Archbishop Elpidophoros of the Americas, the head of the Greek Orthodox Church in the Americas, issued an encyclical for Thanksgiving 2021 expressing special gratitude for the long and successful tenure of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who recently visited the United States.
Saying that the annual holiday calls us to be reminded for all that we have to be thankful for in our lives, Archbishop Elpidophoros’ Thanksgiving message recalled the “moments of concern” when the Patriarch was taken to the hospital after suffering serious health problems, having had a stent implanted near the end of his visit at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in New York City earlier in November.
After being released from the hospital, the Ecumenical Patriarch returned home and this week even traveled to Greece, meeting with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and President Katerina Sakellaropoulou as he celebrated thirty years as the head of all Greek Orthodox worldwide.
This is the longest tenure of any Patriarch in the history of the Orthodox Church.
Elpidophoros’ Thanksgiving message notes long tenure of Patriarch Bartholomew
The full text of the Thanksgiving Encyclical for 2021 is below:
“November 25, 2021
Unto the Most Reverend and Right Reverend Hierarchs, Pious Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, Presidents and Members of Parish Councils, Honorable Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Members of Leadership 100, the Day and Afternoon Schools, Philoptochos Societies, the Youth, Greek Orthodox Organizations, and the entirety of the Christ-named Plenitude of the Holy Archdiocese of America.
Let us give thanks unto the Lord! (Divine Liturgy)
My Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As we prepare to celebrate the National Day of Thanksgiving, our American holiday that calls us to the mindset of gratitude for all of God’s blessings in our lives and in our Country, I note with great satisfaction and thankfulness the recent Apostolic Visit of His All-Holiness our Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Although there were moments of concern for the health of His All-Holiness during this scheduled visit, we can all breathe the proverbial sigh of relief, with profound gratitude to God that our Ecumenical Patriarch has received the appropriate medical attention, rebounded to his extraordinary self, and returned to the Queen of Cities.
His thirty years on the Patriarchal throne should surely be cause for us all to give thanks unto the Lord, for we have had the unprecedented opportunity to have such a long tenure of such a holy man. The advances in the preaching and the teaching of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ under His All-Holiness are truly remarkable; for he has spared no effort of his office, and no labor of body, mind and spirit, to steer the Sacred Ship of the Orthodox Church through some of the most difficult to navigate waters in recent history.
As Eastern Europe emerged from the ravages of Communism and Atheism (ravages that still gravely impact these lands), His All-Holiness has manifested wisdom and prudence, as he guides the Church aright.
This Thanksgiving, let us add to our tables that are laden with tokens of our gratitude to God, and say a special prayer of thanks for the Spiritual Father of us all, our Ecumenical Patriarch. He shoulders great responsibilities and burdens on our behalf, because of his genuine love for all people, and especially for the rational sheep of the Flock of Christ.
With much paternal love in the Lord,
Archbishop of America