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Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Patronal Feast of the Ecumenical Patriarchate

His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew I

30 November, the Feast of St Andrew the Apostle, is a great celebration in the Patriarchate of Constantinople. His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I is considered to be the successor to St Andrew himself, and St Andrew's Day is celebrated as the patronal festival of the See.

It was a privilege to be present for this patronal liturgy once again and to be close to the successor of the Apostle. My stall in Gibraltar Cathedral is that of St Andrew. And I am Scottish by birth! Liturgy at the Patriarchate is never hurried. This one was over 4 hours. Many young persons from the small remaining Greek speaking community were in attendance, and clearly have great affection for His All Holiness.

At the conclusion of the liturgy, His All Holiness exchanged formal greetings with the representative of Pope Francis, Cardinal Kurt Koch. The Cardinal read a message from the Pope. Patriarch Bartholomew spoke of the need to restore full unity between the Churches in a world torn apart by hatred and much turmoil. It was moving to hear such warm fraternal messages from the successors of the two Galilean fishermen brothers, St Andrew and St Peter, whose teaching and whose martyrdom were foundational for the Church.

Fr Engin Yildirim, the priest-in-charge of the Church of the Resurrection in Istanbul also attended the Divine Liturgy.

Fr Engin with Bps Edward Holland, Geoffrey Rowell and Robin Smith

 

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