On Thursday, August 15, 2013, His All-Holiness celebrated the great feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos at the historic monastery of Panaghia Soumela in Trabzon. This is the fourth consecutive year that His All-Holiness has led an annual pilgrimage to the historical monastery since its closure nine decades ago. The monastery was founded in 386 and functioned without interruption until 1923. Among those in attendance were Bishops Seraphim of Apollonias (from Australia) and Theodosios of Brovary (from Ukraine), Armenian Archbishop Aram Atesian, clergy of the Patriarchal Court and hundreds of pilgrims from around the world.
In a letter of 16 August 2013, His Grace Bishop Irinej of Australia and New Zealand extended his heartfelt, sincere prayers and the deepest sympathy of his clergy, monastics and faithful to Their Graces, Coptic Orthodox Bishops Suriel of Melbourne and Affiliated Regions and Daniel of Sydney and Affiliated Regions and to their faithful during this Holy Lent of the Virgin Mary, whose intercessions serve as a true source of consolation for those who now mourn.
Bishop Irinej wrote with utter dismay, relative to the tragic events, resulting in the loss of so many innocent lives and rampant destruction in Egypt on Wednesday, 14 August 2013. "Yet again," he noted, "frenzied violence prevails throughout Egypt, offered as a thinly veiled political solution in violation of the free will of the Egyptian people."
From the speech of His Beatitude John X in Saydnaya, 25 August 2013
Beloved brothers and sisters: I come today to Saydnaya to meet bright faces dressed with the zeal of God and good souls dominated by the love of their fellow man and the love of the homeland. I come to Saydnaya which lies near to the Sanctuary of the Virgin Mary protected by the red mantle of St. George and under the shadowing wings of the Cherubim. I come to Saydnaya spoken of in the books of history, the chronicles of travelers and the report of miracles. I come to kneel before the Virgin of Saydnaya and ask her to visit us and infuse our souls with the splendor of her Son, so that our inner man might be transfigured as coals brightened with the love of God and the homelands. I come to this monastery to seek the prayers of the monks and nuns and the supplications of the visitors. I beg you to remember John X, who knew that the monastic prayers and the prayers of the faithful knock on the door of the Divine Mercy and pour forth the streams of Divine Clemency.
On Sunday, August 11, 2013, His All-Holiness visited the second session of Paidopoli, a children's Summer Camp program of the Ecumenical Patriarchate that is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year on Proti Island. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew presided over the Paraklesis Service at the historic Patriarchal and Stavropegic Monastery of the Transfiguration. Afterward, at a reception prepared in the monastery's courtyard, Ms. Maria Apostolidou, president of the camp committee, thanked the Ecumenical Patriarch for his support. There followed a play and musical performances by the children attending the camp. Among those in attendance were Metropolitans Irenaios of Myriophyton and Peristasis as well as Elpidophoros of Bursa, members of the camp's Board of Directors, together with local volunteers and visitors from Greece and abroad.
On Monday, the 23rh of July/5th of August 2013, His Beatitude Theophilos, Our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem, was visited by the Patriarchal Commissioner in Bethlehem, Archbishop of Jordan, Theophylaktos, accompanied by select members of the Arab-speaking Community of Bethlehem (Rum Orthodox). At the meeting, He was informed about the completion of necessary works and preparations for the foundation of a Spiritual Center near the pilgrimage site of Bethlehem. The center aims to offer religious, Christian, linguistic and technical information mostly intended for the youth of the Bethlehem congregation.
The Russian Monastery of St. Panteleimon on Mount Athos solemnly celebrated its patronal feast. Among the participants in the celebrations was a Russian Orthodox delegation led by Metropolitan Rostislav of Tomsk and Asino. The delegation included Archbishop Onufry of Kharkov and Bogodukhov, Bishop Veniamin of Borisovka, and Hieromonk Stefan (Igumnov), a DECR staff member.