New York – Archbishop Anastasios of Albania delivered a lecture on Thursday January 30, 2014, during the celebration for the Three Hierarchs and Greek Letters, titled “In Line with the Fathers: The Dynamic Understanding of the Tradition of the Three Hierarchs.” The event, attended by some 350 people, took place at the Metropolitan Club in Manhattan, and was part of a series of events of the Archdiocese for the annual celebration of Greek Letters. His Beatitude, came to New York for the occasion of the Conferral of an honorary doctorate he received Jan. 28, by Fordham University.
In the lecture, Archbishop Anastasios, suggested that “we change our course towards the spirit of the Fathers, aligning our convictions (fronima) with the Fathers,” pointing out that “this does not imply retreat, but progress. It is about faithfulness to the spirit, not application of the letter. It is about true continuity of life, thought and inspiration. The correct motto,” he emphasized, “is not back to the Fathers, but forward with the Fathers, so we can advance – in this troubled world – with the spiritual focus, with the purity of principles, with love and with joy for all people [and] with the decisiveness and courage of the children of God, so that we may perceive our times, and our times in turn may perceive us, as a force for health and hope.”
Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh served as Master of Ceremonies and following his welcoming remarks, he introduced Archbishop Anastasios to the audience. Greetings were also extended by Dr. Ioannis Efthymiopoulos, the national director of the Department of Greek Education. Following the lecture, Archbishop Demetrios of America offered closing remarks and some details about his long and brotherly friendship with Anastasios, which goes back almost 68 years. His Eminence said, that many people when talking and writing about Archbishop Anastasios, his ministry and his work, especially over the last 20 years in Albania, do not do him justice. “It is just a description of achievements,” he said, that does not capture the essence of this phenomenon, and this Archbishop is phenomenal,” he concluded. The evening began with the Archdiocesan Byzantine Choir, chanting the Apolytikion, dismissal hymn of the Three Hierarchs; and concluded with the Doxastikon, the hymn from the vespers of the Three Hierarchs, as a closing prayer.
Hierarchal Divine Liturgy
Earlier in the morning, His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios presided at the Divine Liturgy in the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Manhattan, with Archbishop Demetrios concelebrating together with Metropolitan John of Korytsa, who is accompanying His Beatitude in this trip. Just before the dismissal His Eminence presented Anastasios to the congregation, which consisting mostly of students, parents and educators of the archdiocesan parochial schools.
“We are all students of Christ,” said Archbishop Anastasios, “and I sense the presence and the radiance of your hearts, as I feel I have known you for a long time, through our communion in Christ, and thus I rejoice in your success and in your creative endeavors.” He further urged the students to receive the gifts of God, not to keep them for themselves, but share them. “Give and share with love, be ready to offer without asking for anything in return, share the joy of all Orthodox with all the people of the world, with the Oikoumene.” His Beatitude distributed the antidoron to all the students at the end, and during the luncheon that followed cut the traditional vassilopita.
On Monday Archbishop Demetrios hosted a luncheon in honor of Archbishop Anastasios, with the participation of religious leaders including the Roman-Catholic Archbishop of New York Timothy Cardinal Dolan, diplomats and lay leaders of the Archdiocese.
Archbishop Demetrios of America and Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey welcomed His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios upon his arrival, along with clergy and lay members of the staff of the Archdiocese. Archbishop Anastasios said he was very happy to be at the Archdiocese again and expressed his gratitude for the welcome and the hospitality.
During the luncheon that followed, Archbishop Demetrios presented His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios to the guests and spoke about his long missionary work in Asia and Africa and his work for the resurrection of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania. On the request of His Eminence, Archbishop Anastasios, addressed the luncheon participants and spoke about the future of inter-religious relationships, the coexistence with other religious communities and the understanding and respect for the “other.”
Among the luncheon guests were Archbishop Justinian of the Russian Orthodox Church in the United States, Archbishop Nikon of the Albanian Archdiocese (OCA), Metropolitan Joseph of the Orthodox Bulgarian Diocese, Bishop Nicholas representing the Antiochian Archdiocese and Bishop Sevastianos of Zela, chief secretary of the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and Metropolitan John of Korçës (Korytsa, Albania), who is accompanying His Beatitude in his trip. Diplomats present included the Ambassador of Greece to the United States Christos Panagopoulos, the Permanent Representative of Greece in the United Nations, Ambassador Michael Spinellis; the Consul General of Greece in New York George Iliopoulos; and representing Cyprus, the Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the United Nations Ambassador Nikos Emiliou and the Consul General of Cyprus in New York Ambassador Vassilis Philippou. Additionally the luncheon attended, Mr. Michael Jaharis, vice-chairman of the Archdiocesan Council; Roman Catholic Bishop of Rockville Center William Murphey, Fr. Alexander Karloutsos, Fr. Nathaniel Symeonides, the legal counsel of the Archdiocese Emmanuel Demos, great benefactor Christos Spyropoulos and Archdiocese Executive Director Jerry Dimitiou.