For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the faithful of British Columbia welcomed Archbishop Sotirios of Canada for a ten-day pastoral visit from May 13 to 23.
On Friday, May 13, Archbishop Sotirios arrived in Victoria, where a welcome luncheon was held by the Board of Directors of the Greek Community of Victoria and Vancouver Island.
On Saturday, May 14, the Divine Liturgy and Ordination to the Priesthood of Dn. Dimitrios Vickery was celebrated at Ypapanti Greek Orthodox Church in Victoria, assisted by Fr. G. Tolias and Fr. T. Prattas. May Fr. D. Vickery always be worthy.
On Sunday, May 15, assisted by Fr. N. Sideras, Parish Priest, and Fr. G. Despotov, Archbishop Sotirios presided at Matins and celebrated the Divine Liturgy at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Vancouver. A special prayer was said for all the departed members of AHEPA, as is the custom of our Archdiocese on the third Sunday of May. Upon the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, a luncheon was served to all.
That night, Archbishop Sotirios had a dinner meeting with members of the Boards of Directors of the three Communities of the Lower Mainland.
On Monday, May 16, the Philoptochos Retreat of the three chapters (St. George, Sts Nicholas and Dimitrios, St. Constantine and Helen) of the Greek Communities of East Vancouver, was held with Archbishop Sotirios at Sts. Nicholas and Dimitrios church.
On Tuesday, May 17, together with the clergy of the Lower Mainland, Archbishop Sotirios visited Fr. Demetrios Pastsafas and Presbytera Irene, followed by a Clergy Luncheon where various pastoral matters were discussed.
That evening Archbishop Sotirios, Fr. T. Prattas, and Fr. N. Sideras were invited to a dinner by the Consul General of Greece in Vancouver, Eleni Georgopoulou at her home with her family.
On Thursday, May 19, the Archbishop met with young adults from the Metro Vancouver area at St. George Cathedral. He answered their questions with fatherly love and care for over an hour, encouraging them to live their faith every day.
On Friday, May 20, in the evening the G. Vespers service, and on Saturday, May 21, in the morning the D. Liturgy were celebrated by Archbishop Sotirios and the priests, T. Prattas, G. Despotov, N. Sideras, and D. Vickery, at the church of Sts. Constantine and Helen, Surrey and Fraser Valley BC, on the feast day of the Patron Saints.
The Archbishop introduced Fr. G. Despotov as the new Parish Priest of the Community. It was also announced that Mr. Chris Vela, a student of our Theological Academy, will be ordained to the Holy Diaconate and Priesthood in September.
On Sunday, May 22, Archbishop Sotirios celebrated the Divine Liturgy at Sts. Nicholas and Dimitrios Greek Orthodox Church, assisted by Fr. T. Prattas, Parish Priest, Fr. P. Kondratyev, and Fr. D. Tryphonopoulos. A special prayer was said for the Battle of Crete at the conclusion of Liturgy. A luncheon was served to all.
That evening, Archbishop Sotirios had dinner with the family of Archon Dionyssios Stassinopoulos.
On Monday, May 23, the Archbishop expressing his gratitude to those who have been helping our Communities during this difficult period of COVID-19, departed for Toronto. The Archbishop said. “Let us all do the will of God. Let us care for our churches and their various programs: Youth, Camps, Altar Servers, Sunday Schools, Greek Schools, and more. Let us work together for the glory of God. A blessed summer to all!”