Like every other Sunday, I went to church yesterday. I am not the proistameos (priest-in-charge) of a parish. I work in a hospital and am attached to a parish. I am blessed to work under a wonderful archpriest named Paul Costopoulos. He has been an example to me, and apparently to the entire archdiocese. Why do I say the entire archdiocese?
Well, yesterday I arrived at church today to find the archbishop in the building. He had surprised Fr. Paul (and Fr. Micah, and myself) by arriving without warning. As you can imagine, it triggered a significant amount of rearrangement and no small amount of panic. But, it was the reason he arrived that gave us all a cause for rejoicing.
It turns out that Archbishop ALEXIOS had been in contact with the Ecumenical Patriarch to speak highly of Fr. Paul and to recommend that he be given a special honor. The Ecumenical Patriarch in Constantinople agreed, and yesterday was the day that the His Eminence ALEXIOS announced the result of his intervention. Fr. Paul has been named an Archpriest of the Ecumenical Patriarch. For those of you who are not in the Greek Orthodox jurisdiction, this is a singular honor. For instance, he is the only priest in the Archdiocese who is so named. For those of you who are in the OCA, or some other Slavic jurisdiction, this is somewhat equivalent to what the Patriarchate of Russia calls a mitered archpriest. For those of you who are Roman Catholic, there are still mitered abbots present in your Church. For those of you who are Protestant, there is no equivalent.
But, for those of you who are either Orthodox, Catholic, or Protestant, you will understand that he deserves the honor when I tell you that his name is listed in the Orthodox Study Bible. Look through the introductory material and you will find that he was on one of the committees involved in the translation. But, that is not the only reason why he was given this singular honor. His devotion to people, to those who need help, to teaching Scripture, to passing on the faith, to training new priests, and so on, is unparalleled. Fr. Paul is an example to all as to what a priest or a pastor should be.
May God bless him and give him many years.