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The Ecumenical Patriarch: One Who Serves

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But I am among you as one who serves. (Luke 22:27)

DPatriarch with Staffuring the Last Supper, on the occasion of a dispute among His disciples, the Lord made the following significant statement: But I am among you as one who serves (Luke 22:27). The Lord had made previously the same statement, the focal point of which was the concept of serving, when He declared that the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve (Matthew 20:28 and Mark 10:45).

With these most important statements, the Lord Jesus Christ established the concept of serving as the fundamental and leading concept of His incarnation and work on earth and as the eternal and ultimate criterion of the true and authentic mission of the workers of the Gospel at any time and in any place on Earth.

Our Most Holy Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has been as a human being and a clergyman, but more specifically as Patriarch during his twenty years of amazingly fruitful tenure, the serving Patriarch. He is a par excellence imitator of our serving God Jesus Christ, serving among us incessantly day and night.

Our Most Holy and Beloved Patriarch is the one who serves through his intense, eloquent and continuous offering of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in every part of the Earth, and, essentially, to all mankind.

This is an extremely difficult work but he does it regardless of the sacrifices which such a work requires.

He is the one who serves with his incessant labor and toil for unity, cooperation and common witness of faith among the Orthodox Churches throughout the world. By being the serving Patriarch, he managed to bring together the Heads of the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches for appropriate pan-Orthodox action.

He is the one who serves with his extremely diligent and systematic work for the protection of the injured natural environment and the curbing and reversal of the ecological destruction. Specialists in the field speak about the Patriarch as the number one person in the activities related to ecology.

He is the one who serves with his sleepless and affectionate pastoral care for his immediate and his wider congregations, for specific individuals facing afflictions and ordeals, but also for the wider masses of people in need of immediate help.

He is the one who serves in his superb work in defense of human rights and in promotion of religious freedom for any person or religious entity.

We wholeheartedly and incessantly pray that the years which will follow be years of lengthy and glorious continuation of the creative and dynamic work of our serving Ecumenical Patriarch, years leading him from one degree of glory to another (2 Cor. 3:18) in imitation of the serving God, the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ.

+ Archbishop DEMETRIOS of America