His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America
Greetings for the Archdiocesan Headquarters Staff Luncheon & Vasilopita
New York, New York
January 4, 2022
Reverend Chancellor and dear Fathers,
Beloved co-workers, brothers and sisters in Christ,
Please allow me, first of all, to thank our hosts – the wonderful Livanos Family – for showing us their legendary hospitality here at Hudson West Kitchen. Their generosity and welcome make this New Year of 2022 feel even more possible. And for this, I would like to express to them the collective gratitude of us all.
My dear friends,
We mark this New Year of 2022 with hope, but also with caution, as we are still facing the third year of the pandemic. We will also spend the next months in eager preparation for July’s Clergy-Laity Congress, which will celebrate the Centenary of our Sacred Archdiocese – the premier Eparchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Even as we prepare for the Congress, there will be ample and abundant opportunities to observe the one hundredth anniversary of our Church in America. Indeed, the recent visit of His All-Holiness to the United State actually commenced our celebration, and it was a real triumph for all of you, as there were many difficult challenges to overcome.
I believe that the success of the Apostolic visit of our Patriarch is a sign to us all – that we can, and we will, enjoy great success in the centennial celebrations of our Eparchy of the Throne. And this is the case because we are not doing it for ourselves, but rather for the hundreds of thousands of Greek Orthodox faithful from coast to coast.
At our one-hundred-year milestone, we now have a much more diverse Archdiocese than we could ever have been imagined back in 1922. The Omogeneia has more than successfully assimilated into the great American landscape. We have even helped to change it! And this is most evident, of course, in the Saint Nicholas National Shrine at Ground Zero – the epicenter of world history at the dawn of the third millennium.
The Saint Nicholas Shrine stands as a symbol for all the initiatives and ministries of the Archdiocese. It encapsulates our presence here in America — a presence that is rich with towering figures like Archbishops Iakovos, Michael and Athenagoras.
But it is not only our hierarchs. There were clergymen, too, like Fathers George Bacopulos, Leonidas Contos, George Pappadeas, Evagoras Constantindes, George Kalpaxis, Anthony Coniaris and Demetrios Constantelos – to name but a few of the towering priests who served this Archdiocese and have gone to their eternal rest in the Lord.
And what of the laymen and laywomen such as: Katherine Pappas, Andy Athens, Beatrice Marks, George Chimples, Michael Jaharis and the whole host of dedicated Christians who built the Church in America?
If I were to mention all those worthy – both living and dead – we would never have time for the Vasilopita, much less our gracious luncheon. As a Church, we have truly been blessed with extraordinary human beings and devout Orthodox Christians, whose faith was lively manifested by their works and deeds.
Therefore, in closing my remarks, I commend each and every one of you. By your ministry in the Archdiocese, you join with this numberless host of truly worthy companions. Your sacrificial efforts since the beginning of the pandemic, and your service to our Sacred Archdiocese that reaches far beyond it, are deeply appreciated.
Our vision is clear and far-reaching, because we stand on the shoulders of all those who came before us. And we will honor their memory and their singular achievements of the last one hundred years by building upon them for the next one hundred.
In offering this Vasilopita today, we do so in the knowledge of just how fortunate we are as a Church and as a community of believers. It is not only the person who receives the coin who is blessed; we all are.
And so, may our Lord Jesus Christ grant unto us all a blesséd, happy, healthy and prosperous New Year of 2022, the Centennial of our Sacred Archdiocese, and another year of the Grace of our Lord.