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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: “It’s a scandal to separately celebrate the one Resurrection of the One Lord”

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew extended his heartfelt wishes, in his homily, to all the non-Orthodox Christians who celebrated the Feast Day of Holy Pascha on Sunday, 31 March, after presiding over the Sunday Divine Liturgy at the Church of Saint Theodore of the Community of Vlanga.

On this day, the timeless message of the Resurrection resonates more profoundly than ever, as our non-Orthodox Christian brethren and sisters commemorate the resurrection of our Lord from the dead, celebrating Holy Pascha. We have already sent our representatives to all the Christian Communities of other confessions here in Constantinople, to extend our heartfelt wishes of the Holy Great Church of Christ and our Patriarchal congratulations.

But also from this position we extend a heartfelt greeting of love to all Christians around the world who celebrate Holy Pascha today. We beseech the Lord of Glory that the forthcoming Paschal celebration next year will not merely be a fortuitous occurrence, but rather the beginning of a unified date for its observance by both Eastern and Western Christianity.

This aspiration is particularly significant in light of the upcoming 1700th anniversary in 2025, marking the convening of the First Ecumenical Synod in Nicaea. Among its pivotal discussions was the matter of establishing a common timeframe for the Paschal festivities. We are optimistic, as there is goodwill and willingness on both sides. Because, indeed, it is a scandal to celebrate separately the unique event of the one Resurrection of the One Lord!

Earlier, on the occasion of the feast of Saint Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessaloniki, the Ecumenical Patriarch noted:

“Today resonates as a continuation of the spirit of last Sunday, akin to a second Sunday of Orthodoxy, as we commemorate Saint Gregory, a stalwart defender of our faith. His steadfast commitment to Orthodoxy knew no bounds, enduring imprisonment and ultimately martyrdom. His legacy shines as a radiant beacon of unwavering faith, illuminating the path for generations to follow. Indeed, the Saints of the Church are teachers and guides for people not only during their time, but during all times and everywhere. We thank God, Who gave us such imitable role models.

Yet, like every Sunday, today carries with it a profound message of hope, optimism, and joy—the very essence of the Resurrection of our Lord. It echoes the resounding trumpet of Christ’s reassuring and uplifting words: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). .”

On the occasion of his presence at the celebrating Community of Vlanga, the Ecumenical Patriarch expressed, as Archbishop and shepherd of the Archdiocese of Constantinople, his disappointment, bitterness and anxiety over certain events related to the management of community property.

“Every year we come here to Vlanga, as in all our celebrating Communities, with joy and pleasure, to bless them and congratulate them for the work they offer.

However, this year, we arrive here with heavy hearts, carrying with us a sense of sadness and disappointment. Speaking from my role as Archbishop and Shepherd of the Holy Archdiocese of Constantinople, I convey not only my personal sentiments but also those of the Mother Church and the entire Greek Diaspora. Recent events in Kontoskalion have inflicted wounds and publicly exposed the Greek Diaspora, while also jeopardising a portion of our ancestral heritage through long-term leases that deviate from market norms and pose a threat to our property rights.

This property belongs to the Greek Diaspora, whose votes elect representatives entrusted with the conscientious, honest, and efficient administration of our ancestral heritage We do not say that these virtues are necessarily lacking in the administration of our Communities. But there is ignorance, inexperience and haste. And these unjustified leases posed a problem for decades.

May there be swift consolidation and restoration of order, bringing spiritual relief to our Communities. After decades, they have renewed the staff of their boards of directors through the proper elections. We earnestly hope that in our future visits and engagements, we will have nothing but praise and congratulations to offer you.”

Concluding his homily, he welcomed His Grace Bishop Emmanuel of Christoupolis, Assistant to His Eminence Metropolitan Augustine of Germany, with a group of pilgrims from Germany.

Prior to this, His Eminence Metropolitan Maximos of Selyvria, Hierarchical Vicar of Hypsomatheia, warmly welcomed His All-Holiness to the Vlanga community.

During the Divine Liturgy, the holy sermon was preached by the Second Deacon, Father Kallinikos.

Photos: Nikos Papachristou