On Sunday after the Nativity of Christ, 31 December 2023, New Year’s Eve, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was present joined in prayer during the Divine Liturgy which took place at the venerable Patriarchal Church of Saint George, Phanar, and was officiated by His Eminence Metropolitan Theodoros of Seleucia.
In the early afternoon on the same day, His All-Holiness officiated at the Great Vespers for the feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and the memory of Saint Basil the Great, and was joined by Their Eminences, Elder Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon, Elder Metropolitan Apostolos of Derkoi, Elder Metropolitan Dimitrios of Prince’ Islands, Metropolitan Meliton of Philadelphia, Metropolitan Eirinaios of Myriophytos and Peristasis, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Myra, Metropolitan Theoliptos of Iconium, Metropolitan Stephanos of Kallioupolis and Madytos, Metropolitan Athenagoras of Kydonia, Metropolitan Maximos of Selyvria, Metropolitan Amphilochios of Adrianoupolis, Metropolitan Andreas of Forty Churches, Metropolitan Ioakeim of Bursa and Metropolitan Theodoros of Seleucia.
Also present and joined in prayer were Their Graces, Bishop Adrianos of Halicarnassus, Bishop Kassianos of Aravissos, Bishop Benjamin of Tralee, Bishop Smaragdos of Daphnousia and Bishop Paisios of Xanthoupolis, the Ambassador His Excellency Mr. Konstantinos Koutras, Consul General of Greece in Constantinople, with his wife, the Consul of Ukraine Mr. Maksim Vdovychenko, and a crowd of believers.
Afterwards, His All-Holiness received successively in the Patriarchal Office the wishes of the Hierarchs and members, clergy and laity, of the Patriarchal Court and other staff of the Patriarchate.
During the festive meal at the Patriarchal dining hall, hosted by the Hierarchs of the Throne, the golden coin of the Vasilopita was found by His Eminence Elder Metropolitan Dimitrios of Princes’ Islands. The gold coin of the second Vasilopita which was blessed by His All-Holiness, immediately afterwards, in the Throne Room, in the presence of clergy, believers from Constantinople and pilgrims from abroad, was found in the portion of Deacon Father Varnavas.
In his speech, the Patriarch, among other things, wished a happy and healthy New Year to all the staff of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, to the Greek faithful who were present and also to the pilgrims from abroad, as he also expressed the wish and hope that peace prevails in the world, particularly in Ukraine and the Middle East.
Immediately after, students of the Great Patriarchal School of the Nation sang New Year’s carols, continuing a beautiful tradition of the Orthodox faithful.