In an atmosphere of deep emotion, the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was celebrated on Sunday in the Holy Church of Saint Dimitrios in Thessaloniki, in the presence of His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and all Greece, where the 20th Patronal Feast Day of Metropolitan Anthimos of Thessaloniki was celebrated. The events were also met with a character of bidding farewell, as Metropolitan Anthimos has submitted his resignation to the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece.
“We should not forget how much His Eminence Metropolitan Anthimos of Thessaloniki, throughout his career, his ministry, has offered to the Church with all his strength, with all his qualifications, always within human capabilities”, His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece emphasised after the end of the Divine Liturgy, whilst also wishing him to live many more years.
Metropolitan Anthimos himself, despite the problems he is facing, wanted to refer to the difficult path he had all these years, which left him far from his parents and his hometown, Pyrgos of Elis, to follow the path of God. At the same time, priests and believers were exclaiming “Worthy / Άξιος”.
Earlier on, the rich pastoral, humanitarian and charitable work of Metropolitan Anthimos, both in Evros where he served for 30 years as Metropolitan of Alexandroupolis, Traianoupolis and Samothrace, and in Thessaloniki where he has been Metropolitan since 2004, was pointed out by the Deputy Minister of Macedonia and Thrace, Mr. Stathis Konstantinidis. With corresponding notes of acclaim and warm words, the Regional Governor of Central Macedonia, Mr. Apostolos Tzitzikostas, and the Mayor of Thessaloniki, Mr. Konstantinos Zervas, bid farewell to Metropolitan Anthimos.
“The legacy you are leaving us will be for all of us, clergy and believers, an unending source of inspiration, a guide of love, understanding and disposition for social contribution. You were and remain a spiritual leader of the local Church, with your senses always sensitive to human suffering and national issues”, emphasised Mr. Konstantinidis, expressing as Deputy Minister of the Interior but also as a citizen his immense gratitude, as he said, for his contribution to the homeland and to fellow human beings.
“In this period of great international uncertainty and insecurity, in a period when our collective endurance is admittedly being tested, we assure you that your work and your word, which conveys the steadfastness of faith and the seed of hope, love for the homeland, and solidarity with our most vulnerable fellow citizens, will remain deeply rooted in the work we do and will continue to do”, underlined Mr. Tzitzikostas during his address. The Regional Governor Mr. Makedonias, in fact, thanked Metropolitan Anthimos, both for the fact that he stood by the Region, and for him personally in the good times and the hard times.
“The Christian ministry that you offered with zeal and self-sacrifice, and your rich pastoral work, irrefutably testifies that you honoured your mission, you distinguished yourself as a special hierarch and extremely respectable among the plenitude of the Greek Church”, Mr. Zervas said finally, who symbolically gave him an image of the patron Saint Dimitrios to accompany him in his hermitage, while he wished him to continue praying unceasingly for the city and the people he served with so much love and affection all these years.