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Celebrations for the Feast of Hellenic Letters 2011 PDF Print E-mail

Most Reverend Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain and highly honoured Exarch of Western Europe and Ireland, beloved brother in the Holy Spirit and concelebrant of our Humility, Lord Gregorios, may grace be with your Reverence and peace from God.

 

If we look at the hymns of the Church, and particularly at the holy service of the Three Hierarchs, which was composed by John Mauropous, Metropolitan of Euchaita, we will find triumphant songs of praise, adjective after adjective, composed hymns, words rarely used, and all to duly honour the three great beacons of the Thrice-sunned Godhead.

 

Rightly are they admired, for having studied all pagan wisdom they managed to transform the philosophical babble of their age into a philosophy of virtuous living. “If you take away your rags and beards, you have nothing to show but your outward appearance”, and “all you do is done only to sate your bellies”, as the predecessor of our Mediocrity, St John Chrysostom said. And yet their words were rendered into true wisdom. (Homily on the Statutes, 17 and 18). They were not satisfied with futile theories and obscure discussions, knowing full well that, as our other predecessor, Gregory the Theologian, put it: “Unbridled theories run uncontrollably into the abyss” (Homily on the Theophany). These holy Fathers avoided that abyss. Somewhere, the great beacon of Caesaria writes: “In vain I squandered much time, and throughout my youth I laboured in vain. And when I saw the futile wisdom of the scholars of this age being abolished, I wept bitterly for that part of my life, and I prayed for a guide to teach me the doctrines of piety” (Letter to Eustathius, 223).

 

And a guide was found. Gregory the Theologian, in interpreting the words of Solomon, “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7), says: ‘What does he say is the beginning of wisdom? – Fear. Having begun with a fearful vision of God, we should not end in fear, but having embraced it, we may rise higher. Fear is the keeping of the Commandments, and the keeping of the Commandments is the purification of the flesh, and purification is illumination (Homily on the Theophany).

 

In truly living out this philosophy of life, the Three Hierarchs became teachers of piety, flowing streams of the Orthodox Faith, the salt of the earth, shining brightly with the teachings and doctrines of the Church, radiant stars of the spiritual heaven.

 

We therefore bless with our Patriarchal blessing the gatherings of the Faithful in your holy Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain and throughout the world in honour of these Three Teachers. The Trinity has glorified them, and we sing: “Three Great Hierarchs, pray to Christ our God to grant remission of sins to those who honour your holy memory”.

 

May the grace of God and His boundless mercy be with your Reverence and with your honoured teachers, and with all your devout flock.

 

26th January 2011

 

Your Beloved Brother in Christ,

Vartholomaeos,

Archbishop of

Constantinople

 
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