A Message from Fr.Panteleimon Papadopoulos
Protopresbyter Panteleimon Papadopoulos
First Divine Liturgy
Church of the Holy Resurrection
November 3, 2019
Your Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Your grace Bishop Apostolos, Reverend Fathers, Holy Deacons, Deeply beloved faithful of Brookville,
Christ is in our midst!
With extraordinary feelings of thanksgiving to God for what has been the most grace-filled weekend of my life, I stand before you as your new pastor. The emotions are numerous and my heart is filled with compunction as I bring to mind the events of this weekend.
Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, who will be visiting our community on November 10, just yesterday ordained me to the holy priesthood. His eminence has been exceedingly gracious to me and my family from the very first moment of his arrival here as our new Archbishop. My family and I are eternally indebted to him for entrusting me to his flock here in Brookville. Thus, today marks a new beginning not only for me, but for all of us.
This community has been blessed with very distinguished clergy. We all remember our beloved Fr. Manny Gratsias who selflessly toiled in the vineyard of our lord to build this church edifice. Once his work was completely, the Lord called him home to serve at his heavenly altar. Fr. John Vlahos, another outstanding clergyman came a labored with all his heart in the spiritual fields of this community. Fr. Andreas, having been here with his beautiful family came and work to build upon the work of his predecessors. He was recently called to serve our entire Archdiocese as Chancellor. Brookville, it should be noted, is now exporting their talents! Fr. Manny got the top prize, the Kingdom of Heaven, Fr. John went to the premier church, our national Cathedral in Manhattan, and Fr. Andreas was promoted to the highest office of the Archdiocese, Chancellor. All of us are, and should be, very very proud in Christ!
Today we shall embark on a journey together towards one simple destination: a place of abundant joy, abundant healing, abundant grace, abundant light, and infinite and limitless love.
Where is this place? Right here!
This place is no other than Christ's Resurrection. From this remarkable event in human history, that is to say the resurrection of Christ from the dead, everything from that day forward has been transformed and transfigured. Nothing remains the same. Neither life. Neither death. Our individual and collective lives as a community of faithful, in view of the Resurrection of Christ have completely and profoundly a much different meaning. Our journey together beginning today will be to come to understand what that exactly means.
St. Paul wrote to the Philippians that he wanted to "know him [Jesus] and the power of his resurrection" (3:10). I challenge myself, and all of you, my new family, to come to understand what this means.
If we have the high prestige of bearing the name of the Church of the Holy Resurrection than we cannot be, no matter what, limited to focusing solely on ourselves. This would be equivalent to spiritual suicide as a church community. By definition, the power of our Lord's resurrection had universal consequences for all generations, and upon all people everywhere in the world.
This, I propose, could be the model that we mirror as we move forward together. We must keep this perspective in mind when planning for the future. Our church will become, through the power of our Lord's resurrection, a church for all generations. A church for all people. A church filled with abundant joy, abundant healing, abundant grace, abundant light, and infinite and limitless love. And all this will be transferred and experienced by our children.
As we grow in our knowledge of Christ and the power of His Resurrection, so will our children, and so will the people and society around us. As we begin to shape, even more, this community into a living example of the power of Christ's Resurrection, we shall begin to shape the blossoming lives of our kids. We want them to grow up in a church where they felt joy, comfort, and love. This is our task and this will indeed be blessed by Christ.
I thank you all for the privilege to be your pastor. I am most grateful to those whom I have met already and for their assistance. Having traveled the world and visited 100s of parishes I want all of you to know that this community is a jewel in the sacred crown of our Archdiocese because of the people who are here.
May our Lord, through the power of His resurrection, fill your hearts and homes with joy, love, and unfading light forever and ever. Amen.