"You are the flock of the Church of Ukraine, led by Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv," - Bartholomew I to the Greek Diaspora

24.08.2021, 09:00
"You are the flock of the Church of Ukraine, led by Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv," - Bartholomew I to the Greek Diaspora - фото 1
Patriarch Bartholomew reached out to the Greeks of Ukraine on August 23.

According to the Ecumenical Patriarch, in Chersonesos in Crimea, the first traces of the Greek presence date back to the 7th century BC. After resettlement from the Crimean Peninsula, Greeks are restoring communities in Kyiv, Odessa, and other cities, in particular in Mariupol, and in the coastal regions of the sea of Azov. Mariupol State University of Humanities is the most important research and Educational Center for the study and teaching of the Greek language. Numerous Greek communities operate on the territory of Ukraine.

Addressing the Greeks of Ukraine the Ecumenical Patriarch stressed:

"You are the flock led by His Beatitude Metropolitan Kyrios Epifaniy of Kyiv of the Holy Church of Ukraine, just as the Ukrainians and Ukrainian-speaking people of Constantinople make up the flock of the Holy Great Church of Christ, respectively. Our ecclesiology is based on geographical principles and is guided by the criterion of the presence of parishes, not the origin of language or culture. All Orthodox Christians living within the same Diocese of the local Ukrainian church are exclusively its flock and not their countries of origin.

Having the canonical defender and pastor of all Orthodox Christians in Kyiv, the Primate of the Holy Church of Ukraine, His Beatitude Kyrios Epifaniy, we rejoice and glorify the name of the Lord, who cares as a pastor for the flock entrusted to him without discrimination, but with respect, love, prudence and tender maternal love for all. By being close to him and following the instructions of his good clerics and staff, you are free to develop traditions, customs and habits according to your background."

He urged the Greeks to preserve what they received from their ancestors: "cultivate the Orthodox faith and our Greek language, children in the Lord, with all your being, making efforts with sacred zeal and true love. Greek, in addition to being the linguistic axis of culture, is the "mother language of Christianity"... Never forget the words of the great poet Odyseas Elitis that our language is not just a means of communication but a "carrier of moral values".