BOSTON – Archbishop Elpidophoros made his first official archpastoral visit to the Metropolis of Denver Colorado, he met with Metropolitan Isaiah, priests from the Greater Denver area, parish council members, and the faithful of all ages.
Dr. Gregory Papadeas, a prominent dermatologist in the Denver area was among those in charge for the Archbishop's visit.
In a telephone interview with The National Herald Dr. Papadeas said that “it was the first official pastoral visit of his Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America to the Denver Metropolis. Our goal, despite the difficulties of the COVID-19, was to expose him to as many people as we could, to interact with him, receive his blessings, and hope to give him an idea of how things are going here in Denver Metropolis.”
Dr. Papadeas also said that “His Eminence met with the clergy of the Denver Metro area, about 15 of them. The Archbishop had two opportunities to meet with the faithful. The first one was at St. Catherine's Parish on Saturday evening where he officiated at the Vesper Service. In anticipation of that hierarchal Vespers St. Catherine naturally promoted the service and sent an e-mail to everybody and they had to register to attend church and in one hour it was completely full. After the Service we hosted a dinner in our home. The next day, Sunday, we had the Divine Liturgy and brunch at the Cathedral and then we took a trip to St. Elias Chapel which is about one hundred miles from Denver and it is the highest in elevation Greek Orthodox church of the Archdiocese; it is 7,600 feet in elevation, The St. Elias Chapel belongs to the Cathedral. On Monday we visited the Brotherhood of St. George which is headed by my oldest brother Fr. Christodoulos with the blessing of Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver and his Geronta Amfilochios of Ganou and Hora, formerly of New Zealand. It is an `Isyxastirio'.”
He added that “His Eminence didn't stay in a hotel, but we have a cabin in Holdover Springs, Colorado and he stayed with us so we had the opportunity to spend quite a bit personal time with him.”
Asked his impression of the Archbishop, Dr. Papadeas said, “I think very highly of him; we have good leadership. I think his has noble ideas and priorities which are very clear for now: St. Nicholas Shrine – and thank God it is going well; the clergy pension fund – we are slowly moving towards a solution; and the status of the Seminary – we are giving full attention to the Seminary at this point and time”.
Asked him what attracted him to the medical profession, he answered, “I was raised in a family that has many physicians – uncles and first cousins – and they were always looking to help people and it was very natural for me to go into the health care profession.”
Dr. Papadeas an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and member of the Archdiocesan Council sees the future of our Greek Orthodox Church in America, “with optimism. I think we have good leadership in the Patriarch, good leadership in our Archbishop; we should keep our Greek Orthodox roots. We must keep whatever the teachings of the Church are and the regular Services, the guidelines of our fasting, the sacraments – we should keep our fronima.'”
Regarding the use of the Greek language in worship in the United States, he said “I feel strongly that we should continue the use of the liturgical Greek in our Church. I fully support English, but I support one hundred present the Greek language in our liturgical Services.” He added that, “I am a third generation Greek-American. My great, grandparents immigrated here from Kalamata and Tripolis. I had the opportunity between College and Medical School to live in Athens for a year I had the opportunity to play basketball for AEK. It allowed me to know my family better and increase my Greek language skills. But it was important to my parents for me to learn to speak Greek. My Children are fourth generation and they speak Greek.”