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Divine Liturgy and Memorial for Archbishop Michael Inaugurate 39th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress

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Jul 13, 2008

WASHINGTON, DC – Over 1100 faithful gathered on Sunday morning, July 13 for the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at Saint Sophia Cathedral in Washington, DC to begin the 39th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America led the service which included a memorial service for Archbishop Michael of North and South America who fell asleep in the Lord on July 13, 1958.

For the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy Archbishop Demetrios co-celebrated with His Eminence Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain, Representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the Congress, and the Metropolitans of the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Archdiocese, His Eminence Iakovos of Chicago, His Eminence Maximos of Pittsburgh, His Eminence Methodios of Boston, His Eminence Isaiah of Denver, His Eminence Alexios of Atlanta, His Eminence Nicholas of Detroit, His Eminence Gerasimos of San Francisco, and His Eminence Evangelos of New Jersey. The Hierarchs were joined by priests and deacons which included the The Very Reverend Sevastianos Skordallos, Chief Secretary of the Eparchial Synod, Rev. Protopresbyter John Tavlarides, Dean of Saint Sophia Cathedral, Rev. Protopresbyter Nicholas Soteropoulos, President of the Retired Clergy Association, Rev. Presbyter Steven Tsichlis, President of the Archdiocesan Presbyters Council, Archdeacon Pandeleimon Papadopoulos, Deacon Meliton Oakes of the Greek Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain, Deacon Michael Diamond of the Metropolis of New Jersey, and Deacon Paul Zaharas of the Metropolis of Denver. Under the direction of Mr. Stelios Kontakiotis, the choir and chanters of the Saint Sophia Cathedral were joined by members of the National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians.

At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Archbishop Demetrios spoke to those in attendance from the Epistle and Gospel readings emphasizing the importance of the faithful being leaders in good works. He stated, “As Christians and the Church we are called to produce good works together, not in isolation, but as leaders, as persons of initiative, creativity, and deep faith.” He directed the attention of those in attendance to the example of Archbishop Michael who led the Archdiocese from 1949 until 1958. In commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of his passing, Archbishop Demetrios described him as a person of “action, teaching, and pastoral care … a man and church leader who reminds us of the words of Christ who calls us to be doers of works of love and teachers of the Gospel of truth.”

On the previous evening, Archbishops Demetrios and Gregorios, together with the members of the Eparchial Synod, and members of both the Archdiocesan Council and the national board of the Ladies Philoptochos Society attended a dinner at the Library of Congress. The event, held in the Great Hall of the Library’s Jefferson building, was hosted by Dr. James H. Billington, who has served as Librarian of Congress since 1987.

The Divine Liturgy was followed on Sunday afternoon by the official opening of the Congress Exhibit Hall at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. For the ceremony Archbishop Demetrios was joined by Archbishop Gregorios, His Excellency Andreas Kakouris, Ambassador of Cyprus to the United States, and Archon James Moshovitis and his wife Zoe, whose generous donation provided the underwriting for the exhibit area. The Exhibit Hall features over eighty booths with vendors from the United States, Canada, Greece, and Cyprus and includes a ministry pavilion which highlights the national ministries of the Archdiocese.

Daily coverage of the events of the Congress will be available on the web site of the Archdiocese at www.goarch.org. Congress information, reports, and programs are available at www.clergylaity.org.

Photos of the events are available at www.photos.goarch.org.

Contact: Stavros Papagermanos
Tel: (212) 570-3556
E-mail: communications@goarch.org

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