Statement issued from the Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, Balamand, on 30th August 2013
I raised my eyes to the mountains where I receive my help.
Our countries are passing through a difficult phase and challenging circumstances with their peoples being threatened by several dangers. This painful situation in which we find ourselves and in which the lives of many are threatened by killing, kidnapping, forced immigration and the use of weapons of mass destruction, violation of international law, bombs everywhere destroying the security of individuals and home countries and religion being used to implant division between compatriots, make us feel sad. The war continues to threaten our homelands and the possibilities for peace seem to be diminished. In the midst of all these circumstances our Church is well rooted in this land and we insist on certain common principles as the basis for her involvement in public affairs. She demands that international organizations adopt appropriate steps which would promote the protection of the inhabitants of these lands. She invites all interested states to abandon, directly or indirectly, all their private narrow interests in order to help prepare an appropriate context for Syria to arrive at the fundamentals of a political and peaceful solution through the logic of dialogue rather than that of deadly conflict.
His All-Holiness, together with members of the Holy and Sacred Synod and Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne, presided over the concelebration of the Divine Liturgy at the Patriarchal Church of St. George on the occasion of the proclamation of the New Ecclesiastical Year, which includes the day of prayers for the protection of the natural environment and the Synaxis of the icon of Panaghia Pammakaristos.
On Tuesday the 14th/27th of August 2013, the rite of the Lamentations or the Epitaph of Theotokos was performed by the Patriarchate at the Bier of the Mother of God in Gethsemane.
«I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together ».
With these words fifty years ago he concluded his legendary speech in the American capital the man who dared to dream at difficult times, the activist who dared to fight with peaceful means the nightmare of racism, the fighter who dared to pull out the miserable white hood from an entire country. Fifty years after mankind leans its bow and pays homage and memory on Martin Luther King, the man who with his word and his action contributed as few to the elimination of racial discrimination and to the consolidation of racial equality.
On Monday, August 19, 2013, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew arrived in his native island of Imvros (Gökçeada). In his home village of Sts. Theodores, His All-Holiness inaugurated the reopening of a Greek primary school with an Aghiasmo service and with the first ringing of a bell since its closing in 1964. The newly restored and reopened school, which is also named after the village's patrons, Sts. Theodores, was granted permission to reopen by the Turkish Ministry of Education.