His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America
Tampa Bay Area Clergy Welcome Luncheon
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church
January 5, 2022
Beloved Brother in the Lord, Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta,
Your Grace Bishop Sebastian of Zela,
Dear Fathers and esteemed brothers in Christ,
I greet all of you in the Holy Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Who is coming to the Banks of the Jordan for our salvation and the redemption of the world.
It is a wonderful occasion to be with you this afternoon, and to experience yet again the hospitality of our Atlanta Metropolis Clergy. The Theophany celebrations of Tarpon Springs are truly one of the highlights of any ecclesiastical year. And to see so many of you brothers gathered for these solemnities brings much joy to my heart.
I would like to wish all of you a grace-filled, happy and healthy New Year. We are still facing many challenges with the pandemic, but I believe our persistence and perseverance will be rewarded. We will get to the other side of this global problem; although, it has been a very dear price that has been paid. I cannot think of a single parish that has remained untouched.
I would like to commend all of you for your acts of mercy and ministry to the bereaved families in your communities. In these anxious and difficult times, your pastoral care is essential for the mental, emotional and spiritual welfare of our faithful.
We have already passed the milestone of the one hundredth anniversary of the Epiphany Celebrations in Tarpon Springs. That occurred in 2006, with the Apostolic presence of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who visited our Sacred Archdiocese once again just a few months ago.
Those sixteen years ago, His All-Holiness said, of the Tarpon Springs event: “It is our brotherly duty to witness to [the People of the United States] the beauty and content of the faith.”
That is precisely what we continue to do here at the Theophany observances. And it is what we will be doing across the entire Archdiocese as we celebrate the One Hundred Years of our existence, as the premier global Eparchy of the Ecumenical Throne.
Therefore, beloved Brothers in the Lord,
Thank you once again for this warm welcome, and for your faithfulness in the discharging of your pastoral duties.
I pray that our time together will be spiritually edifying, indeed, and strengthen us all for the year ahead – that is, a year filled with God’s grace and mercy, and prayerfully, a new beginning for our Archdiocese and the world.
May the Lord bless us all!