Elpdophoros, the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of the Americas, released a video message on Monday marking the first day of Women’s History Month across the world.
The relatively young prelate, who is only 53, reached out to the Greek Orthodox women of the Americas and to all Orthodox women everywhere, telling them that he realizes without them, “our parishes would be dead.”
He reassured them that indeed, they are the “backbone of our parish communities, and they deserve much more credit than they receive.”
The entire text of Elpidophoros’ message follows:
“Here in our nation and around the world we are celebrating Women’s History Month throughout the course of March.
“While we take this time to acknowledge and join in commemorate the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history, we must not limit our appreciation to only one month and only in one country.
“I am so grateful that this designation falls in March because it highlights the greatest transformation in the human story, the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25.
“On this day, a young woman’s answer to God in a lonely corner of the earth opened the gates of heaven to every human being.
“One woman changed the course of history. We can never overstate the role of the Virgin Mary, our Panagia. In gratitude for every woman’s contribution, every single day to the good of our world, let us pause in this month of March to educate ourselves on their unique gifts.
“Without women, our parishes would be dead”
“In our church, women never hesitate to contribute time and resources in the service of the Lord. Our ladies’ Philoptochos Societies across the country are an amazing example of true sacrificial giving.
“Women are adaptable, resourceful, resilient and determined. As mothers, daughters and sisters, they take on roles as leaders, as nurturers and as team builders. The backbone of our parish communities, they deserve much more credit than they receive.
“I am deeply grateful for their offerings. Truly, without women, our parishes would be dead. Throughout history, it has been the women of our church who have helped plant and nurture the seeds of faith for the next generation of Christians.
“Expanding a vision” during Women’s History Month
“Allow me to encourage the women of our Archdiocese and all Orthodox Christian women across the globe to become more involved by taking leadership roles in our church.
“This month, let us cultivate and develop a greater appreciation and a greater understanding of women’s roles and expand – even in the church – a vision for their contributions, which are as vital and necessary to the life of the church as they are to the life of the world.
“To the women of our church I say — We need you. Both for our church today and for the future of our church. A blessed month to all!”