Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew arrived at London Heathrow International Airport on Thursday, accompanied by a delegation of hierarchs, clergy and staff from the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
He was ordained on behalf of all the faithful of the Archdiocese by His Eminence Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain, Rev. Rev. Archimandrite Nephon Tsimalis, Director of the Office of the Archbishop, and Rev. Archdeacon George Tsourous. His Excellency Mr. Ioannis Raptakis, Ambassador of the Hellenic Republic, and Mr. Gunes Yeslidag, Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of the Republic of Turkiye were also present and warmly welcomed His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch.
In addition to the solemn nature of this visit in honor of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Archdiocese, the Ecumenical Patriarch’s itinerary will have a strong pastoral focus.
Of course, as “first among equals”, His All Holiness will fulfill his commitments to meet with government officials and institutional leaders, but Archbishop Nikitas has also allowed ample time for visits to parishes and service centers across London to highlight the complexity and people-oriented Ministries of this historic Archdiocese sharing first hand with our Patriarch the pastoral, educational, spiritual, cultural and charitable efforts of the local Orthodox communities.
A Doxology of Thanksgiving will be offered on Friday, October 21, 2022 at the Church of All Saints in Camden. In the evening, His All Holiness will celebrate High Vespers at St Nektarios Church in Battersea, south London, which is also the headquarters of Olive Branch Aid, the Archdiocese’s food bank. Launched during the Covid pandemic, this food bank continuously feeds about 7,000 people each month. His All Holiness will meet with the workers and volunteers who tirelessly support this vital social service to the marginalized members of our communities.
The day ends with a special dinner hosted by the Archdiocesan Clergy Syndesmos and the St. Nektarios Community. Over 80 clergy and their spouses will attend this event in honor of His All Holiness and it will be a special opportunity for the ordained members of our Archdiocese to spend an evening with the Ecumenical Patriarch.
On Saturday 22 October 2022 His All Holiness will make a pilgrimage to the Patriarchal and Stavropegial Monastery of St John the Baptist in Essex where he will celebrate the Divine Liturgy and ordain one of the Friars to the Holy Diaconate.
This will be a particularly significant visit as it will be the first time Patriarch Bartholomew has visited this monastic community and spiritual oasis since the Holy and Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate canonized its founder and father St Sophrony in 2019. Although the monastery falls under the direct spiritual and administrative jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, it is nevertheless a full part of the spiritual life and pastoral work of the Archdiocese in the United Kingdom.
Later in the afternoon, His All Holiness will preside over Great Vespers at Holy Church of St Demetrios in Edmonton, north London, one of the archdiocese’s largest parishes – a parish that is also home to a food bank and a thriving youth and catechesis ministry and Greek language school.
The second full day of the visit will conclude with an exceptional “Enlightened Evening” dinner honoring the Ecumenical Patriarch in the Penridge Suite. Aimed specifically at young adults aged 21-40, this dinner is part of this fairly new Archdiocesan ministry focused on networking, community, culture and gastronomy for young people.
This will be a historic and memorable opportunity for our youth to meet the Patriarch and members of his delegation ‘face to face’, share a sumptuous meal and enjoy live music by British-born Cypriot acoustic artist Mr. Christos Liberos.
On Sunday, October 23, 2022, His All Holiness will concelebrate the Divine Liturgy in the historic Cathedral of Divine Wisdom, which is of course a magnificent replica of the Holy Great Church of Christ in the Queen of Cities.
Orthodox hierarchs representing Orthodox autocephalous churches will also concelebrate, particularly from the historic Archdiocese of New Justianus and throughout Cyprus and the Orthodox Church of Georgia. Representatives from other Christian churches, faith communities and diplomatic missions will also be present.
The Divine Liturgy will be followed by a luncheon hosted by the Order of Archons in honor of the Ecumenical Patriarch at the Hellenic Centre. Archons, religious and community leaders, scholars, representatives of inter-Christian organizations and diplomats representing traditionally Orthodox countries and non-Orthodox countries will be present.
On Sunday afternoon, the Ecumenical Patriarch will take part in an Evensong at St James Church in Sussex Gardens in his honor and in prayerful support for the Holy Archdiocese which is celebrating its centenary. This service is managed by the Rt. Rev. Jonathan Baker, Bishop of Fulham, Apocrisarios of Lambeth Palace to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
He is assisted by Fr. Paul Thomas, vicar of the parish. This visit is particularly important as it is the most important ecumenical service the Church of England will offer in honor of the Patriarch’s visit.
The day concludes with the Centenary Grand Banquet at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, attended by over 830 people. This is by far the largest banquet the Archdiocese has hosted in recent years. The program includes greetings from government officials and a special performance by well-known singer Mario Frangoulis.
On Monday, October 24, 2022, the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain will host a London Church Leaders’ Breakfast in honor of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Over 30 Christian leaders will have an opportunity to enjoy inter-Christian fellowship and discussion, and be inspired by the fatherly admonitions of the Ecumenical Patriarch. In terms of ecumenical activity, this is also a significant gathering aimed at fostering a stronger culture of interfaith solidarity and encouraging contact and cooperation among Christians in the UK.
After breakfast, His All Holiness will travel to Holy Church of the 12 Apostles in Hertfordshire to visit and bless the church’s ongoing expansion project. This church prides itself on its many growing ministries and thriving community life.
In the late afternoon, the Patriarch will be received by Lord Tariq Ahmad, Baron Ahmad von Wimbledon, Minister of State for the Middle East, South Asia and the United Nations at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). He will also be received at the Embassy by His Excellency Umit Yalcin, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkiye.
The day ends with a private dinner hosted by His Excellency Ioannis Raptakis, Ambassador of the Hellenic Republic to the United Kingdom.
On Tuesday 25 October 2022, His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will be received by His Majesty King Charles III. received at Buckingham Palace. He is accompanied into the palace by a small delegation.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and his Venerable Retinue will return to the Sacred Center of World Orthodoxy later that day.
His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras of Belgium
His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America
The V. Rev. Grand Ecclesiarch Aetius
Director of the Patriarchal Private Office
The V. Rev. Second Deacon Alexandros
Bibliophylax of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
The V. Rev. Great Archimandrite Agatangelos
Archivist of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
Mr Nicholas Papachristou
Director of the Press and Communication Office of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
Mr. Panagiotis Grafiadellis
Guests of the Archdiocese
His Excellency Metropolitan Nektarios of Kition
Official representative of the Archdiocese of New Justinianus and all of Cyprus
His Eminence Metropolitan Theodoritos of Laodicea
Director of the Representation Office of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Athens
His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of Sebastia
Rev. Hieromonk Sophronios Vomend
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Mr. Christos Anastasiades
Mrs. Katia Anastasiades