Monday, January 23, 2006
MEDIA RELEASE / ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA
PO Box 675 Syosset, New York 11791-0675
Contact: David Lucs
OCA Office of Communications
516-922-0550 ext 128
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
METROPOLITAN HERMAN TO LEAD ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN MARCHERS AT 33RD ANNUAL
RALLY FOR LIFE IN US CAPITAL
WASHINGTON, DC [OCA Communications] - Metropolitan Herman, Archbishop of
Washington and New York and Primate of the Orthodox Church in America
and well-known spokesman for the sanctity of life, will once again lead
hundreds of Orthodox Christian marchers from around the US at the 33rd
annual March for Life here Monday, January 23, 2006.
The annual march laments the US Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision of
January 22, 1973, that legalized abortion on demand in the US.
Metropolitan Herman has been a visible and vocal presence at the annual
gathering for nearly two decades, leading hundreds of Orthodox
Christians in prayerful witness to the sanctity of life from the moment
Orthodox marchers will assemble between 11:00 and 11:30 a.m. under the
large "Orthodox Christians for Life" banner on the Mall at 7th Street.
After the opening program during which Metropolitan Herman will address
the hundreds of thousands of marchers, the march will make its way to
the US Supreme Court.
The full text of Metropolitan Herman's message on the sanctity of life
is included below.
January 22, 2006
Dearly Beloved in Christ:
Over the past three decades, we have heard a great deal about
stewardship. Time and time again we have been reminded that the many
gifts we have received from God - our time, our talents, our treasures,
creation itself - must be managed wisely. Everything that we have,
ultimately, belongs to God, freely given to us so that, in all things,
God might be glorified.
Perhaps the greatest gift God has given us is life. When He spoke to
Moses in the burning bush, God revealed that He is the very Source of
Life - Life and Existence Itself. All life is an extension of and a
participation in His life. As such, life must be respected, honored,
seen for what it is: a revelation of the One Who is Life Itself, a gift
given to mankind that ultimately leads us to become "partakers of his
divine nature," as Saint Peter reminds us.
As Orthodox Christians, we are called to wisely steward the precious
gift of life. This means, quite simply, that any diminishing of life's
importance must be shunned, any willful acts that prematurely or
unnaturally bring human life to an end must be loudly rejected and
condemned. One cannot be a wise steward of God's gift of life while, at
the same time, supporting agendas that minimize this gift or see life as
something expendable, unimportant, or "cheap."
An entire generation of Americans has experienced - and, sadly, has come
to accept - the notion that life is something held in mankind's hands,
rather than God's. Every day, the number of innocent children being
aborted grows. The acceptance of euthanasia as a means of providing
"death with dignity" for those who are beyond medical help or terminally
ill is gaining momentum. The call to expand the use of capital
punishment is growing louder by the year. In the meantime, appropriate
care for the elderly, the poor, the institutionalized, and the
disenfranchised is becoming harder to find and is seen as a secondary
issue, one that hardly involves the need for wise stewardship.
There are those who, right or wrong, have perceived that our nation is
engaged in a "war against Christianity." While this can be - and is
being - debated, it is clear, however, that we are engaged in a "war
against life." And it is in this war that there is only one "exit
strategy" - the recognition that all life is indeed a sacred gift from
God, that it must be preserved and protected, and that it must be a
priority for those called to be stewards of God's creation. Persons of
faith have been challenged to speak out, not "against" abortion, capital
punishment, euthanasia, inadequate care for the elderly and needy, but
"for" life as a gift from God and a very participation in His divine
nature. Our society's failure to recognize these truths stands at the
root of its readiness to accept such travesties; it is our calling to
proclaim the truth, to reveal God's presence and image in "the least of
the brethren," and to do all we can to ensure that life is protected on
every level, at all costs.
Let us recommit ourselves to the God Who is Life and Existence, Who "is"
and who "always will be," and Who so lovingly shares His life with us.
At the same time, let us recommit ourselves to the fundamental task of
being wise stewards of the sacred gift of life, joining with the
millions of other Americans who demand that life be placed back in the
hands of the God Who literally died that we might live, in this world
and in the world to come.
With love in Christ,
Archbishop of Washington and New York
Metropolitan of All America and Canada
--- END ---