His Eminence Metropolitan Constantine of Denver's Enthronement Message June 22, 2024

Enthronement Message

His Eminence Metropolitan Constantine of Denver June 22, 2024

Your Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, Your Eminence Metropolitan Gregory of Nyssa, Patriarchal Representative, Your Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael of Chicago, locum tenens, Your Eminence, Metropolitan Apostolos of New Jersey, Your Eminence James Francis Cardinal Stafford of Denver, Bishop Peter Eaton, Your Graces, Reverend Fathers, Presvyteres, and devoted faithful gathered in this sacred Metropolis Cathedral of the Dormition of the Theotokos of Denver, Colorado – I begin by offering my extreme gratitude to His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, along with the members of the sacred Eparchial Synod who recommended me to succeed His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah of Lystra, who served this Metropolis was zeal, love and prayer. I offer my sincere gratitude and thanksgiving to His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the sacred members of the Holy Synod of Constantinople, who elected me as the Metropolitan of Denver. I express my thanks and sincere appreciation to His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael of Chicago and His Eminence Metropolitan Apostolos of New Jersey, both of whom serve on the Holy Synod. Upon the vacancy of the sacred Throne of the Metropolis of Denver, His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael of Chicago assumed the responsibility of Locum Tenens - took the time to visit the Metropolis, our parishes, and be with our people. As a Metropolis, Your Eminence, we thank you and I personally thank you for always being present during this time of transition. I am also grateful to welcome, now to the Metropolis, His Eminence Metropolitan Apostolos of New Jersey. His Eminence served in the Metropolis and was the hierarch who oversaw my former parish of the Annunciation Cathedral in Baltimore, Maryland. I also welcome His Grace Bishop Athenagoras of Nanzianzos, His Grace Bishop Nektarios of Diokleia, His Grace Bishop Thomas, His Grace Bishop Andrei who are present, and appreciate their prayers and support.

I welcome for the first time in meeting, His Eminence Cardinal Stafford of Denver. Cardinal Stafford and I share the same birthplace of Baltimore. Your Eminence, we have several faithful from Charm City who are here today that I know will be very pleased to meet you. I am also very grateful to welcome Bishop Peter Eaton of the Episcopal Church, who is a dear friend of Metropolitan Isaiah.

Your Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, I thank you, from the depths of my heart, for your encouragement, perseverance, love, and care for me. On behalf of myself, and the entire Metropolis of Denver, we keep you in our prayers as you celebrate today the fifth anniversary of your enthronement, Axios! May our Lord guide you in all things. Having that understanding of my Hierarchal ministry, the first being the Liturgical worship, it is through that path that leads us towards His salvation. Not at any time can we be relaxed in any of these circumstances but strengthened in all things. We are a powerful voice in worship, not an ancient faith, but a continual faith that is unchanging, unadulterated, and what we know to be true. Even in the most difficult times, we find that strength to continue in what God calls us - to be good and faithful servants. Spreading the word of Christ to all, and those waiting to hear of the Good News of Christ is paramount. We cannot be afraid, but rather strengthened. Our lives today compel us to be empowered by faith, it is not done just in a singular expression, but always ready and prepared to be those examples of what it means to be an Orthodox Christian. No matter where we find an Orthodox Church - whether in the Rocky Mountains, the Great Plains, or by the warm air of the Gulf of Mexico, our churches are home. For myself, having the blessing already to visit all of the parishes within our sacred Metropolis, I rejoice in seeing how God is working. Our people have band together under the Banner of our Lord, work diligently to keep our churches thriving, and under the guidance of their priests, to worship our Lord. His love for His people is immense, and we are witnesses of this very alive faith.

I am grateful for the presence today of so many of the clergy of our Metropolis, along with the visiting clergy. My dear Fathers, having been with you for over a year, visiting your communities, spending time with you and your family, along with your parish family, the future of the Metropolis of Denver is very bright. Watching you till the sacred soil of this region and cultivating faithful to come closer to Christ demonstrates what it means to serve. To each of you, I am grateful to you for your ministry and for myself, very thankful to be here. Our respected Presvyteres, I thank you for everything - the countless times you have had to readjust schedules, plan life around church events, and sharing the attention of your husband with the parish, you are the heroes of our church family. Many times, you show tremendous patience as you see your husband leave the house at any time for a parish emergency, and caring for your children - you are in my prayers, and the prayers of many. May God give you and your families strength. As clergy families, we will work together to continue to strengthen, educate, and cultivate the gifts that have been given to us. My prayers are always with you - and especially our priests’ children. They never asked for this life; always know you are in my prayers - and the prayers of many.

I welcome devout faithful from my former parish of the Annunciation Cathedral in Baltimore, Maryland. A lifelong member and having served there as a clergyman for half of my life, I will always be thankful and grateful to you, and am glad that you are here. Our parishes here in the Metropolis of Denver always hear me reference that community, and I will tell you how much I miss you and am gratified by the tremendous memories that we share. What you enabled me to do in cultivating myself is assisting me in the labors of this vast area. A year at that Cathedral, because of its size, dynamics, location, demographics - a year there could be compared as five years elsewhere. I tell you repeatedly, I am fine - and I will never forget you. I also thank the presence of my mom’s hometown parish of the Annunciation in Mobile, Alabama. A second home parish, if you will, and a community that I love and respect. I am grateful always to you.

To my sister, Angela, her husband Eric, my nephews - my aunt, my mother’s cousin, my own cousins, I am grateful to you for your presence today. You never know where life will take you, and I am glad we have been on this together. Angela, even though we are separated by miles, we are always together in prayer. I could not have picked a better sister and I thank you for your love, support, and especially patience. I am the youngest of three, Angela is the middle, and you have heard that my brother John fell asleep in the Lord on

Monday. We will be traveling to Mobile for the funeral on Tuesday of our brother and I am convinced that he held on as long as he could to be here - and he is. We keep his wife, children, and grandchildren in our prayers. Saint Nektarios of Aegina is very clear when he teaches, “don’t let anything deprive you of hope.” That hope is in Christ, that hope is in the Resurrection, that hope is in the Love of Christ - he is far from specific, but it is so clear.

I also cannot let the day pass without thanking God for my parents, Petros and Stamatia, who gave us the best upbringing, a blessed home, and a life that revolved around the church. I also thank my proistamenos that had the patience to mentor me - Father Constantine Monios of blessed memory. He was known as a priest’s priest and a true faithful servant. I am thankful for a strong relationship with His Excellency Metropolitan Silas of New Jersey, who ordained me both to the Diaconate and Priesthood. I also thank the dear clergy, lifelong friends, that have traveled to be here, or are present in prayer.

Our Metropolis of Denver has a wonderful future. We have parishes in some remote areas, along with the big cities that are thriving. I am proud to say, and with confidence, that our churches are growing. Parishes in towns that became decimated when the economy changed are on the upswing. People are finding the faith, or they are reverting back to what they knew. Each community has shown the manifestation of our Lord in bringing our faithful closer to Christ. Youth are in church, accepting leadership positions, and bringing their friends and family back. Folks who left the church for whatever reason are returning, and it is our priests who are using technology and personal contact to interact and communicate with our faithful. The time is now to plant ourselves firmly in this soil that is waiting to be tilled to God- willing, continue to strengthen as a Body of Christ. I am committed to serving our faithful.

The time is now where we as that Body of Christ, enlighten and encourage faithful young men to be prepared to attend and graduate our Theological School and be prepared to go into the fields and use those talents that our Lord gifted us - and not to bury them! Our Theological School is the heart of the church - and we are grateful and thankful that it exists. The vision of generations gone by to establish our own Theological School for our Archdiocese will do nothing more than strengthen us - and when we are called upon to support our students, there is no choice but to help them in all facets of their upcoming ministry.

Our Philoptochos throughout this Metropolis most recently hosted the Children’s Medical Fund Luncheon - exceeded all expectation, and as we are the Little Engine that Could - do everything that is needed so no one is forgotten. The time is now that our ladies throughout this sacred Metropolis be strengthened by one another and with one voice continue to proclaim just as Patriarch Athenagoras said in 1936, “the mission promoted by the Philoptochos, in many parishes, has accomplished miracles.” It is through them that we continue the labors established from generations that have passed, and the ones to come.

My dear faithful of the Metropolis of Denver, we take time, especially on a day like to this to thank His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah for the over three decades of ministry of Christ’s

Holy Church in this sacred Metropolis, aside from his lifelong ministry. He gave of himself as a proud churchman and as a Marine to serve - Semper Fidelis, always faithful. The building of the Metropolis Center, establishment of churches, and now the new camp, through his prayers, labor, and hard work, the baton has been passed to me and all of us to serve with the love and zeal in our hearts. I will always be grateful to him, and I know that you will also.

I wish to sincerely thank, from the depths of my heart our Metropolis staff, Father Lou, Presvytera Marsha, Olga Marlangoutsos, Mary Mather, Elaine Cladis and Pete Kappos. We are not a big staff, but I tell you, quite mighty and I am grateful to them. I also wish to thank the Cathedral, Father Jordan, along with your staff in laboring together for this glorious day in the life of our Metropolis. Thank you to the assembled choir, along with each of you for a beautiful and memorable day.

Beloved faithful, I stand here today, as your Metropolitan, with a pounding heart, knees trembling, and excited to see what God has in store for us. Above everything, keep one another in prayer. Having been here approaching two years, not at any time have I felt as a foreigner, and the love and embrace that you have shown me in my new home within this sacred Metropolis, is beyond gratifying. From the travels in trying to get to know you, I thank God every day for you, and I keep you in my prayers. We are together, nothing else matters than for us to be as one family in Christ. We as a community of faithful believers continue that walk together toward salvation, leading us to Christ. My dear Fathers, Presvyteres, Priest children, Philoptochos, Archons, Leadership 100 - and all organizations, and devout faithful, strengthen your faith in all aspects. I am looking forward to a bright future together and pray that we continue to gain strength from one another and do what is always pleasing to our Lord.

May God guide us, sustain us, and be with us in all things. As we celebrate this weekend the sacred feast of Pentecost, may we be those apostles that are ready to go out and preach the Gospel to all people.

Photos: GOARCH/Dimitrios Panagos.

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