NEW YORK – V. Rev. Archimandrite Father Chrysostomos Gilbert shared with the community his reflections on his eight years as presiding priest at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Manhattan as he departs on a new chapter in his journey. His statement follows:
“It was November 24, 2013 when I was ordained to the Holy Priesthood at Annunciation, which began our journey together as a church family. These past eight years have brought me great joy and fulfillment, and this experience has been integral in shaping my ministry.
“As your parish priest, I have been inspired by your commitment. I have witnessed your faithfulness. I have celebrated milestones with you. I have offered consolation during times of sadness and loss. Likewise, you have been open to new ideas, growth for this parish, and for the overall revitalization of the Annunciation Church.
“Annunciation offers something for everyone – Sunday School, Hope/Joy, Greek School, Greek Dance, Oratorical Festival, Young Professionals Ministry, Outreach, Philoptochos, Adult Educational Lectures, Stewardship and Mistletoe Gala, and other social events. Our Parish Council members are dedicated and lead with faith and integrity. We have one of the finest music ministry programs with our chanter Christos Stavropoulos, and our angelic choir under the direction of Michael Cofield. Most important, Annunciation is a worshiping community.
“I am not detailing all of these items because they were my accomplishments. This is the work of the Lord! This is what happens when a community unites in prayer and vision to be a loving and faithful Christian family.
“Just because I am departing from Annunciation does not impact the quality and breadth of the programs and ministries that are offered. On the contrary, you have an obligation to work with Father Sotirios Michalatos to grow these even more and to continue the good works of this community. New opportunities await you, and I know you will embrace them with the same commitment that I have seen over these past eight years.
“What a wonderful milestone we celebrated in 2017 with the 125th Anniversary of this community. There is a lot of history with our parish, and there are yet many more chapters to be written. And even though I will no longer be serving as your priest, this parish will always hold a special place in my heart, and you will always be remembered in my prayers. Just as there were generations of people that came before us to establish this community, every person today is forever a part of the fabric of this parish, and we will always be connected by our spiritual home of the Annunciation. And with our recent renovations, the Annunciation is a warm, welcoming and beautifully adorned church in which we worship with mind, heart and soul Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
On the Feast of the Annunciation – March 25 – we honor the day that the Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary to share the Good News that she had been chosen to bear the incarnate Christ. Likewise, our Annunciation parish also has good news to share – the love of Jesus Christ and that gift of Salvation which we have been given through His Crucifixion and Resurrection.
“It is said that when you move on from a position, leave it better than you found it. I hope that is how you feel. I am so proud of the work of this parish community, and the way you have been engaged in learning, growth, restoration and emulating Christ’s love through your thoughts, words and deeds.
“Pray for me, as I will continue to pray for you to Jesus Christ, through the Intercessions of the Holy Theotokos and the patroness of our parish, Saint Xenia of Kalamata. God bless you always!”