The Archbishop of America Elpidophoros, on a pilgrimage to Mount Athos, worshiped at several noted monasteries on Orthodoxy’s “Holy Mountain” on Monday, accompanied by archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and other officials and clergy of the Archdiocese.
This very special pilgrimage to northern Greece, Mt. Athos and the Phanar is in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Greek Orthodox archdiocese of America.
Yesterday, the Archbishop and his entourage were in Thessaloniki where he visited the Rector of the University of Thessaloniki, the Presidents of the Departments of the Theological School, the Minister of Macedonia-Thrace and other state officials.
Archbishop Elpidophoros on pilgrimage to celebrate archdiocesan centennial
Today Elpidophoros reverenced the miraculous icon “Axion Estin” at the Holy Temple of Protatos.
In the afternoon the Archbishop visited the Holy Great Monastery of Vatopedi, where he was warmly welcomed. The Abbot of the Monastery, Elder Ephraim, addressed him in special remarks for the occasion.
Tomorrow Elpidophoros will travel to the Holy Monastery of Pantokratoros, while on Wednesday in Komotini, Democritus University will award him the title of honorary doctor.
On Friday the Archbishop of the Americas will end up in Istanbul, where he and his companions will have an audience with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, from whom they will ask a blessing for the beginning of Holy and Great Lent.
When in the Phanar, Elpidophoros will express his gratitude to the Hierarchy of the Clergy and the people for the founding of the Archdiocese of America 100 years ago.
Archimandrite Ephraim, who was enthroned as Abbot of the monastery in 1990, more than anyone else is credited with restoring the historic Vatopedi Monastery, one of the wealthiest of Mount Athos, which had fallen into hard times, with only a handful of very elderly monks living there at one point.
Scholars regard the Holy Great Monastery of Vatopedi as one of the finest masterpieces of Byzantium in the world in terms of its superb architecture, which blends into a geographical setting of the greatest beauty.
Seen in relation to the deeply-rooted tradition of its thousand years and more of life, it is generally admitted by experts and scholars to constitute a face of the triptych of that race in which that culture was continued and concentrated in the post-Byzantine period—a culture which has already perfected the Parthenon, the expression of the essence of ancient Greece, and Aghia Sophia—the Church of Holy Wisdom—the center of Byzantium’s greatness.