The Community of Sts Constantine and Helen Welcomes Archbishop Ieronymos with Respect and Love
May 22, 2013
Visit and Memorial Service at Ground Zero
NEW YORK – The community of Saints Constantine and Helen in Brooklyn, NY observed three celebrations today. They celebrated the feast day of the their church, they commemorated the 100th anniversary of its founding, and they welcomed for the first time, the Primate of the Church of Greece who visited and co-celebrated an Archieratical Divine Liturgy.
Photos © Dimitrios Panagos/GOA
When he arrived at the parish, His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece was met by children who greeted him in fluent Greek and offered flowers. It was a moving scene and experience that was repeated many times. His Beatitude took the time to greet each child individually as well as each parent and teacher at the entrance of the church.
The archieratical Divine Liturgy was co-celebrated by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America and the Hierarchs of the delegation which included Archbishop Ieronymos, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Messinia, Bishop Gavriel of Diavleia, the Bishops of the Holy Archdiocese of America, Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, Bishop Sevastianos of Zela, and the Proistamenos of the church, Father John Lardas. In attendance at the service was the Consul General of Greece in New York, Mr. Evangelos Kirakopoulos and the Consul General of Cyprus, Koula Sofianou.
“Our words are unable to express the tremendous honor it is to have Your Beatitude with us,” said Archbishop Demetrios introducing Archbishop Ieronymos to the congregation.
In his sermon Archbishop Ieronymos spoke about the life of St. Constantine and of the Apostle Paul and their transformation and repentance (metanoia), emphasizing that their repentance was characterized by a change in their way of thinking and behavior. His Beatitude said this is precisely what is needed in Greece and Cyprus to overcome the crisis they are in. He also added: “Our presence here gave us great strength, and this strength we will try to take with us back home, and transplant it back in Greece. We have common roots and we should all together try to feed them, water them, cultivate them and strengthen these roots.
At the conclusion of the Liturgy, Archbishop Ieronymos gifted to the Sts. Contstantine and Helen Cathedral a blessing cross, in memory of the day and the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. A representative of the Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz presented to the Archbishop a symbolic gift of a miniature of the Brooklyn Bridge, as a memory of his presence in Brooklyn. His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios announced a surprise, the elevation of the parish Proistamenos Fr. John Lardas, to the rank of Protopresbyter, and Archbishop Ieronymos presided at the short service. His Beatitude greeted all the faithful, as they approached with order and reverence to receive the antidoron from his hands. A festive luncheon followed in the community’s center.
In the afternoon, the two Archbishops, their entourage, and members of the Sts Constantine and Helen community traveled to Ground Zero to see the future site of St. Nicholas. Steven Plate, the director of the WTC Construction and his associates led a tour to the WTC-1 Tower (formerly known as Freedom Tower). Mr. Plate explained to Archbishop Ieronymos the history and geography of the World Trade Center site and the projects under way, including the rebuilding of St. Nicholas which was destroyed on September 11, 2001. Having a birds-eye view, His Beatitude could see the memorial, the footprints of the fallen towers and the location where St. Nicholas will soon rise again. His Beatitude prayed for the victims of 9/11 in a short memorial service on the 26th floor of WTC-1, and later responding to a request by Mr. Plate, he signed one of the building’s interior walls.
Photographs from the various events of this visit are posted at the Archdiocese photo gallery: http://photos.goarch.org/main.php?g2_itemId=7679 and through a link on the home page www.goarch.org
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Contact: Stavros Papagermanos
Tel.: (212) 570-3530