On Saturday September 25th /October 9th 2011 the Orthodox Theological School of Munich consisting of its students and several accompanying pilgrims led by His Grace Bishop Remezianis Andreas of the Serbian Patriarchate and the Bishop of Stuttgart Agapitos of the Russian church of Dispersion as well as the Professor of the Faculty Mr. Athanasios Vletsis, visited the Patriarchate.
The above mentioned had already been on an educational pilgrimage trip to the Holy Land since the feast of the Elevation of the Most Precious Cross on Tuesday September 14th/27th 2011 and sealed their pilgrimage tour and theory with their visit to His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos.
During this visit through the words of Bishop of Remezianis Andreas, they expressed their joy for their pilgrimage visit to the Holy Land and their sincere thanks to His Beatitude for His warm welcome.
In response His Beatitude spoke to them about the Patriarchate of Jerusalem as the local Church of the Holy Land which having Jerusalem as its center embodies the Holy History and the Divine Economy of our Salvation by means of the Incarnation of our Savior Lord Jesus Christ at a time and place, His birth in flesh, Crucifixion and Resurrection.
“The Zion Mother of Churches” His Beatitude stated, “together with the Fathers of the Holy Sepulcher kept and protected the Holy Land through the centuries as sacred, as concrete evidence, as tangible testimonial of the Acts of God that took place in the Holy Land for our salvation as well as the existence and the identity of the Christians who have been living in it until today. The Church kept and protected the Holy Land as a liturgical place for the spiritual cultivation and holiness of Its Christian residents and pilgrims.
“You” continued His Beatitude “have been blessed to visit the Holy Land not only as pilgrims but students of Theology as well and to ascertain the existence of Christian congregation leaving in it whose guard and guarantor is the Patriarchate.
This mission and role of the Patriarchate acknowledge and ask for the local political, authorities of Israel, Jordan and Palestinian Autonomy. As you give testimony in Europe on Orthodoxy so do we in the Middle East.”
All the Orthodox nations with their different cultural traditions experience here the event of Pentecost. They visit the Holy Land and concelebrate with us at the Most Holy Sepulcher and the Holy Shrine of Calvary.
“We congratulate you all on participating in the organization of this interorthodox trip and we convey the message that all Orthodox Churches are nowadays obliged more than ever to abandon competitiveness and protest for their unity that is in fact the substance of their mission, namely the salvation of man.”
During these, His Beatitude gave encolpia to the Head priests, ivory pectoral crosses to the priests and for the Faculty the book of History of the Church of Jerusalem by the Father of the Holy Sepulcher Archbishop of Athens Chrisostomos Papadopoulos, and other blessings from Jerusalem.