Remarks at Clergy Family Dinner for the Metropolis of Denver

His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America

Clergy Family Dinner for the Metropolis of Denver

Saint Catherine Greek Orthodox Church

Greenwood Village, CO

June 21, 2024

 

 

Your Eminence Metropolitan Gregory of Nyssa, representative of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew,

Your Eminence, Metropolitan Constantine of Denver,

Most Revered Hierarchs, beloved brothers in the Lord,

Very Reverend and Reverend Fathers, Presvyteres, and dear Children,

 

We have gathered here this evening in anticipation of a most joyous occasion, tomorrow’s enthronement of your new Metropolitan. This tradition within our Sacred Archdiocese to have a clergy family dinner the night before the enthronement of a new shepherd warms my heart because when I look around the room and see your faces – I see the families of our clergy who represent what is best and brightest in our communities. I express my deepest gratitude to you the presvyteres and children of our priests – the true heroes who make the ministry of the priest possible. Many times, it is the priest’s service that is seen but I assure you that your patience, your dedication, your sacrifices and services as clergy families is not overlooked – it is recognized and as your Archbishop I express my wholehearted appreciation for all that you do to make the ministry of your husbands and fathers possible!  

Having gathered here as a family, I cannot help but call to mind Metropolitan Isaiah, a legend of our Archdiocese, who with his sacrificial ministry has written a golden chapter in the history of the Church in America.  Although he is not physically present with us this evening, I feel his spirit among us and I am sure that you do as well. For over three decades he was the father and shepherd of this Holy Metropolis and now he has taken on the ministry of continuously praying for all of us, his spiritual family.

 You have been sent a new Metropolitan – however, he is no stranger to you all. For two years he has been with you, he has traveled to every corner of this Metropolis, he has heard the beat of your hearts and you the beat of his heart. There is no doubt in my mind that you will continue to embrace your kind and gentle hearted Metropolitan and that the beautiful synergy which already exists between him and the clergy will continue to blossom for the glory of God!

At this point allow me to recognize an exemplary clergyman of our Sacred Archdiocese, and together his entire family. He has offered 46 years of sterling ministry, worthy of emulation. I am referring to non other than your chancellor, Fr. Lou Christopoulos, a man of service, a man of love, a man of patience.

Fr. Lou it is abundantly clear from your life’s accomplishments that you are a man whose footsteps are guided by your trust inthe Lord. You always answer the call of service wherever the Church needs you to be a steadfast pillar of hope, guidance, strength and relief for every person made in the image and likeness of God. In 2020, when Metropolitan Isaiah asked you to take on the role of Chancellor, you could have respectfully declined – you were comfortable in this beautiful parish of St. Catherine filled with thriving ministries which you built up, surrounded by people who loved you and yet, you did not hesitate to accept the will of the Church and take on the challenging and sometimes burdensome ministry of Chancellor.

It is with sentiments of great joy and paternal delight that Metropolitan Constantine and I convey to you a message from the Holy Mother Church of Constantinople and His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew who say to you the words of the Lord “Well done, good and a faithful servant” for you always fulfill the high expectations placed upon your shoulders, diligently tilling the soil of διακονία which is entrusted to your care and continuously adorn your priestly ministry with the righteous and God-pleasing pearls of empathy, compassion, and love.

I ask you now to come forward so that on behalf of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, his representative for this audacious event, His Eminence Metropolitan Gregory, may bestow upon you the highest office a married clergyman can receive – that of Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Throne.

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