THE CUTTING OF THE VASILOPITA AT THE PATRIARCHATE OF ALEXANDRIA
This year due to the reconstruction of the Patriarchal Palace, the traditional cutting of the Vasilopita at the Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa took place at the Holy Monastery of St. Savvas.
The ceremony took place on New Year's Eve at 6 pm. It commenced with the chanting of the Apolytikion and Kontakion (hymns of the feast) of St. Basil and the blessing of the Vasilopita by His Beatitude Petros VII, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa. Among the large number of faithful who attended the ceremony were Mrs. E. Voudouri-Moschona, Representative of the Consul General of Greece, other officials and faithful of the Greek Community of Alexandria and the Arab speaking Orthodox Community.
His Beatitude then highlighted last year's events. In His speech, the Patriarch first of all expressed to everyone His warm wishes for the New Year. He then covered the events of the past year: the visits of General Mohamed Mahgoub, Governor of Alexandria, H.B. Gregorios Laham, new Patriarch of the Melkite Church, H.E. Stephanos, Archbishop of Ahris (schismatic Church of Skopje); the meeting with H.E. Glafkos Clerides, President of the Republic of Cyprus at the Holy Monastery of St. George in Old Cairo; the pastoral agreement with the Coptic Church for mutual recognition of the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony; the pastoral visits to the Holy Metropolitanates of Cameroon, Pelousion (Port Said), Johannesburg and Pretoria, Zimbabwe, Hermopolis (Tanta) and Leontopolis (Ismailiya) and the Holy Bishopric of Nigeria.
His Beatitude continued and spoke of the Holy Synod that took place in February which among other things decided to establish a new Diocese, the Bishopric of Zambia and elected these new Hierarchs: - H.E. Serafim, Metropolitan of Kenya as Metropolitan of Johannesburg and Pretoria, H.E. Makarios, Metropolitan of Zimbabwe as Metropolitan of Kenya, H.G. Kallinikos, Bishop of Mareotis, as Metropolitan of Khartoum and all Sudan, the Very Revd. Archimandrite Nicholaos Antoniou as Metropolitan of Hermopolis (Tanta), the Very Revd. Arch. Kyrillos Economopoulos as Metropolitan of Zimbabwe, the Very Revd. Arch. Proterios Pavlopoulos as Metropolitan of Dar es Salaam, the Very Revd. Arch. Petros Karatroupkos, as the first Bishop of Zambia and the Very Revd. Arch. George Vladimirou as Auxiliary Bishop with the titular title of Nilopolis who was assigned the duties of the Patriarchal Vicar of Alexandria.
His Beatitude also mentioned the inauguration of the Holy Monastery of St. George's Ecclesiastical Museum in Old Cairo; His official visits to the Church of Greece, the Church of Poland, Cyprus, Armenia, the Holy Metropolitanate of Mytilene (Greece), H.M. of Rhodes (Greece), H.M. of Dimitrias (Volos, Greece); His presence in Amman at the enthronement ceremony of H.B. Irineos, new Patriarch of Jerusalem; His participation at the celebrations of St. Catherine's Holy Monastery in Mt. Sinai; His participation at the 4th Meeting of the Greeks Abroad (S.A.E.) in Thessaloniki and His participation at the meeting of the three monotheistic religions in Brussels. He highlighted the reconstruction of the Holy Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Old Cairo; the renovation of the Holy Church of St. Nicholaos in Ibrahemia, Alexandria;the renovation of the Holy Church of the Theotokos in Heliopolis, Cairo; the reconstruction which is in progress at the Holy Cathedral of St. Savvas, Alexandria and its future iconography; the reconstruction of the Palaces of the Holy Metropolitanates of Leontopolis in Ismailiya and Memphis in Heliopolis, Cairo; the reconstruction which is in progress at the Patriarchal Palace in Alexandria; the development of the property next to the Holy Monastery of St. Sabbas in Alexandria; the 10% salary increase of the clergy in Egypt; and finally the mission work within the African continent. The Patriarch concluded by wishing all present a happy, joyful, peaceful and blessed New Year.
At the end, all the faithful sang the kalanta, the traditional carols for the beginning of the New Year. His Beatitude then handed out the Vasilopita.
THE GOVERNOR OF ALEXANDRIA AT THE PATRIARCHATE
At the Holy Church, the Annunciation of the Theotokos in Alexandria, His Beatitude Petros VII, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa presided over the Divine Liturgy and the Blessing of the Water, the service which marks the feast of the Holy Epiphany (Sunday, January 6th, 2002).
After the service, the Patriarch of Alexandria wished to all present a blessed, peaceful, joyous and prosperous New Year. He then blessed the faithful with the Holy Water.
At 11 am His Beatitude received H.E. General Mohammed Mahgoub, Governor of Alexandria, at the Holy Monastery of St. Savvas' Reception Hall.
The Patriarch addressed General Mahgoub and in his address he thanked him for the protection and assistance that he provides to the Patriarchate and to the members of the Greek Community who live in the historic city of Alexandria. His Beatitude congratulated him for his great contribution to the restoration and development of the city and finally asked the Governor to extend the Patriarchate's appreciation and gratefulness to H.E. Mr. Hosni Moubarak, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt. His Beatitude expressed his desire and hope that their perfect collaboration would continue so that the city of Alexander the Great would benefit.
The Governor expressed his joy at once again meeting the Leader of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and the Greeks. He congratulated the Patriarch for his presence in Alexandria and for the renovation of the Patriarchal Palace, Churches and Monasteries in Alexandria. The Governor commented that this renovation was a contribution to the restoration and development of the city and he wished all Christians health, prosperity and strength. Finally, he reassured the Patriarch that he would always stand by the Patriarchate and would be at the disposal of His Beatitude and his colleagues.