Thoughts on the Occasion of Archbishop Elpidophoros’ Name Day

November 2, 2019

On November 2 His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros will celebrate his Name Day for the first time as Archbishop of America.

On that Saturday morning the Archbishop will officiate at the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at 9:00 AM at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, 319 East 74th Street in Manhattan.

During the Liturgy, the Archbishop will ordain Archdeacon Panteleimon Papadopolulos to the Holy Priesthood. A Luncheon hosted by the Philoptochos, will follow in the adjacent Cathedral Center.

Later in the day, from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM there will be an Open House Reception at Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Headquarters, 8 East 79th Street, not far from the Cathedral. Faithful not only from New York but from everywhere in the country will have the opportunity to attend, greet, offer best wishes and speak with their new spiritual father and teacher in the faith.

The Archbishop’s baptismal name was Ioannis but in 1994 during his ordination to the Diaconate at the St. George Patriarchal Cathedral His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarchal Bartholomew renamed him Elpidophoros “symbolically” as the Patriarch has said.

From the book of Synaxarion (Collection of Saints and Martyrs) we learn that on November 2 we commemorate the Feast day of The Holy Martyrs Acindynos, Pegasios, Aphthonios, Elpidophoros, and Anempodistos.

These Martyrs contested in Persia about the year 330, in the reign of Sapor (Shapur) II, King of Persia (325-379). Acindynos, Pegasios, and Anempodistos, Persian Christians, confessed Christ before the King, and were put to many torments. Aphthonios and Elpidophoros, drawn to the Faith of Christ through the Martyrs, were beheaded with another 7,000 people. Saints Acindynos, Pegasios, and Anempodistos were at last burned to death. Two churches were dedicated in their honor in Constantinople. As is often the case in church hymns, there is a play on the meanings of the Saints’ names here. Acindynos means ‘unimperilled’; Pegasios is derived from pigazo I ‘to gush forth’; Aphthonios is derived from aphthonos – ‘abundant’; Elpidophoros means ‘bringer of hope’; and Anempodistos means ‘unhindered.’

The Patriarch had already noticed early on – from the time Ioannis Lampryniadis was a student of Theology – the gifts that God had bestowed upon him and he had foreseen that Elpidophoros could bring hope to the martyred and wounded Mother Church of Constantinople.

The Patriarch’s instinct was correct because whichever position Elpidophoros was assigned, from the Diaconate, Chief Secretariat of the Holy Synod, Head of the Holy Trinity Monastery in Halki, and Metropolitan of Bursa Elpidophoros brought hope and progress.

Now, since June 22 when he was placed on the Archbishopric Throne of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, which is the biggest and more prestigious Ecclesiastical Eparchy of the Ecumenical Throne, Archbishop Elpidophoros every day has brought hope and bright prospects after he inherited a spiritually and financially bankrupt Archdiocese. He has also had to deal with the small-mindedness and heartlessness of those who are equally responsible along with past Archbishop Demetrios for the dire condition of the Church in America.

Let us remember this report of the Archbishop’s unanimous election that The National Herald broke in its electronic edition minutes after the election was completed at the St. George Patriarchal Church at the Phanar:

“Metropolitan Elpidophoros of Bursa was elected Archbishop of America on Saturday, May 1. His enthronement will take place on Saturday, June 22 at the Holy Trinity Archdiocesan Cathedral in Manhattan and Metropolitan Methodios of Boston was appointed locum tenens until the new archbishop is enthroned. Methodios, along with Bishop Apostolos, Secretary of the Eparchial Synod, and Fr. Alexander Karloutsos, Protopresbyter  of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Advisor to the Order of St. Andrew, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, will oversee preparations for the ceremony.”

Shortly after his unanimous election in Constantinople by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Archbishop Elpidophoros made the following exclusive statement to The National Herald: “I am deeply touched because the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Synod honored me with their vote and confidence. I express my feelings of gratitude to our Patriarch and the Holy Synod. I glorify God, and with His Grace I will serve the superb people of the Holy Archdiocese of America, a people whom I love and who love the Church, who are faithful to its traditions and respect our Ecumenical Patriarchate. I greet my beloved brother members of the Holy Synod and the other brother hierarchs and bless from my heart the reverend clergy and the People of God. I am looking forward to meeting our People. We have many things to do together. All together. Christ is risen.”

Five weeks later his enthronement on Saturday June 22 a sacred and historic event of supreme significance marked our Greek Orthodox Church and Community in the United States.

It was a high point in the life of our Church and the Greek-American Community because the presence, the status, and 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 put it in more theological terms.

Furthermore, it was an event that doesn’t take place often. The last time we witnessed an enthronement was twenty years ago. It is also significant 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 fulltime professor at the Theological School of the University of Thessaloniki.

It is widely known to all that he assumes 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.

He has no choice but to succeed.


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