NEW YORK – Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 302 West 91st Street on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, on August 7 announced Rev. Fr. Sotirios Michalatos as the community’s new presiding priest. The current proistamenos, V. Rev. Fr. Chrysostomos Gilbert will preside over his last Divine Liturgy as the community’s presiding priest on Sunday, August 29 after which a reception will be held in his honor in the church’s Demas Hall.
Parish Council President George J. Kostas shared the announcement concerning Fr. Michalatos via email, the text of which follows:
My Fellow Parishioners and Friends of Annunciation,
Alexander Graham Bell, famously known as the inventor of the telephone, was a man of many talents, with interests in communications, engineering, aeronautics, genetics, and years of work helping people with hearing and speech impediments. Reflecting on a lifetime of opportunities he pursued leading to world-changing successes and multitudes of failures, Bell wrote, “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” Looking for the open door propelled Bell forward despite the many setbacks inherent in being an inventor, and it encourages us all to move ahead in the face of life’s hardships and disappointments, large and small.
Our Parish now finds itself in a unique door-closing/door-opening situation. While we find ourselves in the midst of expressing our appreciation and recognition of Father Chrysostomos as he approaches his final days at Annunciation, we simultaneously prepare ourselves for the opportunity to welcome into the Annunciation family a new spiritual father to serve our beloved Parish.
So it is my distinct honor and joyous duty to announce that with the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros, the Reverend Father Sotirios Michalatos has been assigned to serve as the new Proistamenos of our Parish effective September 1, 2021, which is also the start of the new ecclesiastical year. Father Sotiri joins Annunciation after four years of service at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in a variety of capacities, most recently as the assistant priest of the Cathedral (please see his biography below). He is no stranger to New York City nor to our Annunciation Church, having visited us in different roles both before and after being ordained to the priesthood. I have had the great pleasure of having personally met Father Sotiri on a number of occasions in connection with Archdiocesan youth programs that my children have participated in, and I have found him to be intelligent, capable and very personable. I am extremely pleased and excited that Annunciation is being entrusted in the worthy hands of a priest as hardworking and talented as Father Sotiri.
It is perhaps most fitting that the wonderful news of Father Sotiri’s appointment to our Parish coincides with the Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ. This magnificent feast day celebrates the transfiguration (metamorphosis) of Christ on Mount Tabor, when He appeared in His divine glory before the Apostles Peter, James and John. As He was Transfigured, His face shone like the sun, and His garments became glistening white. While viewing this wondrous vision, the disciples heard a voice coming from a bright cloud above them, saying “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him” (Matthew 17:5). The disciples fell to the ground filled with awe, but Christ came to them and told them to not be afraid. The Transfiguration is regarded as setting forth the divinity of Christ, and the connection between heaven and earth in the form of God’s Son. Christ’s Transfiguration inspires us to each be transfigured, to grow closer to God through the practice of our Orthodox Faith. Father Sotiri joins us to help guide us in the practice of that Faith without interruption or delay.
The Feast of the Transfiguration also happens to be the celebration of the name day (γιορτή) of Father Sotiri. On behalf of the entire Annunciation community, I wish him a heartfelt Χρόνια Πολλά!
I invite each of you to join me in personally welcoming Father Sotirios, Presvytera Kathy and their beautiful daughter Evangelia, by coming to attend his first liturgy in his new role as Proistamenos of Annunciation on Sunday, September 5 (Orthros at 8 AM, Divine Liturgy at 9 AM). There will be numerous additional events in the Fall to get to know Father Sotiri, including our annual Welcome Back Sunday on September 19. Please check our emailed announcements and the Parish website http://www.annunciation-nyc.org for the most up-to-date schedule.
My best wishes to all for an enjoyable rest of the summer.