OFFICIAL VISIT TO THE ORTHODOX CHURCH OF ROMANIA
His Beatitude Petros VII, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa officially visited the Orthodox Church of Romania from September 5th to September 11th, 2003, at the invitation of H.B. Theoktistos, Patriarch of Romania. Members of his entourage were H.E. Irineos, Metropolitan of Pilousion; H.G. Alexios, Bishop of Nitria; the Very Revd. Kallistratos Economou; the Revd. Deacon Nektarios Kontogiorgos.
At the international airport of Bucharest he was warmly received by the Patriarch of Romania; the members of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Patriarchate; Greek and Cypriot diplomats; the local civil authorities and in the presence of an army corps. At the VIP room the Patriarch was interviewed by the local media.
At the Patriarchal Cathedral of Sts. Constantine & Helen the Patriarch Lead the Doxology service in honour of his arrival. In his welcome speech Patriarch Theoktist referred to the character of H.B. Petros, his positive engagement in inter – Orthodox relations and the active missionary work of the Patriarchate.
That same evening H.B. Petros met with the President of Romania Mr. Ion Iliesku. The Romanian President honored Patriarch Petros with the Highest distinction of the Republic for his contribution to the Orthodox Church and for his efforts in aiding the peaceful co-existence of various nations within the African continent.
During his stay in Bucharest H.B. Petros visited the Holy Monastery of Antim (St. Anthimos); the Holy Church of St. Lazarus; the memorial for those who died during the 1989 revolution; the Holy Church of St. Nicholas, the Holy Church of the Dormition of Theotokos (under construction) and the Scete of Darvani.
On Saturday 7, 2003 the two Patriarchs and entourages flew to Transylvania. During their stay in that area of Romania they visited the Holy Cathedral of Targa Mures; the Holy Monasteries of Rochea, of Barsana (Mara Mures), of Rohia, and of Sts. Anargyri in Sapartsa; the Holy Church of All Saints in Nogresti Oas; the Holy Church of Archangels in Siget; and a famous prison used during the communist era.
On Sunday, September 7, 2003 the two Patriarchs concelebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Holy Monastery of Nativity of Theotokos in Rocchea. During the service they consecrated the Cathedral of the monastery. More than 25 thousand faithful were in attendance.
On Monday, September 8, 2003, they concelebrated the Divine Liturgy at The Holy Church of Nativity of Theotokos in Rozavlia while on Tuesday, September 9, 2003, they concelebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of Holy Trinity in Mara Mures. During the service they consecrated the Cathedral in the presence of 45 thousand faithful.
On Wednesday, September 10, they returned back to Bucharest. On Thursday, September 11 H.B. Petros visited the Embassy of Egypt where he was warmly received by H.E. Mr. Tereq Maaty, the staff and distinguished members of the Egyptian community of Bucharest. During his visit Patriarch Petros expressed his gratitude and appreciation for the respect, care and protection of the Egyptian authorities. A reception followed with an interview by the local media.
At noon the Patriarch departed for Athens. At the airport he was escorted by the Romanian Patriarch; members of the Holy Synod; clergy and Greek diplomats. Late that night he arrived in Alexandria.
During his entire stay in Romania and in every place he visited, the Patriarch was warmly received by the local ecclesiastical and civil authorities. Thousands of faithful were present in to receive his blessing.