Orthodox Observer - November 1996

Statement made by Archbishop Spyridon

at his first press conference at Archdiocese headquarters
on October 3, 1996 for the Greek American press

Ladies and gentlemen,

As I welcome you to the Archdiocese today, I want to first assure you that I am fully aware of the difficult task, you perform on a daily basis, a task that I believe to be an invaluable ministry of public service.

Before taking your questions, let me say that I consider all of you as truly my spiritual sons and daughters, friends and co­workers. Your responsibilities follow a course parallel to mine.

I realize that constructive journalism and honest criticism contribute positively to the proper enlightenment of the public, and in creating an informed public opinion.

I have served the Church for 28 years. Many attributes have been ascribed to me until this day. Be that as it may, I consider myself to be, first and foremost, a servant of Orthodoxy, and a hierarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

I see my election to the Archepisco- pal throne as a calling to assume a difficult and awe- some responsibili- ty in the service of the Church.

I see my election to the Archepiscopal throne as a calling to assume a difficult and awesome responsibility in the service of the Church. As the spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox faithful in America, I will devote to my pastoral role every ounce of strength, every talent and all the knowledge I possess, so as to better serve and guide my flock safely into the third millennium of Christendom.

The upbringing and education of our children will be among my top priorities. Also, and of prime importance, will be the issue of inter-faith marriages; of maintaining and strengthening our Greek culture and language, this treasure that every American of Greek descent carries proudly in his veins.

First and foremost is, of course, the teaching of our faith of Orthodoxy, which continues to be the only solution to the problems of today's selfish and materialistic world. Special attention will also be given to the societal problems of our times. The pains and anxieties that plague our everyday life should be alleviated through the compassion of the Church.

In the struggle for human rights, you will find your Archbishop to be a tireless ally and an uncompromising enemy of injustice in whatever form it is expressed.

We shall strive to strengthen the umbilical cord that connects us with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the cradle of our Church. The Phanar is not only the light that guides us, but also the source of our Faith. Therefore, the initiatives and the actions of the Archdiocese of America will always be in conformity with the vision and the spirit of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

To achieve these goals, it is not enough to establish realistic plans and to follow-up on every phase of the work. It demands the community's active participation in searching for solutions to the problems of the worldwide Hellenic Orthodox community — both in matters that concern just causes, and for its spiritual, social or other problems that exist.

I am at your disposal, ready to give you every assistance in your important work. I have met many of you and look forward to getting to know all of you.

Straightforwardness and a prompt response to your requests will be the guide­lines for our common effort with you, as well as that of the members of my staff..

I thank you for being here today and I hope this will mark the beginning of an in­formed and honest relationship. I will try to answer your questions as completely as possible, given the relatively brief period since my arrival in America.

Thank you.

[ Orthodox Observer - Vol. 61, No. 1120 - November 1996 - p. 3 ]