Archbishop Demetrios Welcomes His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem
Nov 7, 2007
Washington, DC – On Monday November 5, Archbishop Demetrios of America welcomed His Beatitude Theophilos III, Patriarch of Jerusalem to the United States. The two Hierarchs met in Washington, DC. The Patriarch had arrived late in the evening on Saturday, and the Archbishop, who was in New York for the Consecration of Zoodohos Peghe in the Bronx on Sunday the 4th, asked His Beatitude to attend Divine Liturgy at the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Washington, DC, where His Beatitude addressed the congregation in Greek and English, conveying the blessing of the All-Holy Tomb of our Lord Jesus Christ. Following the Divine Liturgy, Archon Kastrinsios Nicholas and Mrs. Nicholas Tsakalos of Phoenix, MD, hosted a luncheon in honor of His Beatitude on behalf of the Archbishop at the Willard Hotel. Senator and Mrs. Paul Sarbanes, Mr. Karolos Gadis (Minister Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Greece), Ambassador and Mrs. Patrick Theros, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Manatos, Mr. and Mrs. Michael Tsakalos, Mr. Chris Araj, and clergy were in attendance.
On Monday morning of the 5th, the Patriarch commenced the meetings that had brought him to the United States for the first time. The Patriarch was attending the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land, a new interfaith organization that includes the heads of all three monotheistic religions in the Holy Land. Patriarch Theophilos is the successor to St. Iakovos (James) Adelphotheos (the brother of the Lord), the first Bishop of Jerusalem and as such is the historic leader of the Christians of the Holy Land. The other founding members of the Council are the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, the heads of the Islamic Courts and the other Christian leaders of the Anglican, Lutheran and Roman Catholic churches in Jerusalem.
As Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the leading Orthodox Primate in America, Archbishop Demetrios was invited by the Council to represent the Orthodox Churches in America with the Patriarch at special sessions on Monday on the campus of the Catholic University of America and remained with him throughout the day.
The main work of the Council was the release of a Communiqué which affirmed, among other things, that “each religious community should treat the Holy Sites of the other faiths in a manner that respects their integrity and independence....” This affirmation is very important as the majority of all Christian Holy Sites in the Holy land are the property of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem. His Beatitude will depart for Jerusalem on Thursday evening, November 8th.