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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: “Archons continue today to support the Great Church’s initiatives”

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew delivered an address at the First Global Summit of the Archons of the Holy Great Church of Christ. In his speech, he expressed paschal exaltation and spiritual joy, praising the Risen Lord for His salvific gifts, and extended a heartfelt greeting of honor and love to the esteemed Archons gathered in Athens.

Patriarch Bartholomew highlighted the valuable services the Archons have provided to the Great Church over the centuries, and their continued support today. They contribute to ecclesiastical life, assist in worship, administration, and social work, provide Christian witness in the world, serve as a link with secular institutions, and support the rights of the Ecumenical Throne. He expressed pride and gratitude for their efforts, emphasising their role in preserving and cultivating the high values of Orthodox tradition, which are essential to their identity and future.

The Patriarch underscored the importance of defending and promoting these venerable traditions both in Constantinople and globally, using them to address contemporary challenges according to Christ’s commandments. He noted the enduring significance of these traditions through generations, amidst challenges and blessings.

Furthermore, Patriarch Bartholomew explained that seeking spiritual goals does not imply indifference to life and culture but rather strengthens their witness in the world. He detailed the Patriarchate’s various initiatives, including peace-building, social, cultural, ecumenical, inter-religious, and ecological efforts, all proclaiming the sanctity of the human person, solidarity, mutual respect, and cooperation.

He emphasised that neglecting our eternal destination diminishes human existence, asserting that human dignity and respect cannot be based solely on a naturalistic view of man. Instead, there is a need for a transcendental orientation and spiritual values that enrich human existence and nourish moral sense, underscoring the need for God in achieving existential fulfillment.

Please, read the speech below:

Most reverend brother Hierarchs,

Esteemed Presidents of the three Associations of the Archons of the Throne,

Esteemed Archons,

Your Excellency, Mr. President, Keynote Speaker of the Summit,

Distinguished guests,

Beloved children in the Lord,

Christ is risen!

In paschal exaltation and spiritual joy, praising the Risen Lord for His salvific gifts, we extend a heartfelt greeting of honor and love to all of you, the esteemed Archons of the Holy Great Church of Christ, gathered in the famed city of Athens for their First Global Summit of, conveying the blessing of our Ecumenical Patriarchate. 

For long centuries, the Archons have offered valuable services to the Great Church, and they continue today to support her initiatives, contributing in various ways to ecclesiastical life as assistants in the worship, administration and social work of the Church, providing Christian witness in the world, serving as a link with the secular institutions, as well as supporting the rights of the Ecumenical Throne. We rejoice, because you, the contemporary Archons, continue the blessed tradition of the phylogenic laity, who have accomplished much and invaluable work for the Church and the Nation. The Holy Great Church of Christ is proud of you and blesses you. Your Patriarch honors you, loves you, prays for you and your beloved ones. He follows with great interest your work, your contribution to the Church and society, to the cultivation and preservation of the high values of our Orthodox tradition, which constitute our identity. Faithfulness to these values has preserved our identity to this day, and our future course is connected with it.

We defend and cultivate these all-venerable traditions in the City and throughout the world, being inspired and taught by them and utilizing this precious heritage to face, according to the law and commandments of Christ, the contemporary challenges. A generation passes and a generation comes, and we in the City of Constantine steadfastly guard, amidst challenges and adventures, but also blessings and unutterable glory, the sanctuaries of the Nation, the space and the way of life of our fathers. 

In our Orthodox tradition, “seeking that which is above” not only does not imply indifference to life and culture, but also inspires and strengthens our witness in the world. Our Modesty, throughout our long Patriarchate, along with its spiritual, liturgical and pastoral responsibilities, has undertaken many initiatives, whether peace-building, social, cultural, ecumenical, inter-religious, or ecological. We have proclaimed, with a resolute voice, the sanctity of the human person, solidarity, and the value of mutual respect and cooperation. 

We have emphasized that indifference to our eternal destination diminishes human existence. Humanity’s works bear the stigma of vanity, despite the fact that the human being who is indifferent to the transcendent is more easily satisfied in the absence of high goals. Man’s supreme perfection is that he has the need of God for his existential fulfillment. 

We are not just a biological entity. Our life is not exhausted in the struggle for survival, for the satisfaction of material needs. Human dignity and its absolute respect cannot be founded on a naturalistic view of man. We need a transcendental orientation and spiritual values that enrich us existentially and nourish our moral sense.

Esteemed Archons,

We reiterate that we have in your persons, phylogenic, eager, and dynamic co-strugglers and collaborators in the diaconal work of the Church. We rejoice that each of you has a valuable contribution to make in his own field and according to his gifts. The Great Church is in need of people like you, esteemed ones. We appreciate your many abilities and your godly zeal, your fidelity to the patrimonial heritage and your modern spirit, your prudence and your determination. We are aware of your contribution to the wider fruitfulness of the initiatives of the Church. And we praise God, knowing that it is Divine Grace that heals the sick and fills up what is lacking, and that “for those who love God, all things work together for good” (Rom. 8:28). Sacrificial giving, wherever it occurs, transcends human measure and bears the character of a divine gift. 

We consider it a great blessing that the First Global Summit of the Archons of the Throne is taking place today. In recent years, many efforts have been made to find a means of closer cooperation between the Archon Associations. Today’s meeting is the noble fruit of these efforts. We are particularly pleased that one of the main objectives of this event is to provide broader support for the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Foundation, a newly established, worthy institution, which has as its central purpose the definitive solution to the financial challenges faced by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and the coverage of the costs of its multifaceted work. We hope that the fruitfulness of this common and great effort will inscribe the name of the institutional bodies of the Archons of the Throne in indelible letters in the tablets of the history of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The solution can only be found through a brave common effort and contribution. The goal is the success of the project, which can only be sought and ensured through the broad participation of the Archons worldwide. In any case, the Great Church evaluates the establishment and development of this institution as a new chapter in the history of the Archons’ offerings towards her.   

In conclusion, we express the praise and thanks of Our Modesty to the initiators and organizers of this First Global Summit of the Archons of the Throne, under the protection of Panagia Pammakaristos, the “icon of icons of the Patriarchal Church and patroness of the homonymous Brotherhood, of the First-Called of the Apostles Andrew, the founder of our Church, and of the Apostle to the Nations and first theologian of freedom, Paul. We thank His Excellency Mr. Evangelos Venizelos, the eminent initiate and professor of Jurisprudence, for his presence and wise words. To all of you, Esteemed Archons and your beloved families, we wish you health and every blessing from above.

In the presence of our Archons, we are in the habit of reminding them that it is our desire to meet you in the City of Constantine, in the ancient Cathedral of the Mother Church, where the sacred and holy things of the Nation are guarded in great patience, in love without pretense, and in the power of God. We feel a special satisfaction in welcoming you to the Queen of Cities. We are sure that along with the joy you give us, you will also experience unique emotions, feelings not of a mere visitor, but of a “return to the roots,” to your spiritual homeland, to places sacred and familiar, where, during the Byzantine centuries, the Archons Offikialioi provided valuable services to the state and the Church, and, after the Fall, were a support for the leading and suffering Church, and irreplaceable assistants in its vital universal work. Here, in the City, the sheer dimensions of the depth of the honor to belong to the choir of the Archons of the Great Church will be revealed to you.

With such thoughts and sentiments of love and appreciation, we bless you from the City and invoke upon all of you and upon your beloved ones the grace and mercy of the Risen Christ.