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Encyclical of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America The Feast of the Holy Dormition, 2020

At Your right hand stood the Queen,                            

arrayed in a vesture of inwoven gold, adorned in varied colors.

Παρέστη ἡ Βασίλισσα ἐκ δεξιῶν σου,

ἐν ἱματισμῷ διαχρύσῳ περιβεβλημένη, πεποικιλμένη.

(Psalm 44:10, LXX)

 

To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America

Beloved Brothers and Sisters, Fellow Children of the Theotokos,

Today is truly a day of glory, when the Mother of our God is enthroned as Queen of Heaven and Intercessor for the world! Through the grace of Her Son, our Lord, she is received into the celestial heights, there to live forever as a promise of the Resurrection for all humankind.

And we, who are brothers and sisters of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of one another, are therefore also the adopted children of the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary. She is truly our mother, and we all depend upon her, and bless her as did the nameless woman who lifted up her voice: “Blessed is the womb that gave birth to You, and the breasts that You suckled” (Luke 11:27).

For the Mother of God is the most perfect image of the Church, the pure and virginal Bride of Christ. She miraculously gives birth to every one of us through Holy Baptism, and nourishes and feeds us from her own Body, with the milk of the teaching of the Fathers that flow from her, and with the very Body and Blood of Christ which can never be exhausted.

This present Feast reminds us all that the last chapter in our history is written by God. We possess this hope and this faith even as we witness the outrage against the Great Church of Hagia Sophia. On earth, the Great Church suffers; but in Heaven, the Queen stands at the right hand of her Son and our God. There, she reigns “arrayed in a vesture of inwoven gold, adorned in varied colors.” Let this year’s “little Pascha,” the Holy Feast of the Dormition be a reminder to all of us that whatever comes our way, the will of God cannot be undone by anyone or anything. The Church is, and will always be victorious, through the grace, dominion, and power of   “Him Who dwelt within her ever-virgin womb” (ὁ μήτραν οἰκήσας ἀειπάρθενον – Kontakion of the feast).

With paternal love in our Lord Jesus Christ,

†ELPIDOPHOROS
Archbishop of America