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Ecumenical Patriarch performs Sanctification Service for reopening of Marasli School

On Monday afternoon, 10 June 2024, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew presided over the Great Vespers for the feast of the Holy Apostles Bartholomew and Barnabas at the Patriarchal Church of Saint George, Phanar.

The service was attended by a large number of Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne, clergy from other Autocephalous Churches, monks, and Archons of the Great and Holy Church of Christ. Distinguished attendees included Bishop Massimiliano Palinuro of the Roman Catholics in Constantinople, Ambassador Konstantinos Koutras (Consul General of Greece in Constantinople), Ambassador Dimitrios Rallis (Deputy Secretary General of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation), Roman Nedilskyi (Consul General of Ukraine), students from the diaspora schools of Constantinople and Imbros, and many faithful believers.

At the end of the Vespers, the Ecumenical Patriarch performed a Trisagion service in memory of the late Metropolitan Agathonikos of Kitros and Hieromonk Bartholomew Koutloumousianos from Imbros (1772-1851).

Following the Vespers, the Ecumenical Patriarch proceeded to the adjacent “Patriarchal Urban School of Marasli” to perform the Sanctification service (Agiasmos), marking the completion of its extensive renovation. Upon entering the impressive building, which will now serve the needs of the Patriarchate, His All-Holiness unveiled a commemorative plaque.

In his address, the Ecumenical Patriarch expressed his deep emotion and gratitude for the reopening of the Marasli School, thanking everyone who contributed to the renovation of this historic building. He stated:

“It is with great emotion and joy that we celebrated the Service of Sanctification, inaugurating, with the grace of the God who loves human-kind, a new chapter in the history and operation of the Marasli Urban School, officially known as the ‘Patriarchal Urban School of Marasli.’”

He extended his patriarchal gratitude to the sponsors of the project: the Holy Archdiocese of America, the Holy Church of Cyprus, the Holy Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain, Noble Lady Argyro Sofianou, and Honorable Archon Nikolaos Pateras. Special thanks were given to the project leader, the Honourable President of SIRKI, Mr. Georgios Papaliaris, and his dedicated team, engineers, and all those who contributed to the successful renovation.

“The School is revived, creating a new lung for our Patriarchate, with beautiful spaces for events, offices, hospitality rooms, a dining room for official meals of the Patriarchate, and other rooms. The Urban School opens its doors without teachers and students, but remains a symbol and a place of teaching and apprenticeship. A building jewel, which embodies the ideals of education and the nobility of the Greek community.”

His All-Holiness emphasised that the Marasli School, along with the other educational institutions surrounding the Ecumenical Patriarchate, represents the spirit and ethos of the Great Church, its ecumenicality, and brightness. The bells of the Patriarchal Church and the bells of the schools, calling students to lessons, convey the same message: the orientation of life towards Truth, knowledge, and faith as a single force of authentic freedom. “Freedom is the name of virtue,” as stated by the Ancient Greeks.

Concluding his speech, the Patriarch highlighted that the Churches and schools of the Greek diaspora are central to the identity and culture of the Greek community. He declared:

“The Patriarchal Urban School of Marasli, with its new function and mission, proclaims that the Greek Diaspora is inseparably connected with the ‘by word’ and ‘by Christ’ life, with this ‘miracle’ and the remarkable cultural achievement known as the ‘ecclesiology of Hellenism.’”

Following the service, a reception was held on the patio and reception areas of the school, where the Ecumenical Patriarch received the respect and congratulations of the clergy and laypeople. Students of the Greek diaspora schools presented him with flowers also as a sign of their love and respect.

Photos: Nikos Papachristou / Ecumenical Patriarchate