Eulogy of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros for Professor George Bebis – Messages

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Praise

By His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America

For Professor George Bebis

St. George Greek Orthodox Church

North Dartmouth, Massachusetts

July 25, 2022

Your Graces,

Dear Father Paul, beloved nephews, great-nephews, great-nieces and all members of the esteemed and bereaved Bebis Family,

Beloved Community of the Hellenic and Holy Cross College,

Reverend Clergy, Faculty and Staff, Friends and Relatives,

Devout members of this Church of St. George,

How dignified and right to pray today in this Church – led by the late Father Constantin Bebis, the twin brother of this legendary teacher and scholar. Here, at the center of his family’s life for many decades, we gather to rest one of the giants of our School’s precious faculty, a figure known to literally generations of priests.

Dr. George Bebis, always known to his students as “Dr. Bebis,” followed his beloved mother, brother, and sister into the realm of eternity. Having lived a long and full life, he deserved the reward of safe and saving passage which the Church Fathers taught and which he knew so well. He passed from the pale glory of this world to the ineffable glory of the next. He crossed the mystical Jordan to enter the land of the living.

Dr. Bebis was more than an institutional figure at Holy Cross. In many ways he was the institution itself. His single tenure at the school is an extraordinary testament to his dedication to Hellenic College and Holy Cross and his devotion to his students.

He came from Crete, an island of apostolic importance, and left Rethymno to meet the world – but always for Christ and his holy Church. Nearly seventy years ago he graduated from Holy Cross with the first of two degrees, and afterwards distinguished himself by advanced studies which made him an impeccable scholar of history and theology. patristics. His work on Nestorius is still considered one of the finest ever written. His understanding of his subject was as broad as it was deep. But despite all his academic accomplishments, what I think best describes him is not his pinnacle of intellect, but rather his generosity as a teacher. For it was in teaching – in schooling generations of clergy – that his greatest joy was fulfilled and his most enduring legacy established.

But what was his greatest achievement as a true Παιδαγωγός? Well, from what I’ve heard from his former students, and from what I learned myself during my teaching semester at the School a few years ago, it’s how he inspired them to read the Fathers for themselves.

Dr. Bebis knew that it was not enough to read and learn about the subject called “Patristics”. His teaching was designed to inspire students to directly engage “the spirit of the Fathers”.

Like First Called Andrew, who immediately brought his brother Peter to Christ, and Philip, who invited Nathanael to “come and see,” Dr. Bebis initiated his students into the ongoing quest to meet the Fathers of the Church. He knew that our clergy would be productive teachers of their flocks if they possessed the φρόνημα of the Fathers. And he knew that the best way to know the Fathers is to read them directly.

I’m sure I could call on any number of you present here today at these exequies, and you could tell a hundred stories of Dr Bebis –

of his love for the school,

Of his love for his fellow teachers,

Of his love for students,

And, above all, of his love for the Church.

There was never a call from his church that he didn’t respond to.

There has never been a text, briefing, speech, address or homily that he did not deliver. Dr. Bebis was the inspiration – or the inspiration – of the love of the Church Fathers in countless souls, and his devotion to the Church was always of an abiding nature.

His enthusiasm, encouragement and energy planted the words of the greatest theologians and saints in the hearts and minds of generations. And the planting of these nourishing seeds of patristic wisdom and didactic ecclesiology has yielded many great harvests of rich spiritual fruit in our Sacred Archdiocese of America.

And so, as we escort our beloved Dr. Bebis to his earthly resting place, let us recognize that the labors of his remarkable mind and heart continue forever. Let us be grateful for this excellent teacher – a very humble, diligent and sincere servant of the Church.

And let us lift up our voices to the Lord of resurrection and life, that he may grant our beloved brother, George, eternal rest among the saints and a joyful abode in the mansions of our heavenly Father.

May he taste the ineffable sweetness that emanates from the eternal glory of our Lord in the Kingdom of Heaven, and may his memory be truly eternal! Amen.

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