His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew presided over the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, 24 September 2023, at the Basilica of St. Martin in Pannonhalma, Hungary.
Metropolitans Arsenios of Austria and Exarch of Hungary, Michael of Lutsk and Volyn, Siluan of Hungary, Bishop Paisios of Apamea, and many Orthodox believers attended the service.
Also present were the Ambassadors of Greece, Cyprus, and France to Hungary, as well as the Chargé d ‘Affaires of Ukraine.
After the reading of the Holy Gospel, the Ecumenical Patriarch preached the Holy Sermon in English, where, among other things, he referred to Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine, saying that the Mother Church of Constantinople has asked, but without result, to end it, as well as the leadership of the Russian Church to stop encouraging its conduct.
However, the Patriarch pointed out, that there have been some brave clergy who have stood against the tide of bloodshed and brutality endorsed by their Bishops. And there were brave Russian souls who embraced what Saint Martin perceived when he said: “I am the soldier of Christ: it is not lawful for me to fight!”
As the Ecumenical Patriarch said, this is the message that is most necessary in the violent era we live in, and pointed out that we, who bear the name of Christ and call ourselves right-believing, we who are Orthodox, must rise to our vocation to be peacemakers, to be mercy-bearers, to be those who will sacrifice their own lives for the sake of love. (Read the Patriarchal homily here).
At the end of the Divine Liturgy, the Ecumenical Patriarch was warmly welcomed by His Eminence Metropolitan Arsenios of Austria, who, among other things, noted: After the Divine Liturgy, the Ecumenical Patriarch met with the faithful, who are a flock of the Exarchate of Hungary, and the Ukrainian refugees, to whom he bestowed his Patriarchal blessing and paternal wishes.
In the afternoon he left with his honorable entourage for Budapest, where he blessed the new Chapel of the Patriarchal Exarchate, in the name of Saint Piroska. The Chapel is located on the premises of Dr. Jenő Manninger Hospital, the largest traumatology hospital in Central Europe. The premises were granted for 99 years and included the Chapel and an Archontariki, which were fully equipped with the generous sponsorship of the Hungarian businessman Mr. Miklos Szunai.
On the evening of the same day, the Patriarch attended a dinner hosted in his honour by the Ambassador of Greece to Hungary, Mr. Emmanuel Apostolakis.