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Archbishop Michael [left] congratulates newly enthroned Archbishop Elpidophoros.

With the blessing of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, His Eminence, Archbishop Michael of New York and the Diocese of New York and New Jersey represented His Beatitude and the Orthodox Church in America at the Enthronement of His Eminence, Archbishop Elpidophoros as the new Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

The Rite of Enthronement was celebrated at the Greek Archdiocese’s Holy Trinity Cathedral, New York, NY, on Saturday, June 22, 2019.

Also representing the OCA were Protopresbyter Leonid Kishkovsky, OCA Director of External Affairs, and Archpriest John Behr, Consultant to the OCA Office of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations, Director of the Master of Theology Program at Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Yonkers, NY, and the seminary’s Father Georges Florovsky Distinguished Professorship of Patristics.

Archbishop Michael delivered written words of greeting, the text of which appears below, and presented an icon of the Transfiguration of our Lord to Archbishop Elpidophoros on behalf of Metropolitan Tikhon.

Written Greeting of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon to
His Eminence, Archbishop Elpidophoros
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, New York, NY
Saturday, June 22, 2019

Your Eminence, beloved brother concelebrant in the Lord’s Mysteries,

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Archbishop Elpidophoros [right] and Archbishop Michael.

On the occasion of your Enthronement, it is a joy to send to you my greetings.  May the joy of the day as you celebrate with the fellow hierarchs, reverend priests, pious deacons, and God-fearing monastics and laity of the venerable Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America be a foretaste of your ministry as Archbishop.  The hierarchs, clergy, monastics and faithful of the diverse Orthodox churches in our country who join in welcoming you offer a sign of the common Orthodox witness in America. May God grant you many years of blessed service in His Church!

In celebrating the Great Feast of Holy Pentecost this week, and in contemplating the calling of the Spirit-bearing Church in the ripe missionary fields of America, I noticed some similarities between the context of that most Holy Day and our American situation.

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The Apostle Luke reports that in Jerusalem were “devout men, from every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5), just as in America live men and women with origins from all the nations and races of the world. Similarly, Saint Peter proclaimed that the prophecy given by Joel—“I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh” (Acts 2:17)—had been fulfilled, and here in America the Church has labored to bring the grace of the Spirit, through Her saving sacraments and teachings, to the varied and numerous people of America. May we be accounted worthy to further such salvific work, in imitation of our visionary predecessors: the ever-memorable Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople, and the Holy Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow, Enlightener of America, who both toiled with apostolic zeal and all-embracing love in this land.

Your Eminence, dear Brother in Christ, I regret not being with you at your Enthronement.  On this date I have the blessing to accompany His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, on his annual pilgrimage to Cappadocia. Be assured of my prayers; to be in that ancient land sanctified by many of our Church’s luminary hierarchs, and to be together with His All-Holiness, will be a special inspiration to offer prayers to our Lord Jesus Christ for your ministry in our young nation. Upon my return from pilgrimage, I look forward to calling on you at your earliest convenience in order to exchange the kiss of peace.  Christ is in our midst!

With fraternal love in Christ, and warmest congratulations, I remain,

+ Tikhon
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada