Archbishop of Finland in an official visit to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem
On Tuesday the 16th/29th of April 2014, His Eminence, Archbishop Leo of Karelia and All Finland visited the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, accompanied by three clerics, a nun and a subdeacon.
Earlier on the same day, the Archbishop of Finland was welcomed at Ben Gurion Airport by the Most Reverend Isychios, Metropolitan of Kapitolias; His Eminence Theophylaktos, Archbishop of Jordan, and the Director of the Christian Affairs Department at the Israeli Ministry of Religious Affairs, Mr Cesar Margie.
At 6:00 pm of the same day, the Archbishop of Finland was officially welcomed at David’s Gate by the representative of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Patriarchal Commissioner Isychios, Metropolitan of Kapitolias, and Hagiotaphite Fathers. Also present were representatives of the Christian Churches in Jerusalem, Mr Cesar Margie, the Finnish Ambassador to Israel, Mrs Leena-Kaisa Mikkola, and a crowd of Orthodox people.
From there, they walked to the Patriarchate to meet His Beatitude Theophilos and, amidst bells ringing, they proceeded to the All-holy Church of the Resurrection.
There, the two Prelates venerated at the Holy Apokathelosis whereas the Archbishop of Finland blessed the burned incense.
They went on to venerate at the Holy Sepulcher, where the Gospel of the Resurrection was read out in Finnish by the Archbishop of Finland.
From there they entered the Katholikon, where Doxology was performed.
The addresses were followed by veneration at the Holy Golgotha and return to the Patriarchates.
His Beatitude went on to decorate the Archbishop of Finland with the Grand Cross of the Knights Order of the Holy Sepulcher for His contribution to ecclesiastical life and the prevalence of justice and peace. He also offered Him a set of prelatic engolpiya, an icon of Theotokos and the book of Chrysostomos Papadopoulos on the Church of Jerusalem. Also offered were Jerusalemite icons to the members of His retinue.
Extending thanks for the decoration and reception, His Eminence the Archbishop of Finland offered His Beatitude a miraculous icon of Theotokos from the Monastery of Valamo of the Orthodox Church of Finland, bearing the name “Jerusalemite”.
THE ARCHBISHOP OF FINLAND TO BETHLEHEM AND THE SUBURBS
On Wednesday the 17th/30th of April 2014, His Eminence, Archbishop Leo of Finland and His retinue, accompanied by the Patriarchal Commissioner, the Most Reverend Isychios, Metropolitan of Kapitolias, continued his pilgrimage tour in the framework of an official visit to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, starting from the city of Bethlehem.
There, he was welcomed in an official reception, akin to that reserved for the Patriarch of Jerusalem on the feast of Christmas, in the court of the Basilica of the Nativity with banners and cherubim, by priests officially dressed. From there, he crossed the Basilica according to the right of the Orthodox.
In procession, the Archbishop proceeded to venerate at the Holy Cavern, the Star and the Manger before reading out the Evangelical Pericope on the Nativity, after which a supplication was made and Doxology performed.
Subsequently, the Patriarchal Commissioner in Bethlehem, His Eminence Theophylaktos, Archbishop of Jordan, hosted the Archbishop of Finland and His Retinue to lunch in the presence of representatives of the government and the flock.
On the afternoon of the same day, the Archbishop of Finland visited the Holy Monastery of St Sabba the Sanctified in the desert of Judea, the Holy Monastery of the Shepherds in the Village of the Shepherds, and of the Prophet Elias near Theotokos’ Sit.
The hegoumens of these Monasteries, Archimandrites Evdokimos, Ignatios and Ierotheos, courteously welcomed the Archbishop of Finland and His Retinue.
ARCHBISHOP LEO OF FINLAND VISITS SHRINES IN JERICHO
On Friday the 19th of April/2nd of May 2014, His Eminence Archbishop Leo of Finland, accompanied by the Most Reverend Isychios, Metropolitan of Kapitolias, visited the holy shrines in the Jericho region. He first visited the Monastery of the Prophet Elisha in Jericho, wherein stands Zacchaeus’ sycamore tree. There, they were courteously received by the Hegoumen, Archimandrite Philoumenos, with members of Jericho’s Orthodox flock.
From Jericho, the Archbishop of Finland proceeded to the foot of Mount Sarantarion, which he saw from the springs of the Prophet Elisha.
From there, He visited the Monastery of Sts George and John of Hojeva, where He was welcomed by the Hegoumen, Archimandrite Constantinos and his monastic retinue, and guided to the chapel wherein are kept the relics of St John the Romanian, and to the chapel of the Prophet Elias.
From the Holy Monastery of Hojeva, His Eminence the Archbishop of Finland visited the baptismal site of our Lord Jesus Christ and performed the blessing of the waters.
From the banks of the river Jordan, the Archbishop visited the Holy Monastery of Abba Gerasimus of the Jordan, wherein He was hosted to lunch by the Hegoumen, Archimandrite Chrysostomos.
THE ARCHBISHOP OF FINLAND VISITS SHRINES WITHIN JERUSALEM
On the morning of Saturday, the 20th of April/3rd of May 2014, His Eminence Leo, Archbishop of Karelia and All Finland, and His retinue, accompanied and toured by the Patriarchal Commissioner, the Most Reverend Metropolitan Isychios of Kapitolias, visited some of the holy sites of pilgrimages within the old city of Jerusalem, with the exception of the shrines of the Church of the Resurrection which He visited on the first day of His arrival, namely: the Tomb of the Mother of God and the Church of the Dormition in Gethsemane, the garden of the Betrayal, the site of the stoning of St Stephen the Protomartyr and Archdeacon, the Mount of Olives and the shrine of the Ascension of the Lord, the gallery of Pentecost on the hill of St Sion and the church of the Holy Trinity, wherein lies our Patriarchal Hieratical School.
At the end of His visit, His Eminence the Archbishop of Karelia and All Finland expressed emotion for having seen with His own eyes the sites where Jesus Christ our Saviour was incarnate, baptized, transfigured, taught, was crucified, rose and ascended to Heaven, inspiring the Hagiotaphite Fathers, the Holy Land’s keepers and conservators.
Source: Patriarchate of Jerusalem