BOSTON – Archbishop Elpidophoros of America officiated during the Divine Liturgy at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Boston on Sunday, September 15, assisted by Metropolitan Methodios of Boston and many local priests.
It was his first Archpastoral visit to the Metropolis of Boston, which coincided with his five-day visit to Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology.
Approximately three hundred congregants from Boston and the suburbs were present at the Liturgy, including the Consul General of Greece Stratos Eftymiou.
Businessman and philanthropist Nick Manolis with his wife Voula and their son Elias had traveled from Dracut Massachusetts to Boston because, as they told The National Herald, “we had a strong desire to receive Holy Communion from the hands of our Archbishop.” It is reminded here that Nick and Voula Manolis were the first family from the United States to meet Archbishop Elpidophoros his election last May at the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The Archbishop in his homily said among other things that, “today, we have heard the Gospel in the clearest terms. It is a call to live and to die; to be buried with Christ and to be born again in Him. This call is summed up in the image of the Cross. ‘If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the Gospel's will save it.’ (Mark 8:34-35). He also said that that the world of mankind is a fallen world. It is sick and dying: wounded by sin, and cut off from God, who is the source of life. For this reason, Christ says that we live amongst ‘an adulterous and sinful generation’ (Mark 8:28). It is a world poisoned by illusions and delusions, ruled by the father of lies, the Devil.
The Gospel calls for us to die to this dying world. Christ teaches us to renounce vain desires and empty ambition. We put aside pride and greed, envy and anger. We seek instead to acquire humility and patience, purity and self-control.”
The Archbishop added that “the Christian Faith is not an easy faith. If we lack a sense of daily struggle, we are missing something. Human nature wants to reduce the spiritual life to a simple formula, to rules and routines. For this reason, we heard Saint Paul today saying: ‘a man is not justified by deeds of the law, but through faith in Jesus Christ’ (Galatians 2:16). ‘I died to the law,’ Saint Paul says, ‘so that I might live to God’ (Galatians 2:19).”
The Archbishop made reference to St. Nikitas by saying that “today we remember Saint Nikitas the Great-Martyr. He lived in the fourth century, among the tribes called the Goths. In a time of persecution, Saint Nikitas spoke up boldly on behalf of the Faith and his fellow Christians. For this, he suffered many tortures and finally, death by fire.”
Elias Manolis who met Archbishop Elpidophoros for the first time told TNH that “my impression of His Eminence is that he is truly a man of the people. He has a positive energy that emanates from him and is the guiding light that my generation is searching for the Church.” He added that “Archbishop Elpidophoros will lead us out of the dark times and help move our Church in the right direction. I look forward to supporting the Archbishop’s mission in any way possible.”
Kostas Kechris, parish council member and former president of the Annunciation Cathedral, told TNH that “I am very impressed with His Eminence. I look forward to seeing him again and to get to know him and I wish him all the best.”
Mary Cleary, also a parish council member, told TNH that “I had the pleasure meeting the Archbishop and I was impressed with him because of the humble person his is, his humble approach.” When asked how many years had she served as volunteer at the Cathedral, she said, “since I was a teenager,” and she added “I am the chairwoman of the Greek Festival of the Cathedral this upcoming week and I invite everyone to join us.”
The hymns of the Orthros and the Devine Liturgy were chanted by students from the School of Theology under the direction of Byzantine music professor Fr. Romanos Karanos.
Parish Council president Robert Badavas presented the Archbishop with small replica of the Cathedral and after the Liturgy coffee was served for the entire congregation.