His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon congratulated His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the Feast Day of the Holy Apostle Bartholomew.
Your All-Holiness, Beloved Brother and Concelebrant in the Lord’s Mysteries,
In the joy of the Holy Spirit, I greet Your All-Holiness on this Feast of the Holy Apostle Bartholomew, your Name Day. May you always continue to receive guidance, encouragement and strength from the Holy Apostle, so that your wise leadership in the Holy Orthodox Church may continue for many years!
Celebrating the feast of Pentecost this week, we hear in the hymns of the day that the Holy Spirit “leads priests to perfection… teaches unschooled people wisdom… [and] reveals fisherman as theologians” (3rd Sticheron at “Lord I Have Cried”). The Apostle Bartholomew began his life as an unschooled person, but then became a student of the one true teacher, Christ. After learning and seeing many things from our Lord and beholding His Ascension, Bartholomew came to full understanding of these things when he was gathered together “in one place” with the others and received the Holy Spirit as a tongue of fire (Acts 2:1).
From him and the other Apostles, we their successors, as unschooled or imperfect as we may be, are brought to perfection through this same Spirit. Your All-Holiness, just as we look to the example of the Apostle Bartholomew, we have always looked to your example, as the leading hierarch of our Apostolic Church. Like your namesake, through discipline and diligence you have acquired the Spirit, as evidenced by your showing the fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). You have personally shown love and kindness to the Orthodox Church in America on multiple occasions, and your Apostolic ministry of reaching out to the downtrodden of the world reveals your goodness and gentleness. May your labors continue in such spiritual gifts, and may you always grow in these gifts more and more!
Your All-Holiness, as you well know, we find ourselves in extremely difficult times. The Coronavirus pandemic has wrought disaster throughout the world, racism and violence have reared their ugly heads anew in the United States, and painful divisions persist among Christians and other peoples everywhere. Through your prayers and efforts, and of all those who labor with you in the Great Church of Constantinople, may our broken world find a way forward. The Apostle Bartholomew is our example in this: through the “net of your words”, we sing to him, “you drew the ends of the earth out of the depths of vainglory and evil ungodliness; you brought them with faith to Christ God” (1st Sticheron for the Apostle at “Lord I Have Cried”). Through your leadership, Your All-Holiness, may we labor together to heal the wounds of the world, which has descended again into vainglory and ungodliness, by bringing it to Christ.
With brotherly love in the Lord,
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada