Constantinople.- (GreekNewsOnline, ANA-MPA)
The Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Fanar, Istanbul on Saturday unanimously elected the Metropolitan Elpidophoros of Bursa and Exarch of Bithynia as the new Greek Orthodox Archbishop of America, after his predecessor Archbishop Demetrios submitted his resignation to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew last week. The new Archbishop is 52 years old and was serving as abbot at the Halki Monastery.
The other two candidates were Metropolitan Tarassios of Buenos Aires and Metropolitan Kleopas of Sweden.
Although no formal announcement was made, his enthronement will take place at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in New York City, on June 22.
The liturgical service of the Mega Minima (Acceptance) and expressions of thanksgiving by the new Archbishop took place shortly after his election.
The official COMMUNIQUE of the Chief Secretariat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate follows:
“Today, Saturday May 11 2019, the Holy and Sacred Synod, continuing its work, proceeded to fill the vacated seat of the Archdiocese of America following the voluntary resignation of its shepherd, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios Geron of America.
Therefore, following the suggestion, permission and exhortation of His-All Holiness, the holy synodical members upon invocation of the Holy Spirit, duly casted their votes and unanimously elected as Archbishop of America His Eminence Metropolitan Elpidophoros of Bursa, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of the Holy Trinity in Halki and Professor of the Theological School of the Aristoteleian University of Thessaloniki.”
In his remarks the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew mention the discussions that took place lately in the Holy Synod about the situation in the Archdiocese of America, “seeking ways to improve the situation and return the Archdiocese in its past beauty; then, its past prelate Archbishop Demetrios submitted his resignation, due to the urgency we seek a worthy successor, who could bring back the eurythmy in the life and operation of the Archdiocese, inspire confidence to the flock in the Church, enhance the ties with the Holy Center (at the Fanar) and make us once again proud for our largest Eparchy, that today is suffering (εμπερίστατος και ταλαιπωρουμένη)».
He also pointed out the appreciation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the new Archbishop for his charisma and dedication to the throne, known to the Church from his long service.
Archbishop-elect Elpidoforos expressed his gratitude to the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Holy Synod, promising that he will always look at him and the Throne.
Archbishop-elect Elpidoforos has strong ties with the Greek Orthodox Church in America and many prominent Greek Americans wrote to the Ecumenical Patriarch prior to the election, to express support. At the same time his enjoys the support of the Greek political leadership in both Greece and Cyprus.
President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos on Saturday contacted the new Archbishop of America Elpidophoros on the telephone, expressing his sincere congratulations on his election and warmest wishes for the success of his mission.
Main opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis welcomed the election of the new Archbishop of America Elpidophoros on Saturday, praising his abilities with a post on Twitter:
“The new Archbishop of America Elpidophoros is an enlightened prelate with exceptional abilities. I wish him every success from the heart. Our hopes go with him!” Mitsotakis said.
U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt in a message on the tweeter offered his “warmest congratulations and best wishes to Elpidophoros on his election as Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church in North America — an institution essential to our strong people to people ties and in supporting the Greek people through years of economic difficulty.”
The Order of Saint Andrew congratulated Metropolitan Elpidophoros of Bursa for his appointment as Archbishop of America in a letter published on Saturday.
The head of the Order, Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis, expressed its “tremendous joy and satisfaction” for his election and pledged to support and promote his goals and programs.
In a second letter to Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, Limberakis said Archbishop Elpidophoros “has been left with numerous challenges to meet and overcome.”
“We pledge to Your All-Holiness that the Order of Saint Andrew shall welcome and embrace him with open arms,” he added.
His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros (Lambriniadis) of America was born in 1967 in Bakirköy, Istanbul. He studied at the Department of Pastoral Theology at the Theological School of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, graduating in 1991. In 1993, he completed postgraduate studies at the Philosophical School of the University of Bonn in Germany, submitting a dissertation entitled: “The Brothers Nicholas and John Mesarites.” He was ordained to the Diaconate in 1994 at the Patriarchal Cathedral and appointed Kodikographos (Scrivener) of the Holy and Sacred Synod.
In 1995, he was appointed Deputy Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod. From 1996-1997 he studied at the Theological School of St. John the Damascene in Balamand, Lebanon, where he advanced his knowledge of the Arabic language. In 2001, he presented a doctoral dissertation at the Theological School of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki under the title: “Severus of Antioch and the Council of Chalcedon” and was proclaimed a Doctor of Theology. In 2004, he was invited to Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Boston, where he taught as Visiting Professor for a semester.
In March 2005, at the proposal of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, he was elevated by the Holy and Sacred Synod to the position of Chief Secretary and ordained to the priesthood by the Ecumenical Patriarch in the Patriarchal Cathedral. In 2009, he submitted two dissertations to the Theological School of Thessaloniki and was unanimously elected Assistant Professor of Symbolics, Inter-Orthodox Relations, and the Ecumenical Movement. The dissertations are entitled: “The Synaxes of the Hierarchy of the Ecumenical Throne (1951-2004)” and “Luther’s Ninety-five Theses: Historical and Theological Aspects. Text – Translation – Commentary.”
In March 2011, he was elected Metropolitan of Bursa and in August of the same year was appointed Abbot of the Holy Patriarchal and Stavropegial Monastery of the Holy Trinity on the island of Halki. He has served as Orthodox Secretary of the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Lutheran World Federation and member of the Patriarchal delegations to the General Assemblies of the Conference of European Churches and the World Council of Churches. He was the Secretary of the Pan-Orthodox Synods in Sofia (1998), Istanbul (2005), Geneva (2006), and Istanbul (2008). He has been a member of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches since 1996.