His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America presided over the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy honoring Saint Bartholomew at the historic Saint Bartholomew Church on Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan on June 11, 2021. A number of Hierarchs, Clergy and Archons were in attendance for the service. Dr. Konstantinos Koutras, Consul General of the Hellenic Republic to New York City was also present. Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis, National Commander of the Order of Saint Andrew, was asked to offer remarks at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy. Below are his remarks.
Remarks of National Commander Dr. Anthony Limberakis at the Divine Liturgy for the Feastday of the Apostle Bartholomew
Your Eminence, Archbishop Elpidophoros of America,
Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate,
Your Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, formerly of America
Most Reverend and Right Reverend Hierarchs of St. Bartholomew
Reverend Fathers, Brother Archons and fellow Orthodox Christians,
On this Feastday of His All Holiness Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome, and the Ecumenical Patriarch of World Orthodoxy, it is my great honor and privilege to offer these few words to mark this auspicious and joyous occasion.
This year of 2021 is the unprecedented and historic thirtieth anniversary of the election and enthronement of the longest serving Archbishop of Constantinople in history – a milestone of the highest significance for the global Orthodox Christian Church. On this, the feast of his Patronal Saint, the Apostle and Disciple of the Lord, Bartholomew, we offer abundant thanks and praise to God, for the gift of this wondrous human being and Spiritual Leader, to our lives, and to the life of the world.
I say, “global,” because the purely spiritual and fraternal ministry of His All Holiness extends throughout the entire oikoumene. He is a friend to all, and the shepherd who constantly seeks out those estranged from God. He is the embodiment and very incarnation of the ministry of reconciliation.
The breadth of accomplishment and the degree of impact of the historic tenure of this intrepid Ecumenical Patriarch is inspirational: preserving the environment and God’s Creation, known throughout the world as the "Green Patriarch;" encouraging dialogue among all children of Abraham: Jews, Christians and Muslims; granting religious freedom to the 43 million worthy faithful of Ukraine by issuing the Tomos of Autocephaly; protecting all Orthodox Christians during the COVID-19 pandemic by issuing liturgical guidance respecting and maintaining the traditions of our Orthodox Faith; promoting Orthodox Unity by convening a Pan Orthodox Council and working and serving together with three Popes during these past 30 years truly unprecedented and extraordinary feats for the Glory of God! Indeed, it is with great anticipation and joy that we await the planned Apostolic Visit of His All-Holiness to the United States for the Centennial Celebration of the founding of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America this coming fall.
And in you, Your Eminence, the Ecumenical Patriarch has shown the greatest love for the Mother Church’s flock in America, by sending to us his spiritual son and disciple – a hierarch worthy of every dignity of the high office which you hold, Archbishop of the Holy Archdiocese of America.
As National Commander of the Order of Saint Andrew, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, please accept our deepest gratitude for your leadership, and our abiding gratitude for your encouragement of the proper relationship between our Holy Archdiocese, and the Mother and Great Church of Christ of Constantinople.
We are uplifted by your devotion and dedication to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and we pledge to always stand by you in your efforts to defend and strengthen the Venerable and Sacred Center of our Faith, the Ancient See of the Holy and First-called Apostle, Saint Andrew. My dear friends, never forget that the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, is the only organization in the world whose sole mission is to serve the needs and promote the well-being of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, The Mother Church of Constantinople.
Thus, Your Eminence, with your archiepiscopal blessing and inspiration, and with the guidance and leadership of our spiritual advisor, Protopresbyter Father Alexander Karloutsos, the Order of Saint Andrew has established the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Foundation. We have dreamed this dream for many years, and now, under your aegis, we have finally arrived at the kairós of opportunity.
We expect that this Endowment for the spiritual vision of the Ecumenical Throne will become a worldwide – and truly ecumenical – movement, to help ensure the salvific ministries of our beloved and precious Patriarchate in perpetuity.
Therefore, Your Eminence, Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, please accept out thanks for this day of celebration here in this magnificent church of Saint Bartholomew. We are grateful for every day that we make greater and greater spiritual progress under your blessed omophorion. For with you, we feel the presence and the living breath of our Spiritual Father, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
We pray for His Many, Many Years, and for Your Eminence and all the Hierarchy of our Patriarchate who serve this Day: Εἰς Πολλά Ἕτη!