Long Beach, Calif. – The Metropolis of San Francisco, under the leadership of Metropolitan Gerasimos, welcomed to the Los Angeles area, Archbishop Demetrios of America who made a two-day visit, Nov. 13-14. Archbishop Demetrios received an honorary doctoral degree from Loyola Marymount University in the afternoon of Nov. 13. Later that evening the community of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church of Long Beach welcomed Archbishop Demetrios and the local hierarch Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco. Fr. John Roll, along with parish president George Demos, Philoptochos chapter president Kathy Bastas and children of the community greeted the two hierarchs as they arrived. The Assumption community hosted a dinner for the hierarchs and all the Metropolis clergy who came from as far as Alaska and Hawaii to attend the Fall Clergy Institute gathering. At the conclusion, Metropolitan Gerasimos spoke of the importance and the success of the Clergy Institute gathering and expressed everyoneʼs joy and gratitude for the Archbishopʼs presence.
Archbishop Demetrios conveyed his pastoral love for the people of the Metropolis of San Francisco and noted with joy the high participation of the clergy to the gathering that reached almost 95 per cent. The Archbishop praised the work of Metropolitan Gerasimos and his care for the faithful and clergy of his Metropolis. Recalling his days at Holy Cross School of Theology in Brookline, Mass., when many of the priests present were his students, the Archbishop encouraged the clergy in their sacred ministry and said the Metropolis of San Francisco was “a fertile field for missionary work.”
The next morning the presentation and reception of the Holy and Sacred Relics of St. Seraphim of Sarov took place. The relics of St. Seraphim were sent directly from Moscow to Archbishop Demetrios by the express wish of Patriarch Alexy of Moscow and All Russia, following a request by St. Anthonyʼs Monastery in Florence, Ariz. St. Seraphim of Sarov is one of the best-known Russian Orthodox Saints of the 19th century and a revered saint in Greece.
The Archbishop led a procession to the Church of the Assumption holding the holy icon of St. Seraphim in which the relics were encased, entered the Church and presided at the service that followed. At the conclusion of the service, Archbishop Demetrios read the letter of Patriarch Alexy and according to the canonical order of the Church, presented the holy relics to Metropolitan Gerasimos who in turn presented them to Fr. Paisios, the abbot of the monastery.
Later, more than 75 priests participated in a three-hour session held in the Church of the Assumption. Archbishop Demetrios offered an edifying lecture entitled “St. John Chrysostom, Priesthood and the 21st Century,” followed by an engaging discussion on pastoral issues and concerns.