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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: “We dedicate ourselves to the pursuit of peace and reconciliation”

“The new year commences with hope for a world free from the scourge of wars that afflict individuals, nations, and humanity as a whole, while the looming threat of broader conflict or nuclear catastrophe persists,” noted His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in his address on Thursday afternoon, 4 January 2024, during the New Year’s celebration at the Cultural Centre of the Greek Diaspora, housed in the Galata School.

“The Ecumenical Patriarchate and we personally dedicate ourselves to the pursuit of peace and reconciliation, firm in our belief that ‘peace from above,’ the spiritual and inner peace bestowed by Christ, is fundamental to external peace—the harmony of the whole world and the universe. Our endeavors in 2024 will persist through interfaith dialogues, which play a pivotal role in eradicating prejudices and fostering mutual trust. When religions manifest their deepest essence, they become agents of peace and solidarity,” added the Ecumenical Patriarch.

As part of the occasion, the Ecumenical Patriarch blessed the Vasilopita of the Galata School Foundation, while a concert featuring the renowned artist Manolis Mitsias, accompanied by the Women’s Choir “Saint Kassiani the Hymnographer” of the Holy Metropolis of Neapolis and Stavroupolis, directed by Maria Charalambidou, unfolded.

Warm appreciation was extended by the Ecumenical Patriarch to Metropolitan Barnabas of Neapolis and Stavroupolis for organising the event and orchestrating the concert, as well as to the esteemed artist Manolis Mitsias for delivering an outstanding performance.

In his address, among other reflections, he articulated, “Believers do not seek to escape time, for in time and history, the Word of God was made flesh. The Church, as the vessel and means of Christ’s redemptive presence in the world, sanctifies our lives through doctrinal teachings, liturgical practices, spirituality, love, and service, ushering us into the approaching Kingdom of God.

The Mother Church of Constantinople bears witness to creation, proclaiming and elucidating the Christian Gospel, endeavouring faithfully, per Christ’s heavenly commands, toward the divine transformation of the world. Gratefully acknowledging that Christ bestows upon humanity supreme value, ‘true freedom,’ unyielding sanctity, and an eternal destiny,” he concluded.

The event drew the presence of many Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne, clergy, numerous Greek expatriates, and visitors from around the globe.