The new Archbishop of America Elpidophoros has said that his top priority is to unite the expatriate community.
Elpidophoros, who is currently visiting Athens, was speaking after a meeting with Foreign Minister George Katrougalos and Deputy Foreign Minister Terence Quick at the foreign ministry in Athens on Friday.
Concerning the differences of opinion within the Greek community in America, Elpidophoros stressed that the “divisions must cease” and noted that the Ecumenical Patriarchate had a tradition of “reconciling differences.”
He added that “uniting the expatriate community will be one of his top priorities as archbishop.”
He said expressed great satisfaction with the results of the meeting and said “armed with the good wishes of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the entire nation, I feel secure in taking on my new duties,” he said.
According to diplomatic sources, Katrougalos emphasised the importance of the enthronement of the new archbishop of America for the Greek expatriate community and the Orthodox faith generally, saying he would attend the enthronement ceremony on June 22.
Archbishop Elpidophoros said that he had invited Katrougalos, Quick and all the political leaders that he has met so far in Athens to attend his enthronement, expressing hope that they will be able to overcome the obstacles during a difficult political period and the upcoming elections in order to be with him “on a great day, not just for the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Diaspora abroad but for the entire nation.”
Asked what his top priorities will be once he assumes his new role, the archbishop said the most urgent issue was to resume building and complete St Nicholas Church at Ground Zero in New York, which he noted was a very important church in what was “the holiest spot for the American nation at this time.”
In addition to the foreign ministry, Archbishop Elpidophoros also paid a visit to Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos to ask for his advice on how to govern the archdiocese and “preserve the sense of connection with the homeland, Greece, but also to preserve the national, cultural and linguistic continuity and faith to the Orthodox tradition.”
Archbishop Ieronymos wished him strength in dealing with all issues and noted that the presence of the Church outside Greece “could be thought equal to an embassy”.
President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos received Archbishop Elpidophoros of America at the Presidential Mansion on Tuesday and congratulated him on his election as Archbishop of America. He underlined the importance of supporting the Archdiocese of America, as well as of supporting Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew himself in these crucial times, noting that this was extremely important for all Orthodoxy.
At the same time, he said that the mission of the Archbishop of America, Elpidophoros, concerns the support of one of the largest sections of the Greek community, the expatriate Greeks of America.
“You know things, you have served in high positions, you have proved that you have knowledge of the issues of both the Patriarchate and Orthodoxy. We are all confident that you will succeed,” the Greek President said.
On his part, the Archbishop of America warmly thanked the President for the meeting and underlined: “The Greek Diaspora of the United States of America is the pride of our Nation, of Hellenism throughout the world.”
Elpidophoros was also received by the President of the Greek Parliament Nikos Voutsis. [with info from greeknewsonline]
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