By His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America
At the Archons Reception
Centennial Clergy-Laity Congress
Marriott Marquis (Broadway Lounge – 8th Floor)
New York, New York
July 5, 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 Reverend Grand Ecclesiarch Aetios,
Your Eminences and Graces,
National Commander Archon Limberakis,
Beloved Archons of the Order of Saint Andrew,
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
How very fitting it is that we have such an esteemed Delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate here with us this evening. The Order of Saint Andrew is a premier organization dedicated to the health and welfare of the Mother Church of Constantinople. You should all be very proud of your service to the First Throne of Orthodoxy and to the sacred person of His All-Holiness our Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Especially in the establishment of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Foundation, you have demonstrated your unfailing commitment to the See of your Patron, the First-Called Apostle Andrew.
The foundation that the Order of Archons has built – especially over the last three decades – is rooted deeply in the pursuit of freedom for the Mother Church, in order for Her to exercise her ministry of the Gospel and lead the Orthodox Church around the world.
His Eminence Elder-Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon noted the forces that are seeking to divide our Church, calling into question the proper canonical order of the Church established by the Holy Ecumenical Councils. Now, more than ever, we need the Archons to defend and protect the Mother Church. Indeed, you are a spiritual phalanx – soldiers of the Lord – and we thank you for your dedication, service and sacrifice.
As I think about the implications of this Centennial and the role of the Archons, I reflect on yesterday’s consecration of our Saint Nicholas Church and National Shrine. You stood by the Shrine with tremendous support, and I might note, that if you read the list of major donors to the Shrine, you will see the names of your many brother Archons.
You never say “No.” You always say “Yes.” Your goodness and generosity shines through like the translucence of the Shrine that will last for the centuries to come.
As we consider our next century, I am hopeful that we will build even greater ramparts of support for the Mother Church. Our mission is more vital than ever; for without the guiding hand of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, world Orthodoxy is in danger of degenerating into conflicting autocephalies in service to their particular national interests.
The other aspect of the next century is our definition of inclusivity. We must find a way to make it possible for as many people who wish to participate in this historic work of the Order to be able to do so. We have discussed this before, and we will continue that conversation, as we seek new paths to a fuller inclusion of all Members of the Body of Christ.
And so, in extending to you my warmest greetings and heartfelt commendation for your continued service, I would like to express my unwaning appreciation to all of you as well.
This evening, we are recognizing three of your fellow Archon brethren with our special Archdiocesan Centennial Honor:
Your National Commander, Dr. Anthony Limberkis,
and James Pantelides. These three individuals have been steadfast and inspirational leaders within the Order, and we honor them wholeheartedly and with tremendous joy for their many years of selfless and unwavering service.
May the blessings of the Holy Great Church of Christ always be with you, and may the Wisdom of God – exemplified in the Church of Hagia Sophia – inspire you to even greater heights of service to the First Throne of Orthodoxy and to our Great Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew!
Many blessing to all!!