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    Ecumenical Patriarch warns that Church loses its essence once it turns into secular body, as is happening in Russia

    On May 21, 2024, the day of commemoration of Saints Constantine and Helena, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew led the Divine Liturgy in Constantinople.

    In his sermon, the Patriarch emphasized the important contribution of Saints Constantine and Helena to the spread of Christianity and the granting of freedom to the Church. However, he warned that the privileges granted by Constantine also allowed the Church to become a secular power, exploited by ambitious individuals to achieve goals alien to it.

    “Since Christianity emerged from the catacombs, there have been times in its history when it seemed to lose its true glory and spiritual brilliance. And this story repeats itself from time to time,” said Patriarch Bartholomew.

    He noted that today, the Church flourishes where it is persecuted, where there are martyrs, sacrifice, and true zeal, reminiscent of the times of early Christianity. Instead, wherever the Church is in the tight embrace of worldly power, it often loses its path and mission.

    “As a result, it is no longer a light and source of sanctification for the people of God, but an agent of the darkening of the truth, as an instrument in the hands of an authoritarian and repressive government, because it relies exclusively on the rulers of this world, who have no salvation. The Church needs inner, spiritual freedom,” the Patriarch emphasized.

    Recalling the current situation in Russia, the Patriarch called it an example where the Church lost its essence due to a close connection with secular power.

    After the liturgy, the Patriarch congratulated the pilgrims in attendance, including groups from the USA, Greece, and other countries who visited Constantinople.

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