ΕΣΕΙΣ - November 22-December 5, 1997

Patriarch builds strong bond with young adults

On October 24, 1997, 500 Greek Americans, most of them ranging from Generation X to Baby Boomers, gathered at Tavern on the Green. Although New York is a frequent host to dignitaries, it was a once-in-a-lifetime event that motivated these young adults to take time out from their busy careers or studies that Friday morning. Before the Honoree arrived, the banquet room was alive with friendly conversation and anticipation. Then the Young Adult League (YAL) ushers alerted the group; a respectful silence fell and the guests rose. The time had come to meet the Worldwide Spiritual Father of 300 million Orthodox Christians, His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.


Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew smiles as He is welcomed by Young Adults at Tavern on the Green.

His All Holiness, accompanied by His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon, Archdiocesan Chancellor Father George Passias, National GOYAL Coordinator Theodore Germanakos, and Archdiocesan District GOYAL Coordinator Despina Dinas, walked across the banquet room acknowledging the faithful through eye contact and a fatherly smile. Moments later, the 270th successor to the Apostle Andrew greeted His spiritual children, "Christ is in our midst!"

"Your All-Holiness, I stand before you today to proclaim that, yes, these young adults are the future, but they are also the present", explained Archbishop Spyridon in his introductory remarks. His Eminence, who celebrated his first year anniversary as Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, noted the significance of the Patriarchal Breakfast encouraging the YAL to "do the work of the Church and proclaim the Gospel of Christ to all people".

In response, His All Holiness' message was one of inclusion and spiritual renewal: the Church needs young adults and young adults need the Church.

The Ecumenical Patriarch acknowledged that "rarely in history, perhaps never, has a generation been given so much with which to make its impact on the world around it". His All Holiness, who is an international theological scholar and fluent in seven languages, commended the YAL for their pursuit of excellence in education, science, business, and government.

Many young people, including this student from St. Basil Academy, came to welcome the Ecumenical Patriarch at LaGuardia Airport.

Within a few generations, our community has managed to rise from its humble immigrant status to the A-List in mainstream America. But today's challenge is not just that of achievement but also an invitation to witness.

His All Holiness invited young adults to find meaning in their lives by following the four values that defined the mission of the YAL since its inception in 1996. Liturgic (worship), Diakonia (service), Martyria (witness), and Koinonia (fellowship).

The Ecumenical Patriarch proclaimed the YAL as "proud standard bearers of the 75-year history of our beloved Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America". His All Holiness urged the young adults to remain focused on their "rightful inheritance" and to use their talents for the salvation of the world: "You can and must bring out all which is good in God's Creation, for it is indeed good".

The historic Patriarchal Breakfast was also marked by speeches from Teddy Germanakos and Despina Dinas who presented the Ecumenical Patriarch a two-thousand dollar check from the YAL to establish a theological scholarship in His All Holiness' name.

[ ΕΣΕΙΣ - Issue 225 - November 22-December 5, 1997 - p. 60 ]