« Britain’s Orthodox Bishops Concelebrated the Liturgy at the Dormition Cathedral of the Diocese of Sourozh and Issued a Statement on Persecution of Christians »

On 25th April, at the invitation of His Eminence Archbishop Elisey of Sourozh, members of the Pan-Orthodox Episcopal Assembly of Britain and Ireland concelebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Dormition Cathedral of the Diocese of Sourozh in London’s Knightsbridge.

His Eminence Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople), Archbishop Elisey of Sourozh and Archbishop Anatoly of Kerch (Patriarchate of Moscow), Archbishop Mark of Berlin, Germany and Great Britain (Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia), Bishop Athanasios of Tropaeou (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople), Bishop Ignatie Muresanul (Patriarchate of Romania), the clergy of the Diocese of Sourozh and Orthodox Churches represented in the British Isles participated in the service. The Orthodox faithful, together with their hierarchs and clergy, prayed for the 'peace of the whole world, for the steadfastness of the holy Churches of God and for the union of all'. This special Liturgy was was celebrated in Greek, Church Slavonic, English, Arabic and Romanian.

At the end of the service, Archbishop Elisey warmly greeted the hierarchs present, the clergy and the faithful and expressed his joy over the Pan-Orthodox concelebration and mutual prayer at the Cathedral of the Diocese of Sourozh. In his address, Archbishop Gregorios noted that “Eucharist” means “Gratitude” and that “we all gathered here today because of Love” as “God is Love”. It was the second time the assembled hierarchs celebrated the Liturgy together. The first celebration took place at the 3rd meeting of the Assembly in June 2011.

The day before, the members of the Pan-Orthodox Episcopal Assembly held a meeting presided over by its Chairman, Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain. After the Liturgy, the hierarchs signed a Statement on the Persecution of Christians, which expresses “prayerful solidarity with the Christians of the Middle East and Africa, who today are experiencing a degree of suffering and overt persecution unprecedented in modern times”. The document calls on the Parliaments and Governments of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland to apply “serious diplomatic and political efforts… to avert further suffering of innocent people and to establish just solutions to the problems which have arisen in recent years, without which there can be no lasting peace and security for anyone.” “We urge that the issue of the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and North Africa and, indeed, throughout the world, should not be ignored”, stated the church leaders.