His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros

Remarks at Meeting with Civic and Community Leaders

March 28, 2022

Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral

Los Angeles, California

 

Your Eminence and Beloved Brother, Metropolitan Gerasimos,

Your Eminence Archbishop Derderian,

Your Graces,

Father Alexei Smith, Representative of the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church,

Dear Protopresbyter John Bakas,

Cathedral Parish Council President, Dr. Anna Yallourakis

Dear Friends All,

There is a wonderful verse in the Gospel of Luke that you have inspired in me today:

Καὶ ἐδικαιώθη ἡ σοφία ἀπὸ τῶν τέκνων αὐτῆς πάντων!

Indeed, Wisdom is justified by all Her children. [1]

I look around this community – and I do not mean only the Cathedral and magnificent facilities – I mean you, the Children of Wisdom, here at Saint Sophia.

You have done Wisdom proud. You have brought into this neighborhood a positive and generous vision of what Christianity is. You are a welcoming and open church-community. And you give back in so many ways to all who come to and through your doors.

We all know the famous song, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” But today, Your Eminence – and you are the Metropolitan of San Francisco – my heart belongs to Los Angeles. I leave this wonderful parish a richer human being, because of generosity of spirit of all of you.

As I continue my sojourn through California, I am reminded that our Archdiocese is often spoken of as an “East Coast” phenomenon. But let me tell you – especially from just having come from Chicago – this Centennial Anniversary Year of 2022 is celebrating from sea to shining sea.

We are a truly National Church, and with the opening this year of the Saint Nicholas National Shrine at Ground Zero – the World Trade Center, we will set intentions and priorities to be both a Shrine and a Church for the Nation.

Think of what our Orthodox Faith has to offer! We have so much to give to the American landscape – and not only the beautiful theology that dignifies the human person, but a deep liturgical tradition that ennobles the soul.

In a moment of history, when the world sees our Church in the Slavic lands under tyrannical control and being used against Her own People, we who live in this “land of the free and home of the brave” have a unique opportunity and responsibility to manifest what the Church truly is.

The mass media is telling the truth about the barbaric war against Ukraine, and we see how the Russian Church is being used – even by its own leaders. But we have a further responsibility beyond our humanitarian assistance and solidarity with the suffering. We must speak out – rather, shout out, the truth in love. [2] Our voices must become part of the American Culture, so that the message of God’s love for all people floods the Nation.

Here in Los Angeles, I feel it. I see it in you, Beloved Brother and Metropolitan. I hear it in you, my dear brother Father John. I behold it in all your shining faces.

I want this message – this kerygma – to be noised from sea to shining sea, especially in this Year of our One Hundredth Anniversary as the premier Eparchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the world.

I thank all of you for your inspiring presence and the hope you give to me and to the world.

You are all truly Τὰ Τέκνα τῆς Σοφίας – the Children of Wisdom.

May you always bring Her honor and glory, for She is justified by you, for Wisdom is none other than the Incarnate Lord Jesus Christ, whose Resurrection from the dead we will celebrate yet again, not many weeks hence.

Thank you for your love.

Thank you for your generosity.

Thank you for your faith.

May God bless you all.

 

 

Photo: GOArch/Brittainy Newman


[1] Luke 7:35.

[2] Cf. Ephesians 4:15.