Assembly of Bishops’ Delegation Opens March for Life Rally in Prayer

Friday, January 21, 2022

WASHINGTON DC – A delegation of twelve members the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America participated in the annual March for Life activities in Washington, D.C. The delegation was led by the Assembly’s Chairman, Archbishop Elpidophoros, and included Metropolitan Methodios, Bishop Demetrios, Bishop Athenagoras, Archbishop Daniel, Bishop John, Bishop Irinej, Bishop Saba, Metropolitan Tikhon, Archbishop Melchisedek, Archbishop Michael, and Bishop Andrei.

On Thursday, January 20, 2022, the delegation represented the Orthodox Church during a Mass hosted by the Catholic Church at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. After the service, they enjoyed a fraternal meal hosted by Archbishop Elpidophoros.

The following morning, Friday, January 21, 2022, Metropolitan Tikhon hosted a liturgy at the historic Cathedral of St. Nicholas prior to the Rally on the Mall.

Finally, the Hierarchs were joined on stage by the delegation on Catholic Bishops to offer the opening prayer. The introductory remarks and prayer, delivered by Archbishop Elpidophoros, can be found below

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Today, we come together in solidarity with our Brother Bishops of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America.

We affirm the gift and sanctity of life – all life, born and unborn. As Christians we confess that every human being is made in their image and likeness of God.  Every life is worthy of our prayer and our protection, whether in the womb, or in the world. We are all responsible for the well-being of children. We are their “keepers,” and cannot shirk from our accountability for their welfare.

At the same time, we also affirm our respect for the autonomy of women.  It is they who bring forth life into the world.  By His incarnation, our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ assumed human nature, through His conception in the womb of the Virgin Mary. She freely chose to bring Him into the world, and God respected her freedom. We can and must make the case for life, both born and unborn, by our own example of unconditional love.

We march not for coercion.

We march with compassion,

With empathy,

With love.

And with our arms extended to embrace all.

Let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.

Lord, You have granted us the opportunity to offer these common prayers in unison and have promised that when two or three gather in Your name, You are there also. Fulfill now, O Lord, who was conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary by the power of Your All-Holy Spirit, the petitions of Your servants. Remember, Lord, the people here present and those who are absent with good cause. Have mercy on them and on us according to the multitude of Your mercy. Remember, O God, all those whom we are not able to commemorate by forgetfulness or because of their multitude since You know the name and age of each, even from their mother's womb. For You, Lord, are the helper of the helpless, the hope of the hopeless, the savior of the afflicted, the haven of the voyager, and the physician of the sick, the protector of the voiceless. Be all things to all, You who know all people, their requests, their households, and their needs. For You are the Giver of Life, bringing each person from non-being into being, sealing each person with love and sanctity. May we come to the light of Your Truth and glorify You, the Giver of Life, together with Your Father, and Your All-Holy and Life-giving Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.