Metropolitan of Bursa Elpidophoros has been selected as the new archbishop of America to replace Demetrios who stepped down earlier this month. The decision was taken by the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul.
Elpidophoros, 52, was born in Istanbul in 1967 and from August of 2011 had served as the abbot of the Monastery of Holy Trinity in Halki.
In February, he welcomed Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to the grounds of the Halki Theological Seminary, shut down by Turkey in 1971. Tsipras and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, planted a tree symbolizing the blossoming of the Greek-Turkish friendship.
Elpidophoros attended the Urban School of Makrochori in Istanbul before attending high school student in Athens and then the School of Pastoral and Social Theology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in 1987-1988. In 1991 he was admitted as a graduate student to the School of Byzantine Literature at the University of Bonn in Germany and completed his postgraduate studies in 1993.
He received his doctorate from Aristotle University in 2001, where he did a thesis on “The stand of Severus of Antioch against the Synod of Chalcedon.”
In the meantime, he was ordained a deacon in 1994 at the Ecumenical Patriarchate and named “Elpidophoros,” or the bringer of hope. In the same month he was appointed scribe of the Holy and Sacred Synod.
During the 1996-1997 academic year he was sent, on the decision of the congregation, to the Theological Faculty of St. John of Damascus in Balamand, Lebanon, to further improve his knowledge of the Arabic language. He attended theology classes under Professor Father John Romanides.
In 1995 he was appointed undersecretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod, a position he held until 2005, when he was promoted to chief secretary. He was ordained in March 2005 by Archbishop Vartholomaios and awarded the title of Archimandrite of the Great Church of Christ.
Since 2011, Elpidophoros has undertaken the duties of associate professor at Aristotle University’s Department of Pastoral and Social Theology, teaching Symbolics, Interorthodox – InterChristian Relations and Ecumenical Movement.
Demetrios submitted his resignation to Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios during a visit to Istanbul earlier this month, also informing Vartholomaios about the current affairs of the Archdiocese of America, including steps to improve its finances following the reports of financial mismanagement in the construction of the Saint Nicholas Shrine at the World Trade Center in New York.