His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros

Opening Remarks

Saint Photios National Shrine Board of Directors Meeting

February 8, 2020 – 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Saint Photios National Shrine

St. Augustine, Florida


            Beloved Brothers Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta,

Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, and Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos,

Director Polexeni Hiller,

Dear Fellow Trustees of the St. Photios Foundation,

            I am delighted to be with you all during these sacred days when we celebrate our First Archdiocesan National Shrine, dedicated to Saint Photios the Great, Patriarch of Constantinople, and commemorating all who came to these shores seeking a better life and bringing with them – like the Apostles – the Holy Orthodox Faith.

It can be no accident that the Shrine is here in the oldest continuously inhabited city in the United States. It surely is a sign that our Greek Orthodox Ancestors are part and parcel of the American experience. Therefore, this National Shrine has a nation-wide significance and mission, and I am grateful to you all for your service and your devotion to this sacred place.

I am excited to hear of the most recent news of the Shrine and your plans for future ministry, especially as we now have an active episcopal presence in the person of Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos. And of course, we have the continual presence of Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos, whose love for missionary work and the vision of this Shrine is known to so many.

I will not speak much more than this, for I am here to absorb all of the good news that is shining in this venerable place, and in this ancient city – at least ancient by American standards.

I want to emphasize one point in particular. With the St. Nicholas National Shrine at the World Trade Center recommencing construction, and with the nation-wide attention this will bring to our Holy Archdiocese, I am hopeful that this activity will be mirrored here in St. Augustine. Certainly on a different level and with differing characteristics, but the emergence of St. Nicholas is, if you will, and opportunity for the re-emergence of St. Photios in our national consciousness. There is no question of competition or comparison. Each has a unique vision and purpose, and each is the pride of our Archdiocese.

Therefore, let us commence our work to day strengthened by the prayers of Saint Photios and Saint Nicholas, and all the Saints whose exemplary lives are living icons of the Word of God, and extraordinary life lessons for all of us.

God bless you all!