June 25, 2019
NEW YORK – The Greek-American community welcomed the newly-enthroned Archbishop Elpidophoros of America with a luncheon at the Hilton New York hotel on June 22, following the ceremony at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Manhattan.
The enthronement luncheon was well attended, as expected, by ecclesiastical representatives, political figures, great benefactors and members of the Greek American community from across the United States and around the world. According to the organizers, more than 1,500 people attended.
The National Herald chronicled this historic event for the Greek community and spoke with many of those in attendance who shared their first impressions and reactions.
Αμέσως μετά την ενθρόνιση του Αρχιεπισκόπου Αμερικής Ελπιδοφόρου παρατίθεται επίσημο ενθρονιστήριο γεύμα… https://bit.ly/2KuK7RT
Posted by Εθνικός Κήρυξ / The National Herald on Saturday, June 22, 2019
The Lieutenant Governor of California and one of the speakers at the luncheon, Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis, shared her impressions with TNH, “It was a great honor to be here today for the enthronement of the new Archbishop. This is a ‘changing of the guard.’ Clearly, we have an Archbishop who is young and understands in depth the needs of the community, but also the world arounds us. His leadership brings to the Greek Orthodox community and church, hope as well as pride.”
Regarding the challenges awaiting Archbishop Elpidophoros, Kounalakis told TNH, “Of course there are challenges. For anyone taking on a new role, I imagine he should first try to gain a deep knowledge of the community and work to build valuable relationships. But whatever these challenges are, there are many people around him, here in the U.S., ready to help him face any difficulties.”
Businessman and philanthropist John Catsimatidis attended the event with his wife, Margo, and spoke with optimism about the enthronement of the new Archbishop. “It is a beautiful new day and a new beginning. It is a new start for the American church. Mr. Elpidophoros is very young, dynamic, smart, and I think he will do well,” Catsimatidis told TNH.
Regarding the aims of the new Archbishop, Catsimatidis said, “The biggest challenge for him will be to act as a unifying force and to bring all Greek-Americans together. Many organizations are trying to do this work, but the church must be the strongest social unifying core.”
New York State Senator Andreas Gounardes told TNH, “As a member of the Greek-American community and as a member of the Greek Orthodox Church, I feel that it is exciting to celebrate today the enthronement of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros. I look forward to seeing the new direction that will be given to the church as well as the new energy that he will bring to the clergy. I also hope to work with the church from my position, and in any way I can help to strengthen our communities in the U.S.”
Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras commented, “The enthronement of Archbishop Elpidophoros brings hope for the Greek community of America. The natural and spiritual gifts of Archbishop Elpidophoros, his high theological training, his vast education, his formative years at the Ecumenical Patriarchate, along with the blessing of the Ecumenical Patriarch, I am sure he will make a decisive contribution to successfully fulfilling his mission as the new Archbishop, and addressing directly the many challenges that await him.”
Archon Elias Tsekerides commented: “I wish we had good days in front of us, financially, religiously and administratively, because that’s what we all expect. The helper god “. Father Georgios Livaditis from the Bridgeport, Connecticut parish also spoke enthusiastically: “We want to wish our new Archbishop, in many years and always worthy! We all pray for the best and for everyone to come together as they can with their talents for a better tomorrow.”
Nektarios Antoniou, Executive Director of the Axion Estin Foundation and Protopsaltis at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, curated the luncheon’s interlude music which was performed by the ensemble he founded, Silk on the Road. Antoniou told TNH, “The music that is being presented today is inspired by Byzantium and Constantinople to honor the new Archbishop of America, Mr. Elpidophoros, and make him feel at home.”
Musical instruments such as the kanonaki, the tambour, and the oud filled the room with Byzantine sounds. “Our purpose is also to remind our archons, the faithful, and co-religionists of our cultural roots. The music we hear today comes from the crossroads of cultures that were in Constantinople and is played in the 21st century ‘Constantinople’ that is New York,” said Antoniou.
The enthronement luncheon in honor of Archbishop Elpidophoros ended in a spirit of general joy and optimism late in the afternoon.