Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Well done, good and faithful servant; you were
faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many
Share The Light Sunday
21 January 2007
To the Most Reverend Clergy, Venerable Monastics and
The Devout Faithful of the Holy Orthodox Church in the Americas.
Dearly Beloved in the Lord,
We recall with sober joy the teaching of our Lord Jesus concerning the talents given to servants by their master, and how each servant was called to answer for the talent he received. One of our most fervent prayers is that we would not be like the foolish servant who, only fearing and not also loving his master, went and buried his talent in the ground, and was cast into outer darkness for his unfaithfulness. But to the faithful servant, our Lord said “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.”
That is why, as those called to serve the faithful as Shepherds of your souls, we pray daily for you to join us in the task given to us all by Christ Himself when He commanded His Church to make disciples of every nation. By God’s grace we have been given this nation to serve and to share the timeless beauty of our Orthodox faith in order that this precious Gospel would transform not only nations, but the everyday lives of people for whom Christ died and rose again.
We fulfill this command each time we all gather to celebrate the Divine Mysteries, when our faithful priests proclaim the Gospel, when we build our church buildings in our communities, when we teach Sunday School, and as we serve the needy in our midst.
But the day and age in which we live offers us so many ways to effectively communicate the message of faith to our neighbors and families. We live in an age when communication technologies have expanded our ability to raise awareness of our Orthodox faith as never before. Technologies like the internet, podcasting, cell phones, as well as TV, radio, and print, challenge us to take advantage of these new tools to obey the command of the Savior. These technologies are already being used by many to communicate to our children and grandchildren, and those messages, some good and some not so good, are affecting our lives every day. Where is the voice of Orthodoxy in this modern cacophony of messages?
There is no need for us to be afraid of modern technology or to fear we will be left out of its potential. Many faithful Orthodox ministries are working hard to harness all these technologies for use by the Church. At the forefront of this effort is our Orthodox Christian Network. This agency of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas produces weekly radio programs and now is launching a 24 hour online media resource called The Ark, that will feature Orthodox Christian music and more for our faithful.
It is because of this unprecedented opportunity to serve our local parishes and faithful through media that we have set aside the third Sunday in January as Share The Light Sunday. This year it falls on Sunday, January 21, 2007. We urge each parish to enthusiastically participate by offering a special contribution on this Sunday to help build a national, sustainable, and effective media witness for Orthodox Christianity in America.
Let us together take up the valuable talents available to us and let us use them faithfully to serve one another and this nation, and together we will hear from our Lord, “Well done.”
May Christ, our True Light, grant you His peace and salvation!
With Paternal love and devotion,
+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 & Canada
Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
+Bishop ILIA of Philomelion
Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America
NOTE: Due to difficulties this Encyclical was not distributed before Share The Light Sunday on January 21st. You may still recognize Share The Light Sunday on another Sunday and read this encyclical from your parish pulpits. Thank you.