My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ,
As we continue the Anniversary celebration of our beloved parish of Saint Andrew we must pause to first thank our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and our Patron Saint Andrew for the countless blessings that have been bestowed upon our church over the last 90 years. Secondly we must gratefully acknowledge the faithful service and contribution of the eleven priests that have served the parish with love, devotion, humility, self-sacrifice throughout its history.
As Orthodox Christians you know that both clergy and laity are essential in the service to our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Head of the Church and we, clergy and laity, are His body, the Church. The clergy are ordained to make the Church the gift of God,--the manifestation and communication of His Truth, grace and salvation to men. It is their sacred function, and they fulfill it only in complete obedience to God. The laity are ordained to make the Church the acceptance of that gift, the "Amen" of mankind to God. They equally can fulfill their function only in complete obedience to God. It is the same obedience: to God and to the Church that establishes the harmony between clergy and laity, make them one body, growing into the fullness of Christ.
There can be no church without the clergy and no church without the lay members. Without the priests the local community would be a strictly secular club or organization and nothing more. It is the clergy through the grace of their ordination that are able to transform the local community into a Christian parish by conducting and providing all the divine services and sacraments for the faithful.
Historically the Church was built on the Holy Apostles, whom Christ Himself has elected and appointed. The Holy Apostles again elected and appointed their own helpers and successors, so that throughout the whole uninterrupted development of the Church, there has always been the continuity of this Divine appointment and election.
The "clergy" therefore is needed to make the Church what she has to be: the special people of God. Their special function is to perpetuate within the Church that which does not depend on men: the Grace of God, the Teaching of God, the Commandments of God, the saving and healing power of God. We stress this "of God" for the whole meaning of "clergy" lies precisely in their total identification with the objective teaching of the Church.
The eleven priests that have served the parish of Saint Andrew are the following:
Rev. Father Philotheos Mazokopakis 1926-1936
Very Rev. Arcadios C. Arcadiou 1936-1951
Rev. Fr. Constantine Glynos 1951-1954
Very Rev. Arcadios C. Arcadiou 1954-1957
Rev. Fr. Nicolas Velis 1957-1959
Rev. Fr. Dan Assimakidis 1959-1963
Rev. Fr. George Massouras 1963-1969
Rev. Fr. Constantine Matthews 1969-1978
Rev. Fr. Nicholas Petropoulakos 1978-1987
Rev. Fr. George Savas 1987-1993
Rev. Fr. Christ Kontos 1993-2000
Rev. Fr. George D. Konstantopoulos 2000-
It was and continues to be through the spiritual leadership and shepherding of the Parish Priests, past and present, that the faithful Orthodox Christians of Michiana have been sanctified, guided, and lead to Our Savior Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd.
I will bring you further information on not only the years that my brothers in Christ served the parish but also some of their background information and where some of them are today, if they are still living.
Let us not ignore their sacrifice, their contribution to the growth and development of the church in South Bend, IN., their difficulties and many challenges, their unconditional love for the parish of Saint Andrew. To do so would be not only a serious mistake but a sin.
With love in Christ,