On February 11, 2013, the chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relations, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, made comments to ITAR-TASS news agency concerning that coming reports about the retirement of the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI.
Reports about the retirement of Pope Benedict XVI have proved to be unexpected even for his closest associates. Cardinal Sodano described it as ‘a thunder out of a clear sky’. Really, there have been no precedents of this kind in the modern history of the Roman Catholic Church. Pope John Paul II remained in office to the end despite his serious health problems.
On February 7, 2013, Bishop Nestor of Chersonese blessed the first cupola and the cross for St. Mary Magdalene church under construction in Madrid, the website of the Diocese of Chersonese reports.
Present at the service were Russian Ambassador Yu, Korchagin, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, V. Yakunin, President of the Russian Rail-Ways company, V. Chernyshev, director of the Transsoyuz charity, and Carlos Palacio Oriol, president of the Spanish Talgo company, which has confirmed its readiness to support the construction of the church.
New patriarch enthroned during a holy Liturgy in Damascus on Sunday amid civil war. John Yazigi (57) replaces Ignatius Hazim as the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East. Patriarch Ignatius died in December.
"We are certain that Syria will find a way to salvation through dialogue and a peaceful political solution," the Patriarch said after his inauguration that was broadcast live by Syrian State TV.
Source: The Associated Press
On Wednesday, February 6, 2013, His All-Holiness presided over the Divine Liturgy at the Holy Trinity Monastery of Halki on the occasion of the Feast of St. Photios, former Patriarch of Constantinople as well as traditionally considered Founder of the same Monastery and Patron Saint of the Halki Theological School. Following the Divine Liturgy, His All-Holiness elevated Fr. Samuel, who serves at the Monastery, to the rank of Archimandrite.
2013 – Solemn Year of Saints Emperors Constantine and Helen and Commemorative Year of “Dumitru Staniloae” at the Romanian Patriarchate