LOS ANGELES – On Saturday, March 26, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros arrived in Los Angeles for the first day of his pastoral visit to California. He was received by His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos, His Grace Bishop Ioannis, and His Grace Bishop Spyridon, as well as Dr. Anna Yallourakis, Parish Council President of the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Los Angeles.
At a welcome dinner hosted by the parish later that night, Dr. Yallourakos addressed the Archbishop. “I present to you a cross-section of our entire community: their love, their support, and their willingness to look forward, to be forward thinkers. To come together as a community to bond with you, to bond with our church as one, and to continue our Orthodoxy for the future generation.”
In his remarks, the Archbishop stated, “You had your own Centennial Anniversary as a community fourteen years ago, but [the Archdiocese’s] mission to be that foundation grounded in the Spirit, which is moved by love, is more urgent than ever.
“That is why I am so happy to be with you this weekend. Because this community excels in ways that demonstrate what it means to be the Church of Jesus Christ in the Twenty-first Century. As we commence our next one hundred years as an Archdiocese, it is vital that we find and explore new ways of being in the world, even as we are not of the world.” (Full Remarks)
The evening’s speeches reflected the long history and innovation of parish communities across the country, like Saint Sophia, as well as the importance of dialogue and unity as one tradition in the United States and under the guidance of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. “[The Archbishop] came to find you, to open a dialogue with you—and to continue that dialogue with you,” said His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos.
Among the speakers were also the V. Rev. Father John S. Bakas, Dean of the Saint Sophia Cathedral, and Mr. Constantine Boukidis, President of the Saint Sophia Cathedral Foundation. Together with Dr. Yaroullakis, Mr. Boukidis presented the Archbishop with a donation for the Archdiocese’s Clergy Pension Fund on behalf of the Foundation and Parish Council.