Your Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Your Eminence Metropolitan Apostolos, Geron of Derkon, Your Eminence Metropolitan Maximos Sylibria, brother Metropolitans, auxiliary bishops, and priests of our Archdiocese, and beloved brothers and sisters:

On behalf of the clergy and laity of the 62 parishes of the Metropolis of Boston, I welcome you to the 44th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress. The city of Boston is a fitting location for our gathering, not only because it is home to one of the historic Greek Orthodox communities in America and Hellenic College/Holy Cross, but also because it is the birthplace of religious freedom in the United States. This religious freedom makes assemblies such as this possible. While the freedoms we enjoy in this great land of ours provide us with the environment in which we, as Orthodox Christians, can flourish, we must never forget the sacred obligation that we owe to our forefathers and mothers who came from Greece, Asia Minor, and other distant lands. Their courage, determination, hard work, and fervent faith, above all, inspired our communities, built our churches, and shaped this very Archdiocese. Boston is certainly an historic city, and our assembly this Fourth of July week becomes part of that history.

As Orthodox Christians, we are ever mindful of “history.” Whether it be deeply rooted in Greece, enriched by the Byzantine centuries, or sanctified by our apostolic devotion, our historical experience forms us and teaches us. For those old enough to recall, even within living memory, our church faced severe challenges, which were only overcome by the grace of God and through the steadfast faith and dedicated effort of the clergy and laity.

Over the past century, our Church in America has surmounted certain difficulties, precisely because of assemblies such as this. In these biennial gatherings, we come together as a community to ensure that our faith, the pearl of great price, this Παρακαταθήκη, this sacred deposit, which has been entrusted to our care, is preserved and passed on to future generations.

This Congress has been organized to help us understand the nature of whatever difficulties we face as an Archdiocese and to create a forum for open, frank, and respectful discussion. Through exchanging our insights and sharing our thoughts and visions, we can identify areas of concern, resolve the issues of today, and anticipate those which might emerge in future years and decades.

My brothers and sisters, fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, our work here in Boston this week is indeed a sacred responsibility and a necessary task. Throughout the ages, Orthodox Christians have overcome persecution, oppression, hardship, slavery, and divisiveness with the conviction that, “all things are possible for one who believes.” This is the great truth of our history, this is the light which guides our footsteps, and the path upon which we walk this week. This Fourth of July, in this historic city, in this great nation, we too can make history. We can beautify and strengthen the fabric of this great Archdiocese. Once again, the Metropolis of Boston welcomes you, and we pray that almighty God may grant us all the fortitude and the wisdom necessary for our sacred work.

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