Remarks by His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America
At the Doxology
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church
Columbia, South Carolina
January 19, 2023
Your Excellency Ambassador of Greece to the United States Alexandra Papadopoulou,
Esteemed President of the University South Carolina, Michael Amiridis,
Dear Ero Aggelopoulou-Amiridis,
Aspasia and Dimitri,
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
I cannot think of a more fitting occasion for my first Archpastoral visit to Columbia and this wonderful community of the Holy Trinity, than to share in the festivities around the investiture of our dear Michael Amiridis as President of the University South Carolina.
What makes this Doxology of Thanksgiving to God so very special today, is that you – the Parish of the Holy Trinity – are welcoming back the Amiridis family into your midst, as Michael is officially invested with this prestigious role in the university that has become part of his family through the decades.
You, the wider Greek Orthodox community of Columbia, are very blessed to have him once again in your company. And he and his family are blessed to have you as well.
As we give thanks today for this νόστος of Michael and his family to Columbia, let us pray that every aspect of his new sojourn at the University will be auspicious. He is now the captain of the ship. But like every captain, he knows that it is the crew that creates the momentum of progress in every journey.
As many of you already know, Michael is a son of Kavala, the ancient city known as “Neapolis” in the New Testament, and as “Christoupolis” in the Christian Roman Empire.
Neapolis was where Saint Paul set foot in Greece for the first time, having been inspired by a vision in which, as the Book of Acts records: “a man of Macedonia was standing beseeching him and saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us’.*
Well, it seems that a similar message was sent to Chicago from Columbia, inviting Michael to return to lead the University.
Michael, your community is very proud of you and all of your accomplishments. And by community, I mean the entire Omogeneia here in America. And I am certain, the people of your hometown, too.
I know that I speak for everyone when I say that our prayers and best wishes are with you, Ero and your children, as you walk the famous “horseshoe” daily, to galvanize and inspire the University of South Carolina to new heights.
May this Parish of the Holy Trinity be a refuge of faith and continuity for you and your family, just as you will continue to be a community servant-leader for them.
The only thing that this gladsome day requires, is that we give thanks. For as the Psalmist says:
This is the day that the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it. **
Congratulations and blessings to all!
* Acts 16:9.
** Psalm 117:24 (LXX).