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Enthronement of the New Metropolitan Iakovos of Mexico

His Eminence Metropolitan Iakovos of Mexico, unanimously elected by the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on 24 January 2024, and ordained a bishop by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the feast of the Presentation of Our Lord at the Patriarchal Church in the Phanar, has officially begun his responsibilities as Metropolitan of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Mexico, Eparchy of the Ecumenical Throne.

His enthronement ceremony took place on Saturday, 16 March 2024, at the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Wisdom of God in Mexico City.

At the enthronement service, the Mexican government was represented by the Director of the Religious Affairs Office of Mexico, Mr. Jorge Lee, and the Greek Government by the Secretary General for Greeks Abroad and Public Diplomacy, Mr. Ioannis Chrysoulakis.

Representatives of the governments of Panama, Cuba, the United States of America, Romania, Georgia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and Cyprus were also present, as well as religious leaders and their representatives, such as Metropolitan Ignatius of Mexico, of the Patriarchate of Antioch, and Apostolic Nuncio to Merxico, Archbishop Joesep Spiteri. Members of the local Orthodox community, representatives of NGOs, and educational institutions also attended the ceremony.

The new Metropolitan, accompanied by the representative of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Metropolitan Joseph of Buenos Aires, arrived at the Metropolitan Church of the Wisdom of God at 11.00 a.m.

During his enthronement speech, which was delivered in parts in Greek, English and Spanish, the new hierarch said, among other things: “Today, I stand before you not only as the newly appointed Metropolitan of this esteemed Province, but also as a humble learner, brother, father, and friend to each and every one of you, both as a collective and as individuals. In the spirit of Christ’s call for friendship and the Apostle Paul’s exhortation to holiness, addressing the faithful as ‘Saints’ in his epistles, I recognise that sanctity is not reserved for the flawless but rather for those who, despite their imperfections, strive earnestly for righteousness.”

In articulating his vision for the Holy Metropolis of Mexico, Metropolitan Iakovos emphasised the importance of remaining faithful to our evangelical origins and spiritual traditions. He stressed the need for the Church to embrace not only its youth, even when their decisions may make us uncomfortable, but also to care for the elderly and orphans, echoing the compassionate practices of early Christians.

He continued: “The perfect expression of the Church is the Sanctification of the Holy Gifts, their changing into the Body and Blood of our Lord in the mystery of the Divine Eucharist. As our Gospel breathes life and vitality, its sanctifying power flows forth, irrigating the world with holiness. It sanctifies the jungles of Guatemala, the isolated islands of Martinique and the Caribbean, and transforms the concrete pavements of Mexico City into spiritual oases. The transforming spirit of God: This is our Church, a Church of Transfiguration.”

Elsewhere in his speech, the new Metropolitan of Mexico expressed his gratitude to His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, his representative, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph of Buenos Aires, his predecessor, His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras of Vize, as well as to His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece, and His Eminence Metropolitan Gabriel of Nea Ionia and Nea Philadelphia, who supported and guided him spiritually.

Prior to his enthronement and upon arrival in Mexico, the Greek-American Hierarch visited AFEECI A.C., an NGO that offers exceptional care to young people in need in Mexico City. Metropolitan Iakovos toured the facilities and classrooms, engaging with the children hosted there, and later shared lunch with them.

He also organised a roundtable in the Metropolis with women activists, from whom he was informed about the ongoing struggles of women in Latin America. Among the hundreds attending the Enthronement Ceremony were local representatives of A21, an international organisation dedicated to combating human trafficking.

With his thoughts on these vulnerable groups of his flock, the Metropolitan of Mexico repeated the words of the Gospel passage of the Last Judgment: “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ And he went on to say:

“Certainly, in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean islands, we encounter people with various needs, extending beyond mere material necessities like clothing or food. Above all, what we must offer is something that even God Himself cannot compel us to give: our time.”

He concluded: “Tomorrow marks the beginning of Great and Holy Lent with the Vespers of Forgiveness. So let me assure you all that I ask for forgiveness from now on if I have done something wrong, and if I have wronged you. But know that every day, as long as God gives me strength, I am the first to kneel before the Image of Christ, asking His holy forgiveness for me and for all, until ‘God will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away’ (Revelation 21:4). Amen.”