Archbishop Elpidophoros - Homily for the Great Vespers of the Life-Giving Fountain

His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros

Homily for the Great Vespers of the Life-Giving Fountain

April 20, 2023

Zoodohos Peghe Greek Orthodox Church

The Bronx, New York


Beloved Brothers and Sisters in the Risen Christ,

Χριστὸς Ἀνέστη!        [and in response: Ἀληθῶς Ἀνέστη!]

Christ is Risen!           [and in response: Truly He is Risen!]

Χριστὸς Ἀνέστη!        [and in response: Ἀληθῶς Ἀνέστη!]


This evening, we gather to celebrate the Feast of your Heavenly Protector, the Virgin of the Life-giving Fountain. I am always happy to be here with you, and I shall never forget how this parish in particular, acted with such generosity when the fire ravaged the Baliki Hospital. I am grateful to you all, and for you all.

As someone from Constantinople, I have a special place in my heart for the Sacred Church of Ζωοδόχος Πηγή in Μπαλουκλί, where the ἁγίασμα still flows with wonders.

There is even a special gate of the City that leads to Μπαλουκλί. The gate was named, ἡ Πύλη τῆς Πηγῆς, the “Gate of the Fountain.” Or sometimes it was called, ἡ Πύλη τῆς Συλημβρίας, which gives it the modern name in Turkish: Silivrikapı.

We have chanted many praises to the Virgin of the Fountain this evening, mingling our encomia with the Hymns of the Resurrection, for we are still in the midst of Bright Week.

But tonight, I want you to imagine what it must have been like to have lived in the days when the Ζωοδόχος Πηγή Church and Monastery was a thriving and vibrant place of holiness, during the height of the Byzantine Empire.

And I want you to imagine yourselves as pilgrims – pilgrims coming through the Πύλη τῆς Πηγῆς, where you would leave the City of Constantine and make your way to the Life-Giving Fountain.

As you prepared to leave the City, and make your way to Ζωοδόχος Πηγή, you would set your intention.

What are you looking for from the Holy Panagia?

What is your heart’s desire for this pilgrimage to Her Sacred Shrine?

And now, my beloved friends, turn your imagination to this place – the wonderful Ζωοδόχος Πηγή of the Bronx. What are you looking for tonight? What is the desire that you wish to make known to God and His Holy Mother?

As you enter this Church, you are already passing through the Gate of the Fountain – the Πύλη τῆς Πηγῆς. You are making your way in a spiritual journey, passing through a portal that leads to the refreshment of your souls in the lifegiving waters that our Panagia grants us.

Truly, the Gate of the Fountain is within each and every one of you. You don’t have to be physically in Constantinople, because you are the Children of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, New Rome, the City of Constantine.

As the noble sons and daughters of the Mother Church, you can pass at any time through the Πύλη τῆς Πηγῆς – in your minds, in your imagination, and in your hearts.

Here, in the Bronx, this parish is a living icon of the Ζωοδόχος Πηγή Church and Monastery in Μπαλουκλί. You have such an extraordinary honor to be members of this parish.

But even more, the Πύλη τῆς Πηγῆς is like the Πύλη Οὐρανοῦ – for the Gate of Heaven is everywhere.

Make the pilgrimage every day to the Panagia.Pass through the gate by setting your intentions and opening your hearts.

And you will know the healing waters of the Life-Giving Fountain, which will nourish your souls in ineffable ways, through the mystery of God’s love for us, and the compassion of His Holy Mother for every human being.

Χρόνια Πολλά σε ὅλους!

Χριστὸς Ἀνέστη!

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