His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros Pays Extended Visit to HCHC
His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America visited HCHC for the second time in less than three weeks, having blessed our community with his presence at Synaxis and Convocation on August 26. This visit extended from September 10 to 14 and allowed His Eminence, who stayed on campus, to participate in many aspects of the life of the school, which he heads as Chairman of the Board.
During his days with us, His Eminence shared his thoughts about the future of HCHC at meetings of the Strategic Planning Committee, the Board of Trustees, and the faculty of the School of Theology. In the evenings, he joined Board members for a special dinner honoring Dr. Thomas C. Lelon, a past President of HCHC and longtime Vice Chair of the Board, and joined the faculties of both Hellenic College and Holy Cross at a dinner hosted by His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios of Boston, Interim President, at the Metropolis.
His Eminence’s days on campus culminated with services in Holy Cross Chapel marking the school’s feast day on September 14, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. At Great Vespers on the eve, he blessed each of the new students and bestowed crosses on both male and female students who have completed their first year at Holy Cross. Each seminarian entering his senior year was then presented with his exorasson. His Eminence concluded his homily by addressing the seminarians:
Today you will receive your own cross to wear and to cherish. Wear it with honor, with courage, with a sense of self-denial. Taking up the Cross, you accept the invitation to strive, to struggle, and to suffer for the sake of the Lord and His Church. And you also accept the call to take part in His triumph, and to have no other glory or boast or ambition in life, than the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. May the Lord grant you many years of fruitful service in His Kingdom, now and forever!
He went on to say:
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the beloved and respected hierarchs who have joined us in prayer this evening. As president of this sacred institution, Metropolitan Methodios of Boston has breathed new life into our school. For his inspired leadership we give thanksgiving and glory to God. Bishop Ilia of Philomelion has been intricately involved for many years and through many roles at our beloved Scholi, and for this we express our gratitude. Bishop John has also been a mentor and a supportive figure that many students look to for guidance as a true pastor of our Church.
The Divine Liturgy for the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, always a moving service of special meaning at our school, was made even more memorable with Archbishop Elpidophoros as celebrant and the ordination to the priesthood by his hands of Rev. Fr. Philip Halikias, a 2018 graduate of Holy Cross. His Eminence said to Fr. Philip, “You will be both a servant and a leader,” and he urged him and all those gathered in the Chapel to “take up the Cross in a new way today.”