GREENLAWN, NY – His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America celebrated the Feast of Saint Paraskevi, the Great-Martyr with the Divine Liturgy yesterday, July 26, 2019, at the Greek Orthodox Church of the same name, located in the Greenlawn hamlet of Long Island.
“You and I are equally sons and daughters of our Father in heaven. We are equally heirs of His riches. We are equally blessed with His power from on high through faith in Christ,” said the Archbishop in his sermon to the congregation.
Young children and Parish officials welcomed His Eminence as he arrived for the Orthros service in the morning. Ten clergymen took part in the liturgy. Soon the beautiful church filled to capacity as the faithful came to honor the feast of their patron saint, but also welcome and meet their new spiritual father, Archbishop Elpidophoros of America.
In his homily the Archbishop spoke about the life and healing witness of Saint Paraskevi and the Epistle and Gospel readings of the day, connecting them through the single thread of the healing power of God. (Read full text of Archbishop’s homily)
“We should be always a people of hope and optimism; people of joy and thanksgiving; people of fervent prayer and bold intercession, as was the saint for whom this Shrine Church is named. Through the intercessions of the holy Great-Martyr Paraskevi, may the Lord grant us eyes that are open always to the possibilities of His incomparably great power in us.”
Just before the conclusion of the Liturgy, His Eminence by the laying-of-the-hands, blessed six young men of the parish as Readers, gave them the book of Psalms and proclaimed each one Axios! The Archbishop said that this event of the blessings of the Readers gives him hope. “These young men give me hope,” he said and requested from mothers, grandmothers and family to encourage their children, their young men, to become priests. “Give the most successful, the best, the most brilliant minds to the Church,” he urged them.
His Eminence praised Fr. Elias Nicholas, the pastor of the community, and said that the priest is the reference point for every community… without a good priest who sacrifices from his own, the community cannot see success and prosperity. He also expressed congratulations and gratitude to the Parish Council, its President Steve Ramerini, and the ladies of the Philoptochos Society for their hard work for their Church, their fellow congregants and fellow human beings.
After the Liturgy, the Archbishop visited and venerated the Grotto-Shrine of the Holy Water fountain of Saint Paraskevi located next to the church. This fountain and Shrine is a replica of the miraculous holy spring of St. Paraskevi in Therapia, Turkey.
The community of Saint Paraskevi hosted a luncheon in honor of Archbishop Elpidophoros and his first visit, at the nearby Larkfield Manor, with the proceeds benefiting the rebuilding fund of Saint Nicholas Shrine in the World Trade Center. The Archbishop was pleased and impressed by the presentations of young students and the St. Paraskevi GOYA Hellenic Dancers who performed traditional folk dances.