In his speech, Archbishop Elpidophoros underlined that “Our company as Orthodox Christians must always be pan-Orthodox – including all our brothers and sisters. Just as our Roman Catholic brethren are often distinguished by the plethora of religious orders, so Orthodoxy is also distinguished by our jurisdictional idiosyncrasies. But in neither case are we confederations. We are united in faith and practice, and we work tirelessly through ecumenical efforts like this to manifest the unity in Christ that already exists – that is, if we are willing to find it.
“Dear friend, President McShane,
Beloved Brother Hierarchs, Bishop Irinej and Bishop Maxim,
Dear Benefactors and Supporters,
Distinguished Professors and Clergy,
Χριστὸς Ἀνέστη! Christ is risen!
I greet you all with our Easter greeting and ask you to join me in prayer:
O good and ever loving God, we give you thanks today for this decade of the Center for Orthodox Christian Studies. But more so, for decades of visionary leadership at Fordham University by our brother, priest and president, Joseph McShane.
We ask Your blessings on Father Joseph; for his legacy here in Fordham and in our city is almost indescribable. Like patriarch Joseph the All-Comely, he built Fordham’s stores for a future of unlimited potential.
And like his heavenly patron, Saint Joseph the Betrothed, he cared for the Fordham community in every way possible – welcoming his Orthodox Christian sisters and brothers and establishing the Center, whose anniversary we celebrate tonight.
Bless Father Joseph who is embarking on new ventures from his heart, keeping him and the entire Fordham family under your providential love and care.
Through the intercession of Your Most Holy Mother, Saint Joseph the Betrothed, and of all the Saints. Amen.
Tonight is truly a celebration of faith, as we gather for the 2022 Patterson Triennial Conference on Christian Unity, titled “Nicaea, Conciliarity, and the Future of Christianity.”
As Father McShane might say – in the words of Saint Augustine, we engage in what is “always old, always new”. This conference and the tenth anniversary, taking place just three years before the 1,700th commemoration of the Council of Nicaea, seem like a harbinger of good things to come.
The whole program of this Conference points to our unity in Christ and to the means of moving forward to make our unity in Him a reality. If there is a fundamental principle of unity for all Christians, I think we can all agree that it is the Faith, which was once transmitted to the saints1 and articulated at Nicaea.
I am very grateful to Fordham for this vibrant and dynamic center for Orthodox Christian studies, which encourages and promotes our common aspirations for Christian unity. Professors Aristotle Papanikolaou and George Demacopoulos have worked literal wonders here over the past decade, and our Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America celebrates their work and contributions. Indeed, they are first-class academics. But as archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, they are also churchmen of the first order.
I am also particularly grateful for the presence of my dear Brother Hierarchs, Bishop Irinej and Bishop Maxim, from the Serbian Orthodox Church. Our business as Orthodox Christians must always be pan-Orthodox – including all of our brothers and sisters. Just as our Roman Catholic brethren are often distinguished by the plethora of religious orders, so Orthodoxy is also distinguished by our jurisdictional idiosyncrasies. But in neither case are we confederations. We are united in faith and practice, and we work tirelessly through ecumenical efforts like this to manifest the unity in Christ that already exists – that is, if we are willing to find it.
This is why, with these few words, I send you my sincere congratulations and once again express my deep gratitude to our brother Father Joseph, whose vision of Christian unity is decidedly clear and unhindered. We are grateful for the home and heart that Fordham has for our Orthodox sisters and brothers.