His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of AmericaAddress at the Ordination of Bishop-Elect Spyridon of Amastris
November 14, 2020
Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Cross
Your Eminence Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira,
Your Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco,
My Beloved Brothers in the Holy Spirit,
Dear Clergy and Faithful of this Community of the Holy Cross,
Beloved Bishop-Elect of Amastris, Your Grace Spyridon,
My dear brother, today we gather in this Church of the Holy Cross, a Parish well known to you and served by your dear friend and collaborator, the late and ever-memorable Father Leonidas Contos. We gather before the Holy Cross of the Lord, the place par excellence of sacrificial love, to receive your offering of service in the Holy High Priesthood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
On Earth as it is in Heaven – thus we pray, and thus we believe that your beloved late Presvytera Chrisanthe joins with the Celestial Hosts and all those whose have gone before us to celebrate this moment. And with your children and grandchildren present today, to bear witness to this culmination of your lifetime of diakonia, we gather in this holy Synaxis to elevate you to the episcopal dignity.
Together with all the Saints, we offer fervent prayers for all those who have brought you before the Holy Altar this day, whether alive in this world or the next.
Beloved Bishop-Elect Spyridon, you were known for most of your life as Spencer, an Anglicized version of your Baptismal Name. But today, your name echoes that of the Great Bishop of Trimythous (Τριμυθούντος), who is the perfect icon of a pastor and a theologian. And you are both as well, an experienced shepherd of the Flock of Christ through your many decades of parish ministry, and you are a theologian who has worked to explicate the sacred texts of our Orthodox liturgical life for the access and the understanding of the Faithful.
Yes, you have been elected late in life, but let no one believe that it is too late, or that this is some kind of reward for your years of service. If I may exhort you with an Apostolic injunction, with one slight change:
Let no one despise your ‘seniority,’ but set for the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
Indeed, like the younger Timothy to whom Saint Paul writes, we recognize the example that you have set throughout your life, and which you will continue to manifest as a Bishop of our Holy Orthodox Church. Your speech and conduct, your love, faith, and purity of life bear witness to your worthiness for the Office of a Hierarch in the Church.
I, for one, look very much forward to your continuing service in our Archdiocese and your new participation in the Assembly of Bishops. Here, I believe, you have a talent that must not be buried, but it should be shared with your brother Bishops. I speak of your theological talent.
We must continue to seek the best translations for all Orthodox in the United States, faithful to the Greek original, and translations that allow all Orthodox to worship ἐν ἑνἰ στόματι – “with one voice,” as we pray in every Divine Liturgy.
Bishop-Elect Spyridon, your vast experience and familiarity with the liturgical texts of the Church give you a distinct and enriched perspective that must be shared with all. We know the tremendous value of the original Greek language; therefore, we must provide the very best translations!
In ascending to the throne of our Great High Priest Jesus Christ today, we all pray for your health – both of spirit and of body – that you may have many years of service yet to come.
Your See of Amastris, chosen for you by the Ecumenical Patriarch himself, is a most famous τόπος in the ancient world. This region was known as far back as the Iliad of Homer, and it resounds with your own ancestral roots. This connectivity is important for everyone to understand, because these Sees that were once the glory of the Church live on in the persons of the Bishops who bear their titles. You, as the Bishop of Amastris, bear within your office the entire history of this Church of ancient Pontus.
You are a living link to the Christian community that was there as early as the Second Century, as is attested by the Letter of Saint Dionysios of Corinth to the Bishop there, whose name was Palmas. In that letter, according to Eusebius, there was advice in regard to marriage and celibacy.
So here you are today, beloved brother, as one who has known the blessing of marriage and family, and as one who embraced celibacy. You can speak to both these holy states of Christian life; the two sides of the one coin of sanctification.
Your life has been abundantly blessed by God, and has had its share of challenges, which by the grace of God, and by your love of the Church, you have overcome. I pray that your episcopacy is becomes the means of your sharing your many gifts with an even wider circle of the Faithful.
Thus, may your life and ministry attain the blessing uttered by the Holy Father we celebrated only yesterday, Saint John Chrysostom, the Archbishop of Constantinople:
Glory to God for all things!
Δόξα τῷ Θεῷ πάντων ἕνεκεν!
Source: Orthodox Observer
ΑΞΙΟΣ! AXIOS! WORTHY!
Biography of Bishop-elect Spyridon (Kezios) of Amastris
Fr. Spencer T. Kezios, a priest of the Greek Orthodox Faith, was born in Chicago, Illinois. His home parish was the Assumption Church where he served as an Altar Boy and where he was ordained a deacon. During his teen years he was a very active participant in youth ministry as a Jr. Goyan. The Central Council, comprised of representation of all the Chicago parishes, elected him as their president in 1951. It was during those years he came to know Chrisanthe Marinakos. Their friendship grew to love and they married in July of 1957. They have been blessed with four loving children: Mark, Evonne, Trevon, (Jennifer) and Nicholas, and grandchildren Roman and Mia. In 2012 after a prolonged illness Presbytera Chrisanthe passed into life eternal on Easter Sunday.
After ordination Fr. Kezios served parishes in Keene, New Hampshire; Gary, Indiana and Pocatello, Idaho. In 1960, Fr. Kezios began serving the Parish of Saint Nicholas in Northridge, California where, after 45 years, he retired, accepting the honor of Pastor Emeritus. Under his spiritual guidance the Saint Nicholas Parish grew from a mission parish into a prominent center of Faith. In 1967, Saint Nicholas Church, which had been located in Granada Hills, outgrew its facilities and moved to Northridge to a newly erected church, an administration building and a twelve-classroom school. In his early years at Saint Nicholas, Fr. Kezios was one of the three original incorporators of Guadalupe Home for Boys.
In 1970 he established the first Greek Orthodox senior citizens housing development in the Archdiocese, followed a few years later by a second senior citizens housing development.
In 1977 he founded Saint Nicholas Parochial School which has distinguished itself by its high academic standards. In 1978, a new Community Center was erected providing an additional thirteen classrooms, meeting rooms, a separate gymnasium as well as a ballroom.
Some of his extraordinary assignments have been the production of five educational films. The first of these, “A Boy Named Panayiotis,” was produced when Archbishop Iakovos asked Fr. Kezios to produce a film to bring the plight of the people of Cyprus to the American people after they suffered the Turkish invasion. In addition, he produced and directed a folkloric program of the music and dances of Cyprus which toured the United States. The net proceeds of this program benefited the refugees of Cyprus.
Immediately following the fall of communism in Albania, Archbishop Iakovos once again called on Fr. Kezios to assist the efforts of the Church to have the Albanian government accept Anastasios as Archbishop of Albania. After meeting with Archbishop Iakovos and Mr. Samaras, the then Foreign Minister of Greece, he was assigned to a delegation which was sent to Albania to assist in the furtherance of this request of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the appointment of Archbishop Anastasios.
In 1994, experiencing the real lack of cantors versed in Greek and able to chant the Office of Orthros, he embarked upon translating the complete Orthros services from the original Greek into English, a monumental task. The Office of Orthros chanted prior to the Liturgy changes each and every week and each and every year. The complete Orthros service for every week of the year is now published semi-annually for use by both Priests and Cantors. It has now become a familiar resource and because of its size affectionately referred to as the “Kezios phonebook.”
That same year he and his good friend, the late Fr. Leonidas Contos, formed Narthex Press, primarily dedicated to providing liturgical translations into contemporary English. Although Fr. Contos passed on in 1995, Fr. Kezios has continued the work of Narthex Press with the publication of forty two volumes, and an additional four liturgical music books and CDs. He recently published a beautifully illustrated book, The Bible for Young People.
Fr. Kezios has also chaired the Liturgical Translation Committee of our Archdiocese in the past, and has served on various committees of our Church and Archdiocese; among the dearest, as a member of the Executive Committee of his Alma Mater, the Holy Cross School of Theology. He has also served as a Trustee for the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute of the University of California, Berkeley.
Upon his retirement as Pastor of Saint Nicholas, the Vestry in the Chapel of the Holy Cross School of Theology was named in his honor.
His activities and involvements go beyond the Church and extend into the Community as well. He has been active in various civic and community affairs. He presently serves as a Chaplain for the Los Angeles Police Department and was also a member of its Chaplain’s Advisory Board. In 2005 the Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, appointed Fr. Kezios as a member of the Planning Commission which plans for the future development of the City It adjudicates issues of planning and zoning which are brought before the Commission.
In retirement he has continued translating liturgical services especially for the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Two of note are the Sacred Service of the sanctifying of the Holy Chrism for the Sacrament of Confirmation which takes place at the Ecumenical Patriarchate during all of Holy Week; and the complete edition of all the Sacred Services which were celebrated during the Holy and Great Council in Crete in 2016.
On October 6, 2020, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America announced that His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew together with the Holy and Sacred Synod, accepted the proposal of the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America for the election of three Auxiliary Bishops, Spyridon (Kezios) as Bishop of Amastris, Timothy (Bakakos) as Bishop of Hexamilion, and John (Constantine) as Bishop of Phocaea.
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