On June 23, 2019, the Sunday of all Saints, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople concelebrated the Divine Liturgy with Metropolitan Tikhon, the primate of OCA (Orthodox Church in America) in Dereyamanli, Cappadocia, Turkey , on the occasion of the annual pilgrimage to Cappadocia.
A delegation of several members of the OCA clergy accompanied the Metropolitan.
At the end of the Divine Liturgy, Patriarch Bartholomew addressed Metropolitan Tikhon, especially highlighting their friendship, developed thanks to these pilgrimages.
Here is the text of Metropolitan Tikhon’s response:
Address of His
Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon to
His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople
Sunday of All Saints
June 23, 2019
“Your All-Holiness, Patriarch Bartholomew,
It is a great joy for me to concelebrate the Divine Liturgy with Your All-Holiness, together with His Eminence, Metropolitan Paisios, and the brothers who serve with us, on this great day of the Feast of All Saints, when in the glory of Pentecost we honor the great cloud of witnesses offered to us in the holy men and women of our Orthodox Christian faith.
When I travel abroad, I normally bring the prayers and greetings of the faithful of North America to the place where I am travelling. But after these days, when I have had the honor of walking — at the invitation of Your All-Holiness — in the lands of Cappadocia, I feel that it is rather I who am receiving, on behalf of North Americans, the prayers and embrace of the martyric witness which resound from the deserted caves and the ruins of church temples around us.
In today’s Gospel, the Lord said to us: “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.” These lands echo with the trials and loss of the past, but these clouds of past sufferings are made brighter by the hope offered to us by Jesus Christ, the Author and Finisher of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
It is this hope, this faith, this joy which we find fulfilled as we gather as brothers and sisters in Christ in the celebration of this Divine Liturgy, which is the goal of our pilgrimage in life. We have all come here because we are seeking that which was lost: our homeland, our families, and our churches. But this seeking is also for something deeper in our hearts, as the Psalmist says: “As the deer pants after the fountains of water, so pants my soul after Thee, O God. My soul thirsted for God, the mighty, the living; when shall I come and appear before the face of God” (Psalm 41:1).
I come from America, the land of freedom, the land of abundance, the land of hope. It is to this land that many from Anatolia fled, and it is the land to which many emigrated from Eastern Europe, from the Middle East, and from other places where difficulties were to be found. But there are difficulties to be found in America as well, and we have been working, through the process of the Assembly of Bishops, to find solutions by which all the Orthodox in our lands might offer a strong and united witness to Christ and His Holy Church, in imitation of the great saints that we celebrate today and in fulfillment of the exhortation made by Your All-Holiness, that we all need “to move beyond what is mine and yours, to what is ours.” This is the goal for us as Orthodox Christians: to move beyond what is mine and yours, to what is ours – and what is ours is Jesus Christ and the communion of the saints.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking, as our parents and grandparents did, to Jesus Christ, Who gives us life and Who gives us hope.
Thank you, Your All-Holiness, for your prayers and for your hospitality.”
Source in English