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Third Service of the Salutations to the Mother of God in Vlacherna, Constantinople

On Friday, 5 April 2024, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew presided over the Service of the Third Stanza of the Salutations to the Most Holy Theotokos at the Holy Spring of the Virgin Mary of Vlacherna in Constantinople.

The Abbots of the Holy Monasteries of Esphigmenou, Archimandrite Bartholomew and St. Anargyron Pernik of Bulgaria, Archimandrite Nicanor, prayed together with a group of 40 pilgrims from the Association of Friends of the Monastery of Esphigmenou.

In his address, the Ecumenical Patriarch thanked the numerous pilgrims who attended the Salutations to the Most Holy Theotokos, especially on this day when, according to tradition, the Patriarch presides over the service at the Holy Spring of the Virgin Mary of Vlacherna.

He also greeted the Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Esphigmenou, Bartholomew, and made special reference to the ongoing problem of the occupation of the buildings of the Holy Monastery of Esphigmenou by non-Orthodox persons who have no relation to Mount Athos and the Eastern Orthodox Church.

He congratulated the new Civil Administrator of Mount Athos, Mr. Anastasios Mitsialis, on the assumption of his new duties, as well as on his recent statements demonstrating support for the Monastery of Esphigmenou regarding the liberation of its buildings and lands from occupation. In particular, the Ecumenical Patriarch emphasised that the support should not be limited to words, but should be tangible on the part of the competent state authorities.