Appeal of Conscience Foundation
His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros
Greek Orthodox Church of America
Rabbi Arthur Schneier
President & Founder, Appeal Of Conscience Foundation, New York
Senior Rabbi, Park East Synagogue, New York
Luncheon June 21, 2019
Park East Synagogue - Minskoff Cultural Center New York
Your Eminence, Archbishop Elpidophoros, Your Eminences, Archbishop Demetrios, Metropolitan Augoustinos, Eminences, Excellencies, Reverend Clergy And Members Of The Diplomatic Corps, Friends, All.
Welcome Archbishop Elpidophoros, Baruch Habbah – Kalos Irthate. All of us assemble, pray that you “may be blessed in your coming in” as you assume the leadership of the Greek Orthodox Church of America.
Since its founding in 1965, the Appeal of Conscience Foundation and I personally, have worked closely with your distinguished predecessors, our dear friend, Archbishop Iakovos, of blessed memory, and for the last twenty years with our beloved friend Archbishop Demetrios, as well as the lay leadership of the Greek Orthodox Church.
I particularly value the long time friendship and cooperation with His All-Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and our joint efforts for peace and conflict resolution, and our high-level conferences in Istanbul in 1995 and 2005. as a rabbi, and recipient of the Athenagoras Human Rights Award and a papal knight of St. Sylvester I warmly recall Elisabeth and I in Jerusalem for the historical meeting of Pope Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I commemorating the 50th anniversary of Pope Pius VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras in a manifestation of reconciliation and brotherly love.
Ten years ago you accompanied His All-Holiness on his first visit to Park East Synagogue in the United States. As his spiritual son you have embraced his love of humanity, environment and respect for all of God’s children.
You are following in the footsteps of His All-Holiness by carrying the name Elpidophoros – bearer of hope. A belief in a commitment to work for a better future through your own “dialogue of life.” On all our important appeal of conscience missions for human rights and religious freedom, Hierarchs of the Greek Orthodox Church participated, be it Russia, Hungary, Romania, Cuba, Albania and the humanitarian rescue mission to bring about the release of Alan Gross.
Our close association and cooperation has been a role model for inter-religious action when Christians, Muslims and Jews are united in the face of a divided world.
Our four freedoms: freedom of worship, freedom of speech, freedom from want, and freedom from fear are now compromised by terrorism, the burning of houses of worship, and the persecution of religious minorities. We cannot remain silent, we must stand together, united against hatred, we can save the world from the scourge of xenophobia, anti-semitism, persecution of christians, islamophobia and all forms of hatred and bigotry that have become widespread.
“Life and death are in the power of the tongue.” (Proverb 6) we must preach, teach and practice to “love your neighbor as yourself” and love the “other,” to assure that our future generations will enjoy freedom and democracy.
I am happy to present you, Archbishop Elpidophoros, the bearer of hope with the symbol of New York City, the Big Apple, a honey dish, for sweet and fruitful years of fulfillment and service and by invoking God’s blessings upon Patriarch Abraham, “you shall be a blessing.” (Genesis 12:2)
You shall be a blessing to your community, to our city, our nation, and your great Greek heritage.
Axios, Axios, Axios