On Wednesday 13 December 2023, the memory of Saint Andrew the First-called Apostle was commemorated with solemnity and humility, according to the Julian calendar, at the Vatopedi Metochion of Galata in Constantinople. During this day, the Russian-speaking parish of Constantinople celebrates, which is served liturgically and spiritually by the Priests of the specific Metochion.
His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras of Kydonia, representing His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, presided over the feast day celebrations, and was joined by the Grand Preacher Archimandrite Panaretos and Archimandrite Victor Kopoutsou, as well as by the Patriarchal Deacon Epiphanios Kamianovic. The choir of Metochion, under the direction of Ms. Anna Shatalina, chanted melodically.
A large number of faithful Christians attended the church service, among who were the Hieromonks, Father Nicholas, Oikonomos of the nearby Metochion of the Holy Monastery of Saint Penteleimon, Mount Athos and Father Alexios of Saint Panteleimon Monastery, Mount Athos, Archons of the Holy and Great Church of Christ, as well as Mr. Sergiu Gurduza, Consul General of Moldova in Constantinople.
At the end of the Divine Liturgy, the Dean of the Metochion, The Grand Preacher Archimandrite Panaretos appropriately addressed and welcomed His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagroas of Kydonia, thanking His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, for His loving pastoral care for the Russian-speaking faithful of the Holy Archdiocese of Constantinople. In his response, Metropolitan Athenagoras conveyed the sacred blessings and the holy Patriarchal blessing to all the Orthodox, who celebrate on this day the memory of Saint Andrew, highlighting the supranational character of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
In his sermon, the presiding Hierarch, Metropolitan Athenagoras, taking from the words of the celebrated Saint Andrew, to his brother the Apostle Peter, “we have found the Messiah” (John 1, 42), referred in rich words to the eternal search of humankind for the Messiah, as well as to His imminent coming, as He is coming again this year to be incarnated “for the life of the world and salvation”. At the end, he congratulated the Holy Clergy of the Metochion, on behalf of the His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop of Constantinople, for the spiritual work being carried out.
The celebration ended with the offering of a feast day banquet to the entire congregation, at the end of which the Consul General of Moldova expressed his reverent feelings on behalf of all those present.
The Holy Metochion of Galata wishes to warmly thank all those, who with holy enthusiasm and diligence, participated in the preparation and conduct of the Feast Day of Apostle Andrew.