Archbishop Elpidophoros of America Address at the Ordination of Bishop-Elect Nektarios of Diokleia April 13, 2024

His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America

Address at the Ordination of Bishop-Elect Nektarios of Diokleia

April 13, 2024

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Cathedral

New York, New York

Your Eminences and Your Graces, Beloved Brothers and Co-Celebrants in the Holy Spirit,

Dear Clergy and Faithful,

Beloved Bishop-Elect of Diokleia, Your Grace Nektarios,


On this auspicious day, you behold Hierarchs from across our Sacred Archdiocese and across the ocean, gather together to lay their hands upon you, and prayerfully and piously beseech the Holy Spirit of God to elevate you into the brotherhood of the Episcopacy of our Holy Orthodox Church.

The Hierarchs who nurtured you as a youth, those who nourished you in your monastic vocation in Greece, and those who brought you home to serve here the United States – they have all assembled to constitute the “Choir of the Fathers,” τῶν Πατέρων ὁ Χορός, to welcome you into the ranks of the Ἀρχιερείς.

Henceforth, you will stand as the representative of our Great High Priest, our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, and you will oversee His Church, which is the Body of the Faithful.

Beloved Bishop-Elect Nektarios:

You have served the Church in many capacities, both here and in Greece, the homeland of your family. Of late, you have been the Chancellor of our Sacred Archdiocese of America, ministering with dignity, with decency, and above all else, with fidelity to the Gospel. As such, you have proven yourself a worthy son of the Ecumenical Patriarchate – the Mother Church of Orthodoxy. And you will continue as my Protosyncellos, until such time as the Church calls you to another ministry.

Your Grace, you stand here today, in the presence of so many elders and senior Hierarchs of our worldwide Church. An abundance of brother priests are praying with and for you. Your family and friends, and the community of Astoria, which you served with so much love and devotion, and the faithful from many Churches in the Tri-State Area are here as well.

You stand here today, bearing an extraordinary honor conferred upon you by the Spiritual Father of us all, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who chose for you the once-shining See of Diokleia in Asia Minor.

Your predecessor in this titular See, the late and ever-memorable Metropolitan Kallistos, was one of the great theological figures of Orthodoxy in the West. His many writings were a first introduction for countless believers to our Faith, and remain a standard in the English language. Succeeding the late Metropolitan with his title is an honor for you and for our Sacred Archdiocese.

You have been called to take up the omophorion and place it over your shoulders. As you well know, it represents the ‘one sheep that has gone astray,’ for which the good shepherd leaves the ninety-nine, and goes to find among the mountainous places * This is our calling as bishops. Never to give up on a brother or sister, or on a priest or a deacon. We are to pursue such missing sheep through the rugged spiritual, emotional, and psychological domains where our faithful can get lost, and bring them back to the one fold of the Great Shepherd of the rational sheep, our Lord Jesus Christ. You have exercised this ministry with great skill as Chancellor, and you shall continue to do so even more so, with the grace of the Episcopacy upon your shoulders.

You surely know of what I speak, because you know the ancient Hellenic tradition of the kriophoros, the ram-bearer, and the moschophoros, the calf- bearer, both of which became the model for the earliest portrayals of our Lord Jesus Christ – a young, and even beardless shepherd, bearing that lost lamb upon his shoulders.

It is this care for the People of God that already fills your heart. It is this concern for every soul that has directed your ministry thus far. As a bishop of the Church, you are to be ever-mindful of your high calling, and be unrestrained in embracing virtue. Listen to the words of the Holy Chrysostom, who describes the work of a Hierarch with his customary eloquence, saying that a bishop performs his responsibilities:

… in the way that an accomplished musician plays a golden lyre, such that the harmony of its notes elevates the entire audience to a higher realm – so also the Bishop, not with a harmony of notes, but with the harmony of his words and actions, greatly benefits us.†

Your words and actions – these are the signs by which the Faithful will interpret your Hierarchical ministry, to see if it is sincere and honorable. And I have no doubt that they will be, for you have manifested the dignity of the High Priestly Office well before this day, when you are elevated into it.

Therefore, I close my exhortation to you with the words of the God-Bearer and the Hieromartyr, Saint Ignatios of Antioch, for I feel that your service to me and to this Archdiocese are recapitulated in his holy words:

Let all things, then, abound to you through grace, for you are worthy. You have refreshed us in all things, and Jesus Christ shall refresh you. You have loved us when absent as well as when present. May God recompense you, for Whose sake, while you endure all things, you shall attain unto Him.‡


* Cf. Matthew 18:12.

† St. John Chrysostom, Patrologia Græca, Vol. XLIX, col. 314 (Homilies on Fasting, V.5).

‡ Saint Ignatios Theophoros, Letter to the Smyrnaeans, Ch. 9.

Photos: GOARCH/Dimitrios Panagos

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