On 2nd March 2014, His Beatitude Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa officiated during the first solemn Vespers for the beginning of Great Lent at the Patriarchal Church of St Savvas in Alexandria, together with His Eminence Alexios of Carthage who is in Alexandria and His Grace Gabriel of Leontopolis, Patriarchal Vicar of Alexandria together with the Clergy and many faithful.
Prior to the dismissal, according to old tradition, His Beatitude read the forgiveness prayer for all, and exchanged the embrace of forgiveness, at the same time appropriately wishing them strength, watchfulness and repentance, and stressing is his comprehensive homily the true meaning of fasting and genuine forgiveness, mentioning examples and teachings from the holy Fathers of the desert.
In the year of the 300th anniversary of the birth, and 235th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Cosmas of Aetalia, Equal-to-the-Apostles, academic conferences, exhibitions, concerts of spiritual music, and other events are taking place in Greece and some other countries.
On March 9 in the Aetolian town of Thermo a new postal stamp was launched. The stamp was issued by "the postal service of Greece" on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the saint's birth. The hall where the event was held was full, reports AgionOros.Ru.
On March 11, 2014, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia led the 14th annual ceremony of awarding the Patriarch Alexy II Prize of the Unity of Orthodox Nations International Public Foundation granted for “outstanding work to consolidate the unity of Orthodox nations and to promote Christian values in the life of society”.
The 2013 winners of the prize are Mr. Milorad Dodik, President of the Republika Srpska (Bosnia and Herzegovina), the Day of the Baptism of Rus’, an international public organization, Ukraine, and the Fellowship of Orthodox Youth in Poland.
The grace of truth has shone out; the things prefigured in shadows in times of old have now been openly fulfilled in words…in writings, in thoughts, in sacrifices, in churches, and in icons. (From the Vespers of the Sunday of Orthodoxy) To the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of Parish Councils, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Members of Philanthropic Organizations, the Youth and Youth Workers, and the entire Orthodox Christian Family in North and Central America.
Thirteen Lebanese and Syrian nuns who were kidnapped by rebels from the historic Christian town of Maaloula in December have been released and are now returning back to Syria after traveling through Lebanon.
The nuns arrived in the village of Jdeidet Yabus on the Syrian side of the border with Lebanon late on Sunday.
By the grace of God, the proceedings of the Synaxis of the Primates of the Orthodox Autocephalous Churches concluded today, on the Sunday of Orthodoxy.
The Synaxis took place at the Phanar from 6-9 March, 2014, at the invitation and under the presidency of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and was attended by all the most venerable Primates in person, with the exception of His Beatitude Patriarch John of Antioch, who, due to illness, was represented by Hierarchs of his Church.