Patriarchal Homily at the Divine Liturgy (Chorostasia), Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council. Iglesia Catedral de los Santos Andrés y Demetrio, Madrid, Reino de España
(October 15, 2023)
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Your Eminence Metropolitan Vissarion of Spain and Portugal, dear Brother in Christ,
Beloved Children in the Lord,
Today is truly a glorious and historic day for the faithful children of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Spain, and for the Mother Church of Constantinople; for this is the first-ever Apostolic Visit of an Ecumenical Patriarch to the Kingdom of Spain.
We are humbled and honored to be the first, for the Iberian Peninsula is of enormous importance in the history of our Christian Faith. It is said that the Holy Apostle Paul may have ventured this far, and the Camino de Santiago is still one of the great pilgrimages for Christian souls. Indeed, the soil of Spain has been the one Western European locale where Christianity, Islam, and Judaism have mingled, and we can learn much from this era.
But this day, which the Lord has made is for you – the pious Λαός of the Mother Church’s flock here in the Iberian Peninsula –
and for your Metropolitan, our dear spiritual son, His Eminence Vissarion. The occasion for our first Patriarchal Visit to Spain is the Twentieth Anniversary of the canonical establishment of the Sacred Metropolis of Spain and Portugal, and the Fiftieth Anniversary of the founding of the Cathedral of Saints Andrew and Demetrius. We are also honored and are glad to have with us Protopresbyter Demetrios Tsamparlis, who took up the charge to bring this magnificent Cathedral into being, and gave to it the celestial patronage of two of our most beloved Saints: Andrew the First-Called Disciple, and Demetrios the Great-Martyr and Myrrh-Streamer.
On this Sunday of the Holy 350 Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council in Nicaea, which confirmed for all time the theology, practice, and usage of the Holy Icons, let us reflect on the two Saintly Protectors of your Cathedral. For they shine as stars in the Heavenly Firmament, and their images adorn nearly every Orthodox Christian Church throughout the world!
But you, the Faithful of Spain and Portugal – you have them as your Patrons and Guardians of this Cathedral, and it seems to us that this is a most worthy designation; for they represent your special role, as the Eparchy of the Mother Church in Iberia.
First, Saint Andrew the First-Called. He is, of course, the first to sit upon the Sacred See that was founded upon the shores of the Bosphorus, and became New Rome – the City of Constantine. But let us remember, Saint Constantine was proclaimed in the West – and he first ruled in the West over Gaul, Iberia, England, Italy and the like. The legacy of Saint Andrew the Apostle extends throughout the οἰκουμένη, as it says in the Psalms:
Εἰς πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν ἐξῆλθεν ὁ φθόγγος αὐτοῦ, καὶ εἰς τὰ πέρατα τῆς οἰκουμένης τὰ ῥήματα αὐτοῦ.
The sound of his voice has gone out throughout all the world, and his words unto the ends of the world.
Thus, beloved children in the Lord, by naming this marvelous Temple after the First of the Twelve, you invoke the Mother Church of Constantinople in the midst of Madrid, the Capital City of Spain. This is a potent and visible reminder that what is known now as Byzantium, stretched from the Hellespont and beyond to the Pillars of Hercules. You honor the Great Church of Christ with your presence here, and the naming of your glorious Cathedral for the Elder Brother of Simon Peter, the Chief of the Apostles.
But you have also included the Great-Martyr and Patron of Thessaloniki as well – Demetrios the Myrrh-Streamer. We are deeply moved and not a little pleased by this appellation, for it was our own Baptismal Name.
Saint Demetrios exemplifies the love and passion for our Saviour Jesus Christ that can lead to a Passion and Holy Week of one’s own – as it did for the Great-Martyr. In the person of Saint Demetrios, we see the kind of faith that affirms that:
… οὔτε θάνατος οὔτε ζωὴ οὔτε ἄγγελοι οὔτε ἀρχαὶ οὔτε δυνάμεις οὔτε ἐνεστῶτα οὔτε μέλλοντα οὔτε ὕψωμα οὔτε βάθος οὔτε τις κτίσις ἑτέρα δυνήσεται ἡμᾶς χωρίσαι ἀπὸ τῆς ἀγάπης τοῦ Θεοῦ τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ ̓Ιησοῦ τῷ Κυρίῳ ἡμῶν.
… neither death nor life, nor Angels, nor Principalities nor Powers, nor things present, nor things future, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus, our Lord! 
This is the message – the living λόγος – of Saint Demetrios. And by naming him as one of your Celestial Benefactors, you declare that this Cathedral is a place of love for God and love for humankind.
That you are a Holy House of compassion.
That you are a Sacred Temple of mercy.
That you are a Spiritual Hospital of forgiveness.
When you combine the Apostolic Teaching of Saint Andrew with the Martyric Love of Saint Demetrios, you attain to the summit of the life that is consecrated to the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Both are necessary for your spiritual lives. There must be the purity of the Orthodox Faith of Christ, which comes from the Mother Church of Constantinople, the Sacred See of Saint Andrew, the First-Called Disciple of the Lord.
But there must also be unconditional love for all humanity, and indeed for all creation, in the likeness of the sacrificial love of Saint Demetrios. He cast off the resplendent robes of his high office in the Roman Empire, to take on the humble tunic of faith in the Rabbi from Galilee, Who was none other than the Second Person of the All-Holy Trinity – God Incarnate. What a wondrous reversal! At the hands of the Roman Soldiers, the Lord was ridiculed by being clad in the red robe of their military – as it says in the Scripture:
Καὶ ἐκδύσαντες αὐτὸν περιέθηκαν αὐτῷ χλαμύδα κοκκίνην. 
And Saint Demetrios, in his own Passion, was stripped of the insignia of his military might, and died as a simple Disciple of the Lord.
Both of these Saints – Andrew and Demetrios – form a powerful mixture that will hold your community in the bonds of fellowship and peace, for they are a mighty synergy of Orthodoxia and Orthopraxia.
And this synergy will guide you into your next fifty years as the Cathedral of the Sacred Metropolis of Spain and Portugal.
As dear children of the Mother Church, you have the unalloyed Apostolic Faith of the Fathers – whom we honor today for their courage and wisdom at the Seventh Ecumenical Council. This is the gift of Saint Andrew, the gift of Orthodoxy.
And as Christians of sincere hearts, you have the love, compassion, and mercy of the Saints who were willing to die for their Lord and Saviour. This is the gift of Saint Demetrios, the gift of Orthopraxy.
Through their holy intercessions, may you always uphold in faith and love your presence here with honor.
And may the Infinite Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Boundless Love of God the Father, and the Ever-Flowing Communion of the All-Holy Spirit be with you and all those you love; now and forever, and unto the ages of ages.
 Romans 8:38,39.
 Matthew 27:28.