GOARCH - February 13, 1999

Archbishop Spyridon at the Cathedral of Athens

Athens - This morning, His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the Metropolis of Athens, the Cathedral of the Annunciation, the first church built in Greece after the Revolution of 1821. His Beatitude, Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece demonstrated the great importance that this visit of Archbishop Spyridon signified, by sending both the Chancellor of the Church of Greece and the Chief Secretary of the Holy Synod to assist at the Divine Service.

His Eminence entered the Metropolis at 8:00 a.m., accompanied by His Grace Bishop Philotheos of Meloa and His Grace Bishop Alexios of Troas, who also served the Divine Liturgy. The clergy of the Archdiocese arrived earlier in the morning and awaited the Archbishop together with the clergy of the Church of Greece.

With Archdeacon Elias Villas taking the lead, the Divine Liturgy commenced at 9:00 a.m. and was televised live throughout all of Greece. In addition to a prepared sermon on the Gospel reading of the Sunday (the Parable of the Last Judgment), His Eminence's extemporaneous address at the conclusion of the Service was greet with a spontaneous burst of applause and cheers.

Following the Divine Liturgy, His Beatitude Christodoulos, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, hosted a private luncheon for His Eminence and his traveling synodia at the Athens Plaza Hotel. In an exchange of greetings, toasts and gifts, both Hierarchs expressed warm and mutually held feelings of true Christian fellowship and cooperation.

Later in the evening, American Ambassador Nicholas and Mrs. Elizabeth Burns hosted a reception for over 250 invited dignitaries in honor of His Eminence at Jefferson House, the official residence of the Ambassador in Athens. Throughout the evening, members of the American community in Athens, the Diplomatic Corps and the Press had an opportunity to visit with His Eminence. Later in the evening His Beatitude Christodoulos, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece arrived to join in the reception. After the guests had departed, Ambassador and Mrs. Burns shared a private supper with His Eminence and Mr. John Catsimatidis, the President of the Archdiocese Council.

   February 13, 1999 ]