By His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America
At the Retired Clergy Association General Assembly
Centennial Clergy-Laity Congress
Marriott Marquis (Gilbert – 4th Floor)
New York, New York
July 5, 2022
My beloved brothers in Christ,
I am so very glad to be with all of you today, for you – the Retired Clergy of our Sacred Archdiocese – are strong and unshaken pillars of our Church. You bring such a wealth of experience, devotion, wisdom and practical knowledge to the younger generation of clergy. And you continue to serve and support the work of Christ from coast to coast to the very best of your seasoned abilities.
Indeed, you truly care for one another, as witnessed in your keeping in touch and making sure that those who have lost spouses are cared for and not forgotten. Your ministry to each other is very moving because you are a true brotherhood. Your fraternal love is an example to us all.
In this Centennial Year of our Sacred Archdiocese, your contributions are inexpressibly valuable. And I am very hopeful that as we reflect on your monumental contributions, we can find new ways to employ your knowledge, your maturity and the wealth of your personal experience for the greater good of the Church.
When I think of your legacy – both personal and combined – I think of how best to engage in a constant flow of renewal for our clergy. You can certainly provide our younger priests with a treasure-trove of knowledge and riches from your sage, pastoral know-how. And this provision should be part of our vision. Whether it is through our Theological School at a national level, or through the Metropolis system on a regional level, or through pairings of retired clergy with local pastors at the parish level, we need to pursue a course that maximizes your impact on the Church.
While you may have retired, you have certainly not retreated. You continue to serve in so many parishes that are in need, often providing the ministry of second or even third priests. Your humility is truly as admirable as your devotion!
On this afternoon, I would like to recognize three members of your noble company as Centennial Honorees:
His Grace Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos – an outstanding and humble hierarch, who served with distinction in the Ecumenical Affairs of our Archdiocese;
The Very Reverend Archimandrite Eugene Pappas – your President and one of the most eloquent clergymen of our Sacred Archdiocese— who is not able to be here with us today;
And the Reverend Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Throne Steve Vlahos – a voice of conscience and righteousness throughout his long service to the Church.
Each of these distinguished clergymen is worthy – as are all of you. And through them, I honor all of you as well.
You all have my profound gratitude for your service to our Ecumenical Patriarchate and to our Sacred Archdiocese of America.
May the Good Lord grant you health and length of days, so that your gifts may continue to bear fruit in the life of our Church.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.