The St. Regis Hotel, Washington, D.C.
October 23, 2021
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Your All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew,
Esteemed members of the Patriarchal Delegation,
Your All-Holiness’ arrival and presence here today fills Your American faithful of the Sacred Archdiocese of America, as well as the entire plenitude of the Church, with unspeakable joy.
We, the devout children of the Mother Church of Constantinople, welcome You with open hearts into our midst for the seventh time in Your historic and renowned Patriarchal ministry.
First, in 1997, for a month-long, nationwide tour of our country — for the first time as our Ecumenical Patriarch.
Next, in 2000, for a brief, four-day voyage to Detroit and New York City.
Thereafter, in 2002, for a significant visit intertwined with the 80th and 65th anniversaries of our Sacred Archdiocese and Hellenic College & Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, respectively.
Afterward, in 2004, for a week-long journey to New York and New Jersey, during which I had the distinct honor and privilege to accompany Your All-Holiness as Your deacon.
Once more, in 2006, for the festivities surrounding the feast of Theophany in Tarpon Springs and the greater Tampa Bay area, as well as New Orleans.
And most recently, in 2009, when Your august presence was last enjoyed by Your pious sons and daughters here in America.
Of course, Your All-Holiness, since then, we have longed for Your return. And like the true father that You are, You have come once again to visit Your Vineyard, planted upon these shores.
We are overcome with deep emotion and much joy, because we behold in Your venerable person the embodiment of the Holy Great Church of Christ, which You have now led for thirty years — the longest Patriarchal tenure in history.
Indeed, we await with great eagerness Your sage guidance, paternal wisdom and wise Patriarchal counsel, as we strive to live the life of our Orthodox Christian faith in the very heart of America.
The coming days will certainly hold many experiences that we will all cherish, and which will inform our vision of the life of Christ in this land.
We look to You, then, Your All-Holiness, to show us the way, and to give to us a renewed and inspired vision for the faith of the saints and the Apostles that You know so well.
Your All-Holiness comes bearing the blessing of the Queen of Cities, where our faith resounds through the millennia. And we receive this special benediction with a sense of profound thanksgiving and deep appreciation.
And so, we stand before Your All-Holiness as loyal, faithful and devoted children, welcoming You — our father in Christ — into our midst, and praying that Your visit will be most pleasing to You in every way.