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His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros

29th Annual Leadership 100 Conference

February 19, 2020 – 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

The Breakers

Palm Beach, Florida


I am delighted to be here with you this week for my first Leadership 100 Annual Conference. As always, the Abrahamic arrangements, the essence of Greek philoxenia, have been made at the highest level, worthy of the memory of Archbishop Iakovos whose vision, together with your Founders, created this Endowment that bears his name. I want to especially thank the Chairman, Argyris Vassiliou, and the Executive Director, Paulette Poulos, for all of their attentiveness and hospitality.

This remarkable Endowment, one that “nurtures and seeds” the ministries of the Church, is one of the fundamental pillars that sustains the entire structure of the Archdiocese. What you have done for Hellenic College and Holy Cross has been game-changing, and you continue to sustain them through this time of rebuilding.

The vision of the Endowment, enshrined in the Regulations, that Leadership 100 should be a “vehicle through which individuals, churches, foundations, organizations and corporate entities may endow the National Ministries of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America,” is a most worthy one. Worthy of the memory of your poor immigrant forbears who came to this land of opportunity for you, their children, and worthy of your accomplishments and those of every member of Leadership 100.

As the next few days unfold, I am confident that Leadership will rise to the occasion, as the FAITH Endowment has done, to first, lead the way in recognizing the historic importance of completing the St. Nicholas Shrine Church at Ground Zero, and second, to make an extraordinary commitment to make this vision a reality.

I note that with great appreciation that the FAITH Endowment is represented on this Executive Committee in the persons of our much-appreciated Peter Dion, John Payiavlas, Arthur Anton, Steven Yeonas and Maria Allwin, Secretary of Leadership 100, and John Catsimatidis, the Vice Chairman of our Archdiocesan Council. In fact, virtually every member of FAITH is a member of Leadership 100. More than anything, this demonstrates that we are one community and indeed one family in Christ.

As you all know, there has been a singular effort over the last six weeks to raise the funds necessary for the restart of construction and the financial guarantee for the completion of our Saint Nicholas National Shrine.

And I am well aware of the generosity of the Leadership 100 members who have made significant contributions to Saint Nicholas in the past, as well as the corporate contributions of Leadership 100 as an organization.

My prayer for all of you is this: that you will seize this critical moment in the history of our Archdiocese, and make a one-time contribution – duly approved by the full Board of Trustees – and secure the future not only of Saint Nicholas, but secure the future of our Archdiocese in the consciousness of our Nation.

I think about the kind of vision that Archbishop Iakovos had, and what he would have done after 9/11.  This is our Selma moment.   He would have understood the monumental significance of Saint Nicholas, not only to the victim and heroes, but to a Nation and world that is struggling to understand the meaning of religion and spirituality in the modern era.

He would have seen the virtually endless opportunities for preaching the Gospel, teaching tolerance, and remembering our Hellenic and Orthodox Christian heritage in this Shrine. A Shrine that may be small in square feet, but one that can be truly gigantic in its stature if we will embrace the mission that it presents. The mission is millennial in its scope, a scope that I pray you see as clearly as I do.

Leadership 100 has done so much for the Church, by serving the Archdiocese in its manifold needs. But this is more than a need, more than another program deserving of your consideration.

This is history in the making! This is our history, one that can raise the entire Archdiocese to new heights of awareness and purpose. I ask that you join me in this mission and take the extraordinary step that your younger sister organization has taken. This is more than a leap of faith… it is the event horizon of a limitless future for our Church, and to become a true leader in the American milieu.