Prot. No. 273/2022
Archiepiscopal Encyclical for Thanksgiving
November 24, 2022
Μηδὲν μεριμνᾶτε, ἀλλ ̓ ἐν παντὶ τῇ προσευχῇ καὶ τῇ δεήσει μετὰ εὐχαριστίας τὰ αἰτήματα ὑμῶν γνωριζέσθω πρὸς τὸν Θεόν. (Πρὸς Φιλιππησίους 4:6)
Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6)
Unto the Most Reverend and Right Reverend Hierarchs, Pious Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, Presidents and Members of Parish Councils, Honorable Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Members of Leadership 100, the Day and Afternoon Schools, Philoptochos Societies, the Youth, Greek Orthodox Organizations, and the entirety of the Christ-named Plenitude of the Holy Archdiocese of America:
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The wonderful American National Day of Thanksgiving is a moment when our entire society pauses, to give thanks to God for the blessings we have found in the New World. To acknowledge this connection to the Divine, President John F. Kennedy issued Proclamation 3560 on November 5, 1963, which said: “Over three centuries ago, our forefathers in Virginia and in Massachusetts, far from home in a lonely wilderness, set aside a time of thanksgiving. On the appointed day, they gave reverent thanks for their safety, for the health of their children, for the fertility of their fields, for the love which bound them together, and for the faith which united them with their God.”
The early days of these first pioneers and settlers were not ones of abundance. But following the counsel of the Apostle to the Nations, they made their petitions to God “with thanksgiving,” embracing their trials without worry. It should be the same for us as well, who live in this land of such beneficence and opportunity. As Saint Peter exhorts, let us ‘cast all our cares upon Him, for He cares for us’ (I Peter 5:7). The worries of this life are nothing compared to the glories of life in God – both here and hereafter. For it is a spirit of gratitude and thanksgiving that empowers our relationship to God in the first place. Hence, the Eucharist is our principal devotional act of worship.
Therefore, my beloved Christians, on this Thanksgiving, let us exercise our faith in Christ by putting it in action. May we let go of worry and anxiety, which can neither add the slightest measure to our length of days, nor makes us fairer than the lilies of the field (Matthew 6:27-29). But with grateful hearts to God for all His blessings, let us live every day as a Day of Thanksgiving.
With paternal love in our Lord Jesus Christ,