne on the Protopresbyters Father Markuu Salminen and Father Timo Tynkkynen, clergy of the Archdiocese, and then appointed two new Archons, Ambassador Mr. Aleksi Härkönen as Archon Referendarios of the Great Church of Christ and Mr. Risto Nordell as Archon Depoutatos of the Great Church of Christ.
On the afternoon of the same day, His All-Holiness, accompanied by Archbishop Leo, visited the Somainen Correctional Facility in Helsinki, where, in the Orthodox Chapel that operates inside, he was welcomed by the representatives of the Directorate as well as by the two clergymen, one Orthodox and one Lutheran, who serve there to serve the religious and pastoral needs of the prisoners. The Patriarch thanked the clergy for the informative discussion and congratulated the clergy for their spiritual support and genuine concern for the prisoners.
In the evening, His All-Holiness attended a reception given in his honour by the Ambassador of Greece, Ms. Natalia Karageorgou, at the Embassy residence, in the presence of Diplomats, members of the Greek Community and a large number of other guests.
On Saturday afternoon, 9 September 2023, His All-Holiness officiated at the Doxology held in the Cathedral on the anniversary of the centenary of the Autonomy of the Church of Finland, at the end of which he addressed the clergy and people of the local Church.
On the same morning, His All-Holiness visited the Orthodox youth camp in Kaunisniemi, where a prayer was held for the restoration of peace in the war-torn Ukraine, as the camp hosts children from this tested country. Earlier, the Patriarch visited the parish of Saint Nectarios, where he blessed the faithful who assembled to receive him and have his patriarchal blessing.
Photographs: Nikos Papachristou / Ecumenical Patriarchate