On Sunday, June 27, the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George welcomed, for his first Archpastoral visitation, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America. It was a day of true joy and celebration. His Eminence celebrated a festive and prayerful Hierarchical Liturgy marking the Feast of All Saints on the Orthodox calendar.
The faith community was also privileged to witness and affirm the Priestly Ordination of Fr. Thomas Manuel, who will serve as a missionary in Guatemala where he has previously served the Mayan people as a Deacon. The Archbishop used the ordination to highlight Fr. Thomas’ work in the mission as an illustration of the call to the Church to expand its presence and proclamation of the Gospel to cultures and languages, in foreign lands and across the United States. His expansive message also noted that the fact that the President of the St. George Parish Council is a woman was a positive step in the broader involvement of women in Church life and order.
Following the liturgical services, a grand luncheon was held for the Archbishop and all participants in the day’s celebration. The faithful of St. George also celebrated at the luncheon the second anniversary of his Enthronement as Archbishop of America and Exarch of the Ecumenical Throne.
The Archbishop was eager to have photos taken with the parish ministries and organizations. He made special note of the number of concelebrants, the reverent service of the Altar Servers, and the quality of those who sang in the choir.
Adding to the celebration was the raising to the rank of Protopresbyter of Fr. Patrick Viscuso, a Canon Lawyer and scholar who assists at St. George with the Divine Services. Notable also were His Eminence’s compliments to the leadership at St. George and the fact that our parish was known widely for its spiritual fidelity and effective organization.
Fr. Dimitrios Antokas stated what was true and palpable: “The Archbishop is, as his name - Elpidophoros – indicates: ‘the bringer of hope.’ He sees with a new vision. He has brought the light of Christ to the dark corners of the human heart.”
Our parish community felt that intensely in this Archpastoral visitation. It was a true grace that was bestowed upon the parish, and a genuine example of the spiritual power of the Orthodox Christian faith. May His Eminence continue to draw us together as does Christ the High Priest.
Eis polla eti, Despota!