By Emilios Polygenis
Archbishop Elpidophoros of America visited on Monday, St. Anthony’s Monastery in the Arizona Desert.
Archbishop Elpidophoros, accompanied by Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco, was warmly welcomed by the Brotherhood and Elder Paisios, Abbot of the Monastery.
“We are very honoured by your visit, and we know that you have worked hard to reach the Monastery of Saint Anthony the Great,” Abbot Paisios said, welcoming the Archbishop.
The Abbot in his address referred to the offer of monasticism, emphasizing that “the monk is fighting for the salvation of the world and of all Christians.”
Abbot Paisios asked Archbishop Elpidophoros to bless the miracle of Monasticism in America, while asking him at the same time to be a supporter and patron of Elder Ephraim’s work.
For his part, the Archbishop of America thanked the Abbot for his kind words, and the brotherhood for the warm welcome.
“This is the second time God has granted me to come and pay a tribute to this wonderful monastery. When I came seven years ago I had the blessing to speak with Elder Ephraim and listen to his beneficial words,” Archbishop Elpidophoros said.
The Archbishop once again referred to the Halki seminary, saying that “we are all praying for the Theological School to reopen in order to give the Church again honest workers, clergy, bishops and patriarchs.”
Archbishop Elpidophoros also spoke about the importance of monasticism, stressing that “nothing can be done without obedience and the blessing of the abbot in a monastery.”
“Here in Arizona, God gave his blessing and permision to a Holy old man to come, Elder Ephraim. He found a desert, a spiritual desert, a thirsty desert, and he made the barren wilderness of the desert, arable,” Elpidophoros said.
“The Archdiocese will always support the monks, and will always be a shelter and protection to all of them, to all the Abbots and to all the fathers who have chosen this difficult life. I have learned to love, respect and protect the monasteries,” Elpidophoros emphasized.