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.
A solemn, festal part of the gathering began with the Vigil service and akathist to Most Holy Mother of God which was celebrated by Patriarch Theodor of Alexandria and with the participation of the primates of the Orthodox Churches, at the church of Holy Archangels on Bosphorus, in the Istanbul’s quarter of Mega Revma, full of believers from Istanbul and Greece.
The working is about to be finished with today’s morning session. The message of the Orthodox patriarchs and other primates of Orthodox Churches to the church and whole public will be solemnly announced during the Holy Liturgy on Sunday of Orthodoxy at the Cathedral church of Saint George on the Phanar.
(Phanar, March 6-9, 2014)
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Through the grace of God, the Primates of the Most Holy Autocephalous Orthodox Churches, to the Orthodox faithful throughout the world, all of our Christian brothers and sisters as well as every person of goodwill: we extend God’s blessing and our greeting of love and peace.
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.
At the invitation of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the First-Hierarchs of all the Orthodox Autocephalous Churches will gather from March 6-9, 2014, for a Sacred Synaxis at the Phanar in order to deliberate on matters pertaining to the entire Orthodox Church throughout the world and procedural issues for the convocation of the Holy and Great Council, whose preparation is coming to an end.