BOSTON – His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America announced officially at the plenary session of the 45th Clergy laity Congress that was recently convened virtually that the next Congress will be in New York in two years and it will coincide with centennial celebrations of the establishment of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
The two-day Clergy-Laity Congress that was held last week discussed the finances, design changes, and other matters pertaining to the resumption of construction for the St. Nicholas Church and National Shrine, the clergy pension program, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, personnel reductions, as well as the reductions in expenses in the 2021 budget that was passed. Addressing the gathering, the Archbishop said, among other things, that “we have now arrived at our plenary session, when, as an Archdiocese across this great Nation, we are called to fulfill the needs and aspirations of the myriads of Faithful who have put their trust and confidence in us. They have trusted us to embody the living witness of Christ to the world. They have trusted us to act for the benefit of the whole Church – young and old, rich and poor, those near and those afar.”
The Archbishop continued: “As we gather in plenary today, we constitute the plenitude of the Church, the πλήρωμα of the Body of Christ. We are all valuable. We are all important. We are all members of Christ and members of one another. As the Apostle Paul reminds us all: ‘For, just as the body is one, but has many members – yet all the members are of one body even though they are many in number – the body is one. This is how Christ is also … And so, the Body is not one member, but many. Can the eye say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you?’ Or again, can the head say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you?’… God has configured the Body, granting more honor to the one that lacks, so that there might be no division, no schism in the Body, but that members might have the same care and concern for one another. So, if one member suffers, all the members empathize; and if one member is praised, all the members rejoice. Now you are the Body of Christ and each member, a part thereof.”
The Archbishop also said that “the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America has a great mission in the United States, even though we are a comparatively small flock. We have a responsibility to this land in which we dwell by God’s grace. Need I remind us all that tomorrow is September Eleventh, a National Day of Remembrance and solidarity? Can it be only chance that the only House of Worship destroyed on 9/11 was a small Greek Orthodox Church? I think not. Somewhere – amidst the tragedy, the unspeakable loss, the horrific hatred, and the ruination brought upon the world on 9/11, there was a seed of hope – a seed entrusted to our Greek Orthodox Church. That seed has been planted at Ground Zero, and that hope is epitomized by the Saint Nicholas National Shrine, whose very name means ‘the victory of the people.’ The Shrine itself is a symbol of our greater mission. It will be our lighthouse, and shine its rays of faith, hope, and love across our Nation in the ministries that each and every one of you pursue day after day: Through your acts of philanthropia, philoxenia, and philotimo; Through your preaching and your teaching; Through your generosity and love for the poor; And through your liturgical joy, devotion, and genuine piety.”