Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Presides at Divine Liturgy in New Orleans
Oct 26, 2009
NEW ORLEANS - In the Byzantine Cathedral of the Holy Trinity of New Orleans, the oldest Orthodox Christian Community in America, established in 1864, orthodox faithful had gathered early Sunday morning, Oct. 25, waiting for His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to arrive for Matins service and the Divine Liturgy. His All Holiness dressed in his Episcopal Mandyas (Episcopal mantel) presided over the services, blessed the faithful and delivered words of love and wisdom.
His All Holiness after the reading of the Gospel, in his homily to the hundreds of faithful who attended the Liturgy acknowledged the devastation and the suffering caused by hurricane Katrina and commended the people of the Community and the City of New Orleans for their resolve for recovery and rebirth.
Focusing attention to the role of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the places where the seven Ecumenical Councils took place, His All Holiness said that "to this day, the Ecumenical Patriarchate continues to safeguard this truth, (the dogmatic truth of Christianity - Orthodoxy) while the Apostolic Throne of Saint Andrew continues to keep these historic Sees alive - even if only with the witness of a few."
The Ecumenical Patriarch explained the history and the purpose of the Religion, Science and the Environment (RSE) Symposia and in particular this Eighth one entitled "Restoring Balance: The Great Mississippi River," which had just concluded here and said: "When we began on the Sacred Island of Patmos, we chose this location for a very specific reason. We recognized, in the apocalyptic vision of St. John the Theologian, a prophetic call to action for our planet and for all who live herein. From the Isle of Patmos, the Evangelist bore witness to coming catastrophe, even to the scorching of a third of the earth, a third of all trees - and the poisoning of a third of the seas, and a third of all rivers and fresh water. (Revelation 8:7-11). This vision is a call to arms for all of us, not merely to take action for environmental responsibility and reason, but to take a closer look at the root cause of our declining world - and that is the decline in our human values, our human relationships, and the very understanding of what it means to be a human being."
"Welcome apostle of healing, peace, truth and care for the people and for the environment," said at the conclusion of the Liturgy Archbishop Demetrios of America welcoming the Ecumenical Patriarch and thanked him for his pastoral care for all Orthodoxy and especially the flock of the Archdiocese of America. His Eminence further characterized the Ecumenical Patriarch "an agent of the healing process and conveyor of the Grace of God."
The mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin welcomed His All Holiness to the City expressed his gratitude for the support and the prayers of the Ecumenical Patriarch for the people of New Orleans.
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