Protocol No. 01/18
He has sent me to proclaim…
the acceptable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:19)
January 1, 2017
Feast of Saint Basil and New Year
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,
In the Holy Gospel of Luke we read about the beginning of our Lord’s earthly ministry. As He traveled throughout Galilee teaching in synagogues, He came to Nazareth where He had been raised. When Christ stood to speak, He read from the book of Isaiah: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and the recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:18-19)
At the inception of this New Year of 2018, we affirm as Orthodox Christians that the words above offered by our Lord in reference to His divine work are also the focus of our worship and ministry. In all that we do as the Greek Orthodox Church in America, we look to Christ as our Savior and Guide, we offer the Gospel of life and truth, and we demonstrate the grace of God in our service to others. We preach the message of salvation. We speak of liberty in Christ to all who are in bondage to sin and the burdens of this life. We offer a witness of the healing and transformation that we find in Him. We proclaim constantly and consistently that this is the acceptable year of the Lord.
The emphasis on the Gospel of life and truth and on service to others is also the focus of the ministry offered at Saint Basil Academy. In an environment of love and faith, the staff nurture the children and youth. They constantly demonstrate the grace of God and reveal that Christ is present. Through faith they offer hope and healing, so that the promises of liberty in Christ and abundant blessings from Him are experienced by all who reside at Saint Basil’s.
In support of this vital ministry, our Ladies Philoptochos Society leads our parishes each year on this Feast and in our traditional cutting of the Vasilopeta. As we commemorate Saint Basil and anticipate the blessings of our Lord in 2018, I ask that you show your support through prayers for the residents, staff, directors and benefactors of Saint Basil Academy. I also ask that you give generously to assist this ministry. Your gifts will strengthen a ministry that reveals the promise and potential of life in Christ.
As we look ahead to a year full of opportunities and blessings, may we join together in praising and thanking God for all that He has given us for our lives, our communities, and for the work of ministry. May this year be acceptable to the Lord through our worship and our offering of service through the message, programs, and resources of our Holy Archdiocese. May we stay focused on our calling and commitment to share our saving faith and our dynamic heritage, and above anything else to grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; to Him be the glory to the day of eternity, Amen. (II Peter 3:18)
Have a blessed and happy New Year.
With paternal love in Christ,
Archbishop of America