Of His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael of Chicago
Upon the Arrival of
His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
In South Bend and the Holy Metropolis of Chicago
(South Bend, Indiana, October 27, 2021)
Your All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew,
As the humble bishop of the Holy Metropolis of Chicago, it is with the deepest respect and thanksgiving that I welcome You on behalf of our devout clergy and pious faithful to this God-protected Metropolis of the Ecumenical Throne, exclaiming in like-manner the words of St. Paul, Apostle to the Nations: “Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!” The arrival of Your All-Holiness here today is indeed an auspicious occasion and inspires me to consider how the presence of the Ecumenical Patriarch provides us the opportunity to strengthen our unbreakable historical and canonical bonds with the Mother Church and Her Venerable Primate. Your visit also provides us the opportunity to project into the many layers of our local multicultural community the ancient institution that is the Great Church of Christ as well as the great love, spiritual boldness, and tireless self-sacrifice that characterize the three decades of Your All-Holiness’ ministry.
It was three years ago, as a newly ordained hierarch, that I received an honor of the highest order: the Patriarchal summons to serve as a member of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Through my participation in the work of this body, I came to a deeper appreciation of the great worth and significance of the synodal life of the Church. I also witnessed the personal commitment of our Ecumenical Patriarch to unity, reconciliation, justice, the evangelization of the world, and experienced first-hand Your exemplary pastoral leadership of the chosen people of God, especially for our own Holy Archdiocese of America. It was in this spirit that You sent to this blessed land of the United States—with Your Patriarchal support and by the canonical vote of the Holy and Sacred Synod—our distinguished and most beloved brother Elpidophoros, former Metropolitan of Bursa, to continue and increase the work of his venerable predecessors on the Archbishopric throne of America.
You arrive today, Your All-Holiness, to witness the first fruits of our Archbishop’s ministry. And thus, we wholeheartedly thank His Eminence the Archbishop, President of the Holy Eparchial Synod, for proposing and supporting the inclusion of the Holy Metropolis of Chicago during Your Patriarchal Visit to the United States of America.
We also express our gratitude to the President of the University of Notre Dame, the Rev. Professor John I. Jenkins, who graciously invited and patiently labored to receive Your All-Holiness our Ecumenical Patriarch at the august institution over which he presides. We are certain that, being a member of the Congregation of Holy Cross, his work of educating and evangelizing, a mission very near and dear to Your heart, Your All-Holiness, will continue to flourish by God’s grace. We also commend the entire Faculty of the Department of Theology, but most especially Fr. Alexis Torrance, the Archbishop Demetrios Associate Professor of Byzantine Theology and Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Throne, for all their efforts. We ask Your All-Holiness to richly bestow upon them and upon all of us here present, including the Local, Regional, and Federal Civil Authorities, the Police Officers, as well as the Airport Administration and Staff, Your Patriarchal blessing.
Your All-Holiness, shortly, observing appropriate pandemic safety measures in the Church of Saint Andrew the First-Called Apostle, the faithful of our Holy Metropolis will have the honor to receive Your most precious blessings. Indeed, the meeting of Father and children will be a joyous, blessed, and fruitful occasion.
We are overjoyed by Your presence today and welcome You, Your All-Holiness.