November 1, 2014
Feast of the Holy Unmercenaries
Saints 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 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,
Each year we show our love and support for the philanthropic work of our Ecumenical Patriarchate by designating the Feast of the Holy Unmercenaries, Saints Cosmas and Damian, as a day of prayer and support for the philanthropic ministries that are offered by the Holy Archdiocese of Constantinople. These ministries to orphans, the elderly, the sick and poor have been a vital and essential work of the Ecumenical Patriarchate since its founding, and they continue today as a witness of our calling by our Lord by offering compassionate healing and faithful service to those in need.
We are led in this effort by our National Ladies Philoptochos Society, and on Sunday, November 2, local chapters throughout our Holy Archdiocese will have a special offering for these ministries. I ask that you contribute generously to assist the work of our beloved Ecumenical Patriarchate at a time when critical needs there and throughout the Middle East are growing. As we are witnessing, long established ministries are challenged for resources as new humanitarian crises and desperate pleas for assistance are growing.
In our generous response in support of the vital work of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, we offer a witness of our unity in Christ and our unity in faith. This is the witness of the early Church when offerings were collected and given to communities with great needs, nurturing the bonds of love in Christ. (Romans 15:26; I Corinthians 16:1-4; II Corinthians 8-9) This is the witness of the Holy Unmercenaries, Cosmas and Damian. While they were united by blood as brothers, they were also united in Christ and in the power of faith as they used their divine gifts to bring healing, comfort and hope to those in need.
Today, this is also our witness in a part of the world where ministry in the name of Christ is very challenging. In the midst of significant obstacles and opposition, our Ecumenical Patriarchate under the leadership of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has continued to fulfill our sacred calling as Christians to help anyone in need. With compassion and quality care, the leaders and staffs of these ministries in Constantinople labor to provide comfort and hope. In their faithfulness to God and to those in need, they reveal the power of faith that comes from knowing beloved brothers and sisters in Christ around the world are giving and praying in support of their work.
On this Feast of the Holy Unmercenaries, I ask that you respond generously to the appeal of our Ladies Philoptochos Society. In addition, may we offer earnest prayers. In the midst of tragedy, violent conflicts, destruction and death, our Church and our Orthodox faith under the leadership of the Ecumenical Patriarchate offer hope, reconciliation, enduring peace, and grace through our Lord Jesus Christ.
With paternal love in Him,
Archbishop of America