The following address was delivered by Archbishop Demetrios to the graduates of Hellenic College Holy Cross on Saturday, May 21, and is presented here with slight editing.

We are in need of a very special kind of mission: an “internal mission.” I’ll give you an example. If you notice what happens during Holy Week, especially during Palm Sunday, Good Friday, or on the night of the Resurrection, you will usually see large crowds of people in attendance.

There are churches on Palm Sunday that are necessitated have two liturgies to accommodate the influx of people. In New York, a few parishes have four liturgies on Palm Sunday, one in the main church and one in the community center next to the church simultaneously, followed by two more liturgies. In some instances, even a fifth liturgy is needed.

The question arises: Where are these people the rest of the year? My beloved people, mission must start at home. While it is good to work in Africa and in the Far East, we have to start here with the internal mission. We have to connect and bring all these people to our churches.

There is a very interesting statistic on the percentage of the population who go to church at least once a week. This statistic does not apply to Orthodox Christians only, but for all denominations and all religions. In the geographic region of the Northeast, the population that goes to church once a week is 37 percent. In other words, about one third of the population goes once a week to the church. In the Midwest and the South, the number is around 65 percent. Two thirds of the population go to church at least once a week. Why such a difference?

Where are the young generation of graduates and prospective priests and clergy and Hellenic College graduates? This mission must be a collective effort by all, not just a matter for the priests and bishops. We must strive to have a very high percentage of church attendance. This is our mission, to bring people to Christ. We have to help these people to share the beautiful treasures that we have, and then invite more people to share in these things.

Open the New Testament and read the parts of the Gospels and the Book of Acts that follow the Resurrection; they are only a few chapters. Read them and think of what the Lord is talking about. These are his last words before the Ascension and are extremely important. What does He say? “As the Father sends me, so I send you” (John 20:21). We are sent by our Lord the same way Christ was sent by His Father. It is a very heavy theological and biblical statement.

We see in the Gospel of Mark, “Go into all the world” (Mark 16:15), and in the Book of Acts you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8).

Look statistically at the number of words that deal with sending people out to take part in the mission of the Church. Christ on earth as the incarnate Son of God was on a mission. The Church is in a constant state of mission. So, on this occasion, I would like to renew this core thought to be the voice of Christ and do the action of Christ in a world that is in terrible need of action and His word.

We live in a world that is oversaturated with words; our means of communication facilitate that. But this world needs Christ, the Word of God that saves, renews, gives hope, gives perspective, and gives a future.


You are the Voice of Christ in a Changing World - Part IV

In this article our focus is on how we are offering the voice of Christ in a changing world through the ministry and service of our Greek Orthodox Church in America. During our discussions in Nashville, our primary work should be evaluating the current ministries and resources at all levels of our Holy Archdiocese and planning for more opportunities to offer the voice of Christ. More »

You are the Voice of Christ in a Changing World - Part III

As our theme affirms, we live in a changing world. It is a challenging and complex world due to change. We experience this in our own lives as we go through each day, as we reflect on the past month and years and consider the course of our lives over time. Due to multiple means of communication and “real time” information, we are presented constantly with events and moments of change from around the world. All of this can be overwhelming, causing many to become insular and reject change or to feel lost while attempting to find meaning and purpose in the midst of change. More »

The Destiny of the Church is Mission

The following address was delivered by Archbishop Demetrios to the graduates of Hellenic College Holy Cross on Saturday, May 21, and is presented here with slight editing. More »

You are the Voice of Christ in a Changing World - Part II

With this understanding of how we know and share the voice of Christ, it is important to examine all that we offer as His voice in this changing world. First, the message we share as the voice of Christ is one of hope. In the Gospel we see hope in His ministry and words. Through the truth and healing Jesus offered, hope was renewed in the lives of many. His presence engenders hope in our lives; and in a world that is challenged by constant change, where many are struggling to find meaning and purpose, we offer hope as His voice. More »

You are the Voice of Christ in a Changing World - Part I

With anticipation we look forward to the fellowship, worship, and ministry when we gather July 3-8 for our 43rd Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress in Nashville, Tennessee. The theme for the Congress is “You are the Voice of Christ in a Changing World.” This theme affirms our vital mission in this world, as we have been sent by Christ to proclaim the Gospel, to share truth in love, to be His voice. More »

Where We Go To Bear Fruit

Article by his eminence Archbishop Demetrios at the 41st Clergy-Laity Congress in Pheonix, AZ in 2012. More »

Bearing Fruit Through Worship, Teaching, and Service

Article by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios at the 41st Clergy-Laity Congress in Pheonix, AZ in 2012. More »

Gather My People to My Home: Speaking with People

In our previous reflections, we have focused on the theme “Gather My People to My Home,” as it relates to our calling to reach out to all people and invite them to come and see the power and beauty of faith and experience the love of God within our communities. As we have examined, this calling is to reach out to those who have become disassociated from their Orthodox faith, to the unchurched, and to others who are struggling to find answers to the questions of life. Another group of people that we need to engage with the truth and love of the Gospel consists of those who openly profess that they do not believe in God. More »

Gather My People to My Home: Do Not Condemn

We continue our reflections on the theme “Gather My People to My Home” by focusing on the challenging task of gathering those who are struggling with deep and serious questions about life and God. In previous reflections we have addressed our calling to gather both “disconnected” Orthodox Christians and the unchurched. More »

Gather My People to My Home: Engagement

We continue our examination of the term "Gather," as used in the theme of our most recent Clergy-Laity Congress, "Gather My People to My Home." In our last reflection, we directed our attention toward gathering the "disconnected" Orthodox Christians, namely, those Orthodox Christians who for one reason or another over the passing of time, have lost what had once been for them a close connection to the Church. This month, we focus our task of gathering as it pertains to the so-called "unchurched." More »

Gather My People to My Home: Reaching Out

In our last reflection, studying the theme of our most recent Clergy-Laity Congress "Gather My People to My Home," we focused our attention on the word "Gather." As a consequence, a serious question was raised: Who are the people whom we are trying to "gather"? More »

Gather My People to My Home

Since our 39th Clergy-Laity Congress last summer, we have been consistently and methodically devoting a series of reflections to analyzing various elements of its theme: “Gather My People to My Home.” More »

What is Home?

January 2009 Archpastoral Reflections of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios. A continuation of the series of reflections by identifying and applying certain aspects of the theme of the most recent Clergy-Laity Congress, “Gather My People to My Home.” More »

Gather My People to My Home: Reflections

Archpastoral Reflections of Archbishop Demetrios of America based on past July theme of Clergy-Laity More »

Renewing Our Relationship with God

Archbishop's conclusion of the series on renewal by addressing the most significant purpose of our spiritual transformation to salvation and eternal life. More »

Lifestyle Renewal

“What is our lifestyle, and how can it be renewed?” More »

Renewal of the Spirit

We began this series of reflections on the topic of “renewal” with a reflection on the renewal of the heart. We now turn to examining the renewal of the spirit, which is the touchstone of our intellectual development as persons, of our fellowship with one another, and of our ability to be in genuine communion with God and His Truth. What precisely do we mean by “renewal” of the spirit? More »

Renewal of the Heart

Certainly, it is very important to attend to the health of the heart, recognizing that the human body is an amazing creation of God. But it is also critical in our relationship to our Creator to attend to the spiritual renewal of the “heart.” More »

I will love You O Lord, My Strength

From our rich spiritual heritage and the beautiful liturgical life of the Church, we have affirmed the role of the Theotokos, the Saints, and the Angels as agents of divine aid and protection. More »

An Angel of Peace, a Faithful Guide

As God's appointed messengers and guardians, we may gain a real and lasting comfort knowing that the holy angels are with us throughout our lives in times of danger and distress. More »

The Protection of the Saints

As Greek Orthodox Christians, we stand in a remarkable position to enhance the concept of security as it is understood today from an added perspective which is equally grounded, valuable, and informed. This perspective is the religious perspective, which understands notions of security from a theological vantage, and seeks to maintain levels of security by looking first to the Church as an unshakeable fortress of protection in times of need. More »

How to Live a Christian Life

Each and every day of our lives we are confronted by different ideologies and philosophies that attempt to answer for us some of the great questions of life. Some of these are very obvious, such as the views of different religions or the multitude of political and economic theories and systems that we find in our modern world. Others are much more subtle and can often affect our lives in significant ways. More »

A Christian Approach to Money

Our careful attention to the subject of our finances is an important element of our religious education as Orthodox Christians. Examples of the role of money in society and its proper use abound in the Holy Scriptures, in the homilies from the early Church Fathers, and in the actions of notable people who have gone before us. More »

Christian Health and Wellness

This month of July, our attention to the topic of health and wellness is poignant for two reasons. First, as we are now in the middle of the summer season, many of us are able to find the time for rest, relaxation, and exercise that our all too often busy lives during the year could not seem to afford More »

A Christian Response to Education

The benefits of a thorough academic education for people of all ages cannot be adequately praised. The inherent benefits that come from receiving a truly advanced education are many, especially in our technologically sophisticated society. More »

Orthodox Christianity and Popular Culture

This month we consider the topic of education as it applies to popular culture. By popular culture, we mean the media, venues for entertainment, pieces of literature, cinema, articles of clothing, and particular arts that resonate with the likings of contemporary people in certain times and in certain places. More »

The Importance of Religious Education

Education is an all-inclusive topic, touching upon every aspect of the human intellect and soul. Religious education, a predominant element of our lives as Orthodox Christians, will be the focus of this brief reflection. More »

On Being Overwhelmed

In continuing our series of reflections, we have repeatedly emphasized that our Orthodox Christian faith is imbued with a spirit of joy and reassuring hope, for we rest secure in the knowledge that our victory over sin, evil, and death has been secured by Christ. Despite the spiritual comfort that comes from this knowledge, however, we would be remiss if we were to overlook and fail to consider the very real presence of stress, anxiety, and depression in the lives of so many people. More »

Being a Faithful and Wise Steward

As we enter the New Year 2006, we reflect upon the gracious generosity of God to us over the course of this past year. In so doing, it is fitting to reflect upon our own response to God's love through our important exercise of stewardship as Orthodox Christians in parishes throughout our country. More »

Healthy Communication

Our series of reflections on the family continues this month as we explore the topic of healthy communication. The topic of communication is a particularly important one for families in our contemporary age, where there exists an unprecedented abundance of advanced technologies for virtually instantaneous communication with others across the globe More »

Parenting in the Internet Age

Our series of reflections on the family coincides this month with the end of the summer season and the beginning of the school year. This is a remarkable time of activity that naturally leads us to consider vital elements in the cycle of our family lives. Among these elements is the role of the family in maintaining a steady Orthodox Christian learning environment for our children in the midst of an advanced technological society. More »

Orthodox Christian Parenting

This month we consider the important task of parenting. As we consider the demanding responsibilities, rewards, and challenges of parenting today, it is worthwhile to reflect upon parental models that inspire confidence and faith. In this effort, we are aided by numerous examples of parents in the Holy Scriptures. These figures are distinguished certainly by their dedication to God, but even more so by their commitment to providing lifelong spiritual nurture and care to their children so that they may mature, discern, and follow the will of God for their own lives. More »

Leadership as an Orthodox Christian

Our consideration of the family as a vital source of spiritual sustenance for its members is enriched by our contemplation of our role as leaders in the vital area of family care. As we have discussed in previous reflection pieces, parents who emphasize prayer, love, and holiness within the home enable their children to navigate the experiences of life while strongly rooted and secured in their faith. In this regard, the leadership role of parents within the family is integral, and absolutely indispensable. More »

The Presence of God's Love in Our Llives

Our Orthodox Christian faith teaches us that God's love is a continuously abiding, healing, and transforming presence in our lives. The love of God accords peace and tranquility to every aspect of our lives, especially within our families, which are called to be communities of care and intimacy that reflect His perfect love More »

Bringing Our Families Closer to Church

This month of January we embark upon our Year of the Family, a period of intensified ministry to families across America. As we begin this very special New Year, it is worthwhile to reflect upon the connection of our own families to the Church, and to consider the extraordinary manner in which the Church influences the growth and development of our families. More »

Living in Holiness

December 25, the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord, is one of the holiest days of the year. On this day we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Holy One of God. In our hymns we acknowledge the sanctity of this great event, a moment in time and history when heaven and earth were united, when light shone in the darkness, when the pre-eternal God became a newborn child. More »

On the Feast of St. Demetrios the Great Martyr

This month of October we commemorate the holy and glorious Great Martyr Demetrios, patron Saint of Thessaloniki. A citizen of the Roman Empire, St. Demetrios lived in truly difficult times of widespread persecution against Christians. More »

Work and Labor

As persons created in the image and likeness of God, our human identity is predicated upon notions of labor and service. Remembering God’s instructions to Adam in the Garden of Eden “to tend and keep it” (Genesis 2:15), the important facet of labor has shaped both individual and communal life since the dawn of history. More »

Emulating the Holy Apostles

At this time of the year when we commemorate and honor the Holy Apostles chosen by our Lord Jesus Christ to continue His ministry and establish His Church, it is important for us to reflect upon the Apostolic nature of the Church, and more specifically upon our Apostolic identity as Christians. More »

The Power and Promise of Peace

The Holy Scriptures tell us that prior to the Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, He began to prepare His disciples for the time when He would no longer be with them. More »

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