The Patriarchal Vicar, Elder Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon presided over the Divine Liturgy for the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ and the Feast of Saint Basil the Great yesterday, January 1, 2022, at the Patriarchal Church in the Phanar.
Metropolitans Meliton of Philadelphia, Eirinaios of Myriophyton and Peristasis, Chrysostomos of Myra, Chrysostomos of Kyrenia from the Church of Cyprus, and Ioakeim of Bursa concelebrated the service.
The Consul of Greece in Constantinople, Stavros Christodoulidis, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and a large number of believers from Constantinople and abroad attended the service.
In his speech, the Elder Metropolitan stated:
“The situation is indeed unprecedented because we celebrate in the absence of our Patriarch, but—as I had the opportunity to emphasize yesterday in the Patriarchal Court—the Patriarch is present more than ever, as His seal is printed everywhere, in every expression and manifestation of the everlasting Phanar. Both the stones of the walls and the candles of the iconostasis and the rostrums of the cantors and this Despotic Throne bear witness to Bartholomew and await His return, here in the martyred First Cathedral of the Eastern Church.
Earlier, the Patriarchal Vicar was addressed by Metropolitan Germanos of Tranoupolis, as a representative of the Hierarchy of the Throne, and Archon Primikirios Adamantios Komvopoulos, who conveyed the wishes on behalf of the Offikalioi of the Mother Church and the Greek Diaspora of Constantinople.
In his speech, the Metropolitan of Tranoupolis expressed his emotion, because, as he said, “we miss very much today the Patriarch of our Nation, the Benefactor and Despot, the loving pastor and restless guardian of the sacrosanct of the Church of the Nation.”
Referring to the two anniversaries celebrated by the Ecumenical Patriarch last year, the sixty years since his ordination as a deacon and the thirty years since his election as Ecumenical Patriarch, the Metropolitan of Tranoupolis pointed out, among others:
“A lot has been heard and written and done in honor and memory of both anniversaries. However, what cannot be written nor said, nor described in any way is the love of Patriarch Bartholomew for the Great Church of Christ.
New Year’s Eve
On the eve of the feast, Friday, December 31, 2021, the Patriarchal Vicar officiated the Vespers, accompanied by Elder Metropolitan Apostolos of Derkoi, Metropolitans Germanos of Tranoupolis, Meliton of Philadelphia, Eirinaios Myriophyton and Peristasis, Stephanos of Kalliopolis and Madyton, Maximos of Sylivria, Andreas of Saranta Ekklisies, and Ioakeim of Bursa.
Archbishop Nektarios of Anthedon, Commissioner of the Holy Sepulcher in Constantinople, Bishops Ambrosios of Evdokiada, Benjamin of Tralleis, and Smaragdos of Dafnousia, the Consuls of Greece and of Ukraine in Constantinople, Stavros Christodoulidis and Maksim Vdovychenko, and many believers attended the service.
Immediately afterwards, the Patriarchal Vicar received the wishes of the Hierarchs and blessed the New Year’s pie.
The Vicar then received the wishes of the members of the Patriarchal Court and the employees of the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the Patriarchal Church. On behalf of the clergy and laity of the Patriarchal Court, the Patriarchal Vicar was addressed by Grand Protosyncellus Theodoros.
In his reply, the Patriarchal Vicar made a special reference to the Ecumenical Patriarch:
“The short-term absence of the Patriarch highlighted our own weakness, because Patriarch Bartholomew is the soul of the Phanar, and this absence, even for a moment, gives us the opportunity for reflection, to confront ourselves and our weaknesses, to dare to compare ourselves with the Patriarch, to set new goals, to intensify the effort for improvement and more meaningful fulfillment of our mission.”
The Patriarchal Vicar then blessed and cut the New Year’s Vasilopita.