His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros
Enthronement Luncheon Remarks
June 22, 2019
New York Hilton Hotel
New York, New York
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Your love and welcome are truly overwhelming, and I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart. So many expressions of appreciation, so many warm words of greeting. From the Enthronement Ceremony in the Cathedral to this festive and magnificent luncheon – a fellowship meal of faith and love. You will forgive me if I say that I am truly overcome by your kind and generous reception of my humble person. I truly thank you all for such a glorious day!
I feel as if we are celebrating the Resurrection in all its panoply and excellence, with all its joy and festivity. But I have only just commenced my ministry, and I have to ask, is it possible for us to have Resurrection before Crucifixion? I ask this not to diminish our present happiness, but to remind all of us that like our Lord Jesus Christ, we must pass through …we must pass over, before we arrive at the further longed-for shore.
As an Archdiocese, and as the Church of Christ, we have much work to do, we have to ready our shoulders to bear the Cross. There is much to rebuild: confidence and faith in our institutions first of all. Hellenic College and Holy Cross must be established on a firm foundation, for they are the future of our clergy. Our Archdiocesan ministries must be renewed and reinvigorated, for they are the future of our young people. Our clergy must be secure in their familial responsibilities, for they are the future of our parishes. Saint Nicholas National Shrine must be completed, for it is the future of our witness to the American Nation.
When I look out upon this veritable sea of devotion and faith, when I look into your bright and shining faces, I have nothing but hope for our future. I see fellow travelers, who like Simon of Cyrene, are willing and able to carry the Cross of Christ, to lift up the burdens the Church, and bring them to the highest Altar of Sacrifice ever known: Golgotha – the “Place of the Skull” – the place where failure become success, despair becomes hope, resentment becomes forgiveness, hate becomes love, doubt becomes faith, grief becomes joy, and death becomes life.
Therefore, I invite each and every one of you. Join me. Become another Simon of Cyrene, who, as you remember, was forced by the Roman soldiers to carry the Cross of our Lord. What a precious and extraordinary honor he had, but this honor is available to everyone of us. Nobody is forcing us, but our Lord Jesus Christ is still calling us.
Join me. Take up His Cross. Take up your cross. Bear it with joy and with understanding. Together we can and we will transform our Archdiocese to be the Church that fulfills our every hope and every aspiration.
May the Lord grant that it be so quickly!