Greek Orthodox Archbishop of America Elpidophoros completed a historic visit to The Bahamas in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, where he surveyed damaged neighborhoods and offered solidarity and support to storm victims.
During his three-day weekend visit Elpidophoros met with Bahamas Governor General Sir Cornelius Alvin Smith to discuss the extent of damages and ongoing relief efforts. The archbishop’s proposed efforts include involving the Archdiocese as well as International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), the official international humanitarian agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA.
Accompanying the archbishop during the visit, IOCC Executive Director Dean Triantafilou spoke about his organization’s short- and long-term support of The Bahamas’ local Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Nassau — which is leading local recovery efforts.
Governor General Smith said he and his national were grateful for the assistance from the Archdiocese of America and IOCC — including a combined $126,000 gift from Leadership 100, the National Philoptochos Society and the Philoptochos chapter of the Kimisis Tis Theotokou parish in Southampton, New York.
Elpidophoros boarded a small plane to conduct an aerial survey of Abaco and Grand Bahama, the islands most affected by the storm. He said the site of the damages had a significant emotional impact on his heart.
“My heart was deeply moved by not only by the sight of this catastrophe and the profound suffering, but also by the courage and strength of the Bahamian people,” Elpidophoros said. “I am very proud of the philanthropic work of our Greek Orthodox community there. I pray that the Lord grant abundant mercy to them, so that a swift and full recovery may be achieved.”
Upon visiting Grand Bahama, the archbishop received formal welcome from Deputy Prime Minister Kevin Peter Turnquest and later the two held a meeting with Ian Rolle, President of the Grand Bahama Port Authority.
On Sunday, Elpidophoros celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the aforementioned Annunciation parish, where he conveyed the Archdiocese of America’s support for The Bahamas’ Orthodox Christians and their nation.
“Although geographically we are separated by many miles of ocean, spiritually we are closer than neighbors,” he said. “In Christ, we are one family, brothers and sisters together; in Christ, we are one body, and members of one another.”
After the liturgy, Elpidophoros spoke with the children of the parish, whom he encouraged to help those in need by sharing their time and concern. The archbishop also met with the church’s leadership, whom he challenged to actively recruit leaders from younger generations in the community.
Elpidophoros said he encourages America’s Orthodox Christians to assist The Bahamas’ relief efforts by supporting International Orthodox Christian Charities. Donations can be made online by clicking here.
See photos of his visit
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