The Resurrection of Jesus Christ was celebrated with the participation of a limited number of church members and religious officials, within the framework of Covid-19 restrictions, in accordance with the traditions and orders, with a special ritual held at night in the Istanbul Greek Orthodox Patriarchate. In addition, Christians who could not attend the service in the Patriarchate were able to watch the service through a live broadcast from the Patriarchate’s Facebook page.
While the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Istanbul Bartholomew I was conducting the Holy Easter Mass, the Greek Orthodox Church representatives representing the regions, Metropolitans of Philadelphia, Metropolitan of Myriofyton and Peristasis, Eirinaios, Metropolitan of Mira (Antalya Region) Chrysostomos, Metropolitan of Saranda Ekklisies (Kırklareli) Andreas and Bursa Metropolitan Ioakeim was present at the service.
Patriarch Bartholomew I conveyed a special message for all those who are being tested by the coronavirus pandemic. His message included: “The beautiful message of ‘Christ is risen!’, heavenly praise, and universal praise spread throughout the world. Even then, that exuberant message, on that Saturday night, the dark end of betrayal, mockery, cross, death and tomb transformed from the “Light” of Creation to the never-ending light of the Heavenly Kingdo, the most impressive light.
That Saturday night culminated with Easter. After all, our life is like Holy Saturday night before God!
I am thinking of hospitals and intensive care units, where, according to St. Paul, worldly life, alien to our nature, is the “final enemy”, where it faces death.
My heart breaks tonight with those who mourn their loved ones lost to the pandemic. Again and again my soul blesses those in the research and treatment centers who are struggling to overcome this brutal ordeal and selflessly serve humanity.
After all, it’s Easter! It is a gateway and the gateway is never idyllic! It always carries the pain and fear of the unknown.
We are having Easter also in this year. Passing beyond the pains of the pandemic to the re-establishment of face-to-face communication we miss so much, to a blessed Promised Land after a painful wander through the desert of deadly disease.
There is no firmer basis for this hope and for building all of our hopes and expectations, than the fact of Christ’s Resurrection! Our life is not possible without Christ!
On this Easter night, pain, fear, death, unpredictability, all our alienation, all over the world, in the depths of every broken heart, await Him now and in the future, the resurrected Savior, the victorious Savior that beat pain and death, “to transform into things that no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and which the human mind did not design, but that God has prepared for those who love Him.
Christ is Risen!”
While the Greek Consul General to Istanbul, Georgia Sultanopoulou and her husband, Ambassador Ioannis Raptakis, religious officials from abroad and believers from Istanbul were present at the resurrection ceremony, the Ecumenical Patriarchate Archbishops Brotherhood “Panagia Pammakaristos” General Secretary Konstantinos Delikostantis was represented by Archon Didaskalos, the Great Church of Christ.
On Sunday morning, May 2, 2021, an evening service was held by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in the meeting hall of the Istanbul Patriarchate.
The Ecumenical Patriarch read the Bible in Greek, and then in various languages, on the order of the Ecumenical Throne, by the clergy and representatives of other Christian communities in Istanbul.
Retired Archbishop of Izmir, Monsignor Lorenzo Piretto, who was appointed to Istanbul as the Papal representative, and the Spiritual Chief of the Syriac Catholic Church of Turkey Orhan Çanlı and many religious officials attended the Easter service in the morning.