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 Day and Afternoon 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 we reach the two-year anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Certainly, the memory of what happened, of our experiences, and of the images of that day will always be with us as individuals and as a nation. This is due first and foremost to our prayerful remembrance of those who lost their lives—the innocent victims and those who offered their lives attempting to save others. As people of faith and hope, we continue to remember them, offering our prayers, love, and ministry for their families.
September 11 altered our world in inconceivable ways, adding considerable stress to our daily lives, which are now placed under conditions of varying degrees of threat related alertness. We remember this day in the midst of these sad conditions, and, thus, we pray that all humanity and each of us personally may be filled with the peace of Almighty God, who is our refuge and fortress (Psalm 31:3). We also pray that these horrendous acts may never be repeated in the future.
As Greek Orthodox faithful living in America, we also mark this day by remembering Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, which was sadly destroyed in the terrorist attacks. In the wake of tragedy, God has blessed us with the reassurance that this house of worship will be rebuilt, and that it will occupy a prominent location within the tragic place known as Ground Zero. Saint Nicholas will become once again a place of prayer and faith, honoring the memory of September 11 by linking a site of destruction and death with the promise of an eternal abode with God.
May the God of mercy and life shine His countenance upon our world and grant us peace as we keep the memory of the innocent victims of September 11, 2001. May their memory be eternal, and may our memorials lead us to even greater acts of love and service, for the glory of Jesus Christ our Lord.
With paternal love in Christ,
Archbishop of America