Antiphonesis of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
Today, we are deeply moved to be in West Virginia for the first time, and in this glorious Church of All Saints in Weirton. We note with great satisfaction that it was our ever-memorable predecessor on the Throne of Chrysostom, Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras, who laid the cornerstone of this Temple, when he was Archbishop of America, in the year of our Lord, 1947.
Through the many decades of its existence, this community has gifted to the Church a strong and vibrant series of leaders and true servants of the mission of our Lord Jesus Christ. Not the least among them are the members of the Psaros family, but we celebrate all those who went forth from Weirton with steel in their souls for the cause of the Church.
There is something about the history of this community, and its association with the steel mills that once flourished here. Although that industry diminished, the resolve and fortitude of the faithful of All Saints seemed to become even more firm. Here in Weirton – a famous name in America, everyone knows its associations – the Greek Orthodox People have held fast to their faith and to their traditions.
You have all honored the memory of your forebears, who immigrated here to be part of the industrial revolution of the early Twentieth Century. Now, one hundred years later, you are persevering in your commitment to Faith and Family, to the practice of our Holy Orthodox Christian Faith, and to the Hellenic Heritage that simple men and women brought to this region.
Here, in West Virginia, the tradition of the Christian East has found a home and a Temple within which to offer the pure worship and Holy Liturgy. You should all be very proud of your achievements, for you, the sons and daughters of the Ecumenical Throne, manifest your strength and the bonds with your Mother Church of Constantinople.
As Ecumenical Patriarch, when we behold your devotion and dedication, we receive even more θάρρος and encouragement to continue our course. We have run this race of service and ministry to the Sacred See of Saint Andrew for thirty years. And we take courage from the words of the Holy Apostle Paul, “we have not run or labored in vain.”
Especially when we behold your shining faces, and your children’s children gathered around in this magnificent Temple, we feel as is chanted in the hymns of the Church:
“As you behold your children’s children like saplings around your table, rejoice and be glad, O High Priest, and offer them to Christ the Chief Shepherd!”
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