Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, our own Archbishop, is the person of the year 2019, because of his unanimous election to the Archbishopric Throne of America was the highest point in the life of our Church and the Greek-American Community.
The presence, the status, and the role of an Archbishop of America is of pivotal importance because he is the First, the Primate, if you wish, of the local Church in America, to phrase it in theological wording.
It was a very wise, prudent, and well-considered recommendation of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to the Holy Synod to elect Elpidophoros as Archbishop of America, because he was the best and most suitable hierarch for this position.
As His All-Holiness stated so vividly in his exclusive interview with The National Herald (in today’s edition), “Archbishop Elpidophoros is flesh from our flesh at the Phanar; he genuinely bears and expresses its spirit; he is dynamic, educated, a university professor of theology, accessible, with sensitivity to the pastoral needs of the faithful, with deep faith and trust in divine providence, and with a vision for the future. He is authentically traditional and contemporary; or, perhaps more accurately, because he is traditional, he is also pioneering. ‘Conservatives’ do not grasp the meaning of tradition. Traditionalism is not an inclination to the past in expectation of magical solutions; it involves gleaning from the experience of the past for the sake of offering a good witness in the present. Within the first six months of his tenure, Archbishop Elpidophoros has already established his mark. We certainly expect a great deal from him.”
It is very significant the fact that Archbishop Elpidophoros is a hierarch of young age, just 52 years old, but with substantial ecclesiastical experience and a track record of flourishing work at the Holy Theological School of Halki near Constantinople and also at the Metropolis of Bursa despite access only to extremely limited resources. He has strong academic credentials and recognition, being a full-time professor at the Theological School of the University of Thessaloniki.
It is widely known to all that he assumed the Archpastorship of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America when it is in an extremely difficult condition. Its institutions, primarily the Holy Cross School of Theology, need to be reorganized and rebuilt from their foundations. The Archbishop already has begun his reconstruction work by the election to its presidency of George Cantonis a new able and successful businessman and a new person to its Deanship Archimandrite Maximos Constas.
The Archbishop’s efforts to finish the St. Nicholas nave and shrine in Manhattan will soon prove fruitful because work will restart in the beginning of the New Year.
The new Archbishop Elpidophoros comes as bearer of hope, love, and unity for all and for everything. His election to the Archbishopric Throne of America opens a new chapter in the history of the Archdiocese and the Greek-American Community.
We live in historic days and are experiencing moments of joy and relief because new horizons have opened up before us. It is like a resurrection in which “the old have passed” and should pass forever, and “now everything is new and must be renewed.”
Time is of the essence, and unity, cooperation, and support are needed. There is no room for any kind of failure because Archbishop Elpidophoros is the last hope for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. It is as simple as that.