One Year Anniversary of The Slavic Orthodox Vicariate: Archbishop Elpidophoros and Archimandrite Alexander Meet to Review the First YearMarch 11, 2021
On March 9, the Vicar of the Slavic Orthodox Vicariate of America, Archimandrite Alexander Belya, visited the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in Manhattan where he met with Archbishop Elpidophoros of America.
This visit marked the First Anniversary of the Vicariate, March 9, 2020, which was a feast day dedicated to St. John the Forerunner. It was also the day after the Sunday of Orthodoxy and the feast day of St. Matrona of Moscow. It was an appropriate date as the two main cathedrals of the Vicariate were dedicated to the saints being commemorated. Its creation on the day following the Sunday celebrating Orthodoxy had even greater significance as the Vicariate was established within the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese under the Ecumenical Patriarchate, thereby uniting the parishes of the Slavic traditions in America.
Members of the administration of the Archdiocese including the Chancellor, Fr. Andreas Vithouklas, attended the meeting with the representatives of the Slavic Orthodox Vicariate.
Archimandrite Alexander updated Archbishop Elpidophoros on the progress the Vicariate over its first year. The growth of the number of clerics who have joined or are in the process of transferring, many from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Bulgaria as well as the US, was discussed. As the Vicar noted, “despite the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Slavic Orthodox Vicariate is developing and expanding.”
Numerous topics involving the further development of the Vicariate and other organizational issues were also discussed at the meeting.
Archbishop Elpidophoros approved the draft design of the emblem (logo) of the Slavic Orthodox Vicariate of America. In its center is an image of a cross from the Cathedral of St. Sophia in Constantinople, in which the Equal-to-the-Apostles Princess Olga was baptized, after which the Orthodox faith in Rus’ spread. On the sides the cross is held by the patron saints of the Vicariate, Saints Cyril and Methodius, the Enlighteners of the Slavs. They were two brothers sent as missionaries from Constantinople to Moravia (present day Czechia), who created a Slavic alphabet and translated the New Testament, the Psalter, and liturgical texts of the services into the Slavic languages. Due to the work of SS. Cyril and Methodius and their students, the Slavic peoples including Belarusians, Bulgarians, Macedonians, Poles, Russians, Serbs, Slovaks, Slovenes, Ukrainians, Croatians, Montenegrins, Czechs, Slavic Macedonians and others, received enlightenment. Today Orthodox immigrants from these countries in America are united within the Slavic Vicariate.
The draft for the awards of the Slavic Orthodox Vicariate were also submitted to Archbishop Elpidophoros for consideration. His Eminence has already blessed the establishment of the highest award, the Order of Saints Cyril and Methodius First and Second Degree.
Archimandrite Alexander also presented the Archbishop with the two new publications of the Vicariate, the official Calendar for 2021 (which was released in December 2020 after the historic first visit of Archbishop Elpidophoros to the Slavic Vicariate in Miami) and the latest issue of the newspaper Orthodox Florida.
In commemoration of the First Anniversary of the Slavic Orthodox Vicariate of America, Archimandrite Alexander presented Archbishop Elpidophoros with a 19th century icon of the holy prophet, St. John the Forerunner and the Baptist. On behalf of the clergy and laity the Vicar thanked His Eminence for his prayers and support.
At the end of the meeting, Archbishop Elpidophoros acknowledged the guests for their work and wished Father Alexander and the clergy God’s help in their efforts to develop the Slavic Orthodox Vicariate.