October 19, 2020

Patriarch of Alexandria Performs the Divine Liturgy of Saint Mark at the Tomb of Saints Gabriel and Kyrmidoles and Blesses the Nile River


On October 18th, to celebrate the feasts of the Holy and Glorious New Martyrs Gabriel and Kyrmidoles, Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and All Africa performed the Divine Liturgy of Saint Mark the Evangelist at the Patriarchal Monastery of Saint George in Old Cairo, where the tomb of the New Martyrs is located.

This Divine Liturgy belongs to the ancient Alexandrian tradition and is inextricably linked to the history of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, with important Byzantine influences over time, and its composition is attributed to the Apostle Mark, who founded the Church of Alexandria.

The Liturgy of Saint Mark was written in Greek, it is known to us from fragments of parchments and papyri of the 4th-5th century, but the manuscripts that contain the entire text are of the 11th century and beyond. From a theological point of view, studying the prayers, it should be noted that the Liturgy of the Apostle Mark fully reflects the Christology and Pneumatology of the Orthodox Church, while of particular interest are the local cultural characteristics, such as the reference to the rural life of the Egyptians, the city of Alexandria and the waters of the Nile River. It is also worth mentioning that Saint Nektarios, Metropolitan of Pentapolis, was the one who saved the order of this really special Divine Liturgy from the ancient manuscripts.

His Beatitude, deeply moved during his sermon to the youth, said the following:

"... Today you attended a different Divine Liturgy, our Divine Liturgy, the Liturgy written by our Apostle Saint Mark. Today Cairo celebrates. The Martyrs Gabriel and Kyrmidoles, new martyrs during the Patriarchate of Joachim of Pani, are celebrating today. When Fr. Damaskenos, Abbot of the Monastery, invited me to perform the Divine Liturgy for the first time after so many years in their tombs, my mind was enlightened to perform the Liturgy of Saint Mark. Tradition has it that the Liturgy was preserved by a great Patriarch, Meletios Pegas. This service was performed only here in Egypt, which is why you saw that I went to the well and entreated that the waters of the Nile rise up to irrigate the fields and orchards of Egypt. That is why we will make a procession to the Nile well," said the Patriarch among other things, and he expressed his desire to translate the Divine Liturgy into Arabic in order for the Arabic-speaking flock to realize the greatness of the prayers.

"... Your eyes will weep when they refer to the sick. I remembered all the sick from the pandemic and prayed to God for peace to come to the land of the Nile. I bless you my children. Today I wore the phelonion as the first priests and bishops wore it. I hold this staff which is a copy of a shepherd when he was grazing the sheep, and the only the Pope of Alexandria could have his head covered with this covering. This is what the Great Cyril of Alexandria always brought out. This all-gold engolpion is early Christian. It is what the first bishops wore as an amulet. Have the blessing of Christ. I thank the Holy Hierarchs Nicholas and Nikodemos who prayed so many times with their Holy Flock for you our young children who will be the clergy of tomorrow. God bless you."

After the end of the Divine Liturgy, the procession of the holy icon and the relics of the Saints took place in the catacombs of the Monastery as well as the blessing of the waters of the Nile.