Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew receives centenary pilgrims in Constantinople
On Thursday, June 9, His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew received His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America and the participants of the second GOARCH centenary pilgrimage to Constantinople.
“We look forward to welcoming you again and again during this year of celebration of the Centenary of the Archdiocese,” said His All Holiness. Although he did not obtain a permit from the authorities to travel with the group during their previous visit to Cappadocia, he said: “You see we are surviving and we are here, and we are still waiting for you.”
Archbishop Elpidophoros said: “Can you imagine, my brothers and sisters, that in 1922, when Asia Minor, Pontus, Cappadocia, all those regions were evacuated from all of Christendom, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, [which] faced a vital problem of survival, had prophetic inspiration from God and the Holy Spirit to establish an archdiocese in the United States…. [Your All-Holiness] will always have our respect, and our obedience, and our love, and our gratitude for the great witness you offer to the Orthodox world today, despite the great practical difficulties you face in surviving in this country.
In honor of the feast of the Ecumenical Patriarch, Archbishop Elpidophoros, on behalf of all the faithful of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, presented him with an “omoforeion” with embroidery inspired by the mosaic icon Deisis of Saint -Sophie.
Pilgrims also had the opportunity to address His All Holiness, share their spiritual journeys and experiences as Orthodox Christians in the United States, and express their gratitude for the establishment of the Archdiocese of America. a hundred years ago.
Later that evening, the group attended Vespers at the Life-Saving Spring Monastery in Balikli, a famous pilgrimage site and burial place of the late Patriarchs Demetrius I and Athenagoras I of Constantinople. A celebration in honor of the name day of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew followed, and was attended by His Eminence Archbishop Stefan of Ohrid and Macedonia, Primate of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, Member of the Greek Parliament Zeta Makri, as well as representatives from the Vatican, the Church of England and others.