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Archbishop at Holy Cross Whitestone for the First ‘Nymfios’ Service of Holy Week

April 29, 2024

WHITESTONE, NY – Holy Week began on April 28 with the services for Palm Sunday in the morning and the ‘Nymfios’ (Bridegroom’) service in the evening. His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America presided over the Palm Sunday service in the morning at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Hicksville, NY, and in the evening presided over the ‘Nymfios’ service at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church of Whitestone.

Archbishop Elpidophoros in his homily at Holy Cross noted the difference between the celebratory services of the morning for Palm Sunday and the somber tone of the evening’s ‘Nymfios’ service.

His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America presided over the ‘Nymfios’ service at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church of Whitestone on April 28. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

“Now we have arrived at the somber services of Holy Week, so that may greet the Lord, as our Bridegroom, for He is Coming to His voluntary Passion for our sake and the sake of the whole world,” His Eminence said. “This morning was glorious! In every Church across our Archdiocese, His Entry into the Holy City was attended by adoring throngs, who cast their garments, and the palms and branches before Him.”

“But tonight, the glory of Lord is hidden. Instead of a crown of the sun, moon, and stars, He wears a crown of thorns,” he continued. “Instead of the garments of light which adorn His Godhead [Cf. Psalm 18:1 (LXX)], there is the purple of mockery. Instead of His precious hands being praised by their works that established the firmament [Cf. Psalm 103:2 (LXX)], they are bound as a common criminal. And in place of the rod of iron with which He shall rule the Nations, to break in pieces the gates of death like a potter’s vessels, [Cf. Revelation 2:27] He holds a weak and worthless reed as a sign of humiliation.”

“We call the Lord the King of Glory, but tonight, we call Him the Bridegroom of the Church,” Archbishop Elpidophoros said. “And his wooing of us is not from any worldly reason that we should desire Him.”

“As the Prophet Isaiah says: He has no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected of men; a Man of Sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid our faces from Him; he was despised, and we esteemed Him not.”

“This is the challenge of Holy Week – to recognize in this Bridegroom, the very God who created us and loves us just as we are,” His Eminence noted. “It is hard for us to admit that His humiliation, His torture, and His death were accomplished for our sake. Why do we need such a Bridegroom? Why do we need such a Divine Lover? Because through sin, through resentment, through envy, through pride, and through our lack of love and generosity toward others, we are dwelling in darkness.”

His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America presided over the ‘Nymfios’ service at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church of Whitestone on April 28. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

“That is why He comes to us in the middle of the night, ἐν τῷ μέσῳ τῆς νυκτός, in the middle of our dark night of the soul, to find us just as we are, that we may discover who we really are,” Archbishop Elpidophoros said.

“The Lord knows that we are but reeds, blown by every wind and troubled,” he noted. “Every human being is, as someone once said, ‘only a reed, the most feeble in nature, but a thinking reed,’ [Blaise Pascal, Pensées]. We are fragile, and we bruise all too easily. But the Lord will never break us. His judgments are righteous and true; they are never harsh or cruel.”

“Therefore, my beloved Christians: Let us welcome the Bridegroom Who comes to us tonight. He comes to remind us that He is ready to embrace us as His own. He comes to claim his Bride, which is the Church. And the dowry He will pay is greater than anyone has ever paid, because He paid it for everyone.

“If we will receive Him, He will carry us all into the Heavenly Bridal Chamber, where we will live with Him in eternity in the resurrection and restoration of all things.

“Through His grace and love for all humankind, together with His Father and All Holy Spirit, One God, praised and glorified forever. Amen.”


STATEN ISLAND, NY – Koutsoudakis & Iakovou Law Group, PLLC (KI Legal), represented by Co-Founders Andreas Koutsoudakis and Michael Iakovou, and Liakas Law P.

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