November 8, 2009
Feast of the Synaxis of the
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 blessed feast of the Synaxis of the Holy Archangels we commemorate the beautiful presence and purpose of the myriads of angels that have been created by God for serving His divine will and plan for salvation. In the observance of this feast, in the pages of Holy Scripture, and through the iconography of our parishes we are reminded that the angels, led by the Holy Archangels, are an essential part of the order and ministry of God’s kingdom. As messengers, protectors, and beings of divine praise, angels direct our attention to the glory and holiness of God, and it is in this way that they aid us in gathering people into God’s home.
Over the past year following our 39th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress in Washington, DC, we have emphasized the theme “Gather My People to My Home,” exploring the significance of this calling in our lives, our parishes, and our world. We have affirmed that one aspect of the theme is our benevolent response to those in need at any stage in life. Knowing that life is a gift from God, seeing the divine image imprinted upon every person, and having hearts filled with compassion, we give willingly and sacrificially for the well-being of others. This is the mission of the Church, and it is the nature of our life in God’s family.
This is why the ministry of Saint Michael’s Home is necessary and valued. For over fifty years this institution has met physical and spiritual needs as an adult care facility and has done this in a way which is true to its name. In the example of the Holy Archangels, the staff, directors and donors of St. Michael’s have focused on order, quality, and ministry in providing the best environment of care. This has been accomplished by protecting and sustaining life and through nurturing the faith of residents so that their life at Saint Michael’s affirms the loving presence of God and their place in His home, the Church. This wholeness of care and service offers a beautiful witness to all adult care institutions. It also proclaims the truth of life in God’s kingdom: physical abilities are not the measure of a person’s value; love and faith are needed throughout life; and we each have a responsibility to care for those who are in need.
Being mindful of this and the ministry of Saint Michael’s Home, this feast has been designated each year as a time to offer our gifts for the service and growth of this holy work. On this day parishes are asked to have a special collection for this ministry, and the offerings should be designated for Saint Michael’s Home and sent to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. This act of giving generously should also be accompanied by our care and generosity offered in our communities. In the spirit and witness of Saint Michael’s, we should strive to help those in need of care to know that they are loved, that they are a part of our spiritual family, and that they have a present and eternal home with God. May we offer our prayers for the residents, staff, and directors of Saint Michael’s Home, and may we also commit ourselves to offer quality and faithful ministry to all.
With paternal love in Christ,
Archbishop of America