Archbishop Elpidophoros of America was present at the enthronement ceremony of the new Metropolitan Savvas of New York (of the Patriarchate of Antioch), calling once again for unity among the bishops who make up the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the USA.
Addressing Metropolitan Savvas, he spoke of a particularly joyful moment, as he will take over as Metropolitan of the Archdiocese in North America on behalf of the Patriarchate of Antioch.
Elpidophoros stressed that he has the privilege of knowing the Metropolitan for many years, even from their common course in Balabad. “You are known as a Hierarch with integrity and intelligence, piety, and patience. The flock of the Church of Antioch in North America is certainly very fortunate that the Patriarch (of Antioch) and the Holy Synod of your Church have decided that you should lead the flock.”
He expressed the conviction that the Orthodox Unity “for which we pray and work every day” will be strengthened with the presence of Mr. Savvas at the Synaxis of Bishops.
In this spirit of unity, Archbishop Elpidophoros once again addressed the Russian Hierarchs in order to return to the canonical work of the Assembly.
“I continue to appeal to our Brothers of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church outside of Russia to fully participate again in the activities of our Assembly. I look to you, Your Eminence, for support in making this a reality. Let us be the light on the path of unity,” added Archbishop Elpidophoros.
Read below the speech of Archbishop Elpidophoros of America
My Dear Brother, Metropolitan Saba,
In your precious and sacred person, I address the entire assembly of the Orthodox today, with special reference to the most honorable representatives of His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East: His Eminence Metropolitan Antonios and His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan.
To behold the faithful and diverse pleroma of our Holy Orthodox Church, gathered to welcome you as the Ruling Metropolitan Archbishop of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, is a joyous and spiritually uplifting moment. For indeed, this congregation summoned today is a living icon of the Church that you have come here to serve. We are comprised of all manner of persons – some born into Orthodox families, and others choosing to make the Orthodox family their own. But we are all children of the Living God, made in his image, made to be people of the Resurrection.
I have had the privilege of knowing Your Eminence for many years, even from our time at the Balamand, when I gained your precious friendship and which I continue to hold in the highest esteem to this day. You are renowned as a Hierarch of integrity and intelligence, of piety and patience. The Antiochian Flock of North America is surely most fortunate that His Beatitude and the Holy Synod of the Most Holy Church of Antioch determined that you should lead them. For you are, first and foremost, a shepherd in the spirit of the Good Shepherd, who leaves the ninety-nine upon the mountain and seeks out the lost. Many souls will be saved because of that righteous decision to send Your Eminence to America.
Moreover, the cause of Orthodox unity — for which we intensely pray and labor every day — will be strengthened by your presence in the Assembly of Bishops. Not only do the various ministries and services provided by the Assembly contribute to this end, but it is also the icon of unity our liturgical concelebrations present. Together, they offer the Faithful a tangible sign of our fraternity in Christ.
I am filled with joy that we stand together as brothers, united in our service to all the faithful. Knowing your dedication, I am confident that I can rely on Your Eminence to devote all your energy to the preservation of Orthodox Unity here in the United States. Despite the differences among the Mother Churches, I believe we can manifest synergy and fraternity, serving as a beacon of unity. In this spirit, I continue to appeal to our Brethren of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia to resume their full participation in the life of our Assembly. I look to Your Eminence for counsel and support in bringing this to fruition. Let us be a lamp for the path of unity.
Let the example of the response to the horrific earthquakes in Antakya and the surrounding regions by both our Patriarchates be the model for our cooperation. For where there is suffering, true love responds with abandon.
Let us strive together for the ever-greater manifestation of Orthodox unity in this land, even as the Mother Churches grapple with complex and complicated problems engendered by geopolitical concerns.
My dear and beloved Brother in Christ, allow me in closing to congratulate you on behalf of all the Hierarchs of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the USA and to express the gladness of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America in welcoming you, Metropolitan Saba. We embrace you in the love of the Lord, and we await the blessing of our concelebrations and the special joy that you will bring on this continent to the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese, and to all Orthodox Christians of good will.
Εἰς Πολλά Ἒτη Δέσποτα!
Christ is Risen!
Source: Archdiocese of America