Protocol 150/11

September 1, 2011

Beginning of the Ecclesiastical New Year
Day for the Protection of our Natural Environment

In wisdom You have wrought all things and
have established proper times and seasons for our lives.
(Hymn of the Orthros Service)

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,

On this day, September 1, we begin this new ecclesiastical year in the blessed anticipation of the saving and wondrous works that will be accomplished by God in the days and months before us.  Each new annual cycle of worship and ministry in our Orthodox Faith offers opportunities for our spiritual growth, for transformation in the lives of those who find faith and hope, for fellowship with one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, and for compassionate service offered to those in need.

This day marks the passing of the times and seasons of our lives in relation to our commemorations and observances in the Holy Church of Christ.  It is a reminder to us that the days and years are not meaningless units of time through which we wander without purpose or hope.  It is a day that affirms the interrelationship of chronological and sacred time, of the physical world and the spiritual realm, of the temporal and the eternal, of the earthly and the heavenly.  On this day we proclaim the great wisdom of God for bringing all things into existence.

In His wisdom God has also established the times and seasons of our lives, and this day, marking the beginning of a new ecclesiastical year, guides us in understanding the significance of this.  In the natural cycle of the seasons of the year, we see the great wisdom of God as Provider and Sustainer of creation.  In the annual commemorations of our Orthodox Faith, we are connected to events and revelations in time and history that offer truth and meaning to our lives.  Each day we have the opportunity to reflect on our past, contemplate the present, and move forward into the future in faith and hope toward the restoration of all of the created order and the fulfillment of life in eternal communion with God.

As we begin a new ecclesiastical year, we also observe September 1 as the Day for the Protection of our Natural Environment.  As guided by our Ecumenical Patriarchate, this observance helps us to be witnesses of God’s wisdom through our love and care for the created order and through our intense activities related to basic elements of our physical world: earth, water, air, plants and animals.

On this day and each and every day may we consider and know that our lives are created and sustained in the wisdom of God and will be fulfilled through His love for us.  May we also be faithful to share this with others so that they find the meaning of the times and seasons of their lives in communion with God.  He offers to all of us an abundant life today, tomorrow, and for eternity.

With paternal love in Christ,

Archbishop of America

Archive: Archbishop Demetrios' Encyclicals