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Speeches and Addresses

Toast of His Eminence Elder Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon at the Luncheon with Pan-Orthodox Leaders

Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral
Washington, DC

October 24, 2021

My Beloved Brothers and
Dear Children in the Lord,

Today, in this magnificent Cathedral of Holy Wisdom, adorned with the glories of Byzantium and the beauty of our Holy Orthodox Faith, we celebrated the Mystical Supper of the Lord. And now, we continue in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit with our agape feast.

I am grateful to our hosts – the clergy and laity of this community – for their generous hospitality. On behalf of His All-Holiness, I would like to express my appreciation to the Philoptochos Society for raising awareness about recycling and creation care. And permit me to add how much the Ecumenical Patriarch enjoyed traveling from the Phanar on the beautiful solar-paneled jet of the Fly Boys, with our co-pilots Fr. Steven and Fr. Panagiotis!

I am delighted to share this meal after our Sacred Meal, like “the fish set over the coals and some bread”[*] that the Disciples found prepared by the Risen Lord on the shore of Sea of Galilee. There, the Gospel says, they saw “a carefully arranged bed of hot embers,”[†] which symbolizes for us the warmth of true brotherly love, that makes all nourishment of heart and soul possible.

Beloved Hierarchs and Clergy:

Let us continue in sincere love around these tables today, with gratitude for this gift of our fellowship.

Our Church has many challenges to face, and we can meet them all, if we do so in fidelity to tradition, but also with tenderness of heart before the contemporary adventures of human freedom. For us all, fidelity to tradition does not mean looking back in risk of becoming a pillar of salt like Lot’s wife. Tradition is just another name for the blessed life of the Church; for her unity, sanctity, catholicity and apostolicity. Christ’s command to us Christians is not to be indifferent towards the world, but to positively contribute to its transformation, through the transformative power par excellence, agape, “which does not seek its own,”

In this spirit, Beloved in Christ, I lift my glass to your health and spiritual well-being, praying that the Lord of All may ever grant us to dwell in spirit around the one Altar, where we offer our all to Christ, our Chief Shepherd, in joy and gladness, taking courage and strength to continue our lives as diakonia, as liturgy after the Liturgy.

May God bless us all!

[*] John 21:9.

[†] Ibid.