His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, on Wednesday afternoon, 4 October 2023, performed the sanctification service (Agiasmos) of the new children’s playground of the Holy Metropolis of Chalcedon, on the occasion of its inauguration, in the presence of His Eminence Elder Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon, members of the Holy and Sacred Synod and other Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne, Clergy, community leaders and faithful of Chalcedon.
In his speech, the Ecumenical Patriarch congratulated the Metropolitan and the Coordinating Committee of the Community of Chalcedon, as well as the known and anonymous sponsors and donors, with whose assistance and support the creation of this public benefit project, was made possible, which is directly related, as he said, to the education of our Nation. “We all know that our Nation, especially in Constantinople has always been connected with schools, with education,” the Ecumenical Patriarch said, recalling that the dissemination of Greek Literature has always been a constant concern of the Mother Church.
Elsewhere in his speech, he said:
“Dear brother Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon, you began your Pastoral Ministry coming from the West to the East with great enthusiasm for the Patriarchate and the Greek Diaspora, a part of which was entrusted to you by the Mother Church, and you shepherd this small flock of your historic Metropolis with much love and affection.
We congratulate you on all that you think and do, not only for your Province, but also for the Mother Church, with the many qualifications, skills, and experience you have, and especially for your contribution to the external relations of the Mother Church and the inter-Christian and interreligious dialogues. I congratulate all the lay people of your province, which I always have in my heart, not only because I was able to shepherd them for a short time, but because it was the province of my Elder, my patron, and spiritual father, and so I had the opportunity to come here often, to officiate, to serve, and since my youth I have been inextricably linked with Chalcedon and the Chalcedonians. I wish you all, a blessed winter and this garden with the graceful flowers to grow, to increase both numerically and qualitatively, and to be the pride of Chalcedon, but also of all the Greek Diaspora of Constantinople.”
Previously, the Elder Metropolitan of Chalcedon expressed his joy at welcoming the Ecumenical Patriarch this autumn afternoon, “for a spring of the life and ministry of the Church. And it’s spring because it really gives us wings for the present and for the future when we minister to children. These youth are the future of the “romiosini” and our Nation.” He then thanked the Ecumenical Patriarch for his presence, along with the Synodal Hierarchs and the members of the Patriarchal Court. He also thanked the President, the Vice President, and the members of the Coordinating Committee of Chalcedon, who from the first moment supported this effort, as well as Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain, and the businessman from Chalcedon, Byron Nikolaidis, for their assistance and support for the “Children’s Garden of Chalcedon”. He also expressed his gratitude to all those who offered their services to the playground to create better conditions for the benefit of children.
Then the Ecumenical Patriarch was warmly welcomed by the President of the Coordinating Committee of the Community of Chalcedon Authorities, Archon Grand Referendarios, Mr. Ioannis Demirtzoglou, who stressed that in the “Children’s Garden of Chalcedon” the youth of the Greek community will learn their first letters, playing and creating. After thanking His Eminence Elder Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon for his tireless interest and support for the implementation of this important project, as well as all those who contributed to this purpose, he expressed his joy that many children’s voices will resound in Chalcedon and wished that “this nursery will be filled with flowers and bear many fruits for the Greek Diaspora and “Romiosini”.
More photos: Nikos Papachristou / Ecumenical Patriarchate