In an interview with Euronews, the Archbishop of America says that he is sad to leave Constantinople but does not grieve, because his new flock waits for him in the United States.
As Elpidophoros pointed out, he will always return to Constantinople, since it is his home country. In 1977 his family left the city. He grew up in Athens and Thessaloniki, while he studied at the Theological School of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He decided to return to Constantinople after the election of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, an election Elpidophoros characterizes as “world changing”.
Elpidophoros appears optimistic about the reopening of the Theological School of Halki, saying that in Turkey this situation costs a lot, and has no benefit. He estimates that the Halki Seminary will attract a large number of students, so when it opens its gates, it has to lay down strict criteria for student choice.
The Archbishop of America seems to recognize the difficulties faced by the Greek community and the Orthodox Church of America, but he says he is optimistic as he believes in the potential of the Greek community. The first serious issue he is called upon to face after his enthronement is the completion of the construction of St. Nicholas Church at the “zero point” in New York.
Elpidophoros also referred to Giannis Antetokounmpo, stressing that “people love him not only because he is a good athlete but mainly because of his moral and truly humble character”.
Regarding the crisis with Moscow because of the issue of Ukraine, he stresses that “the removal of Ukraine from the Russian chariot is a major issue for Russia” adding that Moscow’s reaction was violent and disproportionate, though expected.
The Archbishop of America argues that, from an ecclesiastic point of view, Moscow’s reaction is incomprehensible, while stressing that the Ecumenical Patriarchate carefully studied every aspect before proceeding to the granting of the status of Autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. He also hopes that Russia will soon revise its attitude because, as he notes, “one cannot hold the river back”.
In concluding his interview, Archbishop of America also promises to visit Constantinople as frequently as he can, so as “to pay respect to my Father and kiss the hand of my Patriarch”.