An Enthronement to remember
John Faraclas was there and writes:
This was a unique weekend in the Orthodox history of Great Britain; a weekend of events for the Enthronement of his Eminence Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain.
Yesterday the Enthronement and Installation Ceremony took place at the Cathedral of the Divine Wisdom (St. Sophia) in Moscow Road, Bayswater – the very heart and centre of Hellenism both Greek and Cypriot in the United Kingdom. Making for a full house the devout Orthodox flock from our isles, the USA, Greece and Cyprus as well as from many other Greek Orthodox regions all over Planet Ocean made their presence. An exciting event that will be for ever remembered.
Great speeches were delivered as well as that of His Eminence which was brief and to the point with the message being “The only real hope and solution is Christ”. Among his mentions of Holy Fathers of Orthodoxy was our Anthimos of Chios sending a thrilling message to the many Chians present! There was a reading from the Pulpit of the Patriarchal and Synodical Letter of the announcement of the election of his Eminence Nikitas as Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain. This was from His Eminence Emmanuel Metropolitan of France who represented His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
There were also greetings from Archmandrite Iakovos Savva, chairman of the St. Athanasios Clergy fellowship of the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain.
Afterwards there was a celebratory luncheon at the nearby Royal Lancaster Hotel with just over 725 guests attending; senior clergy, diplomats, politicians, the military, business people mainly from the USA – San Francisco, Chicago and Florida and from Greece, the Holy Mountain of Aghion Oros, Cyprus, elsewhere in Europe, Africa, Australia and the Phanari in Constantinople.
Archbishop Nikitas, known previously as Metropolitan of the Dardanelles comes partly from an islanders’ family in the Dodecanese islands – Kalymnos. Born Nikitas Lulias on June 22 1955, to Constantine and Kalliope Lulias in Tarpon Springs, Florida, where he was raised with his brother John. Growing up, he was a parishioner of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and attended Tarpon Springs High School. After high school he matriculated to the University of Florida where he was a member of the university honor society Savant. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with honours in 1976. After attaining his undergraduate degree, he enrolled in the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, earning the degree of Master of Divinity in 1980.
His tenure as a graduate student was marked with prestige and distinction: he was listed in the Who’s Who of American Colleges and University Students in 1975 and 1979; he was a Rotary International Graduate Scholar from 1980-1981; and a graduate fellow of the Ministry of the Exterior, Greece, from 1981-1982. Following this, he pursued additional graduate study at the University of Thessaloniki until November 1982. He studied Russian language in Russia at the St. Petersburg Theological Academy (1992-1993). He has previously served in Asia – Metropolitan for Hong Kong and Southeast Asia (1997-2007) and the United States.
Archbishop Nikitas has spearheaded the Ecumenical Patriarchate Committee on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery since 2017, meeting with various leaders and organising three international forums on the issue. The first forum, “Sins Before Our Eyes,” was in Istanbul in February 2017. The second, “Old Problems in the New World,” was in Buenos Aires in May 2018. The third, “Action, Awareness, and Impact” was in Istanbul in January 2019. In addition to the international forums, His Eminence has travelled all over Planet Ocean delivering speeches and seminars to promote awareness and action. We are more than pleased about these last actions, as we are particularly sensitive over the MIGRANTS issue – covered in most of our daily reports!
As said this was a unique event and more than a touching event and it will always remain in our hearts and minds! His brother John was there and many from his relatives, particularly from the USA and many friends from all over. Never ever witnessed in my life such a rallying of support!
The Greek Deputy Minister of Foreign affairs and in particular for the Greeks in Diaspora Antonis Diamataris represented the Greek Government and last Friday there was a dinner in his honour hosted by the Greek Ambassador, H.E. Dimitrios Karamitsos-Tziras.
The High Commissioner of Cyprus Euripedes Euriviades spoke too.
Good to see so many fellow Greeks and Cypriots and pleased to be at the journalists’ table. Who wasn’t there – the Greek Shipping Fraternity was out in full force! 71 tables including the head table and nos. 13, 14 and 15 at the centre of the Nine Kings Suite! Thanks also to philanthropist Eleni Bousis who greatly assisted me in getting there due to a hiccup in transport and mail delays…
Pity that His Eminence Archbishop Gregorious, the ever supportive Holy priest of our Community after serving just over 60 years our Orthodox Community couldn’t be present; we wish him good health as he now enters his retirement. Remind you that in the same place, nearly ten years ago, we celebrated his 50th Anniversary in Serving God!
Today we had the Hierarchical Liturgy at the Cathedral of the Divine Wisdom where His Eminence officiated. What a liturgy/ service that was! What great hymns and what a speech he gave!
Afterwards Archbishop Nikitas received the well –wishing flock at the Crypt of St. Sophia with nearly 200 faithful and priests and monks attending at all times. Nice dips and phyllo pastry food was served with traditional Koulouri and cakes. Traditional soft drinks, went down better than spirits, given the high temperatures prevailing.
There were speeches from priests and Holy fathers from San Francisco and Holy Mountain (Agion Oros) as well as on behalf of the St. Sophia brotherhood, Nicholas Skinitis spoke too! Interesting and touching gifts – all hand-made from his family and older parishioners benefited with His Eminence feeling very touched and also smiling; a humorous person and above all a polyglot which greatly helps enhance religion and make all feel as one family!
We wish him a Great Welcome with Good Health above All! AXIOS !!!
Lastly, many Congratulations to all at the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain for the excellent organisational skills in performing excellently the intricate sacred events as well as all those who generously contributed in any way. Pleased to see excellent handouts and programmes for the events in Greek and English appropriately translated!