May 19, 2013
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,
Christ is Risen! Χριστός Ἀνέστη!
As we continue our celebration of life in the joy and light of this Paschal season, we commemorate on this day the Sunday of the Holy Myrrhbearers. This day has also been designated as our annual observance of AHEPA Sunday in recognition of the members and work of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association.
These two observances are very significant as they affirm the priority of love, faith and service. On that glorious morning of our Lord’s Resurrection, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome came to the tomb to anoint the body of Christ (Mark 16:1-2). They did this with hearts filled with love for Him; and upon seeing the empty tomb and hearing the proclamation of the angels, they went to the Apostles proclaiming that Christ is risen! (Luke 24:1-10)
These ideals that we cherish and share through our Orthodox faith and Hellenic heritage are a part of the mission of AHEPA and the organizations of the AHEPA family. Through their love of God, of this country and Greece, as well as the Greek American community, the members of AHEPA have initiated and offered support for numerous educational programs and philanthropic efforts. As members of parishes, and leaders in our Archdiocese and Metropolises, they have been witnesses of the essential role of our faith and the Church in meeting the needs of others. For almost a century, AHEPA has emphasized the priority of service to many in this country and around the world.
On AHEPA Sunday, I ask all of our parishes to honor AHEPA’s bright legacy of service and to recognize the members of its organizations. Also may we offer thanks to the members of AHEPA for their contribution to our Church in America and our Greek American community, and for their offering to so many educational, philanthropic, and cultural endeavors. May we continue to pray to God for His blessings, strength, and gifts, as the witness of His love and the power of the Resurrection permeates all that we do.
With paternal love in our Risen Lord,
Archbishop of America