His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America visited Arizona on August 4 – 7, 2019. Upon his arrival at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, he was greeted by His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco, and clergy from throughout the state. The crowd chanted AXIOS as he greeted the youth and parish leadership.

His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America took the time to greet each person during his visit, emulating the love of the Gospel through his words and actions. He was especially engaging with the youth, and encouraged them to remain close to the Church and to stay strong in their faith.

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Holy Trinity Cathedral Parish Council President James Manelis (L) and Vice President Paul Katsense (R) with Archbishop Elpidophoros
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Philoptochos members from through the Valley
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The Choukalas children - Ryan, Katie and Jack - presented gifts to the Archbishop upon his arrival. They are with their parents Pete and Kim.

“It was a blessing and honor for the faithful of Arizona to have His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros visit within such a short time following his Enthronement,” stated His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco. “He is a man of great faith and vision, and we look forward to the realization of his inspirational archpastoral leadership.”

On Monday, August 5, Archbishop Elpidophoros traveled to Florence, AZ to visit Saint Anthony Monastery. He was greeted by Archimandrite Paisios, Abbott of the Monastery, and members of the monastic community. He participated in a Doxology service, and also celebrated the Feast of the Transfiguration at the Monastery on Tuesday, August 6 at which he ordained monk Kyrillos to the Holy Diaconate, and Hierodeacon Seraphim to the Holy Priesthood.

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Archbishop Elpidophoros at Saint Anthony Monastery in Florence, AZ

Upon returning to Phoenix on August 6, Archbishop Elpidophoros held a Synaxis with the clergy from Arizona, learning more about the local parishes, and also sharing his vision for the growth of the Church and the strengthening of our Archdiocese. That evening, nearly 500 people from the surrounding communities gathered at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Phoenix, AZ for the Service of Great Paraklesis.

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LEFT: The handcrafted Navajo Turquoise Cross presented to Archbishop Elpidophoros from all the Arizona parishes. RIGHT: Archbishop Elpidophoros with the handcrafted Navajo Turquoise Cross.

As a remembrance of the first visit of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros to Arizona, a beautiful framed Navajo turquoise cross was presented to him on behalf of all the parishes by Rev. Father Andrew Barakos, Vicar of the Southwest Vicariate for the Metropolis of San Francisco.

The evening concluded with a festive reception coordinated by the Philoptochos from Holy Trinity Cathedral, assisted by the chapters from the nearby parishes.