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The parents of the Ecumenical Patriarch laid to rest in their birthplace, Imbros

On Sunday 20 August 2023, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was present in prayer from the Altar during the Divine Liturgy held at the Church of Saint George, in the village of Agioi Theodoroi, Imbros, where His Eminence Metropolitan Barnabas of Neapolis and Stavroupolis presided over the Divine Liturgy.

At the end of the Divine Liturgy, a memorial service was held for the repose of the souls of the Metropolitans, clergy, monks, ecclesiastical leaders, community leaders, teachers, and all those who fought from any position for the common good and for the spiritual progress of the inhabitants of the historical and martyred Imbros. Also, specially commemorated where the names of the ever-remembered Hieromonk Anastasios Kritikos of Iviron, who was martyred in Imbros, as well as the Patriarch’s parents, Christos and Meropi, whose remains were brought to the island and buried after the Divine Liturgy in the adjacent Cemetery of the village, where His All-Holiness’s sister, Zacharo, was laid to rest last January.

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, in his short speech after the Divine Liturgy, addressed the congregation with special emotion.

“We all united our prayers with great emotion during the eternal resurrectional Divine Liturgy, praying for this gift of heaven to the faithful, those from the ages, those present and those until the end of times, holding a universal holy memorial service for the repose of the souls of those who served the historical and martyred Imbros, Metropolitans, clergy, monks, nuns, ecclesiastical leaders, community leaders, teachers, all of these people, who left their stamp on the commons of our small homeland, and fought for the spiritual prosperity of its inhabitants and social progress.

We prayed today with much devotion also for the souls of my Parents, whose bones we brought from Chalcedon and will rest until the common resurrection in the holy lands of Imbros, in the cemetery of Agioi Theodoroi, in the village, where both had once lived. We also prayed for the repose of the soul of our sister Zacharo, who fell asleep eight months ago and, according to her personal wish, she was buried here at her beloved Agioi Theodoroi. May their memory be eternal and everlasting!”

Then, and after he spoke with warm words to the presence of the fellow Hierarchs, His Eminence Archbishop Sotirios of Canada, His Eminence Metropolitan Kyrillos of Moschonisia and His Eminence Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Myra, the Patriarch added:

“Today is not a time for words expressed in our mediocracy. However, we wish to thank from the bottom of our hearts all of you who participate in the Divine Liturgy and the memorial services. We express our gratitude to the brother Metropolitans, His Eminence Metropolitan Barnabas of Neapolis and Stavroupolis for the celebration of the Divine Liturgy and for his stirring speech, and His Eminence Metropolitan Kyrillos of Imbros and Tenedos for the idea and organisation of the present memorial service, for his many efforts and for all that he mentioned in his speech, through the love and richness of his heart.

We express our gratitude to all of you, the Imbrians and our esteemed friends, for your presence at the Divine Liturgy and for your support to your Patriarch. You also honoured the sacred memory of the departed Imbrians, who, with their struggles and testimony, contributed to the cultivation and rescue of our spiritual and cultural identity, and show us contemporaries and future generations the way, so as to ensure the continuation of our presence on the island.

In closing, we again extend our heartfelt thanks for the touching participation of each and every one of you all. When we chant “Eternal be the memory”, we ask the Lord of glory to keep the names of those who have fallen asleep in His eternal memory during the “common resurrection” in His second and glorious coming again, and to join them in the “new creation”, where “death will be no more, neither mourning nor crying nor pain, will be no more” (Rev. 21:4), where God will be “all in all” (1 Cor. 15:28).

Blessed be the name of the Lord, from now and until the ages. Glory to God for all things.

Prior to this, both His Eminence Metropolitan Barnabas of Neapolis and Stavroupolis and the local shepherd His Eminence Metropolitan Kyrillos of Imbros and Tenedos spoke and addressed His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

Present also for the Divine Liturgy were many clergy, and nuns, Lord Archons of the Great Church of Christ, the brother of His All-Holiness, Mr. Nicholas Archontonis along with his wife, Mrs. Catherine Archontonis from Australia, many faithful believers from the island of Imbros and friends of Imbros from overseas.

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