His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America
Remarks at the Saint Demetrios Housing Christmas Banquet
The Grand Marquis – Old Bridge, New Jersey
December 19, 2021
Your Grace Bishop Apostolos of Medeia,
Fr. Nektarios Cottros, Metropolis Liaison,
Judge Marina Corodemus, President of the Philotimo Housing Urban Corporation,
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It is a great distinction for me to be your honoree this evening, as we re-initialize this wonderful and vital project: Philotimo - Saint Demetrios Housing for Active Adults.
It was just two years ago that we commenced this vital initiative with the groundbreaking. But like so many other endeavors, we found ourselves thwarted by the pandemic. Nevertheless, you – the good people of this Metropolis and of the wonderful Community of Perth Amboy – are believers in something greater than any obstacle. For you know, with the Theologian John, that “greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.”[*]
Your vision has been exceptional. A broad perspective, not only for Senior housing, but a comprehensive Ministry Program for the entire Metropolis.
I note with great satisfaction how you have adapted the project to the new conditions and exigencies caused by the pandemic. We know our senior population is the most vulnerable to all the variables of COVID, and that one in every one hundred Americans over the age of sixty-five has succumbed to the disease. With these facts in mind, you have made special provisions to the design of the facility, so as to magnify all the safety features of the complex. You have shown wisdom and foresight. And for this, and much more, you are all to be commended.
You also know that I am deeply interested in how the project could serve at least a portion of our retired clergy and widowed presvyteres. And I would like all of you to know how much I personally appreciate the considerations you are giving to these heroes of our communities.
Tonight, then, is a celebration of the restart and the continuation of the Philotimo –Saint Demetrios Housing for Active Adults. All of us have something to give to this tremendous effort on behalf of the Omogeneia. But in order for this “outreach” to achieve its full capacity, we all have to “reach in” and share our capacities and resources.
The formation of an Orthodox Christian community that is designed from the ground up – with seniors in mind – is an invaluable contribution to the Metropolis, as well as to our Archdiocese as a whole. We need to see our seniors as a resource. Bringing them together makes them stronger, like the proverbial bunch of sticks. One stick breaks easily, but bundle them together, and they are unbreakable.
The same is true, in many ways, for our seniors as well. Together, they have an incalculable wealth of experience and wisdom. Saint Demetrios Housing will be a powerful lighthouse of that experience, illuminating the Omogeneia.
Remember that it was to a senior that God the Father entrusted both His Newborn Son and His Holy Virgin Mother: to Joseph the Betrothed. His age was no impediment. In fact, it was his advantage. For he had experience of the world, and he fulfilled the saying of the Prophet – long before Pentecost – when Joel prophesied: “your old men shall dream dreams.”[†] For Joseph heard the word of the Lord from the Angel in his dreams, as we just heard in today’s Gospel.[‡]
Our seniors still have dreams. And this wonderful complex will be a place for those dreams to become a reality.
I express my profound gratitude to all of you, and congratulate you for this magnificent effort.
May the same God who sent His Angels into the dreams of Joseph, continue to send us angels of good counsel for this blessèd undertaking.
And may He grant unto us a spiritually rewarding feast of Christmas, and a happy, prosperous and healthy New Year.
Thank you, and may God bless us all!