Ecumenical Patriarch visits Vatopedi Monastery for first time in 30 years

The Holy and Great Monastery of Vatopedi was the latest destination in the Ecumenical Patriarch’s itinerary on Monday, Oct. 20, in continuation of his official visit to the semi-autonomous monastic community in northern Greece.

The Ecumenical Patriarch returned to Vatopedi for the first time in 30 years, as he last visited the second in hierarchy Athonite Monastery as Metropolitan of Philadelphia and Chalcedon.

The Patriarch was welcomed in millennia-old Byzantine ecclesiastical tradition by the Elder Archimandrite Ephraim, the Monastery’s Abbot, along with several other Athonite Elders, Metropolitans and Hieromonks at the Monastery’s main entrance.

The civil governor of Mt. Athos, Athanasios Martinos, was also present during the Ecumenical Patriarch’s welcome, along with Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Antonis Diamataris and the heads the regional police, coast guard and fire brigade services.

A procession led by the Ecumenical Patriarch entered the Monastery’s Catholicos, the main part of Cathedral, where a Doxology service was celebrated.

Afterwards, the Elder Ephraim officially addressed and welcomed Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.

During a private ceremony, Abbot Ephraim presented the Patriarch of Constantinople with the honorary title of ‘Spiritual founder of Vatopedi Monastery.’

Abbot Ephraim reading out the tomos on the bestowal of the honorary title of Spiritual Founder of Vatopedi Monastery to His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Photo: Orthodoxia News Agency

The abbot said that the bestowal of this distinction upon His Holiness was an older wish of Elder Joseph of Vatopedi. Elder Joseph wanted to express his gratitude to Patriarch Bartholomew for firmly supporting the monastery to become coenobitic.

Photography courtesy of Orthodoxia News Agency

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