Feast of the Holy Unmercenaries
Cosmas and Damian

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, 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 her timeless offering of example, our Holy Orthodox Church celebrates on November 1 the Feast of Sts. Cosmas and Damian, presenting to us two remarkable physicians and brothers of 4th century Asia Minor. Known as the Holy Unmercenaries, Sts. Cosmas and Damian were distinguished physicians, who healed not only through the use of medicine but also through their holy prayers. They bequeathed to our modern and technologically advanced world an enduring legacy of outstanding medical expertise and unlimited love for God and neighbor.

In our striving to emulate their strong spirit of charity, we are blessed with manifold opportunities for ministry through the important work of the philanthropic institutions and organizations of our Archdiocese. Here, we are especially grateful for the vital service of our Ladies Philoptochos Society, a dynamic organization of women throughout our metropolises and parishes across the United States who, for over seventy years, have dedicated themselves to bringing healing, comfort and care to countless people in America and also throughout our world. Theirs is a ministry that is truly global in outreach, one that aspires to fulfill in a most exemplary manner Christ's mandate "to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick" (Luke 9:2).

On this Feast of Sts. Cosmas and Damian, it has been the welcome custom of our Archdiocese to turn our attention to a very specific ministry of the Ladies Philoptochos Society, namely, the annual collection for the National Philoptochos Ecumenical Patriarchate Fund, which supports the hospitals, nursing homes, and philanthropic agencies of our Ecumenical Patriarchate. Therefore, on Sunday, November 6, a special tray will be passed in parishes throughout our country to support this important fund, a tangible expression of our love for our brothers and sisters of the venerable Greek Orthodox community of Constantinople.

Through your contributions to this fund, the lives of many will be enhanced, the warmth of God's love will be extended, and the joy that comes through the rendering of service to our Christian brothers and sisters in other parts of the world may be realized in the hearts, minds, and souls of us all. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, and may we always follow the example of His Saints in keeping our hearts open to the needs of our suffering brothers and sisters.

With paternal love in Christ,

+DEMETRIOS
Archbishop of America