The V. Rev. Andreas Vithoulkas, Chancellor Προσφώνησις to His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros On the Occasion of His Patronal Feastday and The 29th Anniversary of the Enthronement of HAH Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
November 2, 2020
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral
New York, New York
Your Eminence Elpidophoros, Archbishop of America,
Exarch Extraordinaire of the Ecumenical Patriarchate,
Our Spiritual Father and Archpastor in the Lord:
Today, we call to mind the double blessing of Your Eminence’s Patronal Feast Day, and the glorious anniversary of the Enthronement of the Spiritual Father of the Great Church of Christ, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople and New Rome.
These blessings cannot be conceived in separation, for Your Eminence is the truest spiritual son of His All-Holiness, and it was the long-desired fulfillment of the aspirations of the Church of America, that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew perfected in nominating Your Eminence to the Holy and Sacred Synod, for election to the Archiepiscopal Throne of America.
Indeed, with the coincidence of these annual observances, we behold, as the Apostle Paul says, ‘the glorious riches of the mystery, which is Christ in us, the hope of glory.”[*]
“The hope of glory” is what this Day of Saint Elpidophoros and his fellow Martyrs evokes for all of us. There are many among us who remember that historic day in 1991, the day when His All-Holiness Bartholomew ascended the Apostolic Throne of the First-Called Andrew.
In that moment the seed of the name of the “Bringer of Hope” was planted. For on that day, after the wonderful congratulatory address of the late and ever-memorable Archbishop Iakovos who called for the reign of the new Patriarch to be like the Saints of that day – this day, November 2nd:
Ἀκίνδυνον, Πηγάσιον, Ἀφθόνιον, Ἀνεμπόδιστον and Ἐλπιδηφόρον.
And so, Your Eminence, the seed of your name was planted within the wise and providential mind of the Ecumenical Patriarch, to await the time when he could give it to someone in whom the hope of the future could be entrusted. And the wisdom our Ecumenical Patriarch is made manifest in Your Eminence.
For this, we are all so very grateful, and I know that I speak for all the clergy and the laity of our Holy Archdiocese.
Our hopes for the future have been entrusted to you, by the very Patriarch whose longest reign in history we celebrate this day. It is a double blessing.
Today, we celebrate this double blessing with the All-Comely Joseph – τοῦ Παγκάλου – for as the Prophet said: “Joseph shall have two portions.”[†]
Today we celebrate with the Holy Hannah, the mother of the Prophet Samuel, for as the Scripture says: “… to Hannah, He would give a double portion.” [‡]
Today, we celebrate with the Prophet Elisha, who beseeched the Holy Elias: “Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” [§] And it was so.
And thus it is for us as well, Your Eminence. We gratefully receive this double blessing, and on behalf of all the Faithful near and far, we say with all our hearts, minds, and souls:
Εἰς Πολλά Ἒτη Δέσποτα!