Traveling to Bethlehem (30 November 2010)

Sts. Andrew and Stachys

Sts. Andrew and Stachys

Today, we commemorate St. Andrew the Apostle. One of the titles by which we know St. Andrew is “the first called” (John 1, 40). The Gospels tell us that Andrew was a disciple of St. John the Baptist and that he joined Jesus at St. John’s direction.  This was the beginning of Christ’s ministry. Let’s take a minute to examine the word “called.” What is the implication of being called? Instead of using a dictionary to define the word “calling”, perhaps the best approach is to define the word by example.

Today is the patronal feast of our Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Patriarchate is our example, par excellent, of calling.  Patriarch Bartholomew is the 270th successor of Sts. Andrew and Stachys. It is his calling to be a confessor for the faith, a living martyr. Yesterday, we listed several spiritual traits that we should acquire to prepare for our journey to the manger. Look at this list and add the phrase “The men and women of the Patriarchate, led by Patriarch Bartholomew show us …..”  Each spiritual trait describes the calling of the Ecumenical Throne.

These people of faith keep the light of the Phanar bright, so that we Orthodox can truly understand calling.  Vocation is answering the call, dedicating one’s life to a higher expectation. These Orthodox souls keep vigil on our past, while looking to our future.  Today, we celebrate the rich heritage which we all inherited. Today, we commemorate St . Andrew who answered Christ’s invitation to change the world. Let us also celebrate our brothers and sisters in Constantinople, who have been called to be sentinels of the faith and bastions of Orthodoxy. Thank you and God Grant You Many Years!

His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew