On Monday afternoon, 18 December 2023, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, attended the presentation of the new book of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, with the title: “The Ecumenical Patriarchate – The Preeminent and Suffering Church”, which took place at the Sismanoglio Megaro in Constantinople.
His All-Holiness was welcomed by the Ambassador Mr. Konstantinos Koutras, Consul General of Greece, together with the author.
In the presence of a large audience, Mr. Evangelos Venizelos, University Professor and former Vice President of the Greek Government, as well as Mr. Maximos Charakopoulos, member of the Hellenic Parliament and Secretary General of the Interparliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy, and Mr. Theodoros Yagou, Professor of Canon Law at the School of Theology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, all spoke in detail and in depth about the topics covered in the book, while the event was coordinated by His Eminence Metropolitan Ignatios of Dimitrias and Almyros.
Afterwards, the author who was quite moved also spoke, and then the Ecumenical Patriarch, who is honoured on this day, celebrating the 50th anniversary of his election as a Bishop, offered his address in response, expressing his Patriarchal satisfaction towards His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia for the presented book, which constitutes the fruit of intense spiritual work.
“To the author we extend our heartfelt congratulations for the impressive result of his spiritual labour, as well as our warm thanks for the devoted dedication of his work to the Holy Great Church of Christ and to my humble person. In my introductory note I recorded my impressions from reading the book and expressed my agreement with what is stated about the mission, contribution and central role of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the stability, witness and future of Orthodoxy”.
At another point in his speech, the Patriarch pointed out:
“All that which is expressed in the pages of the book presented here today, are aspects of the life and positions of the Great Church in the face of specific challenges. The protagonist is the Church of Constantinople, which keeps the faith of the Fathers, fully aware of the unbroken historical coherence and continuity and in recognition of its great historical responsibility for ecclesiastical matters. It is rightly written that the Orthodox Church is shaken when the pan-Orthodox responsibility of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is disputed.”
His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew did not fail to thank the distinguished speakers in particular for their reference to his personal anniversary.
“And on this anniversary, we gratefully remember and commemorate those to whom we owe, after God, life and well-being, love for learning and the Church, the fear of God and the inclination towards the priesthood. In this moment, along with my parents and teachers, I commemorate, with great respect, my blessed elder and spiritual father, Metropolitan Meliton of Chalcedon. May their memory be eternal!
Our long course in the Church has taught us that uncommunicative introversion and sterile monologues are both incompatible with humankind’s endowment with speech, that is, with intelligence and the ability to communicate dialogically, as well as with the Orthodox faith, which does not allow indifference towards our fellow human beings and the world and self-sufficient self-enclosure, but it pushes us to come out of ourselves, to encounter, into relationship and communion, into the good fight for the transformation of the world in Christ.
The Christian testimony avoids two deviations: the Monophysite “spirituality of escape” from the world and history, and the Nestorian temptation of conformation with the world. These two trends ignore the eschatological dimension of ecclesiastical life. The truth is not contaminated by history, but it must purify it. This belongs to the self-awareness of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which is clearly highlighted by the recent book of the Archbishop of Australia”.
The event ended with sacred hymns chanted by the choir of the Association of Musicophiles of Pera, under the direction of Musicologist, Archon First Domestikos of the Great Church of Christ, Mr. Georgios Kioseoglou, new President of the Association.