NEW YORK (ANA/A. Zoupaniotis) - The ceremonies for the enthronement of Archbishop Elpidophoros of America concluded on Saturday with the official enthronement luncheon that took place at NY Hilton, in the presence of over 1,500 people from all over the United States and guest from Greece, Cyprus, Europe and Turkey. On Sunday, June 23rd, the new Archbishop is going to preside over the Holy Liturgy at the Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Addressing the luncheon, the representative of the Greek government Foreign Minister George Katrougalos, reassured Archbishop Elpidophoros that not only the Foreign Ministry but all the Greek state will continue to offer every possible assistance to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
Katrougalos stressed that the election of Elpidophoros marks a new era of unity, collaboration, quality, stewardship and especially social and national service to the Greek American Community and Hellenism as a whole.
"It is true that Orthodoxy is universal and its message involves not only a nation or a people. But it is also true that the history and the culture of Hellenism has identified with Orthodoxy".
The Foreign Minister pointed out that Greece doesn't believe in the war of civilizations, but in the dialogue and the common values of freedom, solidarity and love, that are also messages of the Orthodoxy.
"This is the reason we have launched initiatives on interreligious dialogue, especially for the Middle East and the protection of the religious minorities and a dialogue between the ancient civilizations."
Katrougalos promised to support the efforts of the Archdiocese of America to promote the cultural life and the Greek civilization, especially through the education, cultural activities and actions through the parishes, the schools and its institutions.
"Through this activity we enhance the bonds with the American nation and the bridges of friendship that connect Greece and this great nation", the foreign minister said.
In concluding, Katrougalos told Archbishop Elpidophoros that Greece is sure that his protagonistic and coordinating role will lead to the unity of Hellenism and thus will strengthen the solidarity of the Greek American Community to Greece and Cyprus.
"Today's difficult circumstances require alertness, soberness, joint action and, above all, the unity of Hellenism".
Greek Cypriot negotiator Ambassador Andreas Mavrogiannis conveyed the greeting and the congratulations of President Nicos Anastasiades to the new Archbishop and expressed his gratitude to former Archbishop Demetrios for his excellent stewardship of the last two decades.
"I have no doubt your Eminence, he told Elpidophoros that will continue under your enlightened leadership to work together for the major issues of Hellenism and Orthodoxy and the universal values, in cooperation with the government and the people of this great nation."
"I feel as if we are celebrating the Resurrection in all its panoply and excellence, with all its joy and festivity", Archbishop Elpidophoros told the audience.
"But I have only just commenced my ministry, and I have to ask, is it possible for us to have Resurrection before Crucifixion? I ask this not to diminish our present happiness, but to remind all of us that like our Lord Jesus Christ, we must pass through ...we must pass over, before we arrive at the further longed-for shore."
He repeated that as an Archdiocese, and as the Church of Christ, we have much work to do, we have to ready our shoulders to bear the Cross.
"There is much to rebuild: confidence and faith in our institutions first of all. Hellenic College and Holy Cross must be established on a firm foundation, for they are the future of our clergy. Our Archdiocesan ministries must be renewed and reinvigorated, for they are the future of our young people. Our clergy must be secure in their familial responsibilities, for they are the future of our parishes. Saint Nicholas National Shrine must be completed, for it is the future of our witness to the American Nation."
Archbishop Demetrios spoke warmly of his successor.
"We have in the face of Archbishop Elpidophoros a man of deep faith, fully devoted to the Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate, who has a strong judgment, a man who has succeeded. Thus he can do things in the direction of the creative continuation of the mission of the Church", Archbishop Demetrios said.
Metropolitan Augustine of Germany praised Elpidophoros and called the Ecumenical Patriarch "a gift of God".
"This great Patriarch fears only God; not the Russians, or the Turks, or the Ukrainians, but he has the fear of God alone and the love for man."
Greeting were offered by Metropolitan Methodios of Boston, California lieutenant Governor Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis, Presidents of Leadership 100 and Faith Argyris Vassiliou and Dean Mitropoulos, Vice Chairman of the Archdiocesan Council George Tsandicos, President of the National Philoptochos Maria Logus, Archons National Commander Dr, Anthony Limberakis and the Supreme President of the AHEPA George Loucas.