Ομιλία Μητροπολίτου Σουηδίας Κλεόπα στην Κληρικολαϊκή Συνέλευση της Ι. Αρχιεπισκοπής Αμερικής

Speech by His Eminence Metropolitan Cleopas of Sweden and All Scandinavia at the Grand Banquet of the 47th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress of the Holy Archdiocese of America San Diego, 4th of July, 2024.


Your Eminence Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain, fellow representative of His-All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew,

Your Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America,

Your Eminences Metropolitans of the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Archdiocese of America,

Your Graces, Bishops of the Great and Holy Mother Church of Constantinople serving in the United States,

Reverend Clergy and Monastics,

Honorable diplomatic representatives of Greece, Cyprus, and local and state government officials,

Honorable Archons and benefactors of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and its God-protected Eparchy in America,

Esteemed parish delegates, honored guests, and dearly beloved co-laborers in the Lord’s vineyard,


Με ευγνώμονη καρδιά προς την Α. Θ. Παναγιότητα, τον Οικουμενικό Πατριάρχη κ.κ. Βαρθολομαίο, ο Οποίος μου προσέφερε την αρχιερωσύνη και μου ανέθεσε, μαζί με τον Άγιο Θυατείρων, να τον εκπροσωπήσουμε  στη φετινή Κληρικολαϊκή, είμαι πολύ χαρούμενος, διότι επισκέπτομαι και πάλι το σπίτι μου και βρίσκομαι ανάμεσα στα μέλη της πνευματικής μου οικογένειας.

Ευλογημένες οι αναμνήσεις της ενταύθα ιερατικής διακονίας μου παρά τους πόδας των Αρχιεπισκόπων Αμερικής Ιακώβου, Σπυρίδωνος και Δημητρίου και του Σεβ. Μητροπολίτου Βοστώνης κ. Μεθοδίου.

Ευχαριστώ τον Ποιμενάρχη σας, Σεβ. Αρχιεπίσκοπο Αμερικής κ. Ελπιδοφόρο, καθώς και τον Σεβ. Μητροπολίτη Αγίου Φραγκίσκου κ. Γεράσιμο, για την αβραμιαία φιλοξενία τους, και συγχαίρω τους διοργανωτές της φετινής Κληρικολαϊκής Συνέλευσης και τους εξαίρετους συνεργάτες τους, για τα όσα πολύτιμα μας προσφέρατε αυτές τις μέρες.

Η Αρχιεπισκοπή Αμερικής αποτελεί τον χώρο, στον οποίο ανδρώθηκα πνευματικά και εκκλησιαστικά, κι ένα σχολείο, που παρέχει τις καλύτερες γνώσεις σε όλους μας, κληρικούς και λαϊκούς. Αυτό οφείλεται στο δυναμισμό σας, το ανεξάντλητο όραμα σας και τα πρωτοποριακά προγράμματα που προσφέρετε, για όλα τα ενδιαφέροντα και όλες τις ηλικίες.

Οι Άρχοντες, η Ηγεσία των 100, η Φιλόπτωχος, οι ενοριακές διακονίες, η νεολαία, κλήρος και λαός, αποτελείτε το καμάρι και την περηφάνια όλων μας και δη του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου. Από σας, διδάσκομαι προσωπικά, καθημερινά, από την θυσιαστική, υποδειγματική προσφορά σας.

It is a profound joy and honor to join you at this 47th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress as a representative of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and convey His paternal blessings and greetings at tonight’s grand banquet, capping off this year’s Congress.

As I look around the room tonight, I cannot help by recall the wise words of the late Archbishop of America and subsequent Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras: “Ελάτε να κοιταχθούμε! Come let us look one another in the eyes.” This phrase was more than just a conversation starter. It was an invitation to reaffirm our Christian polity, in all our interactions, and enrich the world with it, understanding that the persons we have across from us are our co-authors in the unique chapter of history that God has called us to formulate, our co-workers in Christ’s vineyard, our tablemates, at this banquet and at the divine banquet offered to us at every Divine Liturgy.

As I look at each of you, my heart is warmed by the familiar faces of old classmates at Holy Cross, coworkers and associates from former parishes where I served, brother clergymen, friends and acquaintances, with whom I shared joys and struggles, hopes and dreams, and the common goal of glorifying our Lord Jesus Christ and edifying His Church.

When I was informed by our Patriarch that I would be traveling to San Diego to represent Him at this year’s Clergy-Laity Congress, together with His Eminence Archbishop Nikitas, I felt humbled and blessed to return to the land that served as the center of my own personal spiritual maturation and development.

This year’s Congress is historic in its own right, inasmuch as it marks the first one in the Archdiocese’s second centennial of existence. This new chapter in the rich and dynamic history of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s largest Eparchy brings with it new challenges to meet the demands of changing times.

The parishes founded by migrants and refugees at the turn of the 20th century and the ecclesiastical Eparchy that was officially established here in 1922. For the most part, the makeup of their congregations has changed, with third and fourth generation descendants of those pioneering migrants now filling the pews, joined by a growing number of converts, who have embraced the Orthodox faith through marriage, individual soul searching, or the missionary inroads made by our Church, which has by now firmly established its presence here.

As I look around among the familiar beloved faces, as well as new faces that I am seeing for the first time, I also see many young people – clergy and laity alike – preserving and maintaining our liturgical traditions, keeping the Greek language alive, while also making use of the predominant language of the land, as is the Orthodox custom, skillfully preserving the ancient art of Byzantine music and iconography, blending thus the old with the new.

And so, guided by a centennial of empirical knowledge, the local Church here in America moves forward, looking toward the future, inspired by its past, but also dedicating all its energy, and entrusting itself to the grace of God, so that it may shape the next hundred years.

I ask you to keep this in mind as you reflect on your recent work here in this lovely city, where you shared in Christian fellowship, but also participated democratically in the administrative affairs of the Church and deliberated upon important issues that will affect your parishes, the ministries of the Archdiocese, and the Greek-American Community for years to come.

The Archdiocese of America is a beacon for the Eparchies of the Ecumenical Throne across the world and a school that has much to teach. I personally was fortunate enough to learn so much here and endeavored to apply them in my archpastoral ministry in Scandinavia.

I ask for your prayers and entreat our Lord to continue to bless us, so that we may always “look at one another in the eyes” and have meaningful things to say to one another, for the glory of Christ and the strengthening of His Church.

I am honored to raise my glass and wish you all health and every bountiful blessing of God.

Congratulations on your fruitful and productive contribution to this year’s Clergy-Laity Congress!

Happy 4th of July!

Love live America!

Thank you.

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