Your Eminence, Metropolitan Panteleimon, Representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate,
My beloved brothers in the Lord, Metropolitans and Bishops,
Reverend Fathers and Delegates,
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Christ is truly in our midst!
We have come to our final two days of our 34th Clergy-Laity Congress, and to the work of the plenary sessions. Before we commence our work, let us pause for a moment, and consider what we have come here to accomplish.
As I said to all of you in my keynote address, the spirit that must prevail throughout all our deliberations must be directed and guided by our love for one another. Because after this meeting, whether we have disagreed or not, whether our positions have prevailed or not, we are still brothers and sisters in Christ, members of the one family of our Holy Archdiocese.
Therefore, I exhort all of you, to remember your calling and your vocation in Christ Jesus. Our Lord has called us to love one another, in word and in deed. Remember that a word once spoken can never be retrieved, and that love is best known through actions. Remember that difference of opinion or interpretation is no reason to feel excluded. We all have a right to our opinions, but our greater responsibility is to conduct ourselves according to the highest standards of our Greek Orthodox Faith: and these are faith, hope, love, peace, gentleness, concord.
As your Archbishop, I know that the formalities of our meetings are important; they are the essence of the democratic process. But what is more important, what is more vital, is our spiritual integrity, our wholeness, our unity in Christ.
My friends, and I call all of you, my friends, for regardless of our agreement on any given issue, the love of Christ for each and every human person has made us friends. Let us commence our work, and let us conclude our work in the light of His love. Our Lord asks us to make this sacrifice to Him, for it is truly pleasing in His sight.
Christ is truly in our midst! Let us rejoice in the knowledge of His love. Amen.