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Honourable Consuls General,
Today we have gathered here at our Venerable Centre of Orthodoxy to celebrate Holy Pascha (Easter) together, the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. It is a time of joy, optimism, and renewal, but also a time to reflect upon the challenges and difficulties facing our world.
As we recently said on our home island of Imbros, where we were blessed to celebrate the Feast of feasts with our family, friends, and compatriots, “Pascha is the victory of life over death because it is the feast of hope, the celebration of joy. Resurrection is the revelation of the truth and beauty of things; it is the definitive manifestation of the content and direction of our freedom. The whole life of the Church is a paschal experience.” Therefore, as the Lord commanded us, we proclaim this Good News to all the ends of the earth, to a world that needs it when we face so much misfortune, pain, and uncertainty.
In that vein, we continue to be deeply saddened by the ongoing, diabolic conflict in Ukraine, which has caused so much torment for so many innocent people, most of whom are Orthodox Christians. As faith leaders, we believe in the sanctity of all human life and the importance of peace and reconciliation. We call upon all parties involved to dialogue and seek a peaceful resolution to this unjust war as soon as possible, respecting the dignity and fundamental rights of all people.
In like manner, we also remember all those who lost their lives and their homes in the recent earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria. This past week we were able to see the devastation firsthand and were able to meet and convey our sympathies to our Brother, His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch, who was undertaking a pastoral visit to the area around his historical See.
From the very beginning of these crises, the Mother Church of Constantinople recognized the importance of solidarity with those suffering and organized humanitarian aid. Therefore, we ask that you do not forget those in distress in your prayers and support them in any way possible. The care for our brethren in need should be constant and continue with more persistence especially after the lights of publicity start fading, as they don’t make headlines in the news anymore.
Consequently, we observe that the Church has an essential role in ameliorating these heart-breaking situations, collaborating with the faithful, local governments and leaders, and all people of goodwill. As followers of Christ, we are called to be a light in the world, to offer solace to the suffering, oppressed, and marginalized.
The Holy Great Church of Christ is committed to working with our brothers and sisters worldwide to promote these principles. We will continue to strive to provide spiritual guidance and support to those in need and work towards a world free from violence and oppression.
Grateful for the fruitful cooperation with all of you as representatives of nations with sizable Orthodox populations, we call upon you to join these efforts. Let us work together to promote peace, justice, and love in the world. Let us be the light in the darkness and the hope in the face of despair.
Despite any difficulty we face, as we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord, let us renew our commitment to these values. In praying to the Almighty God for stability in our homeland and in yours, especially during your mission here, we beseech that the Risen Christ will grant you, your families, coworkers, and compatriots much strength, continued health, and peace to everyone.
Χριστός Ἀνέστη! Christ is Risen!