In what has become an annual tradition, on Saturday, February 18, 2023, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate from the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco welcomed with great joy His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America to Phoenix, Arizona for the 46th Annual Folk Dance and Choral Festival.
Archon Regional Commander Hon. Steven Counelis (Southern California & Arizona), who served as Master of Ceremonies, thanked the Archons for their generosity in support of the evening’s celebration, and discussed the ever-expanding initiatives of the Order. Regional Commander Counelis stated: “With 752 Archons in the United States, under the spiritual leadership of His All-Holiness and our Archbishop, as well as with the energetic and creative leadership of our National Commander, Dr. Anthony Limberakis, I am confident that we will all be able to observe the Order of Saint Andrew carry out its mission with ever greater vigor, purpose and success in the future.”
Regional Commander Paul Sogotis (San Francisco – Bay Area) offered a toast to Archbishop Elpidophoros, “to convey our gratitude, respect, and love for his Archpastoral ministry.” At the conclusion of dinner, Regional Commander Isidoros Garifalakis (Pacific Northwest) presented to the Archbishop a donation of $15,000 from the Archons within the Metropolis of San Francisco. Archbishop Elpidophoros expressed his profound appreciation and committed to providing those funds to the Ecumenical Patriarchate to support a summer camp program for Christian youth in Turkey.
His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco expressed his brotherly love and respect for the Archbishop, welcoming him to the Metropolis of San Francisco. Metropolitan Gerasimos said: “As one church, when we come together, we can accomplish so much, and I am both proud of and grateful for the efforts of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate as Defenders of the Faith.”