By His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America
At the Dinner with National Philoptochos
Weehawken, New Jersey
July 4, 2022
Your Eminence Metropolitan Prodromos of Rethymnon and Avloptotamos
Most Honorable Delegate of the Mother Church of Constantinople:
Your Eminences and Graces,
Beloved Sisters of Philoptochos,
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
What a wonderful way to conclude such a wonderful day! I would like to thank our Philoptochos Sisterhood for their kindness, and for making arrangements for us to take in some refreshments after a very long day, as well as for making it possible for us to enjoy the fireworks tonight.
Here at our Archdiocesan Centennial Celebration, we also have the Ninetieth Anniversary of the founding of Philoptochos, which was established by the late Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras in November of 1931. This was one of his earliest accomplishments as the then Archbishop of North and South America – a feat that has had boundless benefits for the Church.
Today, we are celebrating the quintessential American Holiday, the Fourth of July. But for us – the Greek Orthodox Faithful – this Day will forevermore be associated with the Consecration of the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine at the World Trade Center.
Today, we sealed the history of America with the history of the Shrine, joining them together in a statement of freedom of conscience, and freedom of religion.
As we gaze upon the glorious fireworks displays that we will witness tonight, let us take pride in the fact that we have secured the glory of our Orthodox Christian Faith forever at the epicenter of the Twenty-First Century.
For Ground Zero is truly that point from which the new Century has emerged. Therefore, as our Sacred Archdiocese is also moving into its next century, it seems appropriate that we have a National platform from which to preach our message of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, Saint Nicholas is that platform, and may we always be worthy of it!
I would like to express my special appreciation to our Philoptochos, which has always supported the rebuilding of the Church and contributed over one million dollars to the Shrine. As much as you are a constant wellspring of renewal in the life of the Church, you are also a fundamental cornerstone of the unity of the Archdiocese through your chapters in every parish, from coast to coast.
And so, I raise my glass in honor of our Sisters of Philoptochos, and I ask that everyone lift their glass with me, too, and drink to their continued successes on behalf of our Holy Church. You – the Daughters, Sisters and Mothers of our Church in America – will always be treasured!
May the Good Lord bless you and your families forevermore!