October 21, 2021 - The first celebration of the Feast of the Holy Physicians at the Ecumenical Patriarchate

October 21, 2021

The first celebration of the Feast of the Holy Physicians at the Ecumenical Patriarchate

The Holy and Sacred Synod established the feast to honor the vital contribution of medical science and healthcare workers to Mankind. 

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew joined in prayer during the Divine Liturgy that was celebrated at the Holy Patriarchal Church today, October 17, 2021. On this day, the Church commemorated the memory of the Holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council and, by decision of the Holy Synod, the Feast of Synaxis of all the Holy Physicians which was celebrated for the first time. Metropolitan Theoliptos of Ikonia presided at the Liturgy where Metropolitan Joseph of Buenos Aires together with many faithful from the Poli and abroad also attended.

After the dismissal, His All-Holiness read the Patriarchal Encyclical for the Feast of the Holy Physician. Amongst other things, the Encyclical emphasizes  the following:

“In the anguish, fear and sorrow that emerged as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the eyes of the faithful are turned toward these Saints with their healing gifts. These Saints constitute a special anchor and example for doctors, nurses and all those serving in the medical field, who, throughout the pandemic, have gone to extraordinary efforts in order to save lives and provide care, treatment and relief to their fellow human beings.

The pandemic revealed the vulnerable dimension of human nature, the prevailing imbalance in the natural environment as a result of greed, the existing division and conflict within the wider society, as well as the tensions within the Church itself. It compelled us to reflect on the way we live out our faith before the tragic threat of death, the loss of our beloved ones, and the loneliness created by illness and mourning. It directed us to seek the grace of our loving God through the assistance and intercession of the Saints. Moreover, the pandemic brought to surface the authentic meaning of philanthropy, the need for collaboration and coordination of all social constituents, as well as the mandatory cooperation between Church and medical science. Indeed, the pandemic highlighted eminent individuals in the field of medicine and health care, who, as the Saints, exercised their profession and afforded care and support to the sick, contributed their services with self-sacrifice and compassion, surpassing human standards under difficult circumstances, in order to confront the multidimensional consequences of this health crisis.

Bearing all these things in mind, our Holy and Sacred Synod decided to establish the Sunday closest to October 17th and 18th each year, (when we commemorate the Synaxis of the Holy Unmercenary Healers and the Holy Apostle and Evangelist the Doctor) as the day of the “Synaxis of the Holy Physicians” as an appreciation for the essential contribution of medical science and its ministers toward humanity.”

Read Patriarchal Encyclical here