Ecumenical Patriarchate - July 30, 1996

Address of Patriarch Bartholomew to Archbishop Spyridon
during the "Lesser Mandate" Given in the Synod Chamber

Most Reverend Archbishop Spyridon of America,

Today is an eminent day for the Great Church of Christ, Mother to us all. For on this day out of her parental love and reliable concern for her vast numbered and progressive minded children in America she is called to give to them their canonical archbishop and shepherd, following the voluntary retirement from active ministry of our brother, the Most Reverend Archbishop Iakovos, who God-lovingly pastored them for so many years.

And the Mother Church, among the many worthy candidates, looked to Your Eminence, someone beloved to us all who has been nurtured with the same milk of the Theological School of Halki, to take charge of this God-saved eparchy. You bear many qualifications, the crowning qualification of which is your unlimited fidelity and devotion to this venerable Ecumenical Throne, to the Mother Church which nourishes our pious people and all the pious and Orthodox Christians under heaven. It was to this last virtue of yours over all the others that the Mother Church looked when reaching her decision. For even if one of her hierarchs has every talent, every qualification, and all the other virtues, but does not have unlimited devotion and blind loyalty and lifelong gratitude, he is nothing, nothing is gained, he is but a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. (cf.1 Cor. 13). Yes, the Mother Church looked to you. Therefore, today is a great day for you personally, too.

Today the Church rewards this paramount virtue of yours in the absolute certainly that you will increase and develop it in your new and eminent position as Archbishop of the Holy Archdiocese of America, to which you are worthily elevated this day.

There, numerous problems, currents, propensities and ideologies await you. Awaiting you is an arduous night and day struggle, a struggle to safeguard and to perpetuate the Church's and our people's highest ideals. We know that you are a tireless worker, that you are a fighter, that you are strong and invincible. In other words, we entrust this great and dynamic eparchy of the Throne into energetic and dynamic hands.

Go, our brother Sypridon, "never doubting" (James 1:6). Go with the fear of God, faith and love; love for all without exception. Go, and the prayer of the loving Mother Church and each one of us, your elder and junior brothers here, will constantly be with you.

We shall stand by you during your difficult task with our prayers and our love. And we in this sacred place, in this Synod Chamber of the Great Church, shall stand by you with particular and vibrant concern in finding solutions as you address each problem of your new eparchy and in satisfying your just requests and petitions.

Take heart, Most Reverend Brother, and fear not. As you are at the beginning of your fifties you have every predisposition to do great and brilliant work for the glory of God, for your flock, for our Mother Church, which places great trust in you in sending you on new turf to face a variety of struggles, with honest hopes and justified expectations; hopes and expectations that you will emerge a champion of the Church.

[ Ecumenical Patriarchate - - July 30, 1996 ]
[ Ecumenical Patriarchate - - July 30, 1996 ]
[ Orthodox Observer - Vol. 61 - No. 1118 - September 1996 - pp. 1+3 ]
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