NEW YORK – His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is expected to visit the United States next November and will officiate at the Thyranixia Service (Opening of the Doors) of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine in Lower Manhattan.
The information was verified by His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America during his homily at the St. Nicholas parish in Flushing, New York.
The Archbishop, among other things, said to the congregation that “this is the year that the promise (τάμα) which our Greek and Orthodox Nation made here in America, the rebuilding of the Saint Nicholas church, will be fulfilled by the grace of God. It is going to be realized thanks to your support, you our faithful people. Our Patriarch will come on November 2 to officiate at the Thyranixia Service of this important church of ours, the National Shrine of Saint Nicholas.”
The Archbishop emphasized that “not only your community should be proud, but the entire Archdiocese of America, all Orthodox, and all of Hellenism in America can celebrate the fulfillment of the promise because God heard our prayers, he spoke to the hearts of the people who should help and work and now after much effort and pain we are getting ready for that important day.”
The Ecumenical Patriarch will also visit the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Boston, Washington DC, where he will be received by President Joseph Biden and other officials at the American Capital.”
As is known, the Patriarchal visit was scheduled to have taken place in May of 2020 but it was canceled due to the pandemic. It is hoped that the pandemic will be over in November so that His All Holiness will be able to make his Apostolic trip.
Archbishop Elpidophoros also praised the St. Nicholas of Flushing parish saying that it is a great joy to be with you again, here in this dynamic community of Saint Nicholas, the largest parish in our Holy Archdiocese. This is a thriving church that has worked diligently to pass through this season of the pandemic with best practices in order to keep the life and education programs of the parish as vibrant as possible. You are all to be congratulated for your dedication and commitment to keeping the traditions of this wonderful community alive.”
“We currently find ourselves in the opening month of the 2021 New Year, when we are just beginning to witness the end of the pandemic through the expected success of the various vaccines that are being provided. But this is going to take time, and not all of our fellow citizens are convinced of the efficacy of what is being proposed.
“Thus, we can still identify with the ten lepers we read of in today’s Gospel, as we have been crying out aloud to the Lord for months: ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’
“The lepers called out with the ‘Jesus Prayer’, seeking healing and restoration to the community, because their leprosy was an automatic exile from the greater society. They had no one but each other, since they had been excommunicated from the commonwealth of Israel by their disease.
“Indeed, all of us have felt isolated and occasionally excommunicated because of the pandemic! Even now, with an end coming into sight, we are struggling to keep our traditions and very way of life.
“I can imagine that most of us have been praying the Jesus Prayer through these past months, to seek the mercy of the Lord in our affliction, in our bereavement, and from the various trials that have come our way.
“Let us remember, though, that while the lepers, indeed, received healing, it was not immediately given to them. The Lord told them to fulfill the Mosaic Law and establish their healing by presenting themselves to the priests of the Temple. This, of course, was done in order to demonstrate their healing and reintegrate them into the life of the community.
“Then, while they were walking toward Jerusalem, they realized that they had truly been healed. How exuberant and joyful they must have felt. And in that moment, as they grasped new possibilities for their lives, nine of them rushed to the Temple to reveal their healing. And only one returned to the Lord. This healed leper came back with gratitude, with unashamed adoration for God, and with deep reverence, falling on the ground at the feet of the Lord Jesus. On seeing him, the Lord asked:
Were not ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?”