Encyclical of Archbishop Demetrios for AHEPA Sunday - May 18, 2014
May 15, 2014
May 18, 2014
To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Christ is Risen! Χριστός Ἀνέστη!
In this blessed Paschal season filled with the light and joy of our Lord’s Holy Resurrection, we observe a special day among our parishes and our Greek American community, AHEPA Sunday. On this day we recognize the history, accomplishments, and ongoing service of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association and the members of the AHEPA family.
This recognition is important for many reasons, but above all it is offered for the many decades of service and the contribution AHEPA has made to strengthening our Greek American community. Through scholarships, support for Hellenic and Classical studies programs, and other efforts, the members of AHEPA have long shown their deep commitment to education. Through philanthropic programs for disaster relief, elimination of diseases, and many local and international projects, they have served as eager volunteers.
The commitment to education and philanthropy is matched by AHEPA’s stated mission “to create an awareness of the principles of Hellenism,” and “to promote the ideals of humanity, freedom, and democracy.” Through this emphasis on our Hellenic heritage and the value of Hellenism in supporting education, philanthropy, civic responsibility, and individual excellence, AHEPA continues to strengthen our Omogenia in significant ways.
First, the close ties of AHEPA to our Greek Orthodox Church in America through programs supporting ministry and through leadership in our parishes, strengthens the relationship of our cherished Hellenic heritage and our blessed Orthodox faith. Further, this organization and its activities contribute to our efforts within the Greek American community to nurture among our youth a love for our heritage, our language and culture, and our faith. An essential part of this effort is the ongoing connections that are made by members with educational and philanthropic programs in Greece and Cyprus, and support for our beloved Ecumenical Patriarchate. Finally, AHEPA continues to have a vital role in maintaining bonds of fellowship within our community through its annual and local meetings and through the collaborative efforts of members at all levels to offer consistent and essential service.
On AHEPA Sunday I ask for all of our parishes throughout our Holy Archdiocese to recognize the AHEPA organization and members. May we extend our appreciation to them for their faithful service. May we also offer thanksgiving to God, who gives us the strength, wisdom, and mercy to meet the tremendous needs of our world through His power and unto His glory.
With paternal love in our Risen Lord,
Archbishop of America