By His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America
At the Divine Liturgy on the
Forefeast of the Entry of the Theotokos into the Temple
Saint George Greek Orthodox Church
Trenton, New Jersey
November 20, 2022
Beloved sisters and brothers in the Lord,
I am so very happy to be with you for this Divine Liturgy, in which we also celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of your parish. Especially in this centennial year of our Sacred Archdiocese of America as the premier Eparchy in the Diaspora of the Holy Mother Church of Constantinople, I have been privileged to be present at a number of events for parishes that share this anniversary. And now, by the grace of God, and the intercessions of your Heavenly Patron, I have this wonderful opportunity today.
At the Centennial Clergy-Laity Congress this past July, I invoked the words of the Prophet Isaiah to say that we are not one hundred years old, but one hundred years young! I say, “young,” because in a vision of God’s future blessings through His restoration of the world, the Prophet says:
Ἔσται γὰρ ὀ νέος ἐκατὸν ἐτῶν…
For the young man shall be one hundred years old…[*]
Think about this for a moment. What it means to call someone one hundred years old, “young!”
But this is how I want you to envision your parish and your life as a community – as a Church that is “one hundred years young.” When you think of the two millennia of our Church, being “one hundred” means that we are only at the very beginning of our ministry and mission. And so it is with you here in Trenton as well.
We are so privileged by the accomplishments of our parents, grandparents and even great-grandparents, all who came before us and brought us to this moment in time. I like the phrase of William Shakespeare, who says, “What’s past is prologue.” [†] Indeed, what has come before us, is a reflection of what is to be. The past is our mirror by which we review our actions and prepare for even greater deeds in the future. As the Lord Jesus Christ promised:
Amen, amen, I say to you, those who believe in me – the deeds that I accomplish – they shall also do them and even greater ones, because I am going to My Father. [‡]
What miracles are yet to be done here at Saint George? What new and exciting possibilities await you in your journey as the Greek Orthodox Church of Trenton?
Today is the Forefeast of the entry of the Theotokos into the Temple, when she was only three years old. And somehow, I feel this centenary celebration is like the forefeast to the next chapter.
When the Virgin entered the Temple, no one knew exactly what the purposes of God were, or how she would become the holy Vessel of His Incarnation. And the same could be said for you in respect to your next hundred years. You have generations of good will, deep faith and hard work behind you. And now, we shall see where it takes you into the future.
Let us prepare for the future by embracing gratitude for those who came before us, and with renewed vitality to engage the future. Now, in the present, we mold the future. And if we doubt ourselves, we need only to look to the past, and we will recognize in ourselves the same values that have brought us to this centennial celebration. Let us keep being the reflection of those who have come before us, and proceed “from glory to glory.” [§]
You have made such great strides here in Trenton, and you shall make many, many more. “Your youth shall be renewed as the eagle’s.”[**] You are truly one hundred years young!
Through the intercessions of the Great-Martyr and Trophy-Bearer George, who is your Guardian and Advocate, may you always be blessed to be young in the Lord. Amen.