NEW YORK – The 29th anniversary of the enthronement of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the feast day of Saint Elpidophoros, patron saint of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, were celebrated on November 2 by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
In the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Manhattan, on Monday morning, a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was performed, with all the prescribed health and safety COVID-19 protocols strictly followed. Due to the pandemic, attendance was limited and the celebration was more muted than in the past.
A large number of clergymen participated in the service with Archbishop Elpidophoros, while His Eminence the former Archbishop Demetrios of America also attended the Liturgy and joined in the prayers.
Among those present were the Ambassador of Greece to the United States Alexandra Papadopoulou, the Permanent Representative of Greece to the United Nations Maria Theofili, the Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras, Archdiocesan Council Vice President John Catsimatidis, and Archdiocese Vicar General Fr. Alexander Karloutsos, as well as priests and community leaders who wanted to wish the Archbishop a happy name day.
The Chancellor of the Archdiocese, Fr. Andreas Vithoulkas, wished Archbishop Elpidophoros all the best for his name day, while emphasizing that the coincidence of the celebration of the anniversary of the enthronement of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the name day of the Archbishop is a "double blessing."
In his remarks, Archbishop Elpidophoros thanked Fr. Vithoulkas and focused mainly on the ethos and contribution of Patriarch Bartholomew in the Orthodox Church expressing the hope that His All-Holiness will be at the helm of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for several more years.
At the same time, Archbishop Elpidophoros referred to the presence of the former Archbishop Demetrios of America and then the Chief Secretary of the Holy Synod His Grace Bishop Apostolos of Medea, His Grace Bishop Ierotheos of Efkarpia from St. Irene Chrysovalantou, and the Director of the Archbishop Iakovos Library and Learning Resource Center of the Hellenic College Holy Cross His Grace Bishop Ioakeim.
Afterwards, His Eminence welcomed Ambassador Alexandra Papadopoulou, Ambassador Maria Theofili, John Catsimatidis, and Consul General Konstantinos Koutras, while making a special reference to the Leadership 100, and also praising the married clergy.
Finally, Archbishop Elpidophoros gave Fr. Vithoulkas a replica of the Cross of Aghia Sophia as a gift in honor of his first anniversary as Chancellor, noting that the conversion of Aghia Sophia into a mosque "is disrespectful and in no way is considered by us as the end of the issue."