Metropolis of Atlanta Announces 2021 Pascha Picnic at the Diakonia Retreat Center

Date: Saturday May 8, 2021

To the Reverend Clergy, Parish Council Presidents, and Philoptochos Presidents of the Metropolis of Atlanta:

My beloved in Christ,

As we prepare to end the first half of our Lenten journey, I greet you with love in the Lord, praying that our journey to our Lord’s Passion and Resurrection is a time full of spiritual peace for you and your loved ones!

The miraculous Icon of the Panagia Vimatarissa is the great Icon of the Holy and Great Athonite Monastery of Vatopedi, and our Metropolis of Atlanta was blessed to receive a handwritten replica of the miraculous Vimatarissa from the Holy and Great Monastery, which has resided in our beautiful Panagia Chapel at the Diakonia Retreat Center in Salem SC, since September 2018.

Additionally, at the Holy and Great Monastery of Vatopedi, a procession with the miraculous Panagia Vimatarissa is traditionally held on the Tuesday after Pascha, in order to honor the Panagia, and to receive her blessings. This year, now that vaccinations have made gatherings possible, our Metropolis is pleased to reintroduce our annual Pascha Picnic on Thomas Saturday, May 8th, 2021, the first Saturday after Pascha. In a spirit of gratitude for our Lady's continued loving protection, I am pleased to invite the faithful of the Metropolis to celebrate a Hierarchical Orthros (at 7:30 AM) and Divine Liturgy (8:45 AM), and then, in humble imitation of the community of Vatopedi, a procession around the lake of our Diakonia Retreat Center with the miraculous Vimatarissa Icon, so that we too can honor our Panagia, praying for all our Metropolis family. Following the procession, the faithful are invited to stay and enjoy a festal meal and fellowship on the grounds of our Diakonia Retreat Center. In recognition of the importance of maintaining safe practices, social distancing and COVID precautions will be in effect throughout the day.

It is very important that you RSVP by April 30th, 2021, especially for those who intend to stay overnight, to participate in the service, and to partake of the afternoon's festivites. While there is no charge for this event, donations are much appreciated. To RSVP, or to inquire about accommodations, please contact our Operations Manager, Kayla Hernandez at our email [email protected], or by calling our new phone number, (864) 732-1537.

Looking forward to being with you as we celebrate the Resurrection and honor the Theotokos, I remain,

Yours with paternal love and blessings in Christ,

+ A L E X I O S

Metropolitan of Atlanta