The Feast of the Sunday of Orthodoxy - March 8, 2009
The Hierarchs of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas
This is the Faith that has established the world.
To all the Clergy and the Laity of the Holy Orthodox Churches in the Americas
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We, the Hierarchs of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas, greet you with love and blessings on the Feast of the Sunday of Orthodoxy, the first Sunday of Holy and Great Lent. This year, amidst the tumult and the insecurity that seem to pervade the globe, we exhort all of you to stand firm in your Orthodox Faith in God, the Faith that has established the world, the Faith that is the bedrock of our Holy Church, the pillar and ground of truth (1 Timothy 3:15).
We, who have been blessed with the continuation of the Apostolic ministry, understand well that it is in the most difficult of circumstances that our Faith is tested. In times of trial and tribulation we are confirmed as believers, or contrary to that, as the Lord said, those identified as people of little faith (Matthew 6:30). But it is in these very same moments that by grace and through the work of the Holy Spirit, we can experience transformation of spirit and soul, as we realize the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Romans 8:18).
This revelation of God's love and purpose for our lives is oftentimes unanticipated by us, and certainly not always heralded by blaring trumpets. More likely, it comes through the still small voice (1 Kings 19:12) that speaks volumes. It is the voice that speaks only truth proclaiming Orthodoxy, the sound that comforts the soul, the music that lifts our hearts heavenward.
Therefore, in these times when the pressures of daily life have taken on greater weight, and our world appears confused and confusing, let us re-commit ourselves to the practice of believing. Let us live each day with gratitude to God for the gift of faith: the Faith of the Apostles, the Faith of the Fathers, the Faith of the Orthodox, the Faith that has established the world.
With paternal blessings and love in Christ,
+Archbishop DEMETRIOS, Chairman
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
+Metropolitan PHILIP, Vice Chairman
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
+Metropolitan CHRISTOPHER, Secretary
Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America
+Metropolitan NICHOLAS of Amissos, Treasurer
American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese
in the USA
Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese
in the Americas
Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church
Orthodox Church in America
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
+Bishop MERCURIUS of Zaraisk
Representation of the Moscow Patriarchate in the USA
+Bishop ILIA of Philomelion
Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America