Greetings from Bishop Elpidophoros at the Archdiocesan Christmas Open Day – Messages


His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America

Greetings to the Archdiocesan Christmas Open Day

Seat of the Archdiocese

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you this evening to our sacred seat in the Archdiocese for our annual Christmas Open House. We came together – with some caution and being as cautious as possible – to affirm our faith in the spirit of the season, as well as our hopes for the future.

We affirm our commitment to the Gospel of Him who was born in Bethlehem of Judea for us and for our salvation. Even with our social distancing, we are making room for the Newborn Lord of Glory in our lives; we make room for ourselves in our hearts.

In Bethlehem, two thousand years ago, a young woman – nine months pregnant and protected only by an old man – sought a place to deliver her child. She could only find a room with the beasts of the field, who welcomed the Mother of their Creator.

This evening, we open the doors of our Archdiocese to you in order to symbolize our welcome to the whole world. Our Church may be small compared to others in the United States.

But like the Grotto of Bethlehem, which received the God of All, we contain a message that the whole world needs. Orthodoxy is not an outdated version of the Christian Gospel – it is the Gospel!

The fullness of faith that we have by the grace of God—not because we are better or more worthy than anyone else—is a fullness and completeness that we have a responsibility to share.

From this archdiocese – right here on East 79th Street – we have the opportunity to send “light and truth” across our nation and into the world.

We have a deep mission and purpose to which God has called us. And we have a gifted and extraordinary community from which to draw talent and resources.

As I welcome you all to the Archdiocese tonight, I welcome you to this mission and this purpose. We are in this service to God together as one family in Christ.

We are not the largest flock, but as the Lord said:

Μὴ φοβοῦ τὸ μικρὸν ποίμνιον ….

May the little herd not be afraid….

Mary and Joseph were not afraid when they settled down with the creatures of God in the Cave, because as the Prophet Isaiah said:

The ox knows its owner, and the donkey the manger of its master….

Welcome, then, to the place where God dwells, which is indeed your Church and the Master’s manger. And enjoy these holidays as much as you can, for they are precious times of spiritual blessing.

May God grant you and your families a safe and peaceful arrival to the glorious Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and may you all enjoy a happy and prosperous New Year 2022.

Καλά Χριστούγεννα!


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