His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America
Greetings for the Archdiocesan District Clergy Vasilopita
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church
New Rochelle, New York
January 23, 2022
Reverend Chancellor: Father Andreas,
Dear Fathers, Presvyteres and children,
Beloved sisters and brothers in Christ,
It is truly delightful to be here with you – the clergy and families of our Archdiocesan District – in order to share the annual Vasilopita with you. The Feast of Saint Basil has passed, but his spirit remains among us. He was a Father, a Teacher, a Leader and a Theologian. But, above all, he was a soul filled with compassion and care for the less fortunate. The ecclesiastical welfare state that he constructed in the Fourth Century is a model that we can and should admire in the Twenty-First Century. And just think that all of his achievements were filled in less than fifty years! Indeed, his holiness is indisputable, as is his greatness. And it is no surprise why his regal name comes first in the listing of the Three Holy Hierarchs, whom we will celebrate in just a few days.
Our Vasilopita is so much more than a memory of traditions gone by. It is an affirmation of our hopefulness in the New Year. And by the prayers of Saint Basil, I truly believe that it will be a transformative year for our Sacred Archdiocese.
As you all know, this New Year of 2022 is the Centennial Year of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, as the premier global Eparchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Even though we are still facing challenges from the pandemic, which may become endemic – sooner, rather than later – we are going to rightly celebrate this truly historic milestone right here in New York City with the National Clergy-Laity Congress this coming July.
Indeed, we have an exciting and extremely busy six months ahead of us! And we need “all hands on deck,” as the saying goes. We will require similar organizational skills and the determination of Saint Basil himself. If he could fashion a network of orphanages, hospitals and monasteries without any technological aids of any kind, then – by his holy prayers – we, too, can set forth a program to celebrate the Centenary of our Sacred Archdiocese with all the pomp and circumstance that it deserves.
I am hopeful, of course, that the planning that emerges for the Clergy-Laity Congress will also inspire the rest of the country to embrace and celebrate this special One Hundredth Anniversary.
Therefore, my beloved friends,
Let us embrace the New Year of 2022 and accept the blessing of this Vasilopita with positive minds and hope-filled hearts. Let us set our intention on the fulfillment of God’s will in our lives, and in our collective ministry as the Archdiocesan District. I know that all of you will apply yourselves with great faith and energy to accomplish God’s will in your communities and in your personal lives.
May the Lord grant unto all of us a very blesséd, happy, healthy and spiritually prosperous new year filled with His heavenly grace and goodness, as we journey toward the celebration of our Archdiocesan Centenary.