New York.- Photos: Dimitrios Panagos
On Thursday, May 16, Archbishop Elpidophoros of America held a teleconference call with the Hierarchs and clergy – active and retired, of the Holy Archdiocese of America. The call was organized by Metropolitan Methodios of Boston in his capacity as Archiepiscopal Vicar, with the cooperation of the Archdiocesan Presbyters Council. Approximately 400 clergy participated in the call.
During the one-hour conference call, Archbishop Elpidophoros had the opportunity to address the clergy directly and took questions on various aspects of the ministry of the Church. Among his opening remarks, Archbishop Elpidophoros said:
“I was especially eager to address you, the beloved and most respected clergy of our Holy Archdiocese, for you are the very heart of this vital Eparchy of the Ecumenical Throne. I wanted to let you know, personally, that my heart and mind are deeply focused on your welfare, the welfare of your families, and your God-saved ministries on behalf of the People of God.
“Although my service to the Church of America is only now commencing, our service to Christ and His Holy Church has always been united – by prayer, by our celebrations of the Divine Liturgy, and by our commitment to the Priesthood of our Great High Priest Jesus Christ. I do feel that I am already with you – in your trials and in your triumphs. As a Deacon, I learned to serve, as you all have done. As a Priest, I enjoyed the foretaste of His Glory as you also enjoy, standing before the Holy Altar. And as a Hierarch, I embrace the service of the Good Shepherd, as I know all of you try to do in your every-day ministries.
“I look forward getting to know all of you, as the Militia of Christ that you already are, and as individuals as well. Your pains will be my pain. Your challenges are my challenges. Your needs will be my priority, as together we seek to strengthen the foundations upon which your ministry edifies the Body of Christ.
“I am very concerned about the issues of Clergy financial security, especially in regard to your health and the healthcare for you and your families. Your physical and spiritual health, and the health of your families, are the sine qua non of the health of our Archdiocese. You need to know that you are cared for, so that you can care for the Flock of Christ. I want you all to know that you and your families are my priority, and we will work together to insure that you have the very best health care that we can find.”
During the hour-long teleconference, a number of priests posed questions to the Archbishop, in a range of various pastoral issues. Examples were:
· “What advice can you give us to help our faithful remain close to the Eucharist and the Body of Christ?”
· “What do you see as the greatest strength of our Archdiocese today? Also, where do you feel we need improvement?”
· “As part of the greater financial issues facing the Archdiocese, could you please comment on how to make the restoration of the Clergy Pension plan a priority.”
· “What is your vision for the future of Orthodoxy in America?”
Although many of the topics could have consumed the entire hour, everyone expressed their joy and satisfaction that Archbishop Elpidophoros had initiated the teleconference, and that this experience of dialogue and solidarity was going to be the first of many.
Message of newly elected
Archbishop of America
On Wednesday, Archbishop Elpidophoros issued the following message to the faithful of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America:
My Beloved Faithful of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America:
Χριστὀς Ἀνέστη! Christ is Risen! He is truly risen!
Even though I am, as the Apostle Paul once said, “absent in the body” from you, I am very much with you in heart, in mind, and in spirit (cf. I Cor. 5:3). I wanted to take this moment to communicate with you through this marvelous tool of social media, to express how much I desire to embrace all of you as spiritual children, and to manifest to you the love with which God has graced my heart for the precious flock of the Holy Archdiocese of America.
In the coming days and weeks, we will all be learning about one another. I have already received and continue to receive warm greetings and messages of congratulations from across America, and I am heartened by them all. You will be learning about me, but what I want all of you to know most importantly, is that that I am coming to America not only to be your Archbishop, but I am coming to be your spiritual friend and brother, your servant in the Lord, your co-worker in Christ, and your fellow steward of all the gifts of God that have been bestowed upon the Greek Orthodox Faithful of America. Together we will bring the Holy Archdiocese of America to the greater understanding that we are the Body of Christ, and each of us a precious member.
To you and to all our Orthodox Christian Brethren across America, I bring the blessing of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. I am coming to you as your brother in Christ. And, on June 22nd at my Enthronement, I look forward to embracing our ecumenical and interfaith friends as well, and the whole pluralistic American society that values freedom of conscience and religious liberty with such intensity.
Let this be a time of hope and positive expectation for us all. We have much to accomplish together, and by God’s grace and with His strength, we must surely be victorious.
Χριστὀς Ἀνέστη! Ἀληθῶς Ἀνέστη!
In the Risen Lord,
Archbishop Elpidophoros of America
MESSAGE O THE VICAR
Christ is Risen! Χριστὸς Ἀνέστη!
On behalf of the Most Reverend Metropolitans of the Holy Eparchial Synod of our beloved Archdiocese, it is with profound joy that we warmly welcome our new Archbishop, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, an exceptional hierarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate with an extraordinary record of service to our Holy Mother Church.
We express our gratitude to His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and to the Members of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Great Church of Christ for electing Archbishop Elpidophoros. We pray that his election signals a new era of visionary faith and progress for our beloved Archdiocese of America.
We call upon the Faithful – clergy and lay alike – to receive Archbishop Elpidophoros with respect and love.
Conveying to you the blessings of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros and of the members of the Holy Eparchial Synod I remain,
With Archpastoral love in the Risen Lord,
Metropolitan Methodios of Boston