Your Eminence, Metropolitan Pavlos of America,
Your Eminence, Metropolitan Moses of Toronto,
Your Grace, Bishop Sergios of Portland,
Your Grace, Bishop Demetrius of Boston,
Your Grace, Bishop Christodoulos of Theoupolis,
This Clergy Synaxis, organized for the first time in the city of Boston has a particular meaning for the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians in America; it is the first which occurs after the strengthening of our Church in North America by a great number of Clergy of all ranks which came from HOCNA. Worthy men with a fervently Orthodox mindset came together with us to form a united front in the struggle against the modern heresy of Ecumenism. I pray that others, who share with us their love for Orthodoxy, will follow their example.
Fight the good fight of the Faith. Keep the good confession of our blameless Orthodoxy, as we are told by the Holy Apostle Paul “...stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” (2 Thes. 2:15) Safeguard the purity of Orthodoxy and convey it to every fellowman that thirsts for the truth.
In this way we manifest the greatest degree of love toward God and our neighbor. Toward God because primarily He “...will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim 2:4) Toward our neighbor because this is the greatest benefaction we can show man, higher than any other form of charity: to teach him the truth of Orthodoxy and the sure path of salvation. And this teaching should be carried out by every appropriate means: by preaching, by writing, and above all by our good example. Let us not doubt, no one will be persuaded by our words if the example of our actions do not correspond to that which we preach.
Therefore the greater struggle is not the one that we have in our society, but the one we have within us: the personal struggles of each of us to live a spiritual life waring against our passions and weaknesses. In this way we benefit ourselves and we also build up others.
May you also always keep in mind that Orthodoxy is not an ethnic affair, neither of the Greeks, nor of the Russian, nor of any other particular nationalities. It is the Catholic Faith. Orthodoxy contains the Catholic (that is, Universal) truth and it is directed to all men universally. Today the Ecumenists preach, among other things, that Orthodoxy is an affair only of the Greeks, Russians, Romanians, etc. and when someone of another nationality desires to be baptized an Orthodox Christian they prevent him and tell him to remain a Papist, a Protestant, or whatever other dogma he may have. This is a great mistake, which to a certain degree we also can make. Certainly not that we would prevent anybody from being baptized, but that we also would consider Orthodoxy to be our own national affair, with the result that some would overemphasize the importance of Greek Orthodoxy, or Russian Orthodoxy or Bulgarian Orthodoxy, etc, against the other nationalities. Let us all keep in mind that the Church of Christ is one and unique. This One, Holy, and Catholic Church can incorporate every man, every nationality, every language, and all together we form one body with the head: our Lord Jesus Christ. Naturally, each person who is incorporated into the Church does not lose his personality, and he keeps the particularities of his language and descent, but he is transformed in Christ and is sanctified. For this reason, when St. Athanasios sent St. Phroumentios to Christianize the Ethiopians he did not even think of obliging the Ethiopians to learn the Greek language in order to become Orthodox Christians. Also, when Ss. Cyril and Methodios began to Christianize the Slavs not only did they respect their language but they even invented the Cyrillic alphabet which is preserved even until today. We are all obliged to respect the particular characteristics of our brethren, to try to help one another with love so that we may become participants in the Heavenly Kingdom.
Reverend Fathers, may you have the blessing of God. May the Grace of the Holy Spirit enlighten you always and guide the work of this Clergy Synaxis unto the will of God.
Your intercessor before the Lord
† KALLINIKOS of Athens
Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Tucson, AZ, is a beautiful mission parish near downtown Tucson, a city in southern Arizona. It was started in 1997 by Father John Bockman, who was a missionary priest formerly serving missions in Tennessee and Massachusetts since 1990. Read more...
Q. There seems to be a lot of variation in how people observe fasting, but my confessor told me to fast from oil on Wednesday and Friday. Oil is a pretty vague category, though, and I was wondering if I could get a more explicit description of what kinds of food and drink are excluded on strict fast days. Read more...