Elpidophoros: “Astoria is the Heart of the Archbishop”

His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros presiding over the Divine Liturgy at St. Demetrios Cathedral in Astoria. Photo: GOA/ Dimitrios Panagos

ASTORIA – His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America was welcomed on Sunday, July 14, when he presided over his first Archieratical Liturgy at the Cathedral of St. Demetrios in Astoria.

His Eminence, assisted by His Grace Bishop Apostolos of Medeia and the parish priest, Archimandrite Nektarios Papazafiropoulos, had the opportunity to reach out to the members of the community, some of whom had attended his recent enthronement.

This was the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the 4th Ecumenical Synod, with Archbishop Elpidophoros referring to the events and its decisions, as well as to the Churches that did not accept its decisions (Copts, Armenian, etc.) stressing, however, that we should love and respect our Christian brothers, whether or not our Churches are in communion.

The Archbishop of America was welcomed to the parish by Fr. Nektarios Papazafiropoulos, who along with the flock exclaimed “Axios,” while he did not hide his emotion when he mentioned the day was also his mother’s 40-day memorial.

“It is our honor that, even in the summer, with this heat, you came here to bless us with your presence. We all want to say ‘Axios’ because, from the first moment you came, you gave examples of love and humility, and you are an example to all of us. You are our spiritual father and we expect in your pastoral service to get to know you even better. The day is special to me, as it is my mother’s 40-day memorial today,” said Fr. Papazafiropoulos, unable to hold back his tears.

In reply, Archbishop Elpidophoros, having noted that he fully understands Fr. Papazafiropoulos’ emotional response, spoke about the importance of the St. Demetrios community, but also of Hellenism in Astoria, in general.

“I understand the emotion of Fr. Nektarios. I would like to thank him for this warm welcome, but also all of you. I will visit the parish in the winter. Know that Astoria is not just in the heart of the Archdiocese. It is the heart of the Archbishop. Astoria keeps the traditions. Astoria keeps education. Astoria keeps the language. Astoria keeps Orthodoxy. Astoria holds the heart of the Archbishop,” His Eminence said.

He then spoke about the loss of a parent, referring to Fr. Papazafiropoulos’ loss. “I realize the pain is great. I lost my father, relatively recently. Whatever your age, when you lose your father or mother, you are an orphan,” Archbishop Elpidophoros said.

Thereafter, the Archbishop praised Bishop Apostolos, who is inextricably linked to the St. Demetrios community of Astoria.

Among the many present were many members of the community, the Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras, and the former president of the Greek American Homeowners Association George Kitsios.


  1. He told the Astorians: “Astoria holds the heart of the Archbishop.”

    He told the Turks: “My heart remains in Istanbul.”

    After the upcoming Labor Day Youth Conference organized by the Metropolis of San Francisco he will most likely say:

    ? “I left my heart in San Francisco.” ?

  2. The Archbishop’s constant refrains about his “heart” is a verbal tic that has it’s origin in the common Turkish expression:

    “Her zaman kalbimdesin“

    which translates into English as: “You are always in my heart.”

  3. Astoria has poor Orthodox on welfare. Let him sell his gold robes and crowns with precious jewels and help the widows and children, only then will his Heart Be In Astoria. Until then, it’s more like Tony Bennett’s “ I left my heart in Istanbul”.. see through this phony Charm Offensive orchestrated by Alex and the Phanar to lay the groundwork for Bart’s Return to Jerusalem ( NY and DC) as a head of state—which he is not.

  4. When I was in my twenties the priest in Jamaica said “You are a good boy, what were YOU doing in Astoria?”
    Astoria is not poor, it is the people who adore Bohemian lifestyle, not church.
    Ever since Melina went there my family never set foot again, except stupid me.

  5. Astoria is no longer the exclusive enclave of Greeks and all things Greek as it once was at its zenith, although many cafes, restaurants, supermarkets and shops still exist together with the churches that serve the Greek Orthodox community.

    Today’s Astoria is a more diversified neighborhood of not only whatever remaining Orthodox Greeks, and R.C. Italians live there but also a strong representation of Brazilians, Mexicans, Egyptians; Christians and Muslims, etc.- making for a multi-cultural mix that is very New York.

    New York City is composed of five boroughs with one Mayor.
    NY City Hall is the Mayor’s base.

    If a cathedral is the “home” of a designated archbishop, why is it in the GOA there is a cathedral in each NYC borough and only one Archbishop!?

    The only NYC Greek Orthodox Cathedral should be as is, Holy Trinity, while all the other “cathedrals” should just be plain old ordinary churches.

  6. Even at the height of Astoria’s Greekness, the Irish outnumbered the Greeks.
    The Greeks were never the most numerous, only the LOUDEST

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