Remarks at the Clergy Family Brunch, 46th Annual Folk Dance and Choral Festival

© Photo Credit: GOARCH / Brittainy Newman


His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros

Remarks at the Clergy Family Brunch

46th Annual Folk Dance and Choral Festival

February 19, 2023

Sheraton Phoenix Downtown

Phoenix, Arizona


Beloved Brother, Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco,

Your Graces and Reverend Fathers,

Dear Presvyteres and Beloved Children,

Beloved Sisters of the Metropolis Philoptochos,


It is a delight to be with you at the Clergy Family Brunch of the FDF, provided once again, through the generosity of the Sisterhoods of the Metropolis Philoptochos. I want to recognize the Metropolis Philoptochos President, Jeannie Ranglas, and all the members of the Philoptochos for their generous support of the FDF and the Clergy Family Brunch.

I am always impressed at the number of clergy and their families who attend the FDF. It tells me that this event is deeply woven into your Parishes. Truly, the FDF has become an institution of our National Church, and it has spawned numerous such celebrations of faith and culture in different Metropolises. In fact, just last month I attended a similar event in the Metropolis of Atlanta, clearly inspired by the FDF.

I feel that there is certain genius in scheduling these celebrations before Great Lent. They serve as a grand expression of our people for the values of our faith and culture. They give voice to the aspirations for connection and meaning that are intensified by the weeks of abstinence leading to the Holy Pascha.

It is not without significance that one of the most joyous hymns of the Resurrection is the Ninth Ode, which we all know:

Χόρευε νῦν, καὶ ἀγάλλου Σιών· σὺ δὲ ἁγνή, τέρπου, Θεοτόκε, ἐν τῇ ἐγέρσει τοῦ τόκου σου.

Dance now and rejoice O Zion; and you, or Pure Theotokos, delight in the rising of your Child!

We, who are the children of Holy Zion, are called to the divine dance that celebrates the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. These children of your parishes, who have come here to Phoenix to rejoice in their heritage and customs, are already in the flow of that dance.

As you return to your communities and to the journey to Pascha that is poised before us, I ask that you keep these young people in the flow of God’s dance of love with creation.

May your ministries always encourage them to be active in the pursuit of His righteousness and His kingdom.

And may God always bless you and your families, granting you a spiritually fulfilling Great Lent and Holy Week, and a bright entrance into the dancing joy of the Resurrection. Amen.

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