Your Eminence, beloved concelebrant in the Mysteries of the Lord,
May God keep you and bless you as you celebrate the memory of your patron saint, the Holy Martyr Elpidophoros of Persia. May he always intercede on your behalf as you witness the Orthodox Christian faith in America!
The Holy Martyr Elpidophoros was a non-Christian who found himself convicted by Christ upon seeing the valiant struggle of Christ’s martyrs. Quickly forsaking worldly honors, he courageously gave himself over to death for the sake of Christ. In a similar way, you, Your Eminence, have laid down your life for Christ. Forsaking other possibilities, you have chosen the life of monasticism and priesthood, a life of service and self-emptying. May your heavenly patron always encourage and invigorate you as you walk this sacred path, and may his example always be before you. As he bore hope in the Resurrection in martyrdom, may you always steadfastly bear that same hope, transmitting it to all those you encounter. As Saint Paul encourages us: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).
Wishing you many blessed years of Archpastoral service in the Lord, and with warmest fraternal love in Christ, I remain,
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada