On a typical news day at CNN, I am mostly behind the scenes in the control rooms working the audio board to bring the sound of the news to your television sets. Last October, 29 2009 I found myself in a unique and unexpected role as a journalist. Patriarch Bartholomew, leader of 300 million Eastern Orthodox Christians, was visiting the United States for his eighth Religion, Science, and Environment (RSE) symposium.
His Beatitude the Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Kyr Theodoros II in official visit to the only Serbian Orthodox parish9. April 2010 - 22:04
Members of the Serbian community and the faithful of the only Serbian Orthodox parish in Africa, were blessed with great blessing and spiritual support just before the holy days of Week of Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ and the feast of feasts, the Resurrection of Christ. On Friday, March 26th, on the eve of St. Lazarus's Saturday, the Serbian Orthodox parish of St Thomas the Apostle in Johannesburg was visited by His Beatitude Theodoros II , the Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa. His Beatitude was accompanied by His Eminence Seraphim, Archbishop of Johannesburg and Pretoria, the Very Reverend Archimandrite Pantelejmon, personal secretary at the Office of His Beatitude in Alexandria, and our dear priest from Johannesburg, the Reverend Father Athinodoros Papaevripaides.
The welcoming ceremony was attended, among many gathered members of our church community in Johannesburg and members of our parish, by President and Vice President of the Church Committee, Mr. Igor Marinkovic and Mr. Predrag Sarovic, and members of the Church Committee, Mr. Zivojin Jovanovic, Mr. Ivo Zecevic and Mrs. Mirjana Mihaljevic. His Excellency the Ambassador of Serbia in South Africa, Mr. Goran Vujicic also attended this ceremony, as well as Father Daniel, the Rector of the Russian Orthodox parish of St. Sergius of Radonez in Johannesburg, Hieromonk Seraphim (Van Niekerk), Deacon Stephen (Hayes) and student of the Orthodox Seminary of Patriarch Petros VII in Johannesburg, the brother Chrysostom, who comes from the African Orthodox family and whose immediate family members serve God as priests and monastic clergy in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Easter Holy Week celebrations are continuing in Jerusalem with a traditional ceremony at the holiest place in Christianity. Orthodox Christians crowded into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City for the Ceremony of the Holy Fire. Following a 1,200-year-old tradition, priests entered the ancient stone tomb of Jesus as the cavernous church was plunged into darkness. Suddenly, the priests emerged with candles said to be lit by the Holy Spirit.
The crowd cheered as the flame quickly spread to thousands of worshippers holding candles. It symbolizes that Jesus is the light of the world. Worshippers came from countries where the Orthodox churches are strong, including Serbia, Russia, Armenia and Greece.
By the Grace of God,
Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome
and Ecumenical Patriarch,
To all the Faithful of the Church:
Grace, mercy, and peace from Christ the Savior Risen in Glory
* * *
Beloved brothers and sisters, dear children in the Lord,
Christ is Risen!
Once again, the sacred day of Pascha has dawned in full delight and splendor, dispersing joy, comfort, gladness and assurance of life to all faithful, despite the heavy atmosphere that prevails in our world on account of the multidimensional crisis with all its familiar painful consequences for our daily life.
The day of Holy Saturday with the ceremony of the Holy Fire is in the cycle of feasts of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem as one of the holiest, most emotionally moving and consequently, most participated in by numerous pilgrims. On this day from the early hours of dawn the pilgrims from every direction, eagerly arrive in crowds in front of the gates of the Church of Resurrection, which are closed until 10:30 am (summer time) according to the Status Quo.