Source: The National Herald
CONSTANTINOPLE – The Greeting by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for the Opening of the Clergy-Laity Congress follows:
Your Eminence, Archbishop Elpidophoros of America,
Venerable brother Hierarchs,
Blessed organizers, delegates, and guests,
Beloved sons and daughters,
Beyond sending you my formal message as a word of paternal love; and in addition to commissioning our official representation to your deliberations and celebrations in the person of the most senior Hierarch of the Throne, His Eminence Elder Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon, the new Metropolitan of Rethymnon and Avlopotamos (in Crete), Prodromos, as well as my Ecclesiarch and the Director of the Private Patriarchal Office, Fr. Aetios; I also wanted to send my greetings through this video in order to reassure you that I am with you in prayer, in thought, and in spirit.
Moreover, I would like you to know that, along with the Holy and Sacred Synod here at the Mother Church of Constantinople, I too am delighted to share with you the historic milestone of your centennial anniversary since the establishment of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
One hundred years ago, this first and foremost eparchy of our Ecumenical Patriarchate was founded in the heart of the New World as a sign of the promise and creativity that characterized the Orthodox Christians who set roots in this nation. One hundred years later, our Church is consecrating the National Shrine of St. Nicholas at Ground Zero as a symbol of resilience and resurrection in the heart of the nation’s largest city.
You have every right, therefore, to be pleased and proud of your journey and achievements – from the humble beginnings of the original communities to the impressive institutions, department ministries, and affiliated organizations in the present; from the smallest parochial administration in every corner of the continent to the pan-Orthodox coordination of every jurisdiction throughout the country; from the pastoral contributions of every order of the clergy to the seamless support of every sector of the laity; and finally, from the very first Clergy-Laity Congress convened in New York to the present festive Clergy-Laity Congress being held in the same city.
Despite – indeed, even through – many and manifold challenges, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America remains the vibrant face of Orthodoxy in the western world. Therefore, it “is meet and right” to give glory and praise to the almighty Lord, who has showered us with abundant wonders. In this spirit, we offer our paternal congratulations and patriarchal commendations to all of you who continue this sacred tradition and commemorate this significant centenary.
Dear delegates and friends,
With the certainty that this Clergy-Laity Congress will not be a mere commemorative event of past glories, but an inspiring and visionary moment for the future of this precious Eparchy of our Ecumenical Throne in the United States, we pray fervently and wholeheartedly that the grace of God will always bless, support, and protect you and your loved ones.