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VALPARAISO, IN: Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago, spiritual leader of all Greek Orthodox parishioners within Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin as well as large portions of Missouri and Indiana, visited Saint Iakovos Greek Orthodox Church in Valparaiso on Saturday and Sunday, October 22-23, 2016, to celebrate and officiate Saturday services marking the beginning of the Feast of the Metropolitan’s Patron Saintand then staying to officiate Sunday services. It was also an honor to join St Iakovos Greek Orthodox Church on the 35th Anniversary of the parish being in the Valparaiso community.

Within the Greek Orthodox faith, it is common to celebrate an individuals name day rather than one’s birthday. The name day is the day honoring the Saint for whom a person is named. The Feast of Saint Iakovos (James), Brother of the Lord, is October 23 this year (the liturgical day begins at sundown the evening prior).

Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago has served as the spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago since May of 1979. Under his leadership the Metropolis has increased its efforts to assist the homeless and those in need, as witnessed in the labors of the Metropolis Philanthropy Committee. He has founded new Youth programs, established various local dialogues with other faith communities and continues to work with area religious leaders in promoting justice and truth in our society.

His Eminence was honored to be joined Saturday evening by not only Valparaiso Parish Priest Father James Greanias but additionally many of His priest who traveled from throughout the Metropolis of Chicago to be with him on this celebrated day. Additionally, thousands of clergy and parishioners from all parts of the Metropolis of Chicago are planning to join His Eminence this coming Thursday for the annual Metropolitan Iakovos Feast Day Dinner, this year to held at Georgio’s Banquets in Orland Park, Illinois.

In his sermon marking the day, Father Andrew Georganas of St Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Elmhurst, Illinois, said “Along with the Feast of St. Iakovos, we celebrate our dear Spiritual Father and Shepherd, Metropolitan Iakovos. As we gather and draw from the well, we thank Almighty God for giving us a true bishop of the church. One whose steady hand, compassionate demeanor, Fatherly counsel, and Christ-like example has helped make us better followers of Christ. A true statesman of our Holy Greek Orthodox Faith, who for the past 47 years has been a faithful Hierarch – rightly teaching the Word of God’s truth.”

“Consecrated as Bishop on Christmas day 1969, the day the world received that greatest gift, in the Incarnation of Almighty God taking on flesh, on the day that we express our love for Christ by giving presents to one another, it is the Church that received a most precious gift in the person of our Metropolitan. And on May 1, 1979, it is we, the faithful of Metropolis of Chicago, that received the present and presence of His Eminence as our Hierarch. What a humbling honor for all of us to serve under a man who exemplifies true servant leadership. Like St. Iakovos, His Eminence is a person that always remembers and does not forget the builder of the well.” continued Father Georganas.

Proclaimed Father Georganas “Metropolitan Iakovos continues to lead with faith, humility, and dignity. His love, unconditional – nurturing, guiding, blessing, building-up. A shepherd whose door and heart is always open to us all. A man of Christ, who continuously gathers us, his children, to the well of our Faith. Many Years to You, our Dear Spiritual Father and Shepherd.”
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