Protocol No. 176/17
November 1, 2017
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,
On this blessed Feast of the Holy Unmercenaries, Saints Cosmas and Damian, we are guided by their examples of holiness and compassion to offer service to those in need. Influenced by the saintly life of their devout mother, they chose to use their knowledge and skills for healing those with sickness. They did this freely, with a focus on the well-being of body and soul; and because of their love of God and neighbor, they were blessed with the wisdom to preach the Gospel and with the power to heal through prayer.
While their training in the medical arts equipped them to address physical maladies, Saints Cosmas and Damian knew through their faith in Christ that the power of faith and grace was much greater. This power could heal mind, body and soul. It is the power to make a person whole and to restore humankind to the potential of our creation in God’s image. It is ultimately the power of salvation and eternal life.
These blessed Saints represent our calling to offer healing to all. This healing includes infirmities of mind and body as we have compassion for those who are suffering and afflicted. It also includes healing for the soul, healing that comes through faith and grace, bringing transformation, renewal, and hope. As our Lord came that they may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10), we have a mission to bring wholeness of life to others. As Jesus Christ revealed divine grace by healing body and soul, we are the members of His Body, the Church, with a calling to minister to the physical and spiritual needs of all.
This witness continues to be offered through the philanthropic ministries of our beloved Ecumenical Patriarchate. These ministries include programs for orphans and the poor as well as the Baloukli Hospital and elder center. Each year in honor of the service of the Holy Unmercenaries and in support of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, our National Ladies Philoptochos Society and the local parish chapters lead us in collecting a special offering to support these ministries. On Sunday, November 5, I ask the parishes of our Holy Archdiocese to continue this tradition and give generously so that this work of compassion can continue and reach more in need. Our support for the ministry of healing and care offered by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and our commitment to serving those in need in our communities will bring renewal and hope to lives that will experience the healing power of God’s love.
With paternal love in Christ,
Archbishop of America