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His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America Welcome and Introduction Pan-Orthodox Luncheon Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral Washington, D.C.

Your Eminence Elder-Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon,
Most Reverend Hierarchs,
Your Excellencies,
Distinguished Guests,

I would like to personally welcome all of you to this celebratory luncheon in thanksgiving for your participation in the Divine Liturgy we have only now concluded.

I say, “concluded,” but for us Orthodox, we have the grace of the Holy Spirit to remain in communion with one another at all times, and especially here at this “Agape Feast.”

Our presence here today confirms the universal fellowship that binds all Orthodox Christians around the globe together; for we have one “Ecumenical” Patriarch. And His All-Holiness has served all of Orthodoxy in this ministry of mercy for thirty years — the longest serving Patriarch in the history of the Mother Church of Constantinople.

As Orthodox Christians in the United States — a prosperous and powerful nation of relatively recent appearance on the world scene — we must keep in mind our connections to all our parent Churches.

I am especially deeply grateful for the visit of His All-Holiness, since his venerable presence alone calls to mind all the Ecumenical Councils that took place in the sphere of Constantinople. There is Nicaea, as well as Ephesus and Chalcedon. These are not former Sees of the Great Church, but rather ancient and historic Sees that still resonate with the echoes of their glorious pasts.

All of us here have connections to the great traditions of the Pentarchy — whether directly or indirectly. And thus, we can never forget these great “Houses of Orthodoxy;” for they inform every aspect of the Tradition of the Church.

Therefore, with great filial love and devotion, let us collectively wish His All-Holiness our Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew — who ceaselessly and selflessly guides us into the perfection of our faith and the glory of our Orthodoxy — many, many more years of good health and strength in his fruitful, dynamic and God-inspired Patriarchal ministry.

(October 24, 2021)