His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros
June 19, 2019
John F. Kennedy Airport, New York
Your Eminence Metropolitan Methodios of Boston,
Your Eminences and Graces, Most Reverend Members of the Holy Eparchial Synod and Bishops of the Holy Archdiocese of America,
Honorable Consul General of Greece, Konstantinos Koutras,
My Beloved Spiritual Children of the Holy Archdiocese of America,
I glorify God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and I extol the All-Holy Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ and all the Saints, for our safe arrival in this Holy Eparchy of the Ecumenical Throne entrusted to me by the father of us all, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Patriarchate. I am deeply grateful to all of you who have come to greet me as I step on to noble American soil for the first time as Archbishop of America. Your smiles, your enthusiasm, your love are manifestations of the blessings of God and I embrace them and all the Faithful of the Holy Archdiocese of America as my dearly beloved spiritual children.
I come to this Archdiocese to be your servant, and the true servant of Lord. I come to shoulder the responsibilities of the heavy office and to share them with you, for I know that you are worthy co-workers in Christ. We shall work openly with each other, with transparency, honesty, clarity – speaking the truth in love, that we may rebuild the confidence of the beloved people of our Archdiocese in its institutions.
I come to this Archdiocese to serve, and not to be served, even as our Lord came to minister and not to be ministered unto, and to give his life as a ransom for many (cf. Matthew 20:28). Those of us who lead must be the first ones to serve many (cf. Matthew 20:27). I also pledge to you that I shall give my life, my energy, my utmost for the highest goals of this noble Eparchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
That we should preach the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ – in season and out of season.
That we should share the love of God without reservation and without limitation with all people.
That we should embrace every corner of our Archdiocese – every young person, every senior, every marriage, every hurt, every lack, every doubt. And I especially want to draw closer to our fellow Orthodox Christians in the United States. We have so many Orthodox communities that live in isolation from one another, but we are all brothers and sisters of the same family and we share the same Holy Flesh – the Body of the Lord, and the same Holy Blood that we drink from the Sacred Chalice in unity of faith and love. Should we not be closer in every way? I look forward not only to working with my fellow Bishops in the Episcopal Assembly, but also to getting to know and engage with all the Orthodox Christians of America – to know their hopes and their dreams.
Let no one feel excluded from the Chalice of Faith! We must work together to build an Archdiocese that values excellence more than habit, transparency more than isolation, and dignity more than expediency.
I arrive on these blessed shores full of hope – all of you are my “Elpidophoroi” – my bearers of hope and of the high expectation that this Holy Archdiocese of America will progress from “glory to glory,” as the Apostle says, and as I say – that we shall do it together. Besides, on this journey we have the souls of all our ancestors at our side; for they came to this, their “undiscovered country,” succeeded beyond expectations, and today we have their resting places, from which we yet take strength and hope, for “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the “oikoumene” and all who dwell therein” (Psalm 23:1, LXX).
Thank you for your love and for this welcome.