Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco conversing with guests at the Metropolitan's dinner. (Photo: Kostas Petrakos Photography)
SAN FRANCISCO – The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco celebrated a century of ministry on the West Coast at a Gala held at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, CA.
Attended by over 400 esteemed guests, the event showcased the rich history of the Metropolis and its diverse ministries, and the event also paid tribute to the hierarchs who have faithfully served the western region of the United States for the past century. His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco was presented with the prestigious Theofanis Economidis Award, recognizing his exemplary leadership and commitment to the Metropolis for over 18 years. Over $485,000 was raised in support of the Metropolis ministries and will provide for the expansion of the transformative work of the Metropolis.
It was a distinct honor and blessing to have the presence of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, as well as other esteemed guests including His Eminence Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh, His Eminence Metropolitan Tarasios of Rhodopolis, His Grace Bishop Spyridon of Amastris, and His Grace Bishop Ioannis of Phocaea. Also in attendance were California Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis, and Consul General of Greece in San Francisco Socrates Sourvinos.
The Hierarchs that served the western region of our Archdiocese were recognized for the extraordinary leadership they provided through the 100 year history of what was originally a District, later a Diocese, and eventually a Metropolis. His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony, of blessed memory, was especially featured for the vision he brought to his ministry, focusing on programs for youth, as well as planting new parishes almost every year during his 26-year tenure until his passing on Christmas Day in 2004.
The Gala highlighted the 14 innovative ministries of the Metropolis that have been at the forefront of community service, spiritual growth, education, and cultural enrichment. These ministries include: Philoptochos, Christian Education, Family Wellness, Missions and Evangelism, Youth and Young Adults, Stewardship, Greek Language and Culture, Clergy Continuing Education, Saint Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center, Folk Dance and Choral Festival, Orthodox Parish Leadership, Greek Village Camp, Young Adult League Conferences, and Church Music.
Actor, producer, director and dedicated Greek Orthodox Christian Robert Krantz skillfully served as the Master of Ceremonies, guiding the program throughout the evening and sharing his own personal journey of faith and how the clergy and ministries of the Metropolis of San Francisco have impacted his life and family.
Congratulatory letters were offered by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Leadership 100, and the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The evening featured captivating musical performances by soprano Theodosia Roussos and pianist Mathias Coppens, a Byzantine Chant Choir of area clergy under the direction of Nektarios Antoniou, and pianist Nicholas Fettis, adding a touch of elegance to the celebratory atmosphere.
The Theofanis Economidis award was presented to Metropolitan Gerasimos by Metropolis Council Vice-President Isidoros Garifalakis. The gift was a custom family icon, prayerfully written by the sisters of the Monastery of the Theotokos the Lifegiving Spring in Dunlap, CA – which depicts the Saints and Feasts representing the family of Metropolitan Gerasimos. Several members of the Metropolitan’s family were also in attendance to celebrate this special evening with him, traveling from Boston, New York and Los Angeles.
Upon receiving the award, Metropolitan Gerasimos commented, “You gave me a gift, an icon depicting all the saints of my family. It is indeed a gift that I will cherish the rest of my life, remembering all these events from Christ’s life and the Saints, remembering my mother and my father, and how they gave me what I have today. The honor and glory of this award belongs to the Lord Himself, not to me. We are here tonight to celebrate what we have done together in the name of the Lord and his Holy Orthodox Church. Anything that has been accomplished in this Metropolis has been because of the collective effort of the people.”
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