Christ is Risen! I first met Alexander Eliades at our summer All Saints Camp three years ago. He is hard not to notice at 6'4" and with a beautiful and prayerful chanting voice. Alexander is an early rise (like me) so we had a few moments each morning to chat about camp in the chapel area before the other clergy and the campers arrived for Matins.
Laura (formerly Blazev) I have not known as long, but witnessing her energetic ministry as a camp counselor at All Saints Camp certainly made an impression! Laura's tenderness and quiet piety had a soothing effect on her campers and on all who encountered her.
When I learned of their engagement I was overjoyed! And it was a signal honor to participate in their wedding last summer and to see the wisdom of God unfold in joining these two pure hearts together into a power-couple devoted to the Gospel and to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. As the parish family of Holy Trinity Cathedral, we are richly blessed to bring Alexander on board as our Pastoral Assistant beginning in June!
For ours is a large and thriving community that sorely needs more than a single assigned priest to adequately care for the souls who call Holy Trinity their spiritual home. Our last parish directory contained 430 households and as the city grows, so too do we! But in Alexander and Laura, we aren't getting just "any" recent seminary graduate but two souls who bear the grace of God and the fragrance of sanctity in a palpable way.
Upon his arrival, Alexander will immediately "head for the hills" to work at our All Saints Camp the first week of June. Many of our older campers know and love him and Laura from camp and his gregarious and jovial nature will ensure a quick introduction to the newest Cathedral campers.
Beyond ASC, Alexander will be charged with overseeing the full range of Youth Ministry and Sunday School here at Holy Trinity. It has long been my hope and aim to expand our youth ministry and parish catechetical offerings and Alexander's presence now makes that possible.
Clearly, his stunning command of Byzantine chant will greatly enhance the work being so beautifully done by our Cathedral Protopsalti, Mr. George Duvall, and the brilliant chant of our young adult psaltis. It is our ardent hope that more young chanters will be inspired to enroll in our Byzantine Music Academy to study the Psaltic Arts which comprise the musical core of Orthodox worship.
Alexander's preaching skills are far more advanced than one might anticipate from a newly-minted seminarian. The Ministry of the Word of God through preaching is of paramount importance to our spiritual growth and it was clear to me when I first had Alexander offer a homily that, here too, God has graced him with this sacred charisma. As God directs, and I pray in decently short order, Alexander will be ordained first to the deaconate and then to the priesthood to serve our parish.
Alexander and Laura are also expecting the arrival of their first child in November, a joyous event for them and for our parish family! We must be grateful to our Lord and Master Jesus Christ who so consistently pours out His blessings upon the Holy Trinity Cathedral community in so many ways!
Please extend to them your love and support as we embrace them as new members of our family! May God grant to them many fruitful years of parish ministry in this beautiful vineyard which He has planted here in the desert!
Rev. Father Apostolos Hill | Dean