May 2003


His Beatitude Petros VII, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria visited Cyprus to participate at the 2nd Interfaith Conference called by H.E. Nikiphoros, Bishop of Kykkos. The Patriarch was in Cyprus from May 2 - 5, 2003. During his stay there he met with H.E. Chrysostomos, Metropolitan of Kition; professors of the Theological Schools of Athens and Thessaloniki; and Dr. Riad Jarjour, Secretary General of the Middle East.

In his speech at the opening session, the Patriarch focused on the value of cooperation among nations to promote peace and the importance of peaceful coexistence between various nations, religions and cultures.

On Sunday, May 4th, H.B. presided over the Divine Liturgy at the Holy Church of St. Prokopios, Metochion of the Kykkos Monastery. In his sermon he referred to the theological meaning of the Sunday of Saint Thomas and the importance of calling the interfaith conference.  The Patriarch further highlighted the Cypriot issue, which has recently seen progress.

On Monday, May 5th he visited the Holy Monastery of Kykkos. That evening he met with Mr. Dimitris Christofias, President of the House of Parliament. The conference condemned the war in Iraq and called all nations to follow and respect the decisions of the United Nations.



On Tuesday, May 6th, 2003, the Patriarch flew to Athens. As soon as he arrived, he visited Mrs. Magda Shahin, the Ambassador to Egypt, at the Egyptian Embassy, where Mrs. Shahin hosted a reception in honor of the Patriarch.

The next day he met with Mr. Ioannis Magriotis, Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs and discussed issues concerning both the Patriarchate and the entire Orthodox Church. That evening he met with H.B. Christodoulos, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece.



From May 8 - 11, 2003, His Beatitude officially visited the Orthodox Church of Bulgaria. At the airport of Sofia the Patriarch was received by H.B. Maxim, Patriarch of Sofia and All Bulgaria.  The Patriarch of Alexandria went to participate in the celebrations to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the reestablishment of the Patriarchate. During his stay there he visited the Cathedral of St. Kyriaki and attended a luncheon hosted by Mr. Ossama Mohamed Tawfik, the Ambassador of Egypt in Bulgaria. He also attended a special ceremony hosted by the Theological School of Sofia; a dinner hosted by Mr. Prokopios Matzouranis, the Ambassador of Greece; and met with President Georgi Parvanou, the Prime Minister Mr. Simeon Saxe-Coburg Gotha and the President of the House of Parliament Mr. Orgnian Gerdijikov.  The Patriarch then attended a concert at the Opera of Sofia; attended a dinner hosted by the Prime Minister; and visited the Sanatorium.

On Saturday, May 10th, the Patriarch presided over the Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral. Concelebrants at the Divine Liturgy were the Patriarchs of Serbia and Bulgaria in addition to the hierarchs representing other Orthodox Churches. The service was attended by Mr. Georgi Parvanou, the President of the Republic and Mr. Simeon Saxe-Coburg Gotha, the Prime Minister and former King of Bulgaria.

The next day the Patriarch of Alexandria presided over the Divine Liturgy at the Holy Church of St. Alexander Nefskij. In the evening he visited the Holy Monastery of St. Athanasios of Alexandria.



From May 17 - 21, 2003, the Patriarch visited Turkey as a guest of H.H. Bartholomew, the Ecumenical Patriarch to participate in the special celebrations hosted by the municipality of Avana, in Asia Minor. As soon as he arrived in Istanbul he flew to Cappadocia together with the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Patriarch of Georgia.

During his stay in Cappadocia he attended the special celebrations at the center ‘Mustafapassa’ of Sinasos, followed by a luncheon hosted by the Mayor of the town.  The Patriarch then attended the open-air service of Vespers in Avana, met with the Prefect of Neapolis (Nevsehir) and visited the historical and archaeological sites of the area. He also visited the Holy Churches of St. Theodore (in Malakopi) built by Emperor Nikiphoros Phokas; the Church of St. Gregory the Theologian; the Church of St. Gregory of Nanzianzos; the city of Arianzos; and the birth place of St. John the Russian.

On Sunday May 18, he concelebrated the Divine Liturgy with the two Patriarchs at the Holy Church of Sts. Constantine & Helen in Sinasos of Cappadocia. In his speech the Patriarch thanked H.H. Bartholomew for the kind invitation to visit the holy land of Cappadocia; for the great hospitality that they received from the local authorities; and referred to the good relationship between Christians and Muslims in Egypt, which is also applicable to Turkey.

On Tuesday, May 20, the Patriarchs flew to Istanbul. During his short stay there the Patriarch attended a luncheon hosted by H.E. Konstantinos, Metropolitan of Derka. During the luncheon H.H. Bartholomew thanked the Patriarch of Alexandria for the love that he has shown towards the throne of Constantinople, the reliance and the mutual understanding between them and finally wished that this good relationship would continue in the future. H.B. Petros, thanked the Ecumenical Patriarch for his kind words and highlighted the necessity for mutual understanding between them, assuring that he would continue supporting the role of the Ecumenical Patriarchate standing firmly beside it as this is a necessity of the times for the benefit of the Orthodox Church. That evening the Patriarch of Alexandria lead the service of Vespers at the Holy Church of Sts. Constantine & Helen in Peran. In his speech the Patriarch referred to the missionary work of the Patriarchate in Africa and highlighted the good relationship between the two Patriarchates. Later on he visited the Holy Monastery of the Fountain of Life in Balukli and attended a dinner hosted by H.E. Irineos, Metropolitan of Myriophita, and then departed for Egypt.



The Patriarch visited Amman from May 29 - 31, 2003, to attend the meeting of the Executive Committee of the Middle Eastern Council of Churches. The meeting focused on the preparation for the General Assembly that will take place in Cyprus in December 2003 and the current situation of the Christian Churches in Iraq. During the meeting the hostile situation in Palestine was discussed. A decision was taken to continue providing humanitarian aid to the refugees in Palestine. The Executive Committee condemned all hostilities, terrorist attacks and war as well as any illegal occupancy particularly in Iraq and Cyprus.  The members of the committee appealed for the immediate pause of all hostilities.

During his stay in Amman, in the presence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Marwan El Masher, the Patriarch met with the Crown Prince Hamzeh Ben El Housein. He also visited the Residence of H.E. Venediktos, Metropolitan of Philadelphia (Amman) and attended a dinner hosted by Mr. Ioannis Kambolis, the Ambassador of Greece as well as a dinner hosted by Mr. Mohamed Higazy, the Ambassador of Egypt.