Following the invitation of the Very Rev. Archimandrite Nathanael Filios, Presiding Priest of the St. Menas Parish in Emporio, Eordaia, Greece, His Eminence Metropolitan Cleopas of Sweden and All Scandinavia visited the aforementioned parish.
During the first leg of his pilgrimage, Metropolitan Cleopas visited the Holy Monastery of the Nativity of the Theotokos in Kleisoura, where St. Sophia the Righteous had withdrawn in pursuit of spiritual askesis.
This was followed by a visit to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I Square and a doxology service in the St. Menas parish, as well as a subsequent reception in the church’s fellowship hall.
Afterwards, the Metropolitan was given a tour of the local reduced-scale replica of the Galata Tower, whose cornerstone was blessed by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on September 17, 2005.
The tower is located near the pedestrian arcade of St. Theodosia, the tower’s chapel, as well as the walls of the surrounding Church of St. Menas (a reduced-scale replica of the walls of Constantinople) and the Church of God’s Wisdom (a reduced-scale replica of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople).
The following morning Metropolitan Cleopas visited the family of Mr. Athanasios Bozias, president of the local municipal community of Emporio in the Municipality of Eordaia and subsequently traveled to Florina, where he met with His Eminence Metropoltan Theokletos of Florina, Prespes, and Eordaia, whom he congratulated on his ministries and thanked for his hospitality.
Afterwards, Metropolitan Cleopas made a pilgrimage to the Holy Monastery of St. Mark in Proti, Florina and was most graciously hosted by the abbess Mother Mariam and her sisterhood.
He subsequently visited the village of Psarades located on the Prespes Lakes and was given a boat tour of the 14th-century hermitages built along the surrounding cliffs, the hermitage of Panagia Eleousa, and the ruins of the Basilica of St. Achilleios, located on the island that bears his name. Metropolitan Cleopas was accompanied on this pilgrimage by Fr. Nathanael Filios and Messrs. Pavlos Anthides, Alexandros Alexopoulos, and Klearchos Gessas.
On the final day of his stay Metropolitan Cleopas celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the Church of St. Menas in Emporio, at the conclusion of which he conveyed the blessings of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, thanked Metropolitan Theokletos for his hospitality, and congratulated Rev. Filios on the admirable ministry that he has developed in the area, including the complete renovation of the St. Menas Church, and the construction of the replicas of the Hagia Sophia, the Galata Tower, and the Walls of Constantinople.
Among other things, in his sermon he pointed out that despite the ongoing economic crisis in Greece, there are visionaries, like Fr. Nathanael, who honor the Church and their Hellenic homeland through their exemplary work.
He also congratulated the group of parish volunteers who support their priest’s ministry and offer their invaluable services for the completion of this historic undertaking.
A large number of faithful were in attendance at the Divine Liturgy, along with the Hon. Parliament Member from the Prefecture of Kozani Mr. George Kasapides and the Hon. Regional Counselor of Western Macedonia Mr. George Kotsides.
A reception followed in the parish’s fellowship hall courtesy of the parish’s ladies group.
Photo credit: Very Rev. Fr. Nathanael Filios, Pavlos Anthides, Alexandros Alexopoulos, Klearchos Gissas, Zisis Kotsides, and Konstantinos Krystallides.