By His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America
At the Philoptochos Agape Breakfast
Centennial Clergy-Laity Congress
Marriott Marquis (Broadway South – 6th Floor)
New York, New York
July 6, 2022
Most Honorable Delegation of the Mother Church of Constantinople:
Your Eminence Elder-Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon,
Your Eminence Metropolitan Prodromos of Rethymnon and Avlopotamos, and Very Rev. Grand Ecclesiarch Aetios,
Your Eminences and Graces, (if present)
Your Grace Bishop Athenagoras of Nazianzos, Spiritual Advisor of National Philoptochos,
Dear Madam President of National Philoptochos, Mrs. Arlene Siavelis Kehl,
My beloved sisters in Christ of the Philoptochos Societies from across our Sacred Archdiocese,
This AGAPE Breakfast – with AGAPE being an Acronym for All Generations Accomplishing Philanthropic Endeavors - is an opportunity to recognize your own Chapters, and to share in the joy of ministry. I want to thank the Grand Benefactors of this year’s breakfast: Michael and Kay Johnson of Denver, Colorado. They are long-time supporters of National Philoptochos, the Metropolis of Denver, the Archdiocese, Leadership One Hundred, and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Foundation. We wish they could have been with us today. And so, we send them our prayers, our love, and our gratitude.
The AGAPE Awards are an inspirational and motivational challenge for all the Chapters around this great Nation. The fact that one chapter from each Metropolis was chosen, does not exclude anyone from this joyful celebration.
I am particularly moved by the Icon Plaque that was presented to each Chapter: Saint Sophia and her daughters: Pisti (Faith), Elpida (Hope) and Agapi (Love).
Moreover, the fact that you have honored the Hierarchs who have worked with you in the past - and who are working even now - is a gracious and loving act. Thank you so much for this.
His Eminence, Elder Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon spoke for the Delegation from the Mother Church, and expressed their thankfulness to you all.
I want to congratulate President Arlene Siavelis Kehl, Convention Chair Anita Kartalopoulos, AGAPE co-chairs Valine Georgeson and Stella Pantelides, and all the National Philoptochos members.
Thank you to the beautiful youth choir as well, for sharing their gift of music with us this morning.
This year’s AGAPE awards have highlighted the unique response of nine chapters to the COVID crisis. Each chapter found a way to overcome lockdown barriers and extend the love of the Church and the love of Philoptochos. In the video we all just saw, we learned that chapters were not inhibited by COVID, but instead, they found a way to accomplish the following:
Supported healthcare workers by providing them with meals and food baskets;
Created a “Cares Ministry” to support those in lockdown, especially seniors;
Expanded services to soup kitchens and to food pantries;
Provided financial support to low-income families and individuals;
Engaged in blood drives;
Supported the outward community but never stopped staying in touch with our own community through ZOOM meetings and fellowship wherever possible.
This is truly AGAPE! This is truly Philoptochos! These chapters are an inspiration, giving of their time and talent to help those most in need and going above and beyond in their humanitarian endeavors.
Please join me in congratulating once more, the 2022 AGAPE Award winners! Thank you and God bless you for your ministry in our Archdiocese and in our communities nationwide.
Of special note, I want to recognize, as Centennial Honorees, Jeannie Ranglas and Stella Pantelidis. You both have been exceptional in your devotion to Philoptochos and the Church. Please come forward at this moment to receive your award:
Yesterday, I said that Philoptochos is the very soul of our Archdiocese. I mean that with all my heart.
You are the action of Agape in our Archdiocese, and for this I thank you for your faith, your hope, and above all, your love.
May the Good Lord bless you all!