On October 4 - 10, Fr. Teodor Petrutiu led a group of 30 parishioners from Saints Constantine and Helen and the Nativity of the Virgin Mary Churches of Westland and Plymouth, Michigan, on a pilgrimage to the holy sites of Constantinople, the heart of Orthodoxy, and the ancient city of Rome.
In Constantinople, the group visited the 17th century headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate, prayed at the St. George Cathedral and was received in a private audience by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Patriarch Bartholomew presented Fr. Petrutiu with the ecclesiastical title of “Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Throne” – the highest distinction a priest can receive.
His All Holiness spoke of Fr. Teodor’s “wisdom, hope and endurance – all aiming to bring positive transformation” and said: “Today we would like to acknowledge, celebrate and congratulate you for the sacrifices and efforts you exerted in order to successfully revitalize and restore the parish of Saints Constantine and Helen… May He who has glorified you this day by His Church, glorify you in the age to come. May you continue to worthily and nobly ‘take up your cross and follow Him’.”
Upon their return, the community of Saints Constantine and Helen was able to share the pride when Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit visited the parish to formally recognize Fr. Teodor with his new title.