Direct Archdiocesan District
Roslyn, New York
October 25, 2009
Remarks as prepared for delivery
Your Eminence Archbishop
Demetrios of America,
Your Eminences and Graces,
Reverend Clergy of the Holy Archdiocese of America,
Beloved Children in the Lord,
“As you behold your children’s children like saplings around your table, rejoice and be glad, O high Priest, and offer them to Christ the Chief Shepherd!” (Anavathmoi of Grave Tone)
Tonight, beloved family in Christ, we see in you the fulfillment of this blessed spiritual ode of our Holy Church. We behold the priests of the Lord, the Holy Levites of the New Israel of God, together with the wonderful Presvyteres who bear extraordinary burdens and responsibilities in the communities, gathered “epi to afto” – gathered in unity of place and purpose – gathered in love of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
We rejoice that we are with you as a father among his children, for you are truly our children in the Lord – children of the Holy Mother and great Church of Christ, whom you serve with the dignity of the Holy Priesthood. For your service and your collective years and generations of ministry, as your Patriarch, I express to you my gratitude and pride.
As Ecumenical Patriarch, we have a special role throughout the entire Orthodox Christian World – to hold firm the rudder of the Ship of Salvation on a course of fraternal peace and good will. But among the Eparchies of the Ecumenical Throne, our interest is more personal, if you will, because you are branches of the root and vine planted by the Apostle Andrew. You are fruit of the centuries of labors, martyrdom and witness of the Church of Seven Ecumenical Councils – the Church which is the Alpha and the Omega of all true Christian Doctrine and Dogma – the Church through which ‘ancient landmarks of the fathers have been established,’ and which may never be moved, even as the Scripture says (Proverbs 22:28).
To this most special vineyard, ten years ago the Ecumenical Patriarchate sent a most special husbandman – His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios. In the ten years of his arch-pastoral ministry, a tranquil, hopeful, and successful Church has flourished under his steady and experienced hands. For this, we express to you, Your Eminence, the heartfelt satisfaction of the Mother Church for your years of service. We pray that God will grant unto you many years of health and vitality of soul and spirit, so that you may always lead your flock with inspired care and providential vigilance. We also give thanks for the Metropolitans who lead the Holy Metropolises throughout the country, and we note the presence here tonight of his Eminence Evangelos of New Jersey with so many of his Priests and Presvyteres.
Therefore, we lift our glass to you, beloved brother in the Lord – to all the Metropolitans and Bishops – and to all your faithful clergy and their families – that the Lord will ever shower His abundant blessings upon the Holy Archdiocese of America, the Holy Metropolises, all its spiritual leaders – upon you, the faithful Presbyters and Presvyteres and your children and grandchildren, upon your church communities and faithful, and always fill your hearts and minds with the knowledge and love of our God Who is glorified in Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
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