BOSTON – The ordination to the episcopacy of the newly elected Bishop of Nazianzos took place June 5 at Holy Cross Chapel at Hellenic College – Holy Cross by His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America. Also present were metropolitans Methodios of Boston, Alexios of Atlanta, Cleopas of Sweden and Bishops Sevastianos of Zela, Apostolos of Medeia, and Joachim of Amisos, a number of priests, Archdeacon Dionysios Papiris, and Deacon Ioannis Chrysavgis.
Also present were Stratos Efthymiou, Consul General of Greece in Boston, George Cantonis President Hellenic College – Holy Cross, Fr. George Parsenios the new Dean of Holy Cross, and Timothy Patitsas, Dean of Hellenic College. Dozens of faithful participated observing the restrictions of the pandemic and hymns were chanted by students under the direction of Fr. Romanos Karanos, professor of ecclesiastical music at Holy Cross.
Archbishop Elpidophoros in his homily praised the new bishop, noting his journey and service to the Church in Germany, in Canada, and the United States. He also made reference to his education – undergraduate and graduate studies in Germany and Thessaloniki Greece.
The Archbishop among other things, said the following: “Your journey has, indeed, been a long one – stretching from Germany and Greece, to Canada, and finally here to America. But no matter where you have lived, studied, and served, your heart has always belonged to the Mother Church – for you are a true son of the Great Church of Christ.
Thus, it was the wise and providential decision of His All-Holiness that you be elected to the venerable See of Nazianzos, which gave its name to the most illustrious Archbishop of Constantinople, Gregory Nazianzen.”
In another instance he said, “as I have known you for many years – as both a friend and a colleague – I know that you have studiously applied yourself to the life and teachings of our Holy Orthodox Christian Faith. But inasmuch as you now bear such an auspicious and, indeed, august and famed title, you must endeavor to go even further.”
The new Bishop Athenagoras of Nazianzos, addressing His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros, said among other things: “From a young age, I longed to serve Christ and His Church. I was truly blessed to sit at the feet of holy fathers, who inspired in my heart the love for Christ, the love for prayer, and liturgical life. I was also blessed to be taught by experienced hierarchs the virtues of obedience, patience, and most importantly love and devotion to the Church.”
He also said “as a faithful child of the Church, I will always keep my gaze upon the Ecumenical Patriarchate and to His All-Holiness, our supreme spiritual leader and father of the faithful throughout the world. I will always humbly and reverently serve wherever His All-Holiness and the Church instructs me. It is a great honor to be elected Assistant Bishop to His All Holiness. Historical and significant is the Throne of the Diocese of Nazianzus. His All Holiness will to work with you, and to continue my ministry in the Holy Archdiocese of America is a command for me.”
“Your Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros, whatever I say cannot describe the magnitude of my love for your person. With your big heart, with the straightforwardness of your honest speech, and with your hard work you win everyone for Christ and the Church. I know very well that you are fighting the good fight for Christ, for the good of the Church and our Ecumenical Patriarchate. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your love and trust in me.
“At this sacred moment, I promise that this is not a moment of respite but in fact one of reinvigoration and embracing my ministry of service towards the Mother Church and this Venerable Centre of Orthodoxy.
“At this time I am prayerfully embracing all my beloved sisters and brothers whom God has required me to serve, in Neuss, in Munich, in Regensburg, in Ingolstadt, in Kelsterbach, in Frankfurt, in Toronto, here in Hellenic College, our Theological School and the National Philoptochos. I will always commemorate during Liturgy all my brothers and sisters from all over the world and especially from Canada who quietly but practically supported me and continue to support me to this day in various ways. I thank them for their love.”