by His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America
at the Chancellors Meeting
Centennial Clergy-Laity Congress
Marriott Marquis (Barrymore – 9th Floor)
New York, NY
July 5, 2022
Your Eminences and Graces,
Very Reverend Fr. Nektarios, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of America,
Dear and esteemed Chancellors of our Metropolises,
I am so grateful for this opportunity to meet with you and to listen to your ideas and concerns. As Father Nektarios has outlined in his remarks, your communication and cooperation are key to the Archdiocese functioning in optimal form.
As Chancellors – those who are first in the cell with your Hierarchs – you have both the access and the authority to create your own coalescence as co-ministers of the Church’s administration. Years ago, before I arrived as your Archbishop, it was hoped that the Assembly of Bishops would provide all Chancellors across the jurisdictional presences the opportunity to establish a common platform of connectivity and information-sharing.
Unfortunately, though, this never happened. But that does not mean that we cannot achieve such synergy among the Chancellors of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the United States. I can imagine that such an initiative would make everyone’s duties easier.
We live in the most technologically advanced country on the planet; literally, the world is at our fingertips. And while this advanced state of affairs is often at odds with our traditions and our faith, we can still utilize it to be more effective for the People of God.
This Centennial is an opportunity for us to pay a close examination to our methodologies and reevaluate them according to the needs of the Church for the next one hundred years. There is no reason that our administrative models cannot be as competent and up-to-date as secular models.
After all, the concept of a “diocese,” or διοίκησις in Greek, was a secular model – although today, the word is only associated with ecclesiastical affairs. It was a governmental paradigm invented by one of the harshest Roman imperial persecutors of the Church, Diocletian. And in the Christian Roman Empire that quickly ensued, it was fully adopted to manage the administrative affairs of the Church, and it continues to this day.
Indeed, the work of a Chancellor is a noble and pious work. But you do not need me to tell you that it can seem “never-ending” with the numerous crises that you are called to mediate on a daily basis. Nevertheless, know this: you are deeply valued by your Hierarchs, who could not serve the Faithful without your invaluable assistance.
Of course, one of your fellow brethren among you has been serving in this position longer than all of you, and he is your elder brother in the ministry of the Chancellor. I invite our Centennial Honoree, Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Throne George Tsahakis and Chancellor of the Holy Metropolis of Atlanta, to come forward and receive this distinction on behalf of all of you.
Every one of you has my abiding thanks for all that you do, together with the unwaning thanks of your Hierarchs, the clergy and the parishes that you serve.
Join with me in a new vision for the next One Hundred Years of our Sacred Archdiocese.
Our foundation is solid, built upon a precious legacy of the past.
And our current state of affairs is undergoing constant refreshing and renewal, so as to make our service to the Body of Christ more effective.
Now, let us work together to promote the kind of unity that strengthens individual ministry, even as it unifies the whole Body of the Church.
May the Lord bless you, your service in Christ, and your families abundantly!