On Sunday, 15 October 2023, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew officiated at the Holy Cathedral of Saints Andrew the Apostle and Dimitrios the Great Martyr of Madrid, as part of his official visit to the headquarters of the Holy Metropolis of Spain and Portugal.
Also present for the Divine Liturgy were, His Eminence Elder Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon, His Eminence Metropolitan Ierotheos of Lemnos and Agios Efstratios, as well as the local Shepherd, His Eminence Metropolitan Vissarion of Spain and Portugal, clergy of the Holy Metropolis of Spain and Portugal, Her Highness Princess Irene, the Ambassadors of Greece and Cyprus in Spain, as well as the Ambassador of Cyprus in Portugal, the Consul General of Ukraine in Madrid, and a number of faithful of Greek, Ukrainian, Romanian, Bulgarian and Serbian origin. The Apostolic Nuncio of the Vatican in Spain was also present.
After the dismissal of the Divine Liturgy, His Eminence Metropolitan Vissarion of Spain and Portugal welcomed His All-Holiness with warm words of filial love and respect, expressing the joy of his flock and pointing out that this first visit of an Ecumenical Patriarch to Spain is indeed a historic event. On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Holy Metropolis and the 50th anniversary of the consecration of the Cathedral, Metropolitan Vissarion honoured the Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Throne Very Rev. Fr Dimitrios Tsaparlis and his wife, the former Chanter of the Cathedral, Mr. Nikolaos Polyziadis, as well as the daughters of the late Archon Georgios Orphanidis, for their ministry and overall contribution.
Afterwards, the Ecumenical Patriarch spoke in Greek and English, with interpretations in Ukrainian and Spanish, expressing his joy that he is visiting this ecclesiastical province of the Throne, while addressing the faithful of Ukrainian origin, he expressed his support for the trial that the Ukrainian people are going through because of the war, and repeated that the Ecumenical Patriarchate condemned the way from the first moment as unacceptable and diabolical.
Immediately after, His All-Holiness met in the Community Hall with the clergy of the Holy Metropolis, offering them paternal advice and exhortations, in order to serve the people of God in Spain and Portugal in a spirit of unity and with absolute commitment to the traditions of Orthodoxy.
On Saturday evening, 14 October 2023, His All-Holiness attended a dinner hosted in his honour, with the participation of Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain, as well as her sister, Her Highness Princess Irene, and the members of the Patriarchal entourage and other dignitaries, the Ambassador of Greece to Spain Mr. Ilias Fotopoulos. The Ambassador warmly welcomed His All-Holiness, who duly responded himself with warm words and greetings. During the dinner, Metropolitan Vissarion, thanking Her Majesty and Her Highness for the multidimensional help they have offered to his ecclesiastical province over time, awarded them the cross of the Holy Metropolis.