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At the St. Paul Community Hall in Hempstead, NY, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America in a commemorative photo with Fr. Christopher Constantinides, Fr. Ioannis Mesoloras, Philoptochos President Paraskevi Zaferiou, and Philoptochos and the community members. Photo: TNH/ Despina Afentouli
HEMPSTEAD, NY – On June 28, the eve of the commemoration of Saints Peter and Paul, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America visited the Cathedral of Saint Paul in Hempstead, Logan Island.
In particular, the Great Vespers service and Artoklasia was held with His Eminence presiding with the Archdiocese Chancellor Fr. Elias Villis of Church of Our Saviour in Rye, Fr. Chrysostom Panos of Transfiguration in Corona, Fr. Gedeon Varytimos of Saints Constantine and Helen in Jackson Heights, Fr. Paul Palesty of St. Nicholas in Flushing, Fr. Evagoras Constantinidis of Sts. Constantine and Helen-Brooklyn, Fr. John Lardas of Archangel Michael-Port Washington, Fr. Agapitos Chunov of St. Barbara in Manhattan, Fr. George Kazoulis of Our Lady of Island Park, Fr. Panteleimon Papadopoulos of Resurrection in Brookville, Fr. Ioannis Mesoloras of St. Spyridonas-Argostoli in the Metropolis of Kefallonia, Archdeacon Dionysios Papiris, and Deacon Michael Giavris .
During his speech, Archbishop Elpidophoros, referred to the departure of Fr. Constantin Ursache from St. Paul Cathedral who “following the inspired tutelage of presiding priest of the community Fr. Christopher Constantinides, an elite and brilliant clergyman of our Archdiocese, is spreading his wings to go with his family to another community in Ohio to serve the people of God. In this sense, this community really follows in the footsteps of the Apostle Paul, who went from city to city, teaching the Gospel and making disciples, ordaining successors.”
His Eminence referred to the instructive message of the lives of Saints Peter and Paul, who, as he pointed out, disagreed on the question of whether anyone who wanted to become a Christian had to first become a Jew, according to the Jewish faith: “[The Apostles] did not look if the Apostle [Paul] saw Christ, if he was with them from the beginning, if his past was bad, because we do that too once in a while. We label people and blame them and drive them out of our hearts, out of our Church. And the Apostles gathered [in the First Apostolic Synod] and after begging the Holy Spirit to enlighten them, they finally decided that indeed, the Apostle Paul was right. The Apostle Paul is the one who opens the horizons of Christianity and became the Apostle of the Gentiles, teaching the Gospel to everyone. And he toured all over the Roman Empire and in the end, he paid for this faith with his own life.”
Archbishop Elpidophoros continued: “The feast we celebrate together, of the Apostles Peter and Paul, is in itself a lesson about our Church. For all of us it is an example that we may disagree, but disagree out of love for the Church, not out of our egotism. I hope for the example of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, who disagreed so strongly and who in the end were both martyred for Christ to inspire us and enlighten us and guide us in our family and professional life, but above all, in our church life and may this Spirit guide our Archdiocese, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year ‘from glory to glory, Lord.’ Amen.”
Presiding priest of the Cathedral of Saint Paul Fr. Christopher Constantinides expressed his thanks for the honor of the presence of His Eminence and all the priests who officiated to celebrate the feast of Saints Peter and Paul.
Parish Council President Frances Tsigonias Lutfy spoke to The National Herald on the importance of the visit and the speech of Archbishop Elpidophoros for the community of St. Paul: “It is an honor to have His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America celebrate this very important holiday in our community. And the words he said in his sermon mean a lot to us in this transitional period when the assistant priest, Fr. Constantin Ursache, is leaving us to become the presiding priest at the community of St. John the Forerunner in Youngstown, Ohio.”
St. Anna’s Ladies Philoptochos President Paraskevi Zaferiou also spoke with TNH regarding the visit of Archbishop Elpidophoros and the reception in the community event hall: “It is an honor to have His Eminence with us again. With his visit, we get to know him better and we appreciate him even more. From the ladies of the Philoptochos, the person in charge of the lunch of this year’s celebratory event was Nicole Rousakis and all the ladies who were here today were amazing. They prepared everything.”
Among those present were Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate Harry Raptakis, as well as Bill Kallinikos, George K. Lavas and Peter Xanthos, who are also members of the Parish Council. Also from the Parish Council were Bill Demas, George Zakos, Jim Ginis, Yianni Mavroyiannis, Bill Pappas, Harris Dounelis and John Lagonikos. On the Executive Board are Carol Depietto (vice president), Nick Kontoleon (secretary), George Vasilakis (treasurer), Lou Yeostros (financial secretary), Edgar Ciar (financial secretary), and former presidents George Marinos, George Vorkas and Anthony Vaccari.
CONSTANTINOPLE - His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros visited the Balikli Greek Hospital today following last week’s devastating fire and had the opportunity to hear from staff and residents about their experiences during the ordeal.
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