Remarks, Invocation, & Benediction
By His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America
Celebratory Dinner on the Occasion of the Investiture of Michael Amiridis
President of the University of South Carolina
University of South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina
January 19, 2023
Esteemed President of South Carolina University, Michael Amiridis,
Ero Aggelopoulou-Amiridis and Dimitri, as well as Aspasia, who could not be here with us this evening,
Our Emcee for tonight, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Thad Westbrook, whom I thank for his eloquence,
Before offering an invocation for this glorious occasion, kindly permit me a few moments to express the palpable pride and joy of the Greek Orthodox Community of America, for the ascension of our fellow-countryman – our πατριώτη, as we say in Greek – to this eminent service of President of the University of South Carolina.
Although my own ancestry hails from Constantinople, I will be laconic in the interest of our dinner.
While Dr. Amiridis’ return to South Carolina is a true νόστος – a homecoming for him and his family – it is also so much more as well.
His return to South Carolina and this University – where he commenced his outstanding academic career nearly thirty years ago – is a moment of opportunity and ascendancy, not only for him, but for the amazing community of the University of South Carolina, too, which he now cultivates and champions as a servant-leader.
The investiture tomorrow, when he receives from the University Family the marks and high distinctions of his office, is a true causa nostrae laetitiae – a cause of our joy. For Michael brings with him a vast storehouse of gifts and talents, which are surely a boon to the University.
As many of you know, Michael hails from Kavala, the city known in Holy Scripture as Neapolis.* His roots go deep into the land where civilizations and spiritual traditions intersected over the millennia. And for decades, he watered and fed those roots here in Columbia – at this preeminent university – thereby cultivating the very qualities that will manifest his presidency as not only fruitful for this bastion of learning, but nourishing to every member of this community.
With these few words of commendation, I would now like to ask you to join me in prayer please:
O God, our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer – we give thanks to You for Your servant Michael and his family, as well as for the greater family of the University of South Carolina, which he now leads.
As we partake in this fellowship meal here this evening, we ask that You bless our nourishment, as well as all those who have prepared it and for whom it has been prepared.
Guide Michael and all who serve this great institution of higher learning, so that they may always aspire to the “beautiful and the good,” τὸ καλὸν καὶ ἀγαθόν – leading by serving, teaching by manifesting, learning by listening, and helping by empowering.
For You are the source – the beginning and the ending, the Alpha and the Omega – of all our endeavors, and to You do we ascribe glory: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Let us pray:
Send us forth, O God, as agents of goodness to the world.
Grant us grateful hearts to offer thanks to You for the gifts You have bestowed upon us, so that we may share them with others.
Inspire us through the present celebrations to commit our lives to the pursuit of excellence.
Bless this fellowship and their going forth from this place, that they may always hold in their hearts and minds the highest aspirations for the University they serve and the community they lead.
Bless President Amiridis to guide this Institution with wisdom and grace, as we embark together on this journey of the revelation of Your unfolding love for the world, and the increase in the knowledge of the beautiful and the good for all of humanity. Amen.
* Acts 16:11.