His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel, Geron of Chalcedon
The Vision of the Second Centennial:
The Charter of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Clergy Laity Congress
Marriott Marquis – Broadway South, Sixth Floor
New York, NY
July 6, 2022
Your Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America,
Your Eminence Metropolitan Prodromos of Rethymnon and Avlopotamos
Very Reverend Grand Ecclesiarch Aetios,
Your Eminences of the Holy Eparchial Synod,
Your Graces and Reverend Clergy,
Delegates of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America,
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I warmly greet you in the name of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ and I pray that these days of the 2022 Clergy-Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America will be a time of celebration, deeper fellowship and communion, a time of joy and fraternal togetherness. I am deeply grateful to His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for appointing me as his representative, along with His Eminence Metropolitan Prodromos of Rethymnon and Avlopotamos and the Very Reverend Grand Ecclesiarch Aetios, during this gathering. I would also like to thank His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America and the entire Greek Orthodox Archdiocese for their generous hospitality, as well as to congratulate all of you on this historic milestone.
The Holy Archdiocese of America holds a very special place among the Eparchies of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. It is certainly the largest and one of the most dynamic and inspirational with its longstanding history, its creativity in growing in the context of the Diaspora, its resilience in the face of adversity and challenges. These awe-inspiring and uplifting developments were only possible because the Archdiocese preserved the ancestral and authentic experience of ecclesial life which leads to the mystery of salvation. The role, mission and responsibility of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is to ensure that this authenticity of the apostolic faith is transmitted and shared from one generation to the next.
Thus, today’s conversation on a Vision of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese for the next hundred years is crucial and the presence of a delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate affirms the Mother Church’s commitment to listen and hear what all of you have to say about that vision. The Charter is only one vehicle to allow this vision to unfold and take shape by strengthening the unity of the Church. The Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate still has to review the June 15, 2022, request of the Holy Eparchial Synod for the current Charter to be lifted out of abeyance and returned to its normal status. This should happen during the upcoming meeting of the Holy and Sacred Synod later this month.
In the meantime, we need to turn our focus to a conversation about the priorities for Orthodoxy in America for the next one hundred years. The need for that conversation is urgent and the Patriarchal delegation is here to listen to your comments and ideas, because when we build up a Vision for the future of the Church, we are building up the body of Christ, in conformity with the Sacred Canons and traditions of our Church. As I said a few moments ago, it is the role and responsibility of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to be the guarantor of the genuine expression of Ecclesial Praxis in this blessed nation, always in conformity with the history and tradition of the martyric Great Church of Christ.
In that spirit, I look forward to this afternoon’s session. I will be carefully taking note of your suggestions and comments to better minister and serve the faithful in this third millennium. The Centennial of the Holy Archdiocese of America seems like the right time for these conversations to take place, as our world is changing so rapidly. Even though “Christians are in the world, but not of the world”, we are collectively, as one Church, responsible for sharing the faith, by finding ways to put the light of Christ on a stand so that “It gives light everyone in the house” (Matthew 5:15), as our Lord commands. This house, our house, is the world.
I commend His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America for tackling this thorny challenge, together with the members of the Holy Eparchial Synod, in a spirit of synergy. The presence of a delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is a sign of love and unceasing care from the Mother Church, but also the expression of our unconditional support for exploring the many dimensions of unity, especially through the Orthodox ethos of solidarity.
Once again, please accept my wholehearted congratulations on this Centennial, as I convey the paternal and patriarchal blessings and prayers of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
May these conversations be as fruitful as they are essential for building up the next one hundred years of the Holy Archdiocese of America!
Thank you for your kind attention.