BOSTON – His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America ordained to the Priesthood Deacon Sotiris Michalatos at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity on Saturday, September 26. The newly ordained priest will serve as assistant at the Cathedral, while Rev. Nicholas Karloutsos will assume the Deanship on October 1.
Archbishop Elpidophoros in his address to Fr. Sotiris Michalatos said among other things: “My beloved spiritual son, Deacon Sotiri, today, in the presence of your beloved Katherine, your family, your friends, and the community you have been serving and will continue to serve, you are crossing over from the service of the Diaconate to the ministry of the Holy Priesthood. It is a natural passage for most deacons, but it is also a supernatural event. Today, the grace of the Holy Spirit comes upon you in a new and special way, in a way that brings you even deeper into the ministry of the Order of Melchizedek. You remember him, of course, the first man to be called ‘priest’ in Holy Scripture. He is the exemplar who prefigured and was fulfilled by our Great High Priest and Lord Jesus Christ. Melchizedek is, as the Epistle to the Hebrews says: Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; he abides a priest continually.”
The Archbishop further elaborated: “My beloved Deacon, today you join yourself to the Order of Melchizedek, which is perfected in the Great High Priest our Lord Jesus Christ. And your participation – your μετουσία – in this Order is one of offering. As a priest of the Most High God, you are called above all else to offer the Divine Eucharist – the bread and the wine, as once did Melchizedek to Abraham. Now, instead of Abraham, the man of faith, you will offer the bread and wine to the Source and Well-spring of our Faith – the Holy and Divine Trinity. And you, who have both mother and father, and who are mortal by nature, will stand in the place of our Lord Jesus Christ Who is, as we pray in the Divine Liturgy: ‘… the One Who both offers and is offered, the One Who is received and is distributed…’ This is an awesome gift – to stand in the place of Christ and re-create in time, indeed, time after time – that which was done once and for all – εφάπαξ – for the life of the world. You will utter the very words that the Lord said on the night in which He offered Himself for the life of the world: ‘Take, eat, this is My Body, which is broken for you for the remission of sins.’ And:
‘Drink of this, all of you; this is My Blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins.’”
Continuing, the Archbishop said, “this you will do in your ministry as a priest before the Holy Altar, my beloved Deacon. But first, you will receive the charge, the sacred deposit of the Faith – the Παρακαταθήκη; and only on this day – never to be repeated until the Day of Judgment. I will say to you, as I place the Body of Christ – the Lamb that takes away the sins of the world – into your hands: “Receive this Divine Trust, and guard it until the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, at which time He will demand It from you.”