Archbishop of America: We have a culture that underlies all the great aspirations of Western civilization
[*]In his speech, Archbishop Elpidophoros underlined that “we have a culture – a civilizational experience which is the foundation of all the great aspirations of Western civilization – democracy, the art of politics, theatre, poetry, the arts and the sciences, and the essence of all philosophical pursuits. And we have a language, a language in which God has chosen to enshrine the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Think of it, in the lands of Palestine where our Lord was born, the language of his youth was Aramaic, and that of worship and learning was Hebrew.But the language that everyone knew in the surrounding world, which had been defined by Alexander the Great three hundred years before the birth of our Savior, was Greek. And it is the language of the New Testament – of the Gospels, of the Epistles and of the Book of Revelation. It is something to be very proud of.” .
[*]Our President of the Ministry, Katerina Iconomou,
[*]Beloved collaborators of the clergy and youth ministry,
[*]Dear children in the Lord,
[*]Ζήτω τὸ Ἑλληνικὸ Ἔθνος! Ζήτω τὸ Εἰκοσιένα!
[*]I greet you all with these joyful expressions that praise our celebrations of March 25 – the day of the Annunciation and the day of the inauguration of the Greek Revolution.
[*]We cry: “Long live the Greek nation!” and “Long live 1821!” And there are many other expressions of joy and triumph. Sometimes we just say “Ζήτω” – “Live”! because in that simple affirmation of life, our freedom and our pursuit of happiness, so delightfully expressed in the American Declaration of Independence, are encompassed in that one word.
[*]The participation of so many of you today in this virtual gathering and celebration is a sign of the health of our communities, both in terms of our Faith and in terms of our Culture and our Story.
[*]Allow me to congratulate everyone involved in the Metropolis Ministry of Greek Language and Culture for sponsoring today’s event. These accents are often overlooked in the spiritual life of our people. But what I want to emphasize today is that nothing in the Church happens in a vacuum. We have a history – a glorious history that goes back thousands of years, even before our Lord Jesus Christ appeared on earth.
[*]We have a culture – a civilizational experience which is the foundation of all the great aspirations of Western civilization – democracy, the art of politics, drama, poetry, the arts and sciences, and the essence of all philosophical activities. And we have a language, a language in which God has chosen to enshrine the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Think about it, in the lands of Palestine where our Lord was born, the language of his youth was Aramaic, and that of worship and learning was Hebrew. But the language that everyone knew in the surrounding world, which had been defined by Alexander the Great three hundred years before the birth of our Savior, was Greek. And it is the language of the New Testament – of the Gospels, the Epistles and the Book of Revelation. It is something to be very proud of.
[*]Therefore, my beloved young people: In celebrating Greek Independence Day, we celebrate in unison the Feast of the Annunciation of the Church. Because they both talk about freedom. The Heroes of 1821 fought for self-determination and the survival of their way of life.
[*]The “Yes” that Our Lady said to God on the Day of her Annunciation by the Archangel Gabriel concerns the deeper freedom of the human heart and soul. And this deeper freedom is rooted in our Lord Jesus Christ, who said:
[*]And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.[*]
[*]It is the faith, hope and love that abides in the heart that truly sets you free. It is the freedom that our Ancestors kept alive through centuries of occupation. It is freedom that makes it possible to endure slavery, war, persecution, marginalization and prejudice. It is the freedom of our minds, of our conscience, of our souls before God. There is no political freedom that can offer what God can offer, as the Lord himself said:
[*]“Anyone who sins is a slave to sin. The slave does not stay in the house forever, but the Son stays forever. Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. [†]
[*]Being free from the oppression of others means we make choices for ourselves, without coercion. Witness what the Ukrainian people are fighting for right now – to be free from those who would dominate their lives.
[*]But freedom from sin looks like this: you reject hate and choose to love; you reject jealousy and choose generosity; you refuse to hold grudges and choose to forgive. This kind of freedom really makes you free.
[*]That’s what it’s really about today. Freedom in the depths of our souls, and gratitude for the freedoms conquered by our ancestors that we enjoy.
[*]Thank you for your enthusiasm and dedication to these memories!
[*][*] John 8:32.
[*][†] John 8:34-36.