Remarks for the Pastoral Visit of Archbishop Elpidophoros of America To Sts. George & Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church by V. Rev. Archimandrite Bartholomew Mercado

Remarks for the Pastoral Visit of

His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America

To Sts. George & Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, New York, NY

by V. Rev. Archimandrite Bartholomew Mercado

Your Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros,

It is with profound joy that our community of Sts. George and Demetrios welcomes you here today and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the great honor you have bestowed upon us with your pastoral visit to our parish. As you are well aware, our community is small in size. However, in the past couple weeks after having received your Archpastoral blessing to serve this historic community, I have seen with my own eyes that although this parish is few in number, it is overflowing with faith, love, and dedication.  It quickly became evident to me that the parishioners of this community have unwavering faith in our Lord, they have great respect for the Church and for our traditions, they have deep love for our Mother Church the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and they have unfettered affection for you, Your Eminence.

Their tenacity and hard work are evidenced in the pride they have taken in tirelessly laboring for this community. All of us faithful here present, among whom are numbered young and elderly, Greeks and Americans, doctors and restauranteurs, businessmen and tradesmen, professionals and students, have come here to give praise to Almighty God, to hear your inspiring words, and to receive your Archpastoral blessing. When I informed the members of the Parish Council that you were going to be visiting our community today, they immediately, with joy and excitement, sprang into action. We began planning for and informing all the members of the parish of your visit and, as you witnessed upon your arrival, you were met with our collective joy and immense enthusiasm.

Our enthusiasm, however, is not limited to your visit here today. We are all thankful to God for your dynamic leadership of our Sacred Archdiocese and we thank you for your wise guidance during a particularly difficult time in its history. The entire community of Sts. George and Demetrios, both clergy and laity, are with you and we support you. Because your initiatives are our initiatives, your goals are our goals, and your vision for the Church in America is our vision for the Church in America. May God grant you many years of continued and fruitful service.

On a personal note, I thank you for entrusting me to this warm, loving, and spiritually active community. I am grateful for your fatherly guidance and for this happy responsibility. Additionally, I am thankful to all the members of the Sts. George and Demetrios Community who have, since the first day I arrived, received me with open arms. I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to my brother and predecessor, the V. Rev. Archimandrite Spyridon Chatzis, whose tireless work during his tenure in this community fostered the rejuvenation of this parish. 

Your Eminence, one again I would like to express my personal thanks as well as the collective thanks of our community for honoring us with your presence. Know that our parish, which is small in size, but great in faith and works, is always willing to assist you and our Sacred Archdiocese in whatever way possible. God grant you many years, Your Eminence!

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