With the blessings and encouragement of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the canonical permission of His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece, His Eminence Metropolitan Cleopas of Sweden and All Scandinavia accepted the honourary invitation of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Rizarios Seminary Mr. Panagiotis Tsakiris and traveled to Athens on the occasion of the recent publication of his latest two-volume study entitled The Unpublished Letters of St. Nectarios of Pentapolis by the Church of Greece’s publishing house Apostoliki Diakonia.
On Tuesday, 7 November 2023, Metropolitan Cleopas visited the headquarters of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s representative office in Athens and offered the aforementioned publication to the office’s Director, His Eminence Metropolitan Theodoretos of Laodicea.
On Wednesday, 8 November 2023, Metropolitan Cleopas visited the Imvros Association in Nea Smyrni, Athens, and met with the president of the organisation, Mr. Georgios Papatheodorou and board members. During the meeting, the Metropolitan fondly recalled his recent trip to Imvros, during which he accompanied the Ecumenical Patriarch to his birthplace.
On Thursday 9 November 2023, the feast day of St. Nectarios, Bishop of Pentapolis, he celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Church of the St. George, located at the Rizarios Seminary in Halandri, where he was assisted by the Very Rev. Archimandrites Frs. Anthimos, Alexandros, and Nikodimos, and the Rev. Protopresbyters Frs. Lambros and Sotirios. The Very Rev. Archimandrite Fr. Vasilios Emmanuel, a retired military chaplain, also participated, joining in prayer from the Holy Altar.
The Chairman of the Rizarios Seminary Board of Trustees Mr. Panagiotis Tsakiris and the Rizarios Seminary Director Mr. Nikolaos Giannis addressed the Metropolitan of Sweden. Metropolitan Cleopas spoke to the seminarians, discussing his recently published book and the multifaceted ministry of the former Director of the Rizareios Seminary, St. Nectarios of Pentapolis, while also offering Mr. Nikolaos Giannis a copy of the newly released book.
On Saturday 11 November 2023, Metropolitan Cleopas visited the Holy Trinity Convent in Aegina, where he venerated the grace-filled relics, skull, and tomb of its founder, Saint Nectarios. Afterward, he met with the Abbess of the Convent, Nun Timothei, along with members of the convent’s sisterhood, to whom he offered a copy of his book and expressed his gratitude toward his patron saint for the successful completion of the writing and publication of this new study.
The monastics of the convent offered a luncheon to the Metropolitan and his entourage, which consisted of the Very Rev. Archimandrites Frs. Alexander Loukatos and Damaskinos Mourtzis, in addition to offering him copies of the volumes containing the complete works of St. Nectarios which have been published until now.
Prior to visiting the convent, Metropolitan Cleopas met briefly with His Eminence Metropolitan Ephraim of Hydra, Spetses, and Aegina at the harbor of Aegina.
On Sunday, 12 November 2023, Metropolitan Cleopas celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Church of St. George located at the original campus of the Rizarios Seminary in Athens, assisted by the Very Rev. Archimandrite Fr. Alexandros Loukatos and the local parish priest Protopresbyter Fr. Nikolaos Ladas. They were joined by the Very Rev. Fr. Kallinikos Maroulis, a retired military chaplain, who participated in prayer from the Holy Altar.
Fr. Nikolaos Ladas and Mr. Panagiotis Tsakiris addressed the Metropolitan. Together with university professor and Rizarios Foundation board member Dr. Demetrios Anagnostopoulos, Mr. Tsakiris bestowed the award and medal of St. Nectarios upon His Eminence Metropolitan Cleopas of Sweden.
The Metropolitan thanked them for this great honour and spoke about the miraculous support St. Nectarios has provided to him throughout his 35 years of service as a priest and bishop, while offering Mr. Tsakiris a copy of his new book, which was published with the technical and editing assistance of the Director General of the Apostoliki Diakonia publishing house, His Eminence Metropolitan Agathangelos of Fanarion and his able associates.
On Monday, 13 November 2023, Metropolitan Cleopas returned to the see of his eparchy in Stockholm.
Photos courtesy: the Rizareios Foundation, the Imvros Association, the Holy Metropolis of Sweden, Fr. Vasileios Emmanuel, Fr. Alexandra’s Loukatos & Mr. Konstantinos Gregoriades.
Source: Metropolis of Sweden