His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros
Invocation, Remarks, & Benediction
at the Greek Independence Day Dinner
March 28, 2023
Blair House, Washington, DC
Thank you, Ambassador Gifford for your warm and heartfelt welcome.
Let us all bow our heads in prayer:
Heavenly God, we give You thanks and praise this day, for gathering us here – at the beating heart of American Democracy.
We ready ourselves in gratitude for this fellowship banquet, for this συμπόσιον of thankfulness, as we celebrate the dual legacies of 1821 and 1776.
Here in Blair House, the site of so many historic, diplomatic, and democratic breakthroughs, we pause in admiration of our capacity for reason and self-rule.
We ask, O God, that You grace us with a fully-realized recognition of our place and responsibilities to these legacies,
Even as we ask You to bless the table set before us, the hands that have prepared it, and to keep us mindful of all who are in need of such nourishment and nurture,
For You are the Bread of Life and Cup of Immortality, and we offer all praise to you, unto ages of ages. Amen.
Your Excellency Ambassador Papadopoulou, Chief Emissary of the Hellenic Republic to the United States, and
Ambassador Tsunis, Ambassador of the United States to Greece,
Your Excellencies Representatives of Greece and Cyprus,
Esteemed Guests and Dignitaries,
This singular honor – of gathering as a community in Blair House to break bread – is a palpable reminder, that the values of our Hellenic Heritage are as grasped by the leaders of our country today, as they were by its Founders.
We partake of an extraordinary honor tonight – inhabiting these halls and hearing the whispers and faint echoes of champions of our own era, who remind us of those Immortal Heroes of 1821 and 1776.
Within these walls is an extraordinary array of all the initiatives and efforts that make America a truly great nation. Whether it was the diplomatic missions that found their fulfillment in the sitting rooms of this famed home, or the bridges built between men and women as they gathered around tables as elegant as our own tonight. There is something truly marvelous about Blair House, and its place in the American story. Again, we want to thank Ambassador Gifford, and offer him our undying thanks for this wondrous occasion.
I dare say, gathering at the center of the world’s greatest Democracy, to celebrate the Re-Birth of the Cradle of Democracy, is a profoundly humbling experience for us all. We know the names of the freedom fighters of both 1821 and 1776. Their sacrifices and vision have shaped us into who and what we are today. Our gratitude can never fill the cup of their offering of the last full measure.
That is why, my friends, our presence here tonight is as much a mandate for us, as an honor to the Omogeneia. We, who have come together for the celebration of Greek Independence and the Immortal Heroes of 1821, have a duty to their memory. By our very presence as honored guests of the White House in these hallowed halls at Blair House, we are compelled to lend our voices, our strength, our energy, to the defense of liberty and democracy in every way that we are able. To speak for the voiceless. To advocate for the defenseless. To fight for the powerless, even as we are bold to speak truth to power.
I look around this beautiful room, in this historic setting, and I see many of the best and brightest of the Greek-American Community. All of us have our individual appreciations of the significance of the 25th of March and of the 4th of July, but together, we can channel our love for Hellenism and America into a dynamism for democracy. Let us leave this evening not merely sated with such excellent hospitality, but with a renewed commitment to the democratic values of both worlds – Greece and the United States. Let us take this occasion and magnify it in all our spheres of influence: Church, business, and of course, in government.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, the premier Eparchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, stands ready to partner with one and all.
We are very grateful for this fellowship tonight, and we look forward to being with our President tomorrow.
As we close this evening’s festivities, let us bow our heads and offer a prayer for him, and for all who serve our Nation and the world.
O Most Gracious God of many mercies, look down from Heaven upon your servant, Joseph R. Biden, President of these United States of America,
and grant unto him, Dr. Biden, and their family, health of body and soul, spiritual prosperity and peace of mind,
That he may serve with the dignity, honor, and vision that brings forth to every citizen a better life and more opportunity.
Safeguard the Democracies of Greece, Cyprus and America from all threats and dangers – from within or without.
Protect the armed forces and all who put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of their fellow citizens.
Make safe our lands that we may always live in liberty and peace, praising your All-Holy Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Ζήτω Ἀμερική! Ζήτω τὸ Ἑλληνικὸ Ἔθνος!