His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch BARTHOLOMEW of Constantinople & New Rome
His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, born Dimitrios Ch. Archontonis, was born in Agioi Theodoroi of Imbros, on February 29th, 1940. He attended the encyclical courses at the Primary School of his village, at the Zografio Gymnasium-Lyceum of Constantinople and at the Central School of Imbros. He then studied at the Holy Theological School of Halki, the Institute of Oriental Studies of Rome (Gregorian University), the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey (Switzerland) and the University of Munich. He speaks seven languages.
He was ordained a Deacon in 1961, an Elder in 1969 and a Metropolitan of Philadelphia in 1973. In 1990 he was promoted to Metropolitan Elder Chalcedon and on October 22, 1991 he was unanimously elected Ecumenical Patriarch.
Between the years 1961-1963 He fulfilled his compulsory military service under his laws.
He served as Director of the Private Office of His immediate predecessor, Patriarch Demetriou, throughout His Patriarchate (1972-1991).
Since His election as Ecumenical Patriarch he has been working to strengthen pan-Orthodox unity and cooperation. For this purpose he established the Assemblies of the Orthodox Primates and made many visits to them, as well as inviting them and welcoming them to His Holy Cathedra at the Phanar. He convened the Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church, which was held in Crete in June 2016, and presided over its work. It also promotes ecumenical dialogue with the other Christian Churches and Denominations, visiting their seats and participating in inter-Christian conferences and anniversary events.
During his Patriarchy he was received by many heads of state and government, many of whom officially visited His All Holiness at the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He was invited and gave speeches to the European Parliament (1994, 2008), the Council of Europe (2007), UNESCO, the Prague Forum 2000 (2019), the World Economic Forum in Davos (1999, 2020) etc.
He has been awarded the highest honors of many countries, including the Gold Medal of the American Congress, as well as the title of honorary doctorate from many universities around the world.
Since 2004, he has enlarged the Holy and Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, inviting the Hierarchs of the Throne outside Turkey to participate in it. Moreover, he convened many times Assemblies of the Hierarchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
It also established regular pilgrimage visits to Cappadocia and other "extinguished lamp" in Asia Minor and Eastern Thrace, where after many decades sacred services were held, culminating in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at the historic Holy Monastery of Panagia Soumela (15.8.2010), which continued until 2015.
He visited most of the Throne Provinces throughout the world, blessing and strengthening the pastoral work in them. Also, at His suggestion, new Holy and Holy Metropolises were founded by the Holy and Holy Synod.
On His initiative, the "Yearbook of the Ecumenical Patriarchate" was published as early as the 90s, and the official informative magazine of the Metropolis, "Orthodoxy", was reissued.
Immediately after his election, he took care of the reopening of the Holy Theological School of Halki, which has remained "silent" since 1971, and for the achievement of this righteous purpose he continues his efforts unabated.
At the same time, he has been working systematically, within the framework of the ecumenical Patriarchate's interest, since the time of Patriarch Demetriou, to raise awareness among States and peoples with the aim of preserving creation and protecting the natural environment, convening, among others, Ecological Seminars in Halki and many International Symposiums on board in various parts of the world.
His Eminence Archbishop ELPIDOPHOROS of America
His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros (Lambriniadis) of America, Most Honorable Exarch of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, is the eighth Archbishop of America elected since the establishment of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in 1922.
Archbishop Elpidophoros was born in 1967 in Bakirköy, Istanbul. He studied at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki — School of Pastoral and Social Theology, from which he graduated in 1991. In 1993, he finished his postgraduate studies at the Philosophical School of the University of Bonn, Germany, submitting a dissertation entitled, “The Brothers Nicholas and John Mesarites: Defenders of Orthodoxy in the Union Negotiations from 1204 to 1214 (in the historical and theological framework of the era).” He was ordained a Deacon in 1994 at the Patriarchal Cathedral and was thereafter appointed as the Codecographer of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
In 1995, he was appointed Deputy Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod. From 1996-1997 he studied at the Theological School of St. John the Damascene in Balamand, Lebanon, where he improved his knowledge of the Arabic language. In 2001, he presented his doctoral dissertation at the Theological School of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki under the title, “The Opposing Stance of Severus of Antioch at the Council of Chalcedon,” earning him a Doctorate of Theology with highest distinction. In 2004, he was invited to Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA, where he taught as a visiting professor for one semester.
In March 2005, at the proposal of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, he was promoted by the Holy and Sacred Synod to the position of Chief Secretary and was ordained to the priesthood by the Ecumenical Patriarch in the Patriarchal Cathedral. In 2009, he submitted two dissertations to the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki — School of Pastoral and Social Theology and was unanimously elected Assistant Professor of Symbolics, Inter-Orthodox Relations and the Ecumenical Movement. The dissertations are entitled: “The Synaxes of the Hierarchy of the Ecumenical Throne (1951-2004)” and “Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses: Historical and Theological Aspects. Text – Translation – Commentary.” In 2018, he was elected full professor at the same university, a position he held until his election as Archbishop of America.
In March 2011, he was elected Metropolitan of Bursa, and in August of the same year was appointed Abbot of the Holy Patriarchal and Stavropegial Monastery of the Holy Trinity on the island of Halki. He has served as the Orthodox Secretary of the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Lutheran World Federation and as a member of the Patriarchal delegations to the General Assemblies of the Conference of European Churches and the World Council of Churches. He was the Secretary of the Pan-Orthodox Synods in Sofia (1998), Istanbul (2005), Geneva (2006), and Istanbul (2008). He has been an active member of the World Council of Churches serving on its Central Committee and also serving on its Faith and Order Commission since 1996.
On May 11, 2019, he was elected Archbishop of America by the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and was enthroned at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York City on June 22 of the same year.
His Grace Bishop APOSTOLOS of Medeia
His Grace Bishop Apostolos of Medeia was born Evangelos Koufallakis on the island of Rhodes, Greece. He is the second of four children of Ioannis and Stergia Koufallakis. He completed his primary education on the island of Rhodes. In 1990, he was accepted at the historical Ecclesiastical School of Patmos, also known as Patmeada, where he was first introduced to, and later mastered, Orthodox Byzantine Music and Hymnology.
On April 29, 1993 Evangelos was tonsured a monk at the Holy and Sacred Monastery of Panagia Paramethea, at which time he received the name “Apostolos.” On June 20, 1993, Father Apostolos was ordained to the holy Diaconate by his spiritual father, Metropolitan Apostolos of Rhodes. He served the Metropolis of Rhodes as the deacon to the Metropolitan, and a year later received the Offikion of Archdeacon.
In October of 1995, Father Apostolos passed the General Panellenian exams and was accepted at the University of Thessalonica, in the area of study of Pastoral and Social Theology. During his theological education, Father Apostolos was ordained to the Holy Priesthood on July 28, 1996 and received the Offikion of Archimandrite by Metropolitan Apostolos of Rhodes. In March of 2000, having broadened his theological education, Father Apostolos graduated with the degree Master of Divinity after having broadened and completed his theological education at the Aristotelion University of Thessaloniki.
On October 11, 2001 Archimandrite Apostolos traveled to the United States of America in an effort to further enhance and expand his knowledge of theology. The following year, Archimandrite Apostolos was accepted at Boston University School of Theology in the Master of Sacred Theology program, with a major in Philosophy, Theology, and Ethics. The degree of Master of Sacred Theology was conferred upon him in May of 2004.
During his graduate studies in Boston, His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios of Boston, assigned Archimandrite Apostolos as a visiting priest at the Annunciation Church in Brockton, Massachusetts. After offering his service to the parish of the Annunciation, His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios appointed Father Apostolos as the proestamenos of the historic parish of St. George of Southbridge, Massachusetts. In September of 2003, Archimandrite Apostolos was transferred to the Saints Anargeroi parish of Marlborough, Massachusetts, and had served as its proestamenos. In February of 2004, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America appointed the Archimandrite Apostolos Koufallakis as the Dean of the historic Cathedral of St. Demetrios of Astoria. In November 2004, the president and the members of the Society of Patmos made Fr. Apostolos an honorary president. Four years later on March 20, 2008 at the Greek Independence Day Celebrations, Fr. Apostolos received a Citation of Honor from Mrs. Helen M. Marshall, President of the Borrow of Queens, for his “profound devotion to the Greek Orthodox Church and to the Greek American Community.” In March of 2009, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America appointed Archimandrite Apostolos Koufallakis as the director of the Archdiocesan Hellenic Cultural Center.
In October 2011 Archimandrite Apostolos was appointed as the Chancellor of the Metropolis of San Francisco by His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco. On November 28, 2014 the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate unanimously elected Archimandrite Apostolos to the rank of Auxiliary Bishop and was given the title Bishop of Medeia. His ordination took place on December 20, 2014 at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in New York. On November 15, 2018 Bishop Apostolos was appointed Chief Secretary of the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. On January 9, 2019 His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America appointed Bishop Apostolos of Medeia to be the spiritual advisor of the National Greek Orthodox Philoptochos Society.
Bishop Apostolos was tasked with the planning and organization of the Enthronement Service and celebration of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America which took place on June 22, 2019. He was also entrusted the position of President of the Planning Committee which organized the first Monastic Synaxis which took place in Roscoe, New York from September 21-22, 2019. Additionally, Bishop Apostolos was appointed by Archbishop Elpidophoros of America as the President of the Coordinating Committee for the National Greek Education Conference held in Flushing, New York on November 9, 2019. More recently, Bishop Apostolos had the distinct privilege of organizing the 45th Biennial National Clergy-Laity Congress held from September 9-10, 2020 in which more than 1,200 delegates participated, more than any other National Clergy-Laity Congress in the history of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. On February 3, 2021 His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America assigned His Grace Bishop Apostolos of Medeia to assume the liturgical and pastoral responsibilities and needs of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey.