At the end of the Divine Liturgy celebrated on the Sunday of Orthodoxy by His Beatitude Archbishop Hieronymos at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Athens, the President of the Republic of Greece, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, was awarded the highest decoration of the Greek Orthodox Church, the Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Paul the Apostle.
Athens celebrated the first Sunday of Great Lent with a Divine Liturgy at which concelebrated the members of the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church, and with the traditional procession commemorating the restoration of holy icons in 843 by the Holy Byzantine Empress Theodora.
The awarding ceremony of the Grand Cross of St Paul’s Order took place after the procession.
President Pavlopoulos said that he receives the highest decoration of the Church of Greece acknowledging the fact that ‘it does not refer to my person, but to the institution of the President of the Republic. The highest responsibility of the president, according to his oath, is to respect the Constitution, and to especially observe the provisions stipulating that the President of the Republic is the one regulating the society. Therefore, the President is also the vouchsafer of harmonious ties between the Church and the State in constitutional context.’
The Greek President expressed his commitment to respecting the constitution of the country, ‘being fully aware that all my actions are in the light of publicity and transparency.’ Furthermore, the President said that the phrase ‘nothing is hidden under the sun’ is proper for the presidential institution, since the president does not hide anything from the eyes of the people and the clergy.
Ending his speech, Prokopis Pavlopoulos quoted Psalm 139 saying, ‘Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.’
Check out the Photo Gallery from the event!
Photography courtesy of the Archdiocese of Athens