2022 Mission Sunday Encyclical

Monday, February 21, 2022

To the Reverend Clergy, Venerable Monastics, and the Devout Faithful of the Holy Orthodox Churches in the United States:

Greetings in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! As St. Paul reminds us in his first letter to Timothy, our God and Savior “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2:4). We, the Hierarchs of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States, have tasked our Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) to reach beyond our borders with this Good News so that all nations and peoples may come to know Him and participate in the salvation He offers through His death and resurrection.

OCMC Mission Sunday is fittingly celebrated on the day before Great Lent, this year on March 6, and serves as the perfect prelude to our Lenten journey. Great Lent is a time when we draw nearer to Christ, journeying with Him to the passion of Golgotha and beyond to the empty tomb and life-giving resurrection. The Mission imperative, however, to “make disciples of all nations,” reminds us that our journey to know Christ and be saved is not a solo endeavor but one where we are to bring others with us so they, too, may come to know Christ and share in His salvation.

The gift of eternal life made possible through Christ’s triumphant resurrection requires the death of our fallen selves through fasting, rebirth into a new life in Christ through forgiveness, constant spiritual growth and sustenance through the Holy Mysteries of the Church, and the sharing of Christ’s love to the ends of the earth with others, as commanded in our Lord’s Great Commission to make disciples of all nations.

OCMC, as our official international missions agency, provides several ways for you to engage in the Church’s mission to fulfill our Lord’s directive. Please prayerfully consider doing one or more of the following:

  • Pray for Orthodox missionaries, mission team members, and priests actively working (often in the face of great challenges) to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with people around the world.
  • Learn more about the Church’s missionary calling and work by visiting www.ocmc.org.
  • Give financial support so that missionaries and mission teams can be trained and sent, mission priests can be supported, and Church projects that address the spiritual and physical needs of those they serve may continue throughout the year.
  • Go and serve as a missionary or join a mission team and be a living witness of Christ’s hope, love, and salvation, like the Apostles themselves.

May the Holy Spirit strengthen you throughout your Lenten journey, and may you bring yourself and others to better know Jesus Christ, who is the Truth, and share in the salvation He has prepared for us.

With Blessings in Christ,

Bishop Demetrios

Episcopal Liaison to OCMC