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Homily by His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America at the Patriarchal Divine Liturgy

Holy Trinity Archdiocesan Cathedral
New York, New York
(October 31, 2021) 

Your All-Holiness, 

On this day, when we celebrate the Feast of Your venerable predecessor, the Holy Apostle Stachys, Bishop of Byzantium, we are especially delighted and supremely blessed that You preside over the Divine Eucharist at the Cathedral Church of our Sacred Archdiocese, surrounded at the sacred altar by the members of Your honorable entourage and the members of our Holy Eparchial Synod.  

Today, this Church is truly a Cathedral inasmuch as he who adorns the Ecumenical Cathedral in Constantinople also adorns this temple — illuminating, honoring and sanctifying it liturgically! Today, the Divine Liturgy bears an extraordinary grace, brilliance and glory! Today, we might dare to say that “the cloud covers the tent of the meeting, and the glory of the Lord fills the tabernacle!” (Ex. 40.34) Your All-Holiness, from the Venerable Center you have brought the cloud of grace from the Holy Apostles Andrew the First-Called and Founder of the Mother Church of Constantinople, as well as Stachys as its First Bishop, here to protect us and this sacred tabernacle where we are assembled — that is to say, to this Church of the Holy Trinity erected in this splendid and prominent city of the New World for the glory of the One and Only True God worshipped in Trinity by the devotion, integrity, sacrificial generosity and exemplary patriotism of our pioneer, immigrant forebears. 

Your All-Holiness, we are celebrating Pascha today! In fact, it is a double Pascha! It is Pascha because of the resurrectional dimension of the Lord’s Day. But it is also Pascha because of the presence among us of the premier of Orthodoxy and the leader of our Genos! Blessed is Your arrival and blessed is Your presence in person here, Your All-Holiness! 

You are most welcome! You are at home! You are in the beloved Eparchy of Your Throne! You are among Your children! We all thirst for the joy of Your radiant face, for the taste of Your Paternal affection, for the reception of Your comforting and edifying words, for the veneration of Your right hand — which for the last thirty years has upheld, with perseverance and often through turbulence, the rudder of the Church’s vessel — in order to receive Your precious Patriarchal blessing! 

Your All-Holiness, the venerable members of our Holy Eparchial Synod concelebrating with You today feel that we are exceedingly blessed, because their Presiding Hierarch is not their local Archbishop, but the President of Presidents, the First among Firsts, the Most Honorable among the Very Honorable. On their behalf, I express the sentiments that inundate the hearts of us all with divine joy and spiritual fulness, as well as sincere devotion and gratitude toward Your All-Holiness. 

Yet, the Archons of the Throne, too, take pride in Your presence today, Your All-Holiness, inasmuch as You are the source of our Genos. And so, the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle jointly celebrates with particular joy and enthusiasm, most especially because You are about to add another fifty members to their ranks through the conventional tonsure. Your All-Holiness, our Archons — as You know better than anyone else — are distinguished individuals of our Community, faithful and dedicated members of our Sacred Archdiocese, who offer invaluable support and assistance — moral, financial, legal and much more — both in our blessed Parishes but also to our Sacred Archdiocese, our Theological School of the Holy Cross, our parochial schools and other institutions, as well as to our Ecumenical Patriarchate, whose devout children they feel, they are, and very proudly claim to be at every given opportunity. They are our pillars and bedrock in every sacred task and initiative that we undertake in our religious and national goals, and they honor the Greek Orthodox name in the pluralistic American society. We ask You to grant them Your wholehearted blessing, so that they may henceforth achieve even greater things in every good deed. 

On this occasion, Your All-Holiness, I express the joy and thanks of us all for Your decision to honor our beloved Chancellor of the Holy Metropolis of New Jersey, Fr. Christoforos Oikonomidis, as well as the good Presiding Priest of our Cathedral Church, Fr. Nikolas Karloutsos. This Patriarchal recognition and honor is a reflection upon all of the good Clergy of our Archdiocese. We feel grateful to You for this as well. We are also informed that Your paternal love has prepared a pleasant surprise for the esteemed and tireless President of our Parish Committee, Mrs. Stella Pantelidis, as well. We thank You for everything!

In conclusion, I would like to express to You — on behalf of all those praying with us today, and on behalf of all the faithful of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America — a wholehearted welcome! I ask that You strengthen and illumine us with Your inspired Patriarchal words in order to support us with Your invaluable Patriarchal prayer and blessing! Behold, Your All-Holiness, our Father and Master, we stand here as Your children!