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Ecumenical Patriarch: “We deeply regret the plight of our colleagues and I do not only mean the Patriarch of Russia”

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew presided over the Divine Liturgy at the Church of St. George on Thursday, 9 May 2024, in the premises of the old workhouse of Darülaceze, built during the Ottoman Empire.

The Divine Liturgy was presided over by Protosyncellos Archimandrite Gregory and Patriarchal Deacon Ieronymos Sotirelis, who was celebrating his name day.

His Eminence Metropolitan Stephen of Kallioupolis and Madytos, the clergy of the Holy Archdiocese of Constantinople, and the faithful of Constantinople were also present.

In his speech, the Ecumenical Patriarch referred to this historic charitable institution of Constantinople, which was founded at the end of the 19th century, and in whose courtyard, with the care of the Sultan, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim houses were built to serve the food needs of the poorhouse. This, he said, was done in the spirit of tolerance that must be present in those who administer the destinies of nations.

He added: “But above all, there must be this spirit of openness and tolerance in our clergy, who are called to give direction to people’s lives. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. We see religious leaders, of different religions, who are narrow-minded, who have fundamentalist ideas and views, and who bless wars that lead to the death of thousands, not only of soldiers, but also of civilians. We deeply regret the plight of these colleagues. And I do not only mean the Patriarch of Russia at this moment but also religious leaders of other religions who are inspired by such obscurantist sentiments and lead the followers of their religions to commit crimes and devastating attacks against innocent and civilian people and populations.

May the Risen Lord enlighten us to seek peace for all of us, in every corner of the world. May the Risen Lord enlighten the mighty of the earth to come to agreements of truce and the reign of peace, indeed of His peace which “surpasses all understanding”, so that all the peoples of the earth may live in peace, unity, and love.

The Patriarch expressed his gratitude to the Director of the Foundation, who, accompanied by his colleagues, welcomed him warmly at the Workhouse entrance, and they met in his office.

Photo: Nikos Papachristou