Bartholomew: Ecumenical Patriarchate Stands Firm in Orthodox Values

In a joyful atmosphere, the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman was commemorated at the Center of Orthodoxy, coinciding with the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s gathering of all the Holy Archbishops and Patriarchs of Constantinople. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew led the Divine Liturgy, joined by Elder Emmanuel of Chalcedon, Eirinaios of Myriophyton and Peristasis, Theoleptos of Iconium, Andreas of Forty Churches, Ioakeim of Bursa, and Theodoros of Seleucia. Metropolitan Irenaeus of Florina, Prespa, and Eordea delivered the sermon.

After the service, the Ecumenical Patriarch bestowed the Offikion of Archon Protekdikos of the Holy Great Church of Christ upon Ioannis Retsos, a prominent lawyer, economist, and businessman from Athens. Patriarch Bartholomew commended Retsos for his accomplishments in the tourism and hotel industries, emphasizing the importance of balancing economic progress with social responsibility, ethical values, and environmental stewardship.

The Patriarch emphasized that economic challenges cannot be addressed through technical means alone, stressing the need for a development model that incorporates fairness, solidarity, and environmental sustainability. He reiterated the commitment of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to upholding these principles and promoting the values of the Orthodox faith. Quoting from Apostle Paul’s Letter to the Romans, Bartholomew reminded the audience that faith in God empowers individuals to overcome adversity.

Among those in attendance were Metropolitans Chrysostomos of Myra, Barnabas of Neapolis and Stavroupolis, and Kyrillos of Imbros and Tenedos, as well as Archon Exarch Athanasios Martinos, President of the Board of Directors of the Brotherhood of Offikialia “Panagia Pammakaristos.” Also present were other Archons of Offikialia, Ambassador Konstantinos Koutras, Consul General of Greece in Constantinople, Maxim Vdovichenko, Consul of Ukraine, Spyridon Flogaitis, and Professor of Public Law at the Law School of Athens and former Minister, along with relatives and friends of the new Archon, local believers, and pilgrims from abroad.

Following the Divine Liturgy, the Ecumenical Patriarch delivered an address during a reception in the Throne Room, extending a warm welcome to the President of the Board of Directors and the members of the Brotherhood gathered in the historic cathedral of the Great Church. Archon Athanasios Martinos spoke about the first joint Conference of Archons worldwide and their 4th International Conference in Athens, underscoring their shared dedication to supporting the Ecumenical Patriarchate and defending its rights.

At noon, a luncheon was held in honor of the Ecumenical Patriarch by the President and members of the Brotherhood of Offikalia “Panagia Pammakaristos” at a prominent hotel in Constantinople. In the afternoon, the Patriarch participated in the official graduation ceremony for students of the Diaspora Lyceums of Constantinople and Imbros, offering congratulations and advice to the graduates as they embarked on a new chapter in their lives. He also presented them with mementos.

Photos: Nikos Papachristou / Translated by: Konstantinos Menyktas