Protocol 01/10

January 1, 2010
Feast of Saint Basil and New Year
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,

We greet the beginning of this new year and the end of the first decade of the new millennium in the grace and strength of our Lord.  The coming of the New Year is always accompanied by a variety of emotions and concerns, as well as goals and plans.  It is a time for reflecting on the past and anticipating what the year may bring.  As we look back and forward in our thoughts, it is essential that we be mindful of the centrality of Christ and our spiritual well-being in all that we do.  For reflection and anticipation are both characteristics of our lives as Orthodox Christians.

Reflection is inherent to our identity, beliefs, and practices.  The divine services, the Holy Scriptures, the lives of Saints, and the iconography and architecture of our sacred places of worship all call us to reflect on a history of revelation and of the manifestation of God’s grace and presence in our world.  We are invited to engage with the truth about our existence, the challenges of human life, and the telos, the purpose of this life as they relate to salvation and eternal communion with God.  We are also called to reflect upon the teachings and examples of our Orthodox faith and to contemplate the condition of our souls.  It is in this holy context of faith and truth that we reflect upon our lives. 

The assurance of God’s presence and grace is accompanied by anticipation of what is to come.  In the observances and teachings of our faith, we anticipate the fulfillment of all things, the Eschaton, the coming of our Lord, and the inauguration of eternal life in His presence.  As we begin this New Year, we look forward to the wonderful blessings that God will give to us as we commit to the transformation of our lives in becoming the holy people He calls us to be.  Through a life of prayer and faithful worship, we anticipate the beautiful growth of our souls, as well as our lives of service to others.  Through the presence and grace of God we anticipate great spiritual victories over evil and temptation and the further sanctification of our hearts, minds, and souls. 

Our thoughts on reflection and anticipation are also applicable to an annual commemoration of our Holy Archdiocese in honor of Saint Basil Academy.  Named for the great Saint of wisdom and love, Saint Basil Academy is completing sixty-five years of unique and dynamic service to children and families.  This has been a time of serious appreciation of the work and witness offered by this ministry, offering a chance to review the strong foundations of the past, to be thankful for the lives that have been transformed, and to show our thankfulness to the founders, donors, directors, and staff.  But it is also a time of anticipation of the great works that will be accomplished through God in the years to come.  Saint Basil Academy will continue to be a ministry of blessing and life to children and families through quality programs and resources, dedicated and trained staff, and a vision that embodies the compassion of Christ.    

On this Feast of Saint Basil and the beginning of the New Year, I ask that you contribute generously to Saint Basil Academy through the annual offering gathered by the members of our Ladies Philoptochos Society.  I also ask that you dedicate time each day for reflection and anticipation.  Remember the past, the challenges, the needs, the joys and blessings.  Anticipate the wondrous things that God will bring to your life in the year that has just begun.  Certainly, challenges and needs are a part of our earthly existence.  But we live each day in anticipation of the life that is completely filled with the love and presence of God for all eternity.  May our Lord, a Lord of love and grace, grant you peace and health in the New Year.

With paternal love in Christ,

Archbishop of America