July 3, 2013

The Celebration of the Twelve Apostles in Galata, Cyprus

June 3, 2013

With religious devotion the feast of the Synaxis of the Holy Twelve Apostles and Saint Mary, the mother of Mark the Evangelist, was celebrated on Sunday 30 June 2013, in the Church of the Holy Apostle Tychicus in Inner Galata, officiated by Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou, together with many faithful.

Following the festal Divine Liturgy, there was a procession of the holy icons of the Synaxis of the Holy Twelve Apostles and Saint Mary, the mother of Mark the Evangelist.

It is noteworthy that St. Mary was a deaconess in the early Christian Church of Jerusalem, and the events of the Mystical Supper of the Lord with His Disciples as well as Pentecost, occurred in her home in Zion.

St. Mary was Cypriot in origin, since she was the sister of the Apostles Barnabas and Aristobulos.

Today's Chapel of the Apostle Tychicus was built next to the ruins of an old church of the Saint, in the place known today as Inner Galata, covered by dense orchards.

According to tradition, at this place, the Apostles Paul, Barnabas and Mark met up during their first apostolic missionary journey, together with Saint Heracleidius, which is why it is called "apostle-trodden".

Metropolitan Neophytos said in his sermon: "Christ did not only give His Apostles the grace to heal sicknesses, to expel demons, but He gave them something higher - the Holy Spirit in order to forgive sins. It is important for us also to follow, in our own lives, this apostolic ministry, that is, to be aware of how much the Holy Spirit is active within us. However, for the Holy Spirit to be active, we must forgive. If we don't forgive people who embitter us, who do us wrong, who place blame on us, then we cannot have the Holy Spirit."

There are two established festivals in the Chapel of Saint Tychicus: December 8th which is the feast of St. Tychicus, and June 30th which celebrates the Synaxis of the Holy Twelve Apostles. These are celebrated as a token of thanksgiving to the Apostles for the faith they delivered to the people.

Translated by John Sanidopoulos