Archbishop Elpidophoros of America attended the 45th Annual Folk and Choral Dance Festival held at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown, Arizona.

In his closing remarks during the awards banquet on February 20, 2022 at 7:00 p.m., Archbishop Elpidophoros emphasized that “This 45th Annual Folk and Choral Dance Festival is a source of pride throughout the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. inspired many to follow in your footsteps (or should I say dance steps!) As your Archbishop, I am proud to be here as we begin to celebrate the centenary of our Church.”

Read Archbishop Elpidophoros of America’s closing remarks below:

Beloved Brother, Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco,

Dear Clergy and Presvyteres, and your children,

Honorable Archons, Council of Metropolis and Sisters Philoptochos,

Esteemed administrators of the FDF,

Parents, benefactors, sympathizers and friends,

Participants in this 45th Annual Folk and Choral Dance Festival,

Beloved in Christ,

What a joy it was to meet in person to celebrate our Faith and Culture! I congratulate all the organizers, both at the level of the Metropolis and the Parish. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, you found the way to make this event a reality, and it was a wonder to once again witness the enthusiasm, artistry and faith of our young people. This 45th Annual Folk and Choral Dance Festival is a source of pride throughout the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. You have inspired many to follow in your footsteps (or should I say dance steps!). As Archbishop, I am proud to be here as we begin to celebrate the centenary of our Church.

I’m also proud to say that here at the awards ceremony, it’s as much about celebration as it is about competition. Each of you has offered your best efforts and talents. So, despite the rankings, each of you is a champion. The awards that are given tonight are a reflection of the light within each of you. And the source of that light is our Lord Jesus Christ, the Light of the world. 1

The grace and skill you have shown give praise and glory to your Creator. For God shaped the Universe like a divine dance, filled with swirling galaxies and impactful acts of creation. In your joyful movements and brilliant sounds, you place your love and dedication to the arts of dance and song in the Universe.

The movements of your bodies reflect the turns of the celestial bodies. And the sounds of your voices and your instruments are the echoes of creation, ringing like celestial bells across the Universe. I hope you are all as proud of yourselves as I am of you. You have all excelled and deserve warm applause from all.

As I leave this 45th FDF, know that I will treasure your talents and joy in my heart until we meet again.

I pray that God will continue to bless and guide you and that your time together here will forever remain in your hearts.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.