SOUTHAMPTON, NY – The parish tis Kimisis tis Theotokou in Southampton, NY extended a very warm welcome to Abbot of the Vatopaidi Monastery of Mount Athos Elder Ephraim. It was his last stop of his journey that started in Atlanta, GA, proceeded to Washington, DC and finally New York.
Young children welcomed Abbot Ephraim, offering him flowers at the entrance of Kimisis’ formidable nave. Very Reverend Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Fr. Alexander Karloutsos, presiding priest and also founder of the new church with his presbytera, Xanthi, Rev. Constantine Lazarakis, Parish Council officials and members, and the faithful welcomed Ephraim.
A brief Service was offered in the nave, and Fr. Karloutsos warmly addressed Ephraim, noting that “it is a great blessing and honor that you took time out of your heavy schedule to visit our parish.” Karloutsos expressed his respect and admiration for the Monastic Community of Mount Athos which is under the spiritual, ecclesiastical and canonical jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Ephraim expressed his joy that was able to visit the parish “for which I have learned so many good things.” He marveled at the new nave, saying that “in this holy nave the faithful find peace in their souls and God is worshiped.” He emphasized the benefits “of the empirical prayer in today’s time of intellectualism and super technology.”
Karloutsos presented to Ephraim an icon of the Mother of God and the elder in return offered to him an icon of the Theotokos, a priestly cross and incense made at the Vatopaidi Monastery.
Karloutsos, who has been pastoring at the parish since 1998, escorted Elder Ephraim and his brother monks to see the parish buildings, starting from the outside baptistery, which is made in the prototype of the early Christian church, the library, the classrooms, and the community center.
The style of the nave is cruciform with a dome of the sixth century of 60 feet height. The esoteric of the nave is painted with icons of the life of Christ and of Saints of the Orthodox Church by famous Greek-American iconographer George Filippakis. In the front, the icon of the Dormition of God is made of mosaic, while in the facade of the Community Center the School of Athens is painted.It should be noted here that The School of Athens by Renaissance master Raphael is one of the most famous frescoes ever painted and is widely considered Raphael’s masterpiece.