BY HIS EMINENCE ARCHBISHOP IRENAIOS OF CRETE,
PRESIDENT OF THE HOLY EPARCHIAL SYNOD OF THE CHURCH OF CRETE,
AT THE OFFICIAL DINNER IN HONOR
OF THE PRIMATES OF THE HOLY ORTHODOX CHURCHES
(Heraklion, Saturday, June 18, 2016)
|Your All-Holiness Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch,|
Your Beatitudes, Patriarchs and Archbishops of the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches, together with Your honorable Delegations,
Your Excellencies, Representatives of the Greek Government and Local Administration,
Honorable Representatives of the Educational, Military, Police, and other Authorities,
On behalf of the Sacred Eparchial Synod of the Church of Crete, our Church, I welcome all of You, our illustrious and distinguished guests, expressing feelings of deep honor and joy for Your blessed presence here in the midst of the sessions of the Holy and Great Council of our Orthodox Church, which has been long awaited for centuries.
The Apostolic Church of Crete welcomed the unanimous Pan-Orthodox decision to host this major ecclesial event of the convocation of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church on our island, which is why it expresses its thanks and deep gratitude to You.
As you know, the Christian character of Crete traces its roots to two biblical events. Crete welcomed St. Paul the Apostle of the Nations to the peaceful gulf of its safe harbors, as is written in the Acts of the Apostles. Meanwhile, St. Paul left his genuine disciple, St. Titus the Apostle – the First Bishop of Crete – “to set in order the things that are lacking and appoint elders in every city.” Afterwards, the island underwent a multitude of various historical changes, however, it retains until today, by the grace of our Good and Loving God and the tireless intercessions of St. Titus the Protapostle, the flame of the Orthodox Faith unquenched and indefatigably displays the heroic Cretan spirit of our Forefathers.
With sentiments of gratitude and jubilation, on behalf of Their Eminences the Metropolitans comprising the Sacred Eparchial Synod of the Apostolic Church of Crete, I raise this glass to toast to the health of Your All-Holiness and Your Beatitudes the Patriarchs and Archbishops, together with all the Bishops, entreating the Lord to strengthen and protect all of You in the performance of the responsibilities and historic work of the Holy and Great Council, for the glory of our Most-Holy Triune God and honor of His Holy Orthodox Church.
May the Great and Holy Council of our Orthodox Church have a good and blessed session.
Welcome one and all!