Keynote address of Archbishop Demetrios officially opens the 41ST Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress
Keynote address of Archbishop Demetrios officially
opens the 41ST Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress
PHOENIX – The 41st
Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
officially began its work this morning at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Hotel.
It was highlighted by the Keynote Address of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America presented to an audience
of more than 1,200 participants. It is customary for the official opening to be
attended by delegates, clergy and laity, of both the Clergy-Laity Congress and
National Philoptochos Convention.
Demetrios defined the mission and outlined the steps necessary for the
fulfillment of the theme of this Congress with the charge by our Lord Jesus
Christ, who has chosen and appointed us
to go and bear fruit.
Eminence began his Keynote Address by expressing gratitude to God and devotion
to His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew along with wholehearted
wishes for the Patriarch’s 20th anniversary in the throne of
Constantinople. He also expressed thanksgiving to God for a series of people,
organizations and events which have had a significant impact on the life of our
Church over the past two years. (See the full text of the Keynote Address at http://www.goarch.org/news/2012congresskeynote)
world to which we have been appointed to go and bear fruit is a wounded world,
a confused world, a fragmented world, in which we have to cultivate and offer
the fruit of faith, love, healing, peace and hope,” said Archbishop Demetrios
as he outlined seven fields that should be the focus of cultivation so they can
bear fruit in the time to come. He identified
these fields as 1) the lives of families of interfaith marriages, 2) children,
adolescents and young adults, 3) places of work where we communicate effectively
our faith, 4) gathering and re-connecting our disconnected people, 5)
inter-orthodox relationships, 6) increasing our stewardship numbers in our
communities, and 7) preserving our universal Hellenic treasures and Greek
us not waste time. Let us go now.
The field is open, wide open by the grace of God, Who was, is and will
forever be with us,” concluded the Archbishop.
opening ceremony began with a prayer service, followed by welcoming remarks
from the two co-chairs of the Congress, Theofanis Economides and Isidoros
Garifalakis. Councilman Jim Waring, representing
the City of Phoenix also offered a warm welcome, followed by the
President of the National Ladies Philoptochos Society Aphrodite Skeadas, who offered greetings on behalf of the
twenty-five thousand women represented in this vibrant, philanthropic
organization of our Church in America. Finally, the host Hierarch Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco addressed all the participants and offered inspirational
words of pastoral love and care. He outlined the unique role of our Clergy
Laity Congresses in promoting unity, fully disclosing the affairs of the Church
and bringing together all parishes. Metropolitan Gerasimos urged the delegates
to actively participate and take the message of the Congress back to their
representative, Metropolitan Sotirios of
Toronto, conveyed the paternal and patriarchal greetings and blessings of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch
Bartholomew and read the Ecumenical Patriarch’s Message to the Congress.
the full text at http://www.goarch.org/news/2012congresspatriarchalmessage)
following the opening ceremony, the Metropolitans of the Holy Eparchial Synod
held separate hierarchal sessions that were very well attended. The theme of
the Congress was further discussed during these sessions giving the opportunity
for the delegates to exchange experiences and new ideas and to benefit from the
guidance of the Hierarchs.
the course of the afternoon, several meetings and workshops took place
including the Philoptochos General Assembly,
meetings of the Church Musicians and Administration Committee, and various
ministry workshop sessions.
in the evening the participants planned to attend a social outing at the old
West style Pinnacle Peak Patio in the
texts of the Keynote Address and Patriarchal Message, photos, daily updates,
and schedules, visit the Congress web site at www.clergylaity.org.