PHILADEPHIA, PA – Large numbers of Greek Orthodox faithful nationwide, along with high-ranking Congressional and other U.S. officials have converged on Philadelphia for the 42nd Clergy Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and also the National Philoptochos Convention, July 6-9 that will be held in that city’s Marriott Downtown hotel/
Reportedly, more than 1400 have registered, but the numbers continue to increase. The Marriott has already been filled to capacity and the overflow of participants has extended to other hotels in the area.
Commanding a towering presence as the second-largest convention hotel in the Northeast, the Marriott features 92,000 square feet of meeting space and is conveniently connected to the Pennsylvania Convention Center via sky bridge.
The Congress is hosted by the Metropolis of New Jersey, as Metropolitan Evangelos, who has completed 10 years of a fruitful archpastoral ministry, has appointed Mike Karloutsos and Anastasia Michaels as co-Chairs for the event.
Metropolitans Stefanos of Kallioupolis and Madytos, who is also Chancellor of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Athenagoras of Belgium, will represent His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
The theme of the Congress will be: “The Orthodox Christian Family: A Dwelling of Christ and a Witness of His Gospel.”
The last Congress was convened in Phoenix, AZ in July 2012 and the one before in 2010 in Atlanta, GA.
The following registration fees have been set for the Clergy-Laity Congress.
The Divine Liturgy will be held in St. George Cathedral on South 8th Street on July 6th presided by Archbishop Demetrios having as co-celebrates the members of the Holy Eparchial Synod. The Congress Social Event will be on the evening of July 7 and the grand banquet on July 9. Clergy Breakfast with Archbishop Demetrios will be on July 10 from 8:30-10:30AM.
In a series of preparatory articles, Demetrios has written among other things that “we anticipate with joy our gathering in Philadelphia this coming July for the 42nd Biennial Clergy Laity-Congress of our Holy Archdiocese of America. We pray for the blessings and grace of God as we make our preparations for this tremendous opportunity to review the progress of our sacred work, evaluate the use of our resources and efforts, and deepen our commitment to sharing the Gospel and extending the healing ministry of the Church.
“For this year’s Congress, our theme will continue our focus on strengthening the family. Our theme is ‘The Orthodox Christian Family: A Dwelling of Christ and a Witness of His Gospel.’ This theme is based on the prayer offered by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesians – For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named (Ephesians 3:15).”
Demetrios also wrote that “as we prepare for our Clergy-Laity Congress in the months ahead, we will examine other important aspects of our theme. I ask you to take this opportunity to prepare prayerfully, to consider how our theme deepens our understanding of the identity and role of the family, and to evaluate how our ministries at all levels of the Church in America can be more focused on strengthening the family and helping families to be what God created them to be. Strong families of faith make strong parishes and communities. They also offer a witness to the world of the power of God’s grace and of the abundant blessings of life with Him.”