Archbishop Elpidophoros of America gave an interview to the newspaper “The National Herald” on the occasion of the completion of one year since his election.
In his interview, the Archbishop reiterated his gratitude to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for his confidence in him, as well as to “each member of the Church in America, for the honor of serving them as their Archbishop.”
Ευγνωμονώ το Θεό και τη Μητέρα μας Εκκλησία για την εκλογή μου, πριν ένα ακριβώς χρόνο. Ευγνωμονώ και εσάς, το ποίμνιο της Αρχιεπισκοπής μας, για την πίστη και την αγάπη σας. Μαζί θα ξεπεράσουμε αυτή τη δοκιμασία. pic.twitter.com/GtSbBsu9NG
— Elpidophoros (@Elpidophoros) May 11, 2020
He also added that the first anniversary is an occasion for him to be held accountable for what he did during this time.
He referred to the harsh current reality, and mentioned with admiration the doctors’, nurses’ and government officials’ dedication to duty.
He described the experiences of this year as a “tornado”, and emphasized that from the first moment he showed great zeal to respond to the multiple issues he had to face along with his associates.
He also stressed that he was faced with a very active flock, which was ready to roll up the sleeves and work to achieve the set goals.
He mentioned five things that happened in the Archdiocese during the year. He spoke of internal changes in the administration of the Archdiocese, which raised the levels of competence and trust.
Also, the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology was saved last year from the certain imminent loss of the certification of its degrees. As a third point, he mentioned that the Church of Saint Nicholas at “Ground Zero” was saved from the brink of disaster thanks to the exceptional generosity of the faithful.
Fourth, the finances of the Archdiocese have been restored.
And fifth, an effort has been made to strengthen the Greek language and education in schools, on a new, realistic basis.
For 2021, the main goal is the whole flock to be found in good health. “We need to ensure that our parishes do not just survive the current crisis, but that they are on a path of growth and prosperity. We will complete the Pilgrimage of Saint Nicholas and we will open it to the nation and the whole world. However, now that the crisis has caused serious losses to our faithful, we will turn our attention to their spiritual and material needs, more than ever before,” he pointed out.
He described the history of the Greek community in America as “brilliant”, adding that “we are at a turning point for our Greek Diaspora, in the face of an opportunity to regenerate our spiritual and cultural values. Our Holy Archdiocese and all the clergy, the Hierarchs, the Priests and the Deacons, all of us have the obligation to play a leading role. We all notice the general decline of religious sentiment, the spread of the phenomenon called “Generation None”, that is, those who declare that they do not belong to any religion. But this is the opportunity to “seize the day” (carpe diem) and raise our Greek Orthodox Faith and Tradition to a new level of understanding and acceptance. We have many more hopes for the future and I am committed to fulfilling those hopes. I’m so proud of my flock!”
Regarding the finances of the Archdiocese, he stated that there are now internal audits and sound fiscal policy, “which ensures that the mistakes of the past will never be repeated.
There are still obligations that need to be met, but we have repaid all our old debts, we have restored the inalienable funds of our Archdiocese and we regularly pay our mortgage.”
He even referred to the impact that the pandemic has on the finances of the Archdiocese. Archbishop Elpidophoros stressed that it is remarkable how much the faithful respond at this time of crisis, how they continue to contribute to the work of the Church. “I am thrilled to see the sacrifices and their generosity,” he stressed.
He also said that the priority is to strengthen those who are in a difficult situation. “For this purpose, I established the ‘Greek Orthodox Archdiocese COVID-19 Relief Fund,’ to support those who have been more impacted by the current pandemic.”
Referring to the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, he stressed that Great strides have been made in eliminating administrative dysfunctions, and emphasized that everything is affected by two factors: registrations and the financial situation.
In his message to the Greek-American Community, he underlined that “I am here for you, I am at your disposal. The Church will also be here for you, at every step of your way. I’m not afraid. Don’t be afraid either. We will be together in Christ, with the mediation of the Virgin Mary and all the Saints, and we will triumph with the risen Lord. Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!”