Your All Holiness, we offer praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, Who makes us worthy, for this tenth consecutive year to celebrate today the Feast of All Saints of Pisidia, Attaleia, and Side. The celebration of this year, with the great presence of Your Holiness, once again, takes on particular brilliance. The decision of Your Holiness, with the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Throne, to declare the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Synod (in Chalcedon) as a commemeration of all the Saints of this area, was inspired by God.
There are two reasons for this. First, because 19 known Bishops of our District participated in the Fourth Ecumenical Synod, and secondly, because most of the Saints of Pisidia are remembered on these days: On the 10th of July, the memory of Saint Martyr Vianor, the Pisidian. On July 11th, the memory of the holy martyr Kindeos, Priest of the village Talmenia-Side. On July 13th, the memory of St. Apostle Aquila who suffered martyrdom in Selge-Pisidia . "The 16th day of the same month, -the Synaxarion says-"the 15,000 Holy Martyrs in Pisidia were killed by the sword ." And further: “fifteen thousand men suffered martyrdom not counting the women, who were left unnumbered." Also on the 17th of this month, is the memory of the Great Martyr Marina, from the village of Antioch in Pisidia. This great number of saints, as well as the other 70 Saints of this region, including the Great Apostle Paul (Who we celebrate during the year) are celebrated today all together, under the leadership of the First of Orthodoxy, our Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
Your All Holiness, please accept the deepest thanks from all of us for the honor and blessing that You lavished upon us.
As we anticipate hearing Your paternal words, allow me to close this humble address with the exhortation of Apostle Paul: “since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith...lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” (Hebrews 12: 1-3).
Your All Holiness, please pray for all of us to move forward, following in our life the steps of our Saints.