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Priestly Synaxis of the clergy of the Holy Archdiocese of Constantinople

On Sunday, 3 March 2023, with the blessing and the venerable presence of His All-Holiness Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Priestly Synaxis of the clergy of the Holy Archdiocese of Constantinople took place at the Church of the Holy Trinity in the renowned Stavrodromi Community,

Firstly, the Grand Protosyncellus Archimandrite Gregorios spoke to the clergy in the first instance about practical and administrative issues, and then, in the presence of His All-Holiness, Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Throne Father Thomas Chrysikos, clergyman of the Holy Archdiocese of Athens. Also present were His Eminence Metropolitan Andreas of Forty Churches, Hierarchical Head of the Stavrodromi Community, and His Grace Bishop Benjamin of Tralee. At the same time, in a room of the adjacent Community building, the wives of the married clergy had a meeting and an extensive discussion with Mrs. Konstantina Chrysikou, wife of Fr. Thomas.

After the speeches and the discussion that followed, His All-Holiness blessed the common meal in the premises of the community hall where he addressed the clergy of his Archdiocese and their wives in a paternal way, giving advice and strengthening them in the multidimensional work they are called to perform in the framework of their ministry in the Queen of cities. Among other things, he pointed out:

“All the members of the holy clergy of the Great Church, from the Patriarch to the newly ordained deacon, have a common view of our identity and our sacred mission. We know the height and responsibility of the ministry of the deacon of Christ and his Church, which are essentially connected with a sacrificial ethos, readiness to offer, dedication of soul and body to our obligations.

And we must always bear in mind the fact that we are clerics of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, of the First Throne of the Holy Great Church of Christ, which for many centuries has ministered from the City of Constantine the people of God, has offered to the Nation and world-culture many invaluable services, and today it continues to produce culture, to shepherd people who live throughout the world, proceeding with absolute fidelity to the tradition of the Apostles and Fathers, to dogma and to the canonical order, with an good ear to listen for the signs of the times and with empathy for the courses of human freedom.

The Patriarchate is also the pillar of our Omogenia here in Turkey, the guarantee for both its present and future. The late Metropolitan John of Pergamon was correct, who for decades had been the solid theological arm of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, when he wrote that our Patriarchate “if it did not exist, it would have to be invented”.

Photographs: Nikos Papachristou / Ecumenical Patriarchate

His All-Holiness continued in saying:

“The Patriarchate exists and will exist unwaveringly. It will continue to testify about the truth of Christ, about faith, love and hope, in a world that often seems to forget, that without reference to God and spiritual values it is impossible not only to save civilisation and its humanitarian orientation, but also to ensure its survival.

This truth is represented, symbolised and expressed by every clergyman, his presence, his testimony, his work all allude to it. We do not belong to ourselves, but to Christ. We are preachers of the Cross and His Resurrection, which is the tangible expression of His love for humankind, His sacrifice for its salvation and His supreme gift to all humankind, i.e. the opening of the way to deification by grace and eternal life in His heavenly Kingdom.”

His All-Holiness expressed his joy for the convening of the Synaxis, congratulating the organisers, led by the Grand Protosyncellus Archimandrite Gregorios, but also wished to thank Protopresbyter Fr. Thomas Chrysikos for his very interesting address, and the President of the renowned Community of Stavrodromi, Mr. Georgios Papaliaris for his hospitality.