BOSTON, MA – Rev. Christopher Metropoulos was inaugurated as the 21st president of Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (HCHC) on October 29 an a prestigious ceremony at Pappas Auditorium, presided by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America.
Metropolitan Methodios of Boston read a letter by His all Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Also present were Metropolitan Gregorios of the Carpathorussian Diocese of America, and Bishops Ilias of Philomelion, Sebastian of Zela, and Ioannis of the Antiochian Diocese of New England.
Dozens of clergy and laity attended the ceremony from throughout the United States, including from Fr. Metropoulos former parish of Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Archbishop Demetrios invited the Greek-American Community to support HCHC and told TNH that “Hellenic College should become a prominent Center of Hellenic Studies.”
Metropoulos told TNH that he envisions increasing the numbers of students “to 400 to 500 hundred for Hellenic College and 200 for the School of Theology. We have to prepare the next generation warriors of the Church”.
Consul General of Greece to Boston Ifigenia Kanara told Metropoulos that “out of the many challenges you will be faced with as the president of this great Institution in Boston, the academic capital of the world, I would like to highlight one in particular.
In the same vein with his Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, I would like to underline not only the historical but also the contemporary ecumenical value of Hellenism and encourage you to further cultivate its study. And in this regard, the study of the Greek culture and the Greek language, as an integral part of our heritage, is crucial.”
In his inaugural address, Metropoulos said that “nearly half a century ago, I pulled up to the Polemanakos Hall dormitory as an incoming freshman at Hellenic College. No one who had seen me on that day would have suspected that today I would stand before you as this school’s new president. It was the 1970s. My hair was down to my shoulders. Naturally, I played in a rock band. We called ourselves Motherly Luv – ouch! Truly, no one could have foreseen this day. Certainly, I did not.”
Metropoulos reminded the audience of HCHC history. He said “Remember: Hellenic College is the only fully accredited Orthodox Christian college in the Western hemisphere. Holy Cross is now the oldest and largest Orthodox Theological School in the Americas. Together, they have had a profound influence upon the life of the Church. Over the decades, thousands of Orthodox Christians have graduated from our schools and have served, or are serving, in leadership positions throughout the world…At HCHC, we create the leaders who will guide our faithful to the realization of their fullest spiritual potential. Without this school, frankly, there is no hope, there is no future, for our Church in America. Our mission is biblically based. Our vision is divinely inspired. Our community is devoted to Christ. All the pieces are in place to forge a powerful engine for the future growth of Orthodox Christianity in this country.”
Revealing his vision, he said “for starters, we are committed to expanding the army of spiritual leaders deployed from our campus. We are planning a 10% increase in our student body each of the next five years, extending our reach to all Orthodox Christian jurisdictions. Of course, an increase of students will require an enhanced infrastructure of our campus. “I am pleased to announce that HCHC has received the largest single gift in our school’s history, to construct a new state-of-the-art student center – the George and Angelina Kostas Student Center – appropriately named for our generous benefactors. A new bookstore, online learning classroom, broadcast media facilities and meditation space is planned.
“To date, additional gifts toward this new project include that of the Pappas Family of Houston, TX, committed to the building of the dining hall in the new facility –and that of Charles and Connie Cotros for a gift of $1.325M in honor of our immediate past Fr. President, Nicholas Triantafilou. “While we conduct geo-environmental tests in preparation for the construction of this exciting new facility, I am mindful that the success of our capital campaign efforts will ultimately determine how soon our students can benefit from this new center. We do not plan to begin until all of the funds for construction, as well as the endowment for the maintenance of the building, have been raised.
“Finally, just last week we received a gift of $600,000 from the late Bishop John Kallos to create a new scholarship for a rising senior in the School of Theology. All this in the last three months. “We are also dedicated to completing the iconography of our Holy Cross Chapel, to render it a jewel of Orthodox sacred art gracing our campus. We will revitalize Holy Cross Press, the Greek Orthodox Theological Review, and our Bookstore with the goal of positioning them as a premier Orthodox publishing outlet in the world. This will allow us to offer more resources, not only to our faculty and students, but also to our alumni, and the faithful worldwide.”