About Our Cathedral
Welcome to the St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral
Saint George is an historic Cathedral located in downtown Philadelphia, under the spiritual auspices of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople, in the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey, of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
Built by the famous - of his time - architect John Haviland in 1821, served at the beginning, and for almost 100 years, as an Episcopal Church. In 1922 the Church was acquired by the Greek Orthodox Community of Philadelphia for its own spiritual needs,
and in few years was elevated to the rank of the Cathedral, by Archbishop Athenagoras of North and South America, and later Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. The Cathedral of Saint George is the mother Church of all the seven surrounding newly
established Greek Orthodox Communities in the greater Philadelphia area.
For the last 91 years, the Cathedral of Saint George has served not only the Greek-American members, but as
well all the faithful members of the Eastern Orthodox jurisdictions in the area, by providing an environment of Orthodox Christian worship, religious learning and Hellenic culture, where traditions are proudly cherished. Over the years the Cathedral’s ministries have grown to include various orders and societies, educational and cultural programs, and a senior living facility - all developed to cultivate fellowship in an Orthodox Christian community. However, the Cathedral’s most important role is the role it has assumed since the time of the Apostles: to belong to the body of Christ, and be a beacon of salvation, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. We invite you to explore the Cathedral’s website in the hope that you will learn more about our Orthodox Faith, Hellenic Tradition, and various, Spiritual and Philanthropic (Charitable) Ministries. Please be free to contact us with any questions you may have.
His All Holiness
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is the 270th successor to the Apostle Andrew and spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide. Since ascending the Ecumenical Throne on November 2nd, 1991, he has tirelessly pursued the vision of his enthronement message spiritual revival, Orthodox unity, Christian reconciliation, interfaith tolerance and coexistence, protection of the environment and a world united in peace, justice, solidarity and love.
As Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew has helped the Church to expand on many fronts. Through dialogue and visitations, he has greatly advanced Orthodox relations with the Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Baptists and others. His All Holiness has taken a highly active role in post communist Eastern Europe by strengthening contacts and relations with various Orthodox national churches and through direct visits to several Orthodox nations, including Russia.
Known in Europe as the "Green Patriarch," Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has taken the lead among all religious leaders in his concern for the environment. His All Holiness has initiated seminars and dialogues to discuss the need for the mobilization of moral and spiritual forces to achieve harmony between humanity and nature.
As the leader of the Orthodox Christian Church, His All Holiness represents the voice and concerns of a long-suffering, but fast growing faith. Orthodox Churches are gaining adherents across the globe, but particularly in the developed world, where individuals are turning to Orthodoxy in record numbers because they are finding in it the simple peace, love, and salvation they have been seeking.
Orthodox Christianity is also resurgent in newly freed countries where some of the worst religious persecution in history occurred in recent times. In the first decades of this century, whole Orthodox populations were extinguished from native lands they had known for centuries. Soon after his enthronement in 1991, the Ecumenical Patriarch journeyed throughout the Orthodox world bringing a message of restoration and renewed hope. He is a living witness to the world of Orthodoxy's painful and redemptive struggle for religious freedom and the innate dignity of mankind.
As a citizen of Turkey, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew's personal experience provides him a unique perspective on the continuing dialogue between the Christian and Islamic worlds. He has made a valuable contribution to global conflict resolution and peace building, as in the case of the former Yugoslavia. The Ecumenical Patriarch has worked persistently to advance reconciliation among Catholic, Muslim, Jewish and Orthodox communities in the region and around the world.
His All Holiness is profoundly committed to expressing the religious importance of protecting and preserving the environment. He has received Prince Philip, and with him sponsored a conference on the Environment at the Theological School of Halki. He has established the first day of September as an occasion of an annual Message on the protection of creation, as well as establishing that same day as a day of prayer in the Ecumenical Patriarchate and throughout the Orthodox world.
His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was born February 29,1940, in the village of Aghioi Theodoroi on the Aegean island of Imvros (Turkey), to Christos and Meropi Archontonis who christened him Demetrios. His father was a barber and coffee shop owner.
Following his studies at Imvros and Constantinople, he enrolled at the renowned Theological School of Halki, graduating with high honors in 1961. He was immediately ordained to the Holy Diaconate on August 13, 1961 at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Imvros by his Elder, the then Metropolitan of Imvros and Tenedos and later Metropolitan of Eliopolis and Chalcedon, Meliton. He was given the name Bartholomew. From 1961 through 1963 he fulfilled his military obligation as an officer in the Turkish army reserve.
From 1963-68, he pursued postgraduate studies, on scholarship from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, at the Pontifical Oriental Institute of the Gregorian University in Rome. He received his doctorate in Canon Law having submitted his dissertation: "Concerning the Codification of the Sacred Canons and Canonical Regulations in the Orthodox Church". He pursued further studies at the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, Switzerland and the University of Munich, specializing in ecclesiastical law. He is fluent in seven languages- Greek, English, Turkish, Italian, Latin, French and German. He has published many articles and is a founding member of the "Society for Justice for Eastern Churches" of which he has served as vice president.
When he returned to Constantinople in 1968, he was appointed assistant dean of the Sacred Theological School of Halki and, on October 19,1969, was ordained to the Holy Priesthood by his spiritual father. Six months later, His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras elevated Father Bartholomew to the office of Archimandrite in the Patriarchal Chapel of St. Andrew.
When Dimitrios was elected Ecumenical Patriarch in 1972, he established his Patriarchal Office and named the young Archimandrite Bartholomew as its director. On Christmas Day, 1973, Father Bartholomew was consecrated a bishop and named Metropolitan of Philadelphia (of Asia Minor). He remained as head of the Personal Patriarchal Office until his enthronement as the Metropolitan of Chalcedon on January 14,1990. In July 1990, he accompanied Patriarch Dimitrios on his historic 27 day visit to the United States as his chief advisor and administrator.
In January 1991, Metropolitan Bartholomew headed the Orthodox delegation at the Seventh General Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Canberra, Australia. At this meeting, he took a leading role in framing Orthodox objections that the World Council was departing theologically from essential Orthodox beliefs. But unlike some other Orthodox churchmen, he has been a strong advocate of maintaining extended contacts with other churches. Since 1975, he has been a member of the WCC Faith and Order Commission and held the position of vice president for eight years.
For 19 years, he faithfully stood by the late Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios as one of his closest confidants. He assisted him in every facet of his patriarchal ministry and consequently won, from very early, the late Patriarch's undivided love and esteem. On October 22, 1991, His All Holiness was unanimously elected by the grace of God, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch, following the death of Patriarch Dimitrios on October 2nd, 1991.
Upon completing his first year on the Ecumenical Throne, His All Holiness began his official visits abroad with Mt. Athos and the Church of Crete in 1992. In 1993 he visited St. Catherine's Monastery on Mt. Sinai, the Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, Russia, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria, the Lutheran Church of Sweden, the Orthodox Archdiocese of Sweden and Scandinavia, the Roman Catholic and Evangelical Churches of Germany and the Orthodox Archdiocese of Germany.
In May 1993, the Ecumenical Patriarch was invited to Brussels to meet with Jacques Delors, President of the Commission of the European Union and in 1994 he was invited to speak at the plenary session of the European Parliament. Later that year, he addressed the 6th General Assembly of the World Conference on Religion and Peace in Riva del Garda, Italy.
During 1995 he visited His Beatitude the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Church and the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem. On this visit he was received by the major political figures of the State of Israel, Ezer Weizman and Yitzhak Rabin as well as PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat. Other official visits were made to the Orthodox Church of Finland, the 1000th anniversary of Christianity in Norway, international and interreligious Ecological Summits in Japan and England and the Orthodox Mission of Korea. Also, France, where he met with President Jacques Chirac, the Orthodox Archdiocese of France, all the Roman Catholic hierarchs gathered in Lourdes and was invited to speak to the plenary session of U.N.E.S.C.O.
From June 27-30, 1995, he visited His Holiness Pope John Paul ll and the Church of Rome during their Patronal Feast at which time he announced the decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to continue fraternal communication and cooperation with the Roman Catholic Church.
In September, 1995, he presided over the celebrations on Patmos on the 1900th anniversary since the recording of the Apocalypse of St. John. On this occasion he convoked 1) the Sacred Assembly of the Heads of the Orthodox Churches, which circulated a message to all the world, 2) an international environmental symposium with an emphasis on the oceans, and 3) an international scientific meeting on the Sacred Book of Revelation.
In December 1995 he paid a reciprocal visit to the Archbishop of Canterbury as well as the Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain. Following, he visited Switzerland and the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the International Committee of the Olympic Games, where he proposed the revitalization of the Balkan Olympic Games, and the Center of European Research in Lausanne. In late 1996 he visited the distant eparchies of Australia and New Zealand.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate sits at the crossroads of East and West offering it a unique perspective on the world’s religions and cultures. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has fostered dialogue amongst Christianity, Islam and Judaism and has reached out to the Far East. In 1996 he made the first-ever visit of an Ecumenical Patriarch to Hong Kong and established an Orthodox Archdiocese there, the first ever official presence in China since World War II.
With the Vlatadon Initiative, he has made a valuable contribution to reconciliation and peace among the Balkan peoples, as in the case of Bosnia, and with the Serbian Orthodox Church’s Patriarch Pavle, worked to advance cooperation among Catholic, Muslim and Orthodox communities in the former Yugoslavia. He cosponsored the Peace and Tolerance Conference in Istanbul in 1994 bringing together Christians, Muslims and Jews. In following up on an even earlier inter-faith conference in Berne, Switzerland, the conference issues The Bosphorus Declaration, which reiterated, “A crime committed in the name of religion is a crime against religion.” He followed these initiatives with action in the ensuing years, traveling to Bahrain in September 2000 to further promote dialogue.
Since the tragedy of September 11, His All Holiness Bartholomew, has traveled tirelessly, addressing the specter of international terrorism and fostering inter-faith communication and action. At the end of December of 2001, he co-chaired a major inter-faith meeting with the President of the European Commission, Roman Prodi, on “The Peace of God in the World” in Brussels, which drew major religious leaders from Christianity, Islam and Judaism. The conferees signed The Brussels Declaration, which, among other things, stated that “It is the responsibility of religious leaders to prevent religious fervor from being used for purposes that are alien to its role.” Furthermore, it condemned violence, terrorism or ill-treatment of human beings as having no religious justification and contrary to the spirit of peace and justice.
On January 12th of 2002, His All Holiness went to Iran and addressed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on “The Contribution of Religion to the Establishment of Peace in the Contemporary World.”
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew 's roles as the primary spiritual leader of the Orthodox Christian world and a transitional figure of global significance continue to become more vital with each passing day. These, together with his inspiring efforts on behalf of religious freedom and human rights, number him among the world's foremost apostles of love, peace and reconciliation for humanity.
Biography of His Eminence
Archbishop Elpidophoros of America
His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros (Lambriniadis) of America, Most Honorable Exarch of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, is the eighth Archbishop of America elected since the establishment of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in 1922.
Archbishop Elpidophoros was born in 1967 in Bakirköy, Istanbul. He studied at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki — School of Pastoral and Social Theology, from which he graduated in 1991. In 1993, he finished his postgraduate studies at the Philosophical School of the University of Bonn, Germany, submitting a dissertation entitled, “The Brothers Nicholas and John Mesarites: Defenders of Orthodoxy in the Union Negotiations from 1204 to 1214 (in the historical and theological framework of the era).” He was ordained a Deacon in 1994 at the Patriarchal Cathedral and was thereafter appointed as the Codecographer of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
In 1995, he was appointed Deputy Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod. From 1996-1997 he studied at the Theological School of St. John the Damascene in Balamand, Lebanon, where he improved his knowledge of the Arabic language. In 2001, he presented his doctoral dissertation at the Theological School of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki under the title, “The Opposing Stance of Severus of Antioch at the Council of Chalcedon,” earning him a Doctorate of Theology with highest distinction. In 2004, he was invited to Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA, where he taught as a visiting professor for one semester.
In March 2005, at the proposal of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, he was promoted by the Holy and Sacred Synod to the
position of Chief Secretary and was ordained to the priesthood by the Ecumenical Patriarch in the Patriarchal Cathedral. In 2009, he submitted two dissertations to the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki — School of Pastoral and Social Theology and was unanimously elected Assistant Professor of Symbolics, Inter-Orthodox Relations and the Ecumenical Movement. The dissertations are entitled: “The Synaxes of the Hierarchy of the Ecumenical Throne (1951-2004)” and “Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses: Historical and Theological Aspects. Text – Translation – Commentary.” In 2018, he was elected full professor at the same university, a position he held until his election as Archbishop of America.
In March 2011, he was elected Metropolitan of Bursa, and in August of the same year was appointed Abbot of the Holy Patriarchal and Stavropegial Monastery of the Holy Trinity on the island of Halki. He has served as the Orthodox Secretary of the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Lutheran World Federation and as a member of the Patriarchal delegations to the General Assemblies of the Conference of European Churches and the World Council of Churches. He was the Secretary of the Pan-Orthodox Synods in Sofia (1998), Istanbul (2005), Geneva (2006), and Istanbul (2008). He has been an active member of the World Council of Churches serving on its Central Committee and also serving on its Faith and Order Commission since 1996.
On May 11, 2019, he was elected Archbishop of America by the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and was enthroned at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York City on June 22 of the same year.
Biography of Very Reverend
Archimandrite Ambrose Bitziadis-Bowers
- Parish Clergy: Very Reverend Archimandrite Ambrose Bitziadis-Bowers
- Phone: 1 215 627 4389
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Very Reverend Archimandrite Ambrose Bitziadis-Bowers born in Thessaloniki-Greece. He finished his elementary and high school education in Thessaloniki Greece. In 1989 he received his MDiv. in Pastoral Theology from the Theological School of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. In 1985, he was ordained a Deacon and in 1990 was ordained a Priest and Archimandrite at the Archdiocese of Athens-Greece. As a Deacon and military chaplain, he served from 1985 to 1988 at the Holy Metropolis of Eleftheroupolis, Kavala, Greece and from 1988 to 1994 to the Holy Archdioceses of Athens, Greece. As a Priest and Archimandrite, he served at the parishes of St. Prophet Elias of Penteli, and Hagia Zoni Kypselis of the Holy Archdiocese of Athens. During his time at the Archdiocese of Athens he served in addition to his pastoral duties and as an active Ierokyrikas (Preacher) of the Kypseli region and as the youth commissioner of the same region.
In 1995 he came to the United States, upon invitation of His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos of North and South America to continue his ministry, serving from 1995-1996 as the Chief Secretary of the Holy Archdiocese and as the Secretary of the Holy and Eparchial Synod. From 1996 to today he appointed as a presiding priest in various parishes of the Holy Archdiocese of America and the Holy Metropolis of New Jersey: St. George, Clifton, NJ, Annunciation Cathedral, Norfolk, VA, and St. George Cathedral, Philadelphia, PA. From 2015 to 2018 he served as the Vicar of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley of the Holy Metropolis of NJ and the Ecumenical officer of the same Metropolis. He was the chairman of the Spiritual Court of the Delaware Valley region of the Metropolis of New Jersey and was a member of the Archdiocesan Council of the Holy Archdiocese of America.
When he came in the Unites States, he continued his education by attending between 1997 and 1999 graduate studies in Theology (MTh) at Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ. From 1999 to 2002 attended MBA studies in Healthcare and Non-for-Profit Organizations Management at Monmouth University, Long Branch, NJ, defending a dissertation with the title: The Cost Effectiveness Analysis Method in the Preventative Care. In 2002 he attended at Harvard School of Business the Executive Education Program studying Mergers and Acquisitions for Non-for-Profit Organizations. From 2009 to 2012 attended graduate studies MTh, in History and Theology at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Theological Seminary, Seton Hall University, Orange, NJ, where he graduated with distinction, defending a dissertation with the title: The Donatist Movement in the 4th Century North Africa Church. In 2015 he graduated with distinction with his MTh of the Theological School of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, defending a dissertation with the title: The Notion of Martyrdom in North Africa Church in Accordance with the Teaching of St. Augustine. From 2012 to 2016 he attended PhD Studies in Ancient Church History and Patristics at the Theological School of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki-Greece, where he graduated with distinction, defending a dissertation with the title: The Veneration of the Martyrs in Accordance with the Latin and Greek Fathers of the 4th and 5th Century Christianity. In 2022 he concluded his post-doctoral research at the Theological School of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki with the title: The Role, the Sacredness, and the Cultural Memory of the Martyrs’ Tombs in the 4th and 5th Century Christianity. He is also the author of The Popes and the History of Papacy and American Christianity.
In 2008 he participated as a representative of the Holy Metropolis of New Jersey in the International Convention of The Pastoral Care in the Healthcare System organized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Rhodes, Greece. He is fluent in Greek and English, and he is in command of Italian, French and Latin.
Our Patron Saint - Saint George
Saint George, this truly great and glorious Martyr of Christ, was born of a father from Cappadocia and a mother from Palestine. Being a military tribune, or chiliarch (that is, a commander of a thousand troops), he was illustrious in battle and highly honoured for his courage.
When he learned that the Emperor Diocletian was preparing a persecution of the Christians, Saint George presented himself publicly before the Emperor and denounced him. When threats and promises could not move him from his steadfast confession, he was put to unheard-of tortures,
which he endured with great bravery, overcoming them by his faith and love towards Christ.
By the wondrous signs that took place in his contest, he guided many to the knowledge of the truth, including Queen Alexandra, wife of Diocletian, and was finally beheaded in 296 in Nicomedia.
His sacred remains were taken by his servant from Nicomedia to Palestine, to a town called Lydda, the homeland of his mother, and then were finally transferred to the church which was raised up in his name. (The translation of the Saint's holy relics to the church in Lydda is commemorated on November 3; Saint Alexandra the Queen, on April 21.)
If April 23 falls on or before Great and Holy Pascha, the Feast of St. George is translated to Bright Monday. Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone Liberator of captives, defender of the poor, physician of the sick, and champion of kings, O trophy-bearer, Great Martyr George, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved. Kontakion in the Fourth Tone Cultivated by God, you became manifest as an honorable tiller gathering for yourself the sheaves of virtue. For you sowed with tears but reaped with gladness; in the contest you competed with your blood and came away with Christ. By your intercessions, O Holy One, all are granted forgiveness of sins.
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