‘Historic’ visit planned Sunday at Greek church in Mattituck

The Transfiguration of Christ Greek Church Orthodox Church in Mattituck is set to receive a special visit from the newly enthroned Archbishop Elpidophoros of America on Sunday.

It is the Archbishop’s first visit to the community, taking place just several days before the church’s annual Feast of the Transfiguration on Tuesday, Aug. 6.

“It is significant for the parish here in Mattituck — for the Archbishop, being newly enthroned, to decide in spite of his busy schedule, with other larger parishes, dioceses and archdiocese to come and make a visit here,” said Father Ignatios Achlioptas, parish priest of the Greek church. “It is really historic for him because it’s his first visit here, as well as for us as our new Archbishop.”

The church, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, will be holding several events to celebrate the Archbishop’s visit Sunday. An Orthros service will take place at 9 a.m., followed by a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at 10 a.m.

Supervisor Scott Russell, Police Chief Martin Flatley, and other members from the archdiocese have been invited to participate in the service, Father Achlioptas said. A formal luncheon will be held under the church’s pavilion; tickets are $75. Mr. Russell will then present the Archbishop with a proclamation from the town, Father Achlioptas said.

“He’ll also be planting and blessing a tree for the community,” he said, “which will be his first tree planting here in America. It’s significant because His Holiness, the Patriarch from Constantinople, is an advocate for the environment. So it’s a big deal to know that we have the first tree in Mattituck, the first tree planting on American soil.”

The parish is nestled within a Greek community on Breakwater Road, and tends to be a summer parish, Father Achlioptas said. A majority of its members reside in New York City, he said.

“It’s a very transient parish but a very active parish,” Father Achlioptas said. “It’s a great blessing and of course a great sense of hope. [The Archbishop’s] name, Elpidophoros, means ‘bearing the hope.’ I think it will be a great opportunity to progress the faith and the presence of the church here in the area.”