Remarks of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America
Name-Day Luncheon on the Feast of the Holy Martyr Elpidophoros
Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity
New York, New York
November 2, 2019
My Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It is a great joy for me to share this day with you, the Feast of the Holy Martyrs Akindynos, Pegasios, Aphthonios, Anempodistos, and Elpidophoros. Their names, taken together, form a glorious tribute to the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is “completely secure, overflowing and abundant, which overcomes every impediment, and which brings great hope.” These martyrs, despite their suffering, radiated a spirit of joy and praise to the Lord. Their songs and their smiles brought confusion to their persecutor, the King of Persia. He could not shake their faith in God; he could not defeat them by any means. They became “more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). In their martyrdoms, these five saints proved the truth of their names. May we always follow their shining example of joy in the Lord!
Today is an occasion of double thanksgiving. It is the anniversary of the enthronement of our beloved Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. It was on the Second of November in 1991 that His All-Holiness was elevated to the Sacred Throne of Saint Andrew in Constantinople. On that day, twenty-eight years ago, Archbishop Iakovos of blessed memory addressed His All-Holiness to express this wish: that the names of these five martyrs would hold true also for his Patriarchal reign, so it would be Akindynos, Pegasios, Aphthonios, Anempodistos, and Elpidophoros. Which is to say, “completely secure, overflowing, abundant, overcoming every impediment, and bringing great hope.” Hearing this, His All-Holiness decided on that very day, that the next deacon to be ordained by him would bear the name of Saint Elpidophoros. And for this reason, this holy anniversary became my Name-day, a twofold celebration.
As Orthodox people, of course, we have a custom on Feast-days: Αυτός που γιορτάζει να κεράσει. Σήμερον όμως, ο Θεός κερνάει. Today, God has treated us all, with the gift of a new priest for our Holy Church of America, Fr. Panteleimon Papadopoulos. His priestly service is a κέρασμα (kérasma) from heaven above: not for just this day alone, but for a lifetime of dedicated labor in the Lord. Please join me in saying to our beloved Fr. Panteleimon: Axios!
Therefore, this is a day of threefold gladness: A Feast-day, an Enthronement Anniversary, and an Ordination. Glory be to our Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—for the blessings of this day.
I thank all of you for sharing this happy occasion with me. Να ζήσετε όλοι και Χρόνια Πολλά!