On 2 February 2024, Kalamata celebrated its patron, “Panagia Ypapanti”.
His Beatitude Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria and All Africa presided over the Matins and the Poly-Hierarchial Divine Liturgy along with His Eminence Elder Metropolitan Gabriel of Leontopolis, His Eminence Metropolitan Georgios of Guinea, His Eminence Metropolitan Meletios of Carthage, His Grace Bishop Prodromos of Toliara and South Madagascar; as well Their Eminences, Metropolitan Konstantinos of Monemvasia and Sparta, Metropolitan Damaskinos of Didymoteicho, Orestiada, and Soufli, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Chalkida, Metropolitan Athenagoras of Ilion, Acharnes, and Petroupolis, Metropolitann Konstantinos of Megara and Salamis, Metropolitan Theoklitos of Stagoi and Meteora, and local Shepherd, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Messinia.
After the Divine Liturgy, His Eminence Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Messinia addressed the Patriarch of Alexandria. He thanked him for his honourable acceptance of the invitation to illuminate the celebration with his presence. He also expressed the gratitude and joy of the Holy Clergy, the Archons, and the laity. In addition, he wished the Patriarch the blessing of “Panagia Ypapanti” so that he may lead peoples and nations to the light of the Gospel.
“We welcome you as the Patriarch of traditions and love, but also as the humble protector of Orthodoxy and Hellenism in the distant land of Africa, welcoming you to a place marked by the struggles for the freedom of a nation inhabited by Philhellenes, progressive and hardworking citizens,” he emphasised. He also emphasised that in times of excessive divisive tendencies along ethnic lines, the Patriarch always stands as a true brother defending the unity of the Body of Churches and is the person who knows how to love and honour everyone in times of hostility and ingratitude. He concluded by aking for His Patriarchal blessing upon his flock of Messinia”.
In his response, Patriarch Theodore spoke about the holy icon of the Most Holy Theotokos. He expressed his deep emotion for his visit to Messinia after 32 years and asked His Eminence Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Messinia, the clergy, archons, and people of Messinia to pray for Him.
The Patriarch responded by awarding His Eminence Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Messinia the Medal of the Apostle Mark. He also presented him with a hierarchical engolpion.
This was followed by a grand procession of the Holy and Miraculous Icon through the central streets of the city of Kalamata, in which thousands of worshipers participated.