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Phanar: Official ceremony for the inclusion of three new Saints in the calendar of the Orthodox Church

His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew officiated during the Service of the signing of the Patriarchal and Synodal Acts of inclusion of three new Saints in the Orthodox Church’s calendar, which took place on Wednesday, August 31, at the venerable Patriarchal Church of Saint George, Phanar.

Archimandtie, Very Rev. Father Grigorios, Chief Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod, read the Patriarchal and Synodical Acts of Canonisation of Saints Evmenios Saridakis and Bessarion of Agathonitos and of the martyred Ananios, bishop of Lacedaemonia.

Following this, then His All Holiness and the Synodical Hierarchs, Geron Metropolitan Dimitrios of the Princes’ Islands, Metropolitan Seraphim of Sebastia, Metropolitan Ireneos of Myriophytos and Peristaseos, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Myra, Metropolitan Nikandros of Irinoupolis, Metropolitan Polykarpos of Italy, Metropolitan Kyrillos of Krini, Metropolitan Stefanos of Kalliopolis and Madytos, Metropolitan Gerasimos of Petras and Herronisos and Metropolitan Andreas of Saranta Ekklesies, all signed these Acts in the relevant Codex of the Patriarchate.

Also present were the Venerable Hierarchs, Geron Metropolitan Apostols Derkoi, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Messinias, Metropolitan Simeon of Fthiotidos, Metropolitan Makarios Anea, Metropolitan Meliton of Philadelphia, Metropolitan Theodoritos of Laodicea, Metropolitan Paisios of Leros, Kalymnos and Astipalaia, Archbishop Evgenios of Crete, Metropolitan Athenagoras of Kydonia, Metropolitan Bartholomew of Smyrna, Metropolitan, Myron of New Zealand, Metropolitan Vissarion of Spain and Portugal, Metropolitan Ioakeim of Bursa (proussa) and His Grace Bishop Adrianos of  Alikarnassos, Archons under the President of their Fraternity “Panagia Pammakaristos”, Lord Exarch of The Great Church of Christ Mr. Athanasios Martinos, Mr. Christos Staikouras, Minister of Finance of Greece, Mr. Andreas Katsaniotis, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Mr. Sofia Zaharaki, Deputy Minister of Tourism, and Mr. Ioannis Oikonomou, Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister and Government Representative, Mrs. Georgia Sultanopoulou, Consul General in Constantinople, with her husband, Mr. Ioannis Raptakis, Ambassador, Mr. Themistoklis Heimaras and Ioannis Sarakiotis, MPs of Fthiotido Prefecture, representatives of the Local Government bodies from Attica, Messinia and Fthiotida, and a multitude of believers from Constantinople, and pilgrims from Kalamata, Lamia, Chania and other Greek cities.

In his speech, His All Holiness expressed the joy of the Mother Church at the presence of the Hierarchs, the clergy and all the pilgrims for this particular divine service. He referred, among other things, to the importance of the presence of the Saints in the life of the Church.

“Orthodox piety gives great respect and honour to the Saints and highlights their Christlike life and God-awarded labors as a model of ecclesiastical existence. The faithful love the Synaxaria and the Lives of the Saints, admire their achievements and struggle for the truth, honour their holy relics, reverently worship their icons. Their feast days and festivals are an experiential axis of daily life, a source of existential enrichment and spiritual renewal, an opportunity for the communion of life. The Saints inspire, guide and reveal our eternal destiny in Christ, they intercede with the Lord through us. Their blessed presence is a living answer to our agonising questions.”

At another point in his speech, the Patriarch said:

“On the occasion of the feast of Indictus and the day of protection of the natural environment, we wish to emphasise that the Saints are companions and allies of the faithful in the good fight to protect the integrity of creation. Their life is a practical respect for creation, in thanksgiving and praise to the Creator, “burning heart for all creation … and for all creation” (Isaac the Syrian). The Saints confirm that we must live in the world as stewards and priests of creation, that it is unthinkable to profess faith in the Creator and destroy creation.”

And then he added:

“In this spirit, the Ecumenical Patriarchate enrolled and continues to enroll our Saints, these holy abodes of the living God and living image of His glory, in the hagiological books of the Saints. The Church is a living divine-human organism, and holiness is, so to speak, “its DNA”. There was not, there is not, and we cannot imagine a Church without Saints. This truth is confirmed and solemnly proclaimed with the Canonisation of Saints Evmenios Saridakis, Ananius bishop of Lacedaemonia the hieromartyr, and Bessarion of Agathonitos, today officially registered in the Church’s calendar.

Μετά πάντων υμών των ευσεβοφρόνως παρισταμένων εις την ολόλαμπρον ταύτην τελετήν, υμνεί και δοξάζει τον Δομήτορα της Εκκλησίας και Δοτήρα παντός αγαθού, το μαρτυρικόν Φανάριον, ένθα φυλάσσονται τα όσια και ιερά του Γένους, εν υπομονή πολλή, εν θλίψεσι και εν αγρυπνίαις, εν αγάπη ανυποκρίτω και εν δυνάμει Θεού».

With all of you who are devoutly present at this glorious ceremony, The martyred Phanar praises and glorifies the Domitor of the Church and Giver of all good, where the faithful and sacred things of the Nation are guarded, in much patience, in sorrow and in vigils, in unfailing love and in the power of God”.

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