Today marks the second time that we Orthodox Christians have had to celebrate this great day of hope and renewal, the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, amid extraordinary and trying conditions. We have all endured a devastating year of the Covid-19 pandemic, during which most of us lost a relative or friend; I lost my dearest first cousin Helen Limberakis Sampsonis a week after she contracted the disease last April. With the guidance of the Ecumenical Patriarch His All-Holiness Bartholomew, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America has led the Church in America in a manner that ensured the safety of the faithful while maintaining our Holy Orthodox traditions and canons!
Now, as things are gradually returning to normal and many of us were able to attend the inspirational services of Holy Week personally, we give thanks to our Heavenly Father for protecting our families and this great nation. The Resurrection of our Lord and Savior is an occasion for renewed faith, increased almsgiving and intensification of prayer that the world may soon overcome the devastating pandemic, as not all countries are as fortunate as the United States. India, for example, has recently experienced an alarming spike in new cases, in recent weeks over 300,000 every day. Please continue to pray for a swift end to this scourge.
On the brighter side, with great excitement and anticipation we await the October visitation to the United States of our deeply revered, respected and admired Ecumenical Patriarch, our beloved Bartholomew. His historic and unparalleled 30-year ministry as Ecumenical Patriarch makes him the longest-serving Ecumenical Patriarch in history!
While in the United States, His All-Holiness will preside over the Θυρανοίξια, or Opening of the Doors Services, of the St. Nicholas National Shrine at the World Trade Center. This will signal the beginning of a grand new chapter in the history of religious freedom in this great country and in the world at large, with good ultimately triumphing over evil and peace over war. His All-Holiness will personally be presiding over Archon Weekend (October 29-31, 2021) during which the COVID heroes will be honored with the 2021 Athenagoras Human Rights Award: Albert Bourla, DVM, PhD (CEO Pfizer); Uğur Şahin, MD, PhD (CEO BioNTech) and George D. Yancopoulos, MD, PhD (President, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals)!
Meanwhile, as we all enjoy the Paschal lamb and our renewed spiritual life, we can look forward to joyous family events. Many of us are celebrating the birth of children and grandchildren. Maria and I can’t wait for the arrival, God willing, of our new grandchild, the offspring of our beloved son Anthony and daughter-in-law Kathryn. Others are looking forward to graduations, college acceptances, weddings and baptisms.
We all look forward to the formal presentation of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Foundation to His All-Holiness BARTHOLOMEW at our Friday, October 29, 2021 FOUNDING MEMBERS Banquet under the auspices of the Nicholas J. Bouras Award for Extraordinary Archon Stewardship, featuring former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offering the keynote address on religious freedom.
With all this and more to look forward to, my beloved brother Archons and friends, let us continue to fight the good fight, endure the marathon race to serve the needs of the Holy and Great Mother Church, and keep the faith! Maria and our entire family join me in wishing all of you and your beloved families a Pascha that is brilliant with the light of the Risen Lord.
Χριστός Ανέστη! Ἀληθῶς Aνέστη!
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
Христос воскрес! Воістину воскрес!
Anthony J. Limberakis, MD