It has been an honor working with you during my tenure as Secretary of State. Together, we have done a great deal to promote inter-religious and inter-ethnic understanding and to raise the profile of religious freedom issues in Turkey and beyond.
You are an inspiration to many with your contributions to the rich tradition of religious diversity in Turkey. I look forward to the day when Halki Seminary will reopen its doors as a shining symbol of religious freedom.
On the First Sunday of Great Lent, March 24, 2013, His All-Holiness celebrated the Divine Liturgy marking the Sunday of Orthodoxy at the Patriarchal Church of St. George. The Liturgy included the consecration of newly-elected Archbishop Nektarios of Anthidon, a hierarch belonging to the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
According to the established procedure, this year the celebration was held at the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s Church of St. Sophia. The celebrants were Archbishop Gregory of Thyateira (Patriarchate of Constantinople), Archbishop Yelisey of Sourozh (Moscow Patriarchate), Bishop Dositej of Scandinavia and Great Britain (Serbian Patriarchate), Archbishop Anatoly of Kerch, vicar of the Diocese of Sourozh (Moscow Patriarchate), and Bishop Athanasius of Tropea, vicar of the Archdiocese of Thyateira. Among the worshipper were clergy of the Orthodox Churches of Constantinople, Antioch, Georgia, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria. Archpriest Maxim Nikolsky and Protodeacon Dimitry Nedostupenko of the Cathedral of the Assumption also participated, representing the Diocese of Sourozh.
On Wednesday, March 20, 2013, in a formal reception in honor of the church and religious leaders by Pope Francis, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew represented the christian and faith communities in a special address to the Pope. The Patriarch's attendance at the papal inaugural mass was a historic initiative on the part of Patriarch Bartholomew inasmuch as it was the first time in history that an Ecumenical Patriarch was personally present at a papal installation.
Vatican, March 20, 2013
In the name of the Lord of powers, we wholeheartedly congratulate You on the inspired election and deserved assumption of Your new high duties as First Bishop of the venerable Church of Senior Rome, defined by the primacy of love.
The diverse collection Mount Athos of the internationally renowned painter and architect Efthimios Varlamis, brings mystagogy and universal human values of Athonite life to the center of the EU. The exhibition will be presented on March 25, in the central hall of the European Parliament, on the initiative of the Vice-President of the European Parliament, Anni Podimata.
In the Diocese of Austria-Switzerland on Sunday of Orthodoxy the remembrance of the victory of the Holy Church over iconoclasm was celebrated. His Grace Bishop Dr. Irinej of Backa, the Administrator of the Diocese of Austria and Switzerland, celebrated the Divine Liturgy in Vienna’s church of the Resurrection of Christ in the presence of concelebrating priests and pious people.