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The enthronement of the Metropolitan Geron Emmanuel of Chalcedon

“Real change comes from within,” the Ecumenical Patriarch said in his address, urging the new Shepherd to continue “the irreplaceable tradition of our Holy Orthodox Church, the tradition of the Romiosini of Constantinople.”

The enthronement of the newly elected His Eminence Metropolitan Geron Emmanuel of Chalcedon was performed with splendor, and according to the established ecclesiastical order and tradition, at noon on Saturday, March 20, 2021 in the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Chalcedon.

The enthronement ceremony was attended by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, many Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne, His Eminence Metropolitan Georgios of Guinea, as a representative of the ancient Patriarchate of Alexandria and its Primate, His Beatitude Theodoros, Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, His Eminence Archbishop Nektarios of Anthidon, Commissioner of the Holy Sepulcher in Istanbul, His Eminence Archbishop Efstratios of Chernihiv and Nizhyn, as a representative of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and its Primate, His Beatitude Metropolitan Epiphaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, representatives of other denominations, the Mufti of Kadıköy, Mr. Mahmut Çakır, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece, His Excellency Mr. Konstantinos Vlasis, as a representative of the Greek Government, the Deputy Minister of Education and Religions of Greece, Her Excellency Ms. Zetta Makri, the Ambassadors of the USA and Ukraine to Turkey, Mr. David Satterfield and Mr. Andrii Sybiha, the Consuls General of Greece in Istanbul, the Honorable Mrs. Georgia Sultanopoulou, of Ukraine, the Honorable Mr. Oleksandr Gaman, of France, the Honorable Mr. Olivier Gauvin, of Northern Macedonia, the Honorable Mr. Aktan Ago, other diplomats, the Prefect of Chalcedon (Kadıköy), the Honorable Dr. Mustafa Özarslan, the Mayor of Athens, the Honorable Mr. Costas Bakogiannis, clergy, monks of Mount Athos, Archons of the Holy Great Church of Christ, representatives of the Mayor of the Metropolitan Municipality of the City and the Mayor of Chalcedon (Kadıköy), and many believers from the city and abroad. The enthronement ceremony was covered by a number of representatives of local and international print and electronic media.

In his address, the Ecumenical Patriarch recalled that over thirty years ago, when he was enthroned as the same Primate of the Geron Metropolis of Chalcedon, succeeding the late Metropolitan and Geron Meliton (Hatzis), a leading ecclesiastical figure, in his inaugural sermon he had raised the question of whether a sacred and official moment, such as the day of the enthronement of a new pastor, belongs to the enthroned or to the Church.

“We personally lived that day as a blessed moment in the life of the Church, and today, glorifying the Triune God, we live it again, with all the dear Holy Hierarchs present, as well as the members of the Patriarchal Court, the Most Honorable Archons of the Holy Great Church of Christ, as well as the pious clergy and the Christ-loving people of Chalcedon, the continuation of the Church, as the Metropolitan Emmanuel, richly blessed by God, was called, moved by God and chosen by the votes of the members of our Sacred and Holy Synod, to become the Shepherd of this historic Eparchy, putting his hand to the plow (Luke 9:62) and beginning a multifaceted work: responsibility to God, responsibility to God, responsibility for the salvation of the faithful and responsibility to the First-Throned Church of Constantinople.”

Addressing the new Metropolitan Geron of Chalcedon, His All-Holiness noted:

“You have exercised, holy brother, for twenty-five years now, an episcopal work, which is for every bishop a practical display of the transforming power of the Church in the world, of the grace that comes to us in Christ and of the coming Kingdom of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. You are called to continue this high work of ministry from a different rampart and to contribute to the greatness of the Apostolic and Martyr Church of Constantinople, of the eternal relics adorned with achievements, ranging from a flow of tears to those that are drenched in blood of the martyrs, enriched by the holy relics. You come to live from today on in this great Eparchy, assigned to the “city of light” and the glorious Cathedral of Saint Stephen, to settle in the City of cities, the Queen of Cities, and in beautiful Asian Chalcedon, with this see of the majestic Holy Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. The pious people of your Eparchy are waiting for you, with whom we are sure you will live with sacrificial love and paternal affection. We do not have today, Your Eminence, in this historic Metropolis, the old greatness, the numerous flock, our pulsating community life, our schools and institutions. However, we remind you and all those present of the words of the late Metropolitan Meliton of Chalcedon, the most honorable predecessor of both of us, from his enthronement ceremony, on October 30, 1966, about 55 years ago, which still resonate in his sanctuary. “‘Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom’ (Luke 12:32). Let us not prejudge the unfathomable will of God and let us not prejudge His divine plans … The purpose of all trials is always of the Lord, and the purpose of the Lord is always good. Because the Lord is merciful and compassionate. After all, our brothers and children in the Lord, you know very well that only a few guarded Thermopylae … Let us not forget that a few carried crosses for the many, and that Christ, who was crucified for all, is risen from the dead.’” (Chalcedonia, p. 44)

Afterwards, the Ecumenical Patriarch recalled that in this historic ecclesiastical Eparchy, the Fourth Ecumenical Council was held (451), in which the “dogma of Chalcedon” was formulated. “The Synod of Chalcedon has left an indelible record in the documents of the Great Church, through Canons 9, 17 and 28 it irrevocably ratified the position and responsibility of the Church of Constantinople as a center of unity and canonical appeal of Eastern Christianity,” His All-Holiness emphasized.

The Ecumenical Patriarch then referred to the long experience of the new Shepherd of the Geron Metropolis of Chalcedon from the important missions the Mother Church assigned to him from time to time.

“Your fruitful ministry up to now in the Holy Metropolis of France and your previous successful service to the European Union, as well as your significant participation in Synodal Committees and other high and important missions of the Mother Church, have made you an experienced and respected person, trained and ready to take over the ministry of this Geron Metropolis and all the other responsibilities which will be assigned to you by our venerable Center. In your blessed pastorate you will surely mobilize and distinguish yourself in many spiritual gifts, we are speaking of your theological education, your language learning, your prudence and your humble mind, but also your inner and spontaneous faith in God, as well as your non-negotiable devotion to the Ecumenical Patriarch and to the just and sacred interests of the Apostolic Ecumenical Throne of Constantinople.

“You have offered many valuable contributions in the field of interfaith dialogue. You have deservedly gained the trust of your interlocutors, which is the most important resource for the progress of the whole project. To date, you have applied what was proposed by the Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church (Crete, 2016) for the meeting of religions: ‘The Church strives to make “the peace from on high” more tangibly felt on earth. True peace is not achieved by force of arms, but only through love that “does not seek its own” (1 Cor 13.5). The oil of faith must be used to soothe and heal the wounds of others, not to rekindle new fires of hatred.’” (Encyclical, § 17).

Concluding his address, the Ecumenical Patriarch emphasized:

“For the past thirty years the humble ministry of Our Humility on the all-holy Patriarchal Throne of Constantinople has taught us, among other things, that in critical circumstances for society and the Church, what matters is not what we say or do, but who we are. It is not only ideas or the drawing up of plans or proposals for the solution of human problems that are of value. Important for the life of our Church is the breath of personal example, the information of our life, our own life, as embodied in the mind and ethos of the Church. The real changes – and we know how fascinating the talk of change is, but at the same time, how it disappoints people – the real change, then, comes from within. It is a state of experience, a state of pain and the cross, as the Great Church experiences it empirically over time.

“Consume yourself as shepherd, continuing the irreplaceable tradition of our Holy Orthodox Church, the tradition of the Romiosini of the City, which is a legacy of ethics and nobility, humility and sacrifice, formed over many centuries, and in fact not without cost, but many times at the price of the crown of martyrdom. Let us listen to the voice of the sacred tradition and accept it not as a voice from the past, but as living and animating the present, and as the voice of eternity.

Walk in the new course of your personal story, strengthened and guided in all things. Together with the wholehearted good wishes of the holy Synodal Hierarchs, the other Hierarchs present, and all those who participated in this joyful gathering, for a brilliant pastorate, you are also crowned by the ambassadors of the Lord, the patron saint of Holy Chalcedon, the glorious Great Martyr Euphemia, and also by your predecessors among the Saints, Saint Kosmas, bishop of Chalcedon and of the Holy God-bearing Fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Council in Chalcedon. Finally, you are accompanied by the wholehearted wishes and prayers of Our Humility, your Patriarch, who not only appreciates your multitalented personality and expects a great deal from you for the good of the Mother Church, but is also convinced that you will show yourself to be worthy of the expectations of the Holy Great Church of Christ and the Holy Metropolis of Chalcedon. Axios!”

Then, on behalf of the Holy Clergy, the new Metropolitan was welcomed by the God-loving Bishop Smaragdos of Daphnousia, and on behalf of the congregation by the Honorable Georgios Stephanopoulos, Archon Offikialos and University Professor.

In his sermon, His Eminence the Metropolitan Geron of Chalcedon, Emmanuel, stated, among other things:

“‘I heard the voice of God to Abraham, and He spoke plainly, saying, Come out of your land and from your kindred, and come forth into the land; and, behold, I come to you, even to your father’s house.’ For indeed, Western Europe took the place for My Humility of the land and my kinship, but the paternal heart of my father is always my home. I received this message and I hurried, rejoicing to come for the rest of my life to the feet of the wisest Gamaliel of the Law of charity in the Phanar, of Your All-Holiness, as your genuine and grateful son.

“From the city of light, to the side of the lamp of the Oikoumene, from the ‘sacred river’ (Seine) to the martyred and holy sanctified waters of the Bosphorus, from the Bethany of my ministry to the Bithynia of our spiritual ancestors. Megara the colony was conquered under the spirit of the true God. Here Apollo’s famous oracle preached the good news about our Lord Jesus Christ in the dogma of the blessed fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Council.

“A life, the life of My Humility, a city, with the present welcome, one of images, past, present and future, full of messages of many things for the willing fellow servant of Christ. The rightly blessed and most renowned of my late predecessors, Meliton, from Imvros and Tenedos and Ilioupoli and Theira, linked to the water traffic of the Bosphorus for the transmission, arrival and departure of messages to the rest of the world. All things, without beginning, are one movement, in the good news, the animating and life-saving message of the one blessed Trinity, on the altar of which today, I am completely unworthily enthroned.

“This movement, the timeless, uncreated, eternal Church, received the Gospel, the new message of incorruption, and laid it on the Altar of delight, ministering in these lands the great Mystery of Grace, glorifying her sometimes purple and sometimes bloody garment, adorning the earth with her heavenly dogmas and canons, acts and essence. Apostolic sermons, of the Theologian and the First-Called, Ecumenical and Local Synods, Fathers of the greatest valor, incomparable saints, triumphant martyrs, monks and semi-cloistered (migades), mighty confessors, preachers of grace, all the solemn ones of Western Anatolia, are the receivers and transmitters at the same time of the Sunday message.”

Then His Eminence Emmanuel, Geron of Chalcedon, emphasized:

“A message of proclamation in an inaugural sermon, concerning the beginning of the pastorate, calls for the custom of the circumstances. I glorify the power of the Father and the Son, and I praise the power of the Holy Spirit, and, with a firm voice, I declare that my program is the program of the Church, the ‘grab the world, give it God,’ live the incarnate life to the end, to walk uninterruptedly from the image to the likeness, to become one flock with Christ the Chief Shepherd, to perform the sacred services as an undefiled icon of Him, to live in Him and through Him.

“For this, with crushed and humble heart, I bear all the good wishes from above of the blessings from those who preceded me in the residence of this Holy Vessel (Olkados) up to my spiritual grandfather Metropolitan Meliton, in the chain of respect I distinguish the figures of my compatriots around the world, from the Mediterranean flagship of the All-Holy Ecumenical Throne, the island of Crete, from the nine glorious and resplendent Eparchies of the Mother Church, drawing their origin from it, namely Gerasimos (Zermia) of Adrianopolis and Gregorios (Zervoudaki) from Kyzikos, two prominent personalities of the Church.

“For a long time I have been receiving from the honored hands of my living predecessors, namely from you, Your Holy Highness, from the Geron of Nicomedia, Joachim, tested as a martyr, the master, the generous, the prudent, the new Job of the hierarchy of your Throne, and from His Eminence the former Metropolitan of Chalcedon, Athanasios, the learned hierarch.

“I remember at this sacred moment the souls of the blessed clergy, of the Archons Offikialon, of the Commissioners, of the teachers, and of the pious people, and of all of those in the cemeteries of my humble Eparchy and of our fathers and brothers resting under this land with the first followers of Christ, and of Meropis, benefactor of my ancestors. For all of them, without exception, I invoke, as the familiar shepherd, the forgiveness and remission of their sins, the atonement of the All-Merciful and All-Compassionate God.

“I turn now in my sermon to the suffering of my good flock, the pious clergy with first the Most God-loving Bishop Smaragdos of Daphnousia, the priestly families, the Archons Offikialon, the Presidents and the members of the honorable Committees, those bearing the name of Christ among the people of the Lord, I wholeheartedly assure you that I want to be a true father for them, a genuine and invaluable shepherd, a spiritual protector, a teacher for the Christlike people. I wish to make the Metropolis for you, oh my dear children, forever the blessed port of Kalamisia, as for Saint Chrysostom, returning to the kingdom, I wish to be your beloved home, the comfortable shelter, the support and the guarantee that in the tears of sorrow joy is born, the tears of repentance desire to cover many sins and the tears of joy are born of our shared experience.

“I warmly thank His Beatitude Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria, represented today by the holy brother Georgios of Guinea, Theophilos of Jerusalem, represented by the Commissioner of the Holy Sepulcher, the holy brother Nektarios of Anthidon, as well as also His Beatitude Epiphaniy, Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, represented by the holy brother Efstratios of holy Chernihiv and Nizhyn.

“I warmly thank those brothers of the Holy Synod who elected me for their honorable vote, but also without exception all the respected hierarchy of the Mother Church for the feelings of honor and love for my humble person.”

The new Shepherd of the historic Geron Metropolis of Chalcedon then spoke in Turkish, English and French.

Concluding his sermon, he once again expressed his gratitude to His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch.

“The end of the journey is dedicated to you, the first and the last of my life, the personal teacher of my theoretical foundation and my benefactor, the sturdy Archbishop of the overseers, the seventy-seven-times forgiving of our shortcomings Angel of the Kingdom of the Seven Hills, the star-spangled cloak of a series of all his noble Predecessors, full of responsibilities. May the blessed Fathers gathered here in Constantinople honor the Ecumenical Patriarch, the only one who is honored to accept appeals, the superior who has the jurisdiction and accepts under him all the peoples outside the prescribed territories, and the all-holy institution, which since 1991 has been the most prominent personality of its History, Your Holy Highness. I do not intend to express here, Lord and Master of my life, your benevolence to me, or my unspeakable affection, unbridled love and unfathomable providence. These are indelible in my whole being. But I submit my absolute gratitude, the fidelity to my last breath to the institution and to your person, my unwavering and non-negotiable devotion, my remaining under your holy command and as a Simon of Cyrene helping to carry the Cross of your responsibilities.”

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