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Ἀντιφώνησις On the Occasion of the 29th Anniversary of the Enthronement of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew And the Feast of Saint Elpidophoros

November 2, 2020 – Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral

New York, New York

Beloved Chancellor of our Holy Archdiocese of America, Father Andreas,

Your Grace(s) and beloved Clergy,

Dear Faithful,

Μὴ ἡμῖν, Κύριε, μὴ ἡμῖν, ἀλλ᾽ ἢ τῷ ὀνόματί σου δὸς δόξαν, ἐπὶ τῷ ἐλέει σουκαὶ τῇ ἀληθεία σου.

Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us – but give glory unto Your Name, on account of Your mercy and Your truth. [*]

I am very humbled this day, because of the many congratulations and well wishes I have received for the occasion of my Nameday. But even as we praise the Martyrs of this day, among whom is Elpidophoros, who gave his blood for the testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ, this day brings an even greater occasion to ascribe glory unto the Name of the Lord.

For today, we celebrate the 29th Anniversary of the Enthronement of the Spiritual Father of us all, His All-Holiness our Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

Father Andreas referred to this happy coincidence as a “double blessing.” But I will go further. The blessings of this longest Patriarchy in history are exponential! This extraordinary tenure of an Ecumenical Patriarch, and the prospect for many more years of his exemplary spiritual shepherding of Christ’s Flock of the worldwide Orthodox Church, are causes for unceasing rejoicing and renewed faith in the future.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew named me “Elpidophoros,” and I bear this name with filial devotion and love toward him. But in the hour of our greatest need, it was His All-Holiness who brought us hope:

As the Soviet Union deconstructed before the eyes of the world, it was Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew who stood with the Russian Church to affirm their leadership, as the Church emerged from the shadows of state control and decades of persecution.

As world Orthodoxy struggled with new political realities, it was Bartholomew who led the way for self-determination in Albania, Estonia, Bulgaria, Czechia and Slovakia, and brought the Primates together into a Synaxis of the Heads of the Autocephalous Churches.

As the environmental crisis persisted, it was Bartholomew who led the entirety of Christianity with an uplifted voice and a deep ecological theology that has spoken to millions around the world to give them hope.

As the clash of civilizations was becoming an inevitable world view, it was Bartholomew who extended friendship and mutual respect across all religious faiths. He reaffirmed the “ecumenicity” of the Great Church of Christ with openness and receptivity to the reality of “otherness” in the world.

 My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ:

This is why we give all the glory to God Almighty on this day, because on this day the Lord Himself, working through the Holy Spirit in the Holy and Sacred Synod, gifted to the Church the sacred person of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

Let us – all across our Holy Archdiocese of America – give abundant thanks to the Lord of Glory, for the Divine Providence and Wisdom that chose such a man to be enthroned on this day – twenty-nine years ago – upon the Apostolic See of the First-Called Disciple Andrew.

Therefore, my beloved, as we celebrate the Enthronement of our Ecumenical Patriarch, let us cry out with every living being:

Τῷ καθημένῳ ἐπὶ τοῦ θρόνου καὶ τῷ Ἀρνίῳ, ἡ εὐλογία καὶ ἡ τιμὴ καὶ ἡ δόξα καὶ τὸ κράτος εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. Ἀμην!

To the One seated on the throne and to the Lamb, blessing and honor and glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen![†]

[*] Psalm 113:9.

[†] Revelation 5:13.