GARRISON, NY – On October 3, 2019, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America was joyously welcomed by Saint Basil Academy’s administrators, children and staff. The Archbishop began with a Trisagion service at the gravesite of Archbishop Michael of blessed memory. After the service, Executive Director Father Constantine Sitaras and the Saint Basil Academy children walked with the Archbishop and honored guests to the Saint Basil’s Chapel for an Agiasmos, Holy Water blessing.Following the service, Father Sitaras welcomed the Archbishop and gave a heartfelt description of life at Saint Basil Academy. Archbishop Elpidophoros presented an icon of St. Andrew, praised Father Sitaras for his good work and reassured the children that the Archbishop and the Church will always be there for them.  His Eminence was then given a tour of the Saint Basil Academy campus.

After touring the girl’s dorm, library and dental clinic, the Archbishop met the older Saint Basil Academy children at the AHEPA school building where the children were sorting dry goods to donate to a local homeless shelter. In honor of Archbishop Elpidophoros, the initiative is called Project Hope and was implemented in response to the Archdiocesan call to action to raise homelessness awareness. The tour continued to the Early Learning Center playroom where Archbishop Elpidophoros sat down on the colorful playroom foam floor and played with the children. Laughter and happiness ensued as His Eminence warmly engaged the young children to look at, touch and kiss his engolpion.

At Saint Basil Academy’s main building, the Archbishop celebrated the birthdays of three of the children. Thereafter, Father Sitaras and a young adult presented His Eminence with a clock that displayed the time at the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Archdiocese. The Saint Basil Academy administrators, children and staff were honored and excited by the uplifting and inspiring visit of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros and look forward to the next time.