Wednesday, November 17, 2004
"In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer,
I have overcome the world."
21 November 2004
To the Most Reverend Clergy, Venerable Monastics and
The Devout Faithful of the Holy Orthodox Church in the Americas.
Dearly Beloved in the Lord,
As we look around us, it is not difficult to see tribulation in every direction. Sacred and venerable institutions such as the family and Holy Matrimony are under attack. Terrorism affects daily life, bringing fear and uncertainty. Natural disasters continue to plague the world, leaving death and destruction in their wake. The flames of violence and strife are fanned by hatred and spread like wildfire in the Holy Land, the Sudan, Iraq, the Balkans and elsewhere. HIV/AIDS and other deadly diseases ravage lives, taking their toll on those infected and their loved ones. And yet, in the midst of this tumult, Christ proclaims: “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
We, dear faithful in the Lord, are called upon to participate in the victory that our Savior Jesus Christ won through His cross, death and resurrection. We are asked to make that victory real in our daily lives. When we follow and live the teachings of our Lord, we establish His victory and His kingdom in the midst of the world. It is not enough to proclaim our correct faith (Orthodoxy) in the midst of tribulation; we must also live it through our correct actions (Orthopraxy).
Since 1992, we have had a vehicle, under our auspices in the United States, for Orthopraxy. As our official humanitarian aid agency, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has delivered more than $175 million in humanitarian assistance to 26 countries. Working in the midst of wars, disease, hopelessness, and natural and man-made disasters, IOCC has made Christ’s victory real to people in the way it has fed the hungry, befriended the stranger, clothed the naked, ministered to the sick and visited the imprisoned. In the midst of these dire circumstances, by responding to Christ’s call, we have made the “good cheer” of Christ manifest to those who might otherwise despair and lose all hope.
Trusting your kindness and eagerness to help, we urge you to share this good cheer of Christ’s victory through the love and respect that you show your neighbor. And, on this annual IOCC Sunday, November 21, 2004, we encourage you to support the critical work of IOCC in this time of tribulation. With your support, IOCC can bring:
· To those who suffer, Christ’s comfort;
· To those who despair, Christ’s hope;
· To those who hate us, Christ’s love;
· To those mired in war and strife, Christ’s peace; and,
· To those suffering death and destruction, new life through Christ’s victory.
As Orthodox Christians in the Americas, we have a special opportunity to bring Christ’s “good cheer” to those overcome by the tribulations of this world.
Please support prayerfully and monetarily the mission of IOCC as it does the works of Christ.
May our Almighty Savior grant you His joy, grace, peace and victory from above!
†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 the USA and Canada
†Metropolitan NICHOLAS of Amissos, Treasurer
Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese in the USA
Orthodox Church in America
Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America and Canada
Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church
Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA
†Bishop ILIA of Philomelion
Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America