Being in the Triodion season, we are preparing to embark upon the spiritual journey of Lent, a special seven-week period leading toward the glorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are invited during this sacred time to nurture more attentively our relationships with God and with one another. Through prayer, fasting, and through selfless acts of charity, we approach the inexhaustible love of God. This love, which manifested itself uniquely in the Cross of Christ, renews our hearts and our world with peace, hope, and the promise of a life without end.

As members of the Body of Christ, we are called to grow in our love for Christ and for His brothers and sisters all over the world. This calling comes at a particularly crucial juncture in human history, in an age where the capacity of human beings to love one another as children of God is tested increasingly, and where threats to peace and justice grow insidiously. In the face of war, terror, poverty, disease, environmental degradation, and other threats to the peace of God, we are called to exercise especially heightened vigilance dictated by love. The Lenten season teaches us, through the superb example of our Lord marching toward His crucifixion, not to despair in the presence of distress or suffering, but, rather, to offer the same love and care which God Himself offers to the world. The journey of Lent reminds us of our need for communion with God and with one another based on love. Above all things, it reminds us of the ultimate victory of life over death, of the triumph of joy over sorrow, and of the comforting knowledge that love casts out fear in all its dimensions and manifestations. (1 John 4:18).

This Lenten season, our Holy Orthodox Church offers us many opportunities to build our love and faith in Jesus Christ. By participating in the Divine services and in the many retreats and lectures organized by our parishes throughout our country during this season, our journey toward the love of God is greatly enriched. Through acts of philanthropy, and through developing a vibrant life of prayer, we may direct our energies toward the love of God and neighbor in ways that reveal His image and likeness in persons from all walks of life. In so doing, each of us contributes to the advancement of peace within our communities, our nation, and our world, since there is no peace without love.

I pray that the infinite love of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior grant encouragement to you in your every step along the sacred journey of Lent this year. May each of us continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of God as we reflect during this time upon His love, peace, and promise of life.

Archbishop of America