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Patriarch of Alexandria from Kalamata: “Come and visit us in Africa! Where we guard Thermopylae!”

In celebration of the feast of the Presentation of Christ to the Temple, the Municipality of Kalamata hosted a lunch in honour of His Beatitude Pope and Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria and All Africa, along with other official guests, on Friday, 2 February 2024.

In his speech, His Beatitude Pope and Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria and All Africa said: “Today I come as the father of the scorned continent, Africa. So few people are there to listen to the pain and anxieties of these individuals…”

As the Patriarch explained, he had recently returned from Burundi and Rwanda before his visit to Kalamata and Nigeria.

The Patriarch openly shared, in the presence of all those attending the meal, that during the initial years of his time abroad, he had vivid memories of regions where the Greek community still retained its strength, expressing his sentiments with poignant words.

“I want to tell you that during the earthquakes that shook Kalamata, I had left for Odessa and spent a significant period abroad, precisely 10 years.”

The Patriarch of Alexandria spoke about the years he spent in Odessa, noting that he encountered traces of Hellenism from the pre-revolutionary era. He mentioned the organisation of the Revolution based on the Filiki Eteria (Greek Revolutionary Friendly Brotherhood) in Odessa.

“I want to thank you for your love. I want you to live in love and harmony. You have been blessed with such a beautiful piece of land. God defines our borders. He is the one Who defines our language, our hearts, our friendships, which we should never betray. I have a request for you, my mayor, and I trust you won’t deny my favour whenever possible…”, he said addressing the Mayor of Kalamata.

The Patriarch invited the mayor, along with former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to visit Alexandria. “We have become so few…” he said, wanting to point out the few Greeks who now live there.

“We visit all the communities. We ring the bells. I’ll light the candle first. Because the bones of patriarchs, chieftains, and great benefactors are buried everywhere there… Come and visit us! Where we keep our gates, where we guard Thermopylae!” concluded the Patriarch, receiving applause from the attendees.