Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s Letter of Condolences to His Holiness Pope Tawadros II

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s Letter of Condolences to His Holiness Pope Tawadros II


Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s Letter of Condolences to His Holiness Pope Tawadros II

Istanbul, Turkey

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew sent a message of support to Pope Tawadros II, Patriarch of the Coptic Church in Egypt, after the two terrorist attacks that occurred on Palm Sunday in Tanta and Alexandria. The text of the message is given below.

Your Holiness Tawadros II, Pope and Patriarch of the Coptic Church in Egypt, our beloved brother in Christ: grace and peace from on high.

It was with a heavy heart that we learned of the terrorist attacks targeting your churches and faithful flock who, like us, gathered to pray and honor this most holy day of the ecclesiastical year marking the Lord’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. We witnessed in the media with great grief the destruction and mourning that these barbaric attacks have brought to your community, as well as to all of Christendom, and we hasten to convey our wholehearted condolences and the prayers of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. As a martyric Church, we also stand in solidarity with you and your people, who have prevailed courageously and faithfully for centuries over persecution and oppression.

The challenges posed to our present day and age by fundamentalism are great — the pain of those mourning equally so. Yet, we understand that our responsibility to the contemporary world is to remain resilient in times of terror and faithful in times of doubt and unnerving circumstances. We worship the One who responded to the godless and unrepentant spirit of humanity, by descending from His heavenly abode to embrace us. He, for “us and our salvation”, became man in order that “men might be like God”. It was through His humility, forbearance, simplicity, and unceasing and inexhaustible love that He not only conquered sin, but also won for us the ability to be victorious with Him over sin and death.

Our victory through Christ Jesus was promised to us, most especially when persecuted for righteousness and because of His name. At this very moment, we remember His words: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven…” (Matthew 5:11-12). May the promise of the Kingdom and the gift of grace be bestowed upon the victims of this tragedy and their families, and may our Lord grant peace and refreshment to all those suffering. May their memories be eternal and may He who accepted to ride upon a colt “as though riding upon the cherubim” grant us all unending faith, courage, and patience to endure and transform this “sinful and perverse generation”.

Conveying to Your Holiness and the entire Coptic Church our sympathies once again, we embrace you with a “holy kiss” and remain with much love and fraternal honor.

At the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Palm Sunday, 2017

Your Holiness’
beloved brother in Christ,

Archbishop of Constantinople-
New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch

The Order of St. Andrew the Apostle is comprised of Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate who have been honored for their outstanding service to The Orthodox Church by having a Patriarchal title, or “offikion,” bestowed upon them by His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Those upon whom this title of the Mother Church has been conferred are known as “Archons of the Great Church of Christ,” and the titles are personally conferred by the Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in America, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios.

The Order of St. Andrew’s fundamental goal and mission is to promote the religious freedom, wellbeing and advancement of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which is headquartered in Istanbul, Turkey.

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Order of St. Andrew of the Ecumenical Patriarchate was organized on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, March 10, 1966 when His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos conferred upon thirty outstanding laymen of the Church the various Offikion or Offices of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on behalf of His All Holiness Patriarch Athenagoras of blessed memory. They were honored because of their love, loyalty and support of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and their contribution to its advancement and welfare.

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