His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America
Closing Remarks to the Annual Cathedral Christmas Concert
Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity
New York, New York
December 18, 2021
Beloved Sisters and Brothers in the Lord,
What joyous sounds have filled our ears, our minds, our hearts and our imaginations this wonderful evening. I want to congratulate Maestro Costas Tsourakis, the Cathedral Music Director, and all of the musicians and singers, for a truly inspirational performance.
I would like to thank them as well for all of the ‘psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, which they sang to make melodies unto the Lord in our hearts.’[*]
We have been filled to the brim with the glad tidings of the Good News that the Angels brought to the Shepherds, who were keeping watch over their flocks by night. They were looking after their little lambs, when the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world, was born just steps away.
Tonight, my beloved Christians, we were offered a taste, a glimpse, of those glorious strains that sounded over the fields outside the City of David. The music and words filled this magnificent Cathedral proclaiming good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. [†]
Tonight, we experienced the joy of the Angels, who – though above ten thousand times ten thousand in number – are perfectly united in the praise of their Creator and God. The voices of our choir melded together as one uninterrupted, continuous laudation to God. They demonstrated the spiritual harmony that exists in the celestial realm, and that we imitate here upon earth through our prayers and praise.
Tonight, we beheld in the shining faces of our Cathedral children, who showed such poise and even courage, the wonder and innocence of the Shepherds who ran from their flocks to the Cave in Bethlehem. Their humility was awe-inspiring, and we should also be inspired by the gentleness of these precious children and their offering of hymns and song.
When I think of our children, who are the little lambs of our communities, I always think of the command of our Lord to the Apostle Peter after the Resurrection:
Βόσκε τὰ ἀρνία μου.
Nourish My little lambs.[‡]
This evening, we are feeding their souls and our own souls with these gifts of music and song. I pray that each of us will receive this nourishment as a gift – a Christmas gift of incalculable worth.
For this experience of community, fellowship, beauty and family is truly the best expression of the feast of Christmas. Our task is to take this and make it last. How we do that, though, is the test of our faith.
Therefore, in wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy and Healthy New Year of 2022, I commend you to the work and practice of the Gospel that was announced by those Angelic voices so long ago.
Peace on earth, and good will to all people. [§]
This is how we give glory to God in the highest!
Practice peace with all whom you encounter, and not just those with whom you agree. Be persons of good will and good willingness with everyone in your orbit.
Isn’t this exactly what the Lord said in His most famous sermon?
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. [**]
Thus, my beloved friends,
With this music in our hearts and with these songs in our minds, we shall fulfill blessedness in this life and in the life to come, as the children of God. With God as our Father and the Church as our Mother, we shall attain the unity of the Faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect person, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. [††]
Merry Christmas to all! And to all, a good night!