NEW YORK – His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America ordained into the Holy Priesthood Fr. Avgoustinos Psomas at the Holy Trinity church of New Rochelle in New York.
Fr. Avgoustinos was born and raised in Corfu and settled in the village of the Saints Theodore in Lefkimmi, Corfu. While completing his undergraduate studies, he studied electrical engineering at the Electrical Engineering Department of the Sibitanidios Technical School in Athens. He also attended Byzantine music classes at Saint Marina in Illisia under Dr. Athanasios Vourlis.
After completing his military service in 2000, he passed the qualifying exams for admission to the School of Theology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in 2003 from which he was graduated in 2007. In 2008, he was graduated from the Conservatory of Northern Greece, where he completed his Master's Degree in Byzantine Music with courses in Speech Training, Choir Directing, Liturgical Studies, and Reciting Readings.
During his theological studies he studied for three consecutive years in the Byzantine School of Music under the guidance of the famous Panagiotis Neohoritis and served the Holy Analògion of the Church of St. George of Ormylia, where he had the privilege serving as the head chanter from 2004-2012, until his arrival in the United States. From 2013 to 2019 he served at the Hellenic Community of Saint Demetrios of Astoria as head chanter untill his tonsure to the ranks of the monks and his ordination to the Holy Diaconate on Christmas Eve 2019. Presently he pursuing an MTh at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Boston.
In his speech His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros among other things he said the following:
“My beloved spiritual son, Hierodeacon Avgoustinos, you have traveled many miles to arrive at this threshold today, at the very door of the Mystical Service to the Holy and Life-giving Trinity. From Kerkyra (Corfu) to New Rochelle is indeed many thousands of miles, but the few steps you are about to take around the Holy Altar are an even longer journey.
“To embrace the life of a priest of the Most High God, and to commit to the service of this Altar and to the ministry of the Body of Christ – this is a distance that stretches on into infinity. It is a lifelong pursuit of the perfect and Angelic worship of God of which we chant at every Divine Liturgy: Let us, who mystically represent the Cherubim and who sing the thrice-holy hymn to the life-creating Trinity, now laid aside every worldly care.”
The Archbishop also said that “you stand before the Altar that rests upon the Earth, but your ministry will take place in the Heaven of Heavens. Like the Twenty-four Presbyters ‘adorned in brilliant shining robes’ in the vision of the Revelation, you will stand enrobed in the vesture of the dignity of the Priesthood. And your worship and λειτουργία will rise up through the portal of the Divine Flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ unto ‘the Throne that stands squarely in the midst of Heaven.’ It is an Angelic ministry; thus, we ‘mystically represent the Cherubim’ and ever strive to become living icons – εικονίζοντες – as we chant in the glorious Cherubic Hymn. Indeed, for the life of a hieromonk, a celibate priest, is called to be like the Cherubim, as the Holy Father of the Desert, Abba Bessarion counseled: ‘A monk must be like the Cherubim … all eye!’
Therefore, Beloved Hierodeacon Avgoustinos, let your ministry as a priest be marked by and be praised for vigilance – the ν?ψις of the Holy Fathers and Mothers of our Church. As the Holy Chief of the Apostles, Peter encourages: Νήψατε; Γρηγορήσατε! Let introspection, meditation, mindfulness, and reflection expand your love and concern for others.”