GOARCH - May 26, 1998

Archbishop Spyridon Hosts Patrarch Ilia of Georgia

New York, NY - His Beatitude Ilia II, Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia, was the guest of honor at a Doxology and Dinner hosted by His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, on May 21st at the Archdiocese.

In welcoming His Beatitude to the ecumenical gathering in his honor, Archbishop Spyridon said:......"You find in us, an assembly of brothers and sisters committed to the well-being of the Georgian people. In the chapel a few moments ago, I spoke of the resurrection of Georgia after decades in the tomb of totalitarian oppression. It truly is a cause of joy. But, as we all know, such rebirth does not come without its trials. And it is as you go through these trials that we find ourselves in solidarity with you. Indeed, under the auspices of the Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in America, for whom I speak tonight, the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC),has worked closely with you so that those who most need assistance may get it......In work and in prayer, all of us in this room are joined with you."

His Beatitude said, in responding to His Eminence: "I greet you on behalf of the Georgian people and a faithful nation and, through you, I greet His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew." Emphasizing the historical relationship with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, His Beatitude continued.... "the Georgian Patriarchate is always for the Ecumenical Patriarchate. and we also so highly value Your Eminence and your great ministry." Reflecting on the Feastday of Sts. Constantine and Helen, His Beatitude said: "You may not be aware that (St.) Constantine gave to the Georgian people the nails discovered in Jerusalem by his mother, (St.) Helen."

In a formal exchange of gifts, His Eminence presented His Beatitude with a silver Reliquary and to all the dignitaries present, the cross of the Archdiocese. His Beatitude presented His Eminence with an icon of the Virgin Mary.

Invited guests included: Metropolitan Theodosius,Orthodox Church in America; Archbishop Victorin, Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America and Canada; Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Cambell, National Council of Churches and Rabbi James Rudin, American Jewish Committee.

  May 26, 1998 ]