“The Ecumenical Patriarchate embraces all the nations and peoples to whom it has handed down the holy Orthodox faith and Orthodox baptism through its missionary activity,” the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said in his homily, after the service of the 4th stanza of the Akathist Hymn, celebrated on Friday, April 5 in Saints Constantine and Helen church, in the Bulgarian community of Adrianopolis (Edirne).
The church was packed. The service was presided by the local bishop, Metropolitan Amphilochios of Adrianopolis. Were also present Metropolitan Kiprian of Stara Zagora (Patriarchate of Bulgaria) who addressed warm words to the Ecumenical Patriarch; Bishop Kyrillos of Abydos (Ecumenical Patriarchate); Vassil Valchev, the Bulgarian Consul General to Adrianopolis; Sotiria Theocharidis, the Greek Consul in the same city, as well as other personalities.
Speaking to the Bulgarian community, the patriarch said:
“Indeed, as we have said, Greeks and Bulgarians are united in the Orthodox faith. This is above all other distinctiveness, language, nation, or race. It is the common baptismal font that unites us, the baptism in the holy Orthodox Church. Faith in the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, unites us. The sweet expectation of the Resurrection of the Lord unites us. Common ideals, common values, universal values and causes, held steadfastly by the holy great Church of Christ through the centuries, unite us.
And thanks to these ideals and values, the Ecumenical Patriarchate embraces all the nations and peoples to whom it has handed down the holy Orthodox faith and Orthodox baptism through its missionary activity.
And among those nations and peoples who have been Christianized and civilized through the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the first is Bulgaria. The first-born daughter of the Church of Constantinople is the Most Holy Orthodox Church of Bulgaria, on which the Mother Church of Constantinople prides itself.
And I take advantage of the opportunity of our beloved brother Metropolitan Kiprian of Zagora’s presence to send from here, Adrianopolis, a brotherly kiss to His Beatitude Patriarch Neophytos of Bulgaria and to all the honorable hierarchy of the most holy Church of Bulgaria.
It is also an opportunity for me to wish a happy and holy Pascha to his people, all the pious Bulgarian people, and to the brothers of Greece here present.”
Source in Greek