Letter Concerning the Health of Metropolitan Demetrius

September 27/October 10, 2019

Holy Martyr Callistratus of Carthage and the 49 martyrs with him
 
Beloved Clergy and Faithful of our Sacred Metropolis,
 
May the God of Peace enrich you with His mercy. 
 
As many of you have probably heard already, I have recently been having some problems with my health. Since this issue affects not only myself, but the Metropolis as a whole, I am writing to clarify the situation and avoid misunderstandings or alarmism.
 
During the 15 years of my episcopacy, I have been travelling constantly – nearly every week – and apart from the daily care of the churches (2 Cor. 11:28), have had to deal with a number of extremely difficult situations, including two large-scale and involuntary moves. This has stressed my body and resulted in a cardiac condition. My doctor, who is a member of our Sacred Metropolis, estimates that my heart is around 15 years older than I am. While there is already some permanent damage, my doctor is optimistic that with the appropriate treatment, we can prevent things from getting worse. He says that it is imperative that we treat this now in order to preserve and enhance my overall function.
 
My doctor has ordered me to take a short sabbatical a few times a year to help my heart rest a little. Moreover, he orders that I rest as soon as possible since he is making some medical adjustments- and being unstressed and in a peaceful state is of the utmost importance in order to get accurate data. This is something which cannot wait. During this retreat period, I will have a monk with me to monitor my blood pressure a few times a day, since my blood pressure is too high. 
 
In addition to periodic sabbaticals, I also will be travelling less than I used to. This is due not only to my heart condition, but also to chronic respiratory problems, which in particular, make it difficult for me to breathe in airplanes. 
 
If my medical problems are addressed now, in the manner outlined above, I will be able to function better in the long run and serve the Church more effectively, which is my ardent desire. If I do not, my chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke will be greatly increased.
 
Therefore I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me (Rom. 15:30); first for the health of my soul, and then for the health of my body; and the God of love and peace shall be with you (2 Cor. 13:11) and reward you. 
 
With blessings and love in Christ,
 
+ Metropolitan Demetrius of America

Click here for a PDF version of this letter.

Orthodox Awareness

Hero-Worshipping: the Sickness of our Holy Struggle

“Trust ye not in princes, in the sons of men, in whom there is no salvation.”
(Psalm 145:3)

We mustn’t have absolute trust in human beings for our salvation, no matter what dignity they have. Human beings are changeable. Today they are saints, tomorrow—deniers. Today—sinners, tomorrow—righteous. We must have absolute trust in God, and in Him we must base our hopes of salvation. “Blessed is he of whom the God of Jacob is his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God” (Psalm 145:5). Read more...

Missions

Saint Matthew the Evangelist, Jonesboro, Arkansas

Jonesboro is a town located near the Eastern border of Arkansas, with a population of approximately 60,000. From a human standpoint, it’s not the most likely candidate for a traditional Orthodox mission, but for an Orthodox Christian who orders his priorities around Christ and His Church, it makes perfect sense. Read more...

Ask A Priest

Fasting

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...