STATEN ISLAND – His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America presided over the Bridegroom's Service held on Holy Monday at Holy Trinity-St. Nicholas Church in Staten Island on April 26.
In his sermon, Archbishop Elpidophoros referred to the meaning of the betrayal of Judas and called on the faithful to put aside hypocrisy, to admit and acknowledge as human beings our mistakes and sins, to repent and to approach the Lord who is waiting for us in his Resurrection.
His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros distributed icons to the faithful. (Photo: TNH/ Michalis Kakias)
He said, “Judas was one of the twelve Disciples of Christ. He was an outstanding, close, and charismatic collaborator. Christ entrusted him with the treasury of the holy priesthood of the apostles, and a spiritual treasure, that is, gave him the grace and the power to perform miracles, to heal, to cast out demons, to preach. How grateful and devoted Judas must have been to Christ for what he entrusted to him. And yet while he lived with Christ, he enjoyed his teaching, he was protected by his prayer, he certified daily his miracles, these signs of his divinity, yet he did not pay attention and slowly loved money. And so from Philotheos, he became greedy, and from greedy a thief, and from a thief a traitor.
The Bridegroom Service on Holy Monday at Holy Trinity-St. Nicholas Church in Staten Island. (Photo: TNH/ Michalis Kakias)
“And how he betrayed him, with a kiss, with a fake kiss,” His Eminence continued, “And yet, when Christ saw him, not only did he not quarrel with him, nor was he angry with him, but he very kindly asked him why he had come. A question that seems strange but if we read the Bible carefully we will see that this is the question that God asks us many times to wake us up and awaken us. He takes us by the hand and asks us why we are doing this, as a parent asks his child what he did, even though he knows, just to make him realize his own mistake.”
“My dear brothers and sisters, know that God does not judge us for our sins, we are human beings, made of flesh, blood flows in our veins, it is natural to sin, He will judge us because we did not learn from our sins, because we did not return close to Him because we did not try to correct ourselves,” he said. “The hypocrisy, acting as if one is great, perfect, and judging and behaving badly towards others, God condemns this with harsh language, not the sin.”
His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America presided over the Bridegroom’s Service held on Holy Monday at Holy Trinity-St. Nicholas Church in Staten Island. (Photo: TNH/ Michalis Kakias)
“Let me remind you that the one who entered paradise first was not a pious hypocrite of the time, but the robber standing to His right on the cross,” His Eminence said. “May this Easter be the beginning for us to be closer to our Christ.”
“I am very glad to be with you today, in the historic Church of Holy Trinity-St. Nicholas,” he added. “I know how much you love and support your church, a community with a bright present and future. Many congratulations to your presiding priest, Rev. Protopresbyter Nicholas P. Petropoulakos, for the divine, spiritual, social and pastoral work he performs.”
“Happy and blessed Easter to all,” His Eminence concluded.
Fr. Petropoulakos welcomed Archbishop Elpidophoros warmly with respect and love on behalf of the parish and wished a Kali Anastasi to all Orthodox Christians.
Holy Trinity-St. Nicholas Church Parish Council members, left to right: Florendia Dragazis, John Doyle, Steven Mirones, Kokona Nissa Perry, Petros Gregoriou, Diane Vernados, George Veres, President Evangelia Platis, Thanasis Vlastakis, Andrew Eonomos, Christos Danis. (Photo: TNH / Michalis Kakias)
Parish Council President Evangelia Platis spoke to The National Herald, thanking the Archbishop for his visit and wishing the Greek community a Happy Easter with health and every happiness.
Philoptochos Society President Diane Vernados shared best wishes for personal and family joy and a quick return to normal life.
At the end of the Liturgy, Archbishop Elpidophoros distributed icons to the faithful.