SAINT AUGUSTINE, Fla. –   His Grace Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, the Hierarchal Proistamenos of the St. Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine in St. Augustine, Florida, hosted hundreds of guests from throughout the nation during a festive holiday Open House in the courtyard of the shrine.

The inaugural event was organized by Bishop Demetrios to introduce his new ministry to the broader community while sharing Greek traditions of the holiday season.

“This new ministry entrusted to me by His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America is indeed an opportunity to witness Orthodoxy on a more national and broader level, highlighting and remembering our immigrant and refugee past as well as accentuating what we’ve accomplished since arriving on these blessed shores,” said Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos.

He added, “Our philoxenia included the sharing of food and beverages and for the first time, we decorated our own ‘St Photios’ karavaki and shared the Greek holiday tradition with our guests.”

Numerous religious and civic dignitaries attended, including the Hon. Tracy Upchurch, Mayor of Saint Augustine, and Rev. Timothy Lindenfelser, representing the Most Rev. Felipe J. Estévez, S.T.D, Roman Catholic Bishop of St. Augustine.  Archons of Ecumenical Patriarchate John Mangouras (Rochester, MN) and Theodore Johnson (Jacksonville, FL) were on hand together with numerous friends of Bishop Demetrios from across the nation. A Syrian Orthodox family, recent immigrants from war-torn Syria, were special guests.

Prior to the Open House, a hierarchal Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the chapel of the Shrine officiated by Bishop Demetrios and area clergy and with the participation of renown chanter Nicholas Harasiadis from Chicago, born and musically trained in Constantinople.

Cover photo: Bishop Demetrios, Mayor Tracy Upchurch and St. Photios’ Executive Director Polexeni Maouris Hillier
(Photos: Agamemnon Polyzois)