A Message From His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! As we look forward to celebrating the day dedicated to freedom in the United States, Independence Day or the Fourth of July, we should give thanks and praise for all the abundant blessings from God, especially the great gift of true freedom that we as Greek-Americans hold dear to our hearts.
Therefore if the Son makes you free,
you shall be free indeed. John 8:36
On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, formally declaring that the American colonies were free and independent states, not subject to the government of England. The Declaration of Independence was signed by leaders from the colonies, and for the first time in an official document the colonies were referred to as the United States of America.
Within days, the Declaration was read publically in American cities, and whenever they heard it, American patriots responded with cheers, fireworks and celebrations. Since that day, the philosophy and ideas expressed in the Declaration of Independence have inspired freedom-loving people all over the world with the words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
My beloved ones, we are blessed by God to live in a free country. With all of my heart I pray that we might continue to enjoy this great gift — that our children and grandchildren may know and experience the joy and blessings of freedom — “that we might stand fast in the liberty with which Christ has made us free.” (Galatians 5:1)
Along with our fellow Americans, we will celebrate this important day as a holiday, with picnics and fireworks and music, but more importantly we should also pause a moment to give thanks and praise for God`s great gift of true freedom that we as proud and patriotic Greek-Americans hold so near and dear to our hearts. On Independence Day, we are especially thankful for this great country and the freedom we enjoy. Let us be mindful every day of our lives that these blessings of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” are bestowed upon us by our Almighty God.
May Almighty God bless us and keep us so that we may live as good citizens of His Kingdom and Christ`s disciples.
God bless America!
† Metropolitan Alexios
† ALEXIOS Metropolitan of Atlanta
Biography Of His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios
On December 20, 2002, the Holy Synod of the Holy Patriarchate of Constantinople elevated the Holy Diocese to become the Holy Metropolis of Atlanta and His Grace, Bishop Alexios of Atlanta, to His Eminence, Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta. This is his story:
He was born Anthimos Panagiotopoulos, on Christmas Day, December 25, 1943, in Ayo Soudenoika Patrou, Greece to Spyridon and Angeliki Panagiotopoulos. He is the oldest of five brothers and two sisters. He was tonsured a monk at Vatopedion Monastery in 1963 and graduated from the Athonias Ecclesiastical Academy in 1964. In November 1965, he was ordained to the diaconate and served as Archdeacon for the Metropolitan of Patras until he entered the National Kapodistrian University School of Theology in Athens in 1969. While in Athens, he served as deacon at the churches of Saint Panteleimon and Saint Spyridon.
He was ordained to the priesthood on August 27, 1972, and assigned to Saint Sophia Church in Patras, while living as a brother of the Gerokomion Monastery of the Virgin Mary. Following his graduation from the University Of Athens School Of Theology in 1973, he enrolled in the Boston University School of Theology and received his Doctor of Ministry degree in 1978. While at BU, he served as pastor of Dormition Church in Burlington, Vermont. He returned to Patras upon completion of his studies and served as Abbot of the Gerokomion Monastery. A year later, he was summoned back to the United States to serve as Dean of Saints Constantine and Helen Church in Brooklyn, New York, and later he was transferred to the Hellenic Orthodox Community of Saint Demetrios in Astoria, New York.
The Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate elevated the Very Reverend Anthimos to the episcopacy as Bishop of Troas on April 7, 1987. He assumed the name Alexios upon his consecration by Archbishop Iakovos on May 17, 1987. He was enthroned a month later at St. Demetrios Cathedral as the first Choroepiscopos for the Hellenic Community of Astoria. He was assigned to parishes in Queens, Long Island, southern Connecticut, and Upstate New York on January 1, 1989, and while in Astoria he served as the Director of the Hellenic Cultural Center of the Holy Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in Queens, New York.
Bishop Alexios served the Atlanta Diocese as Archiepiscopal Vicar of the Atlanta Diocese from Jan. 1, 1997 until his election as Bishop of Atlanta by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He was enthroned as Bishop on May 22, 1999, and served until the Elevation in 2002.