Encyclical of Archbishop Demetrios for National Leadership 100 Sunday - October 21, 2018

Protocol Number 159/18

October 21, 2018

National Leadership 100 Sunday

The Lord said, I am the vine, you are the branches.
He who abides in me and I in him, it is he who bears much fruit;
for apart from me you can do nothing.
(John 15:5)

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 October 21, we commemorate National Leadership 100 Sunday as we look forward to the Feast of Saint Iakovos on October 23. We give thanks to God for the courage and strength and labor in love of the members of Leadership 100 and celebrate the great achievements over 35 years of the Leadership 100 Fund. For three and a half decades since its founding by Archbishop Iakovos of Blessed Memory, Leadership 100 has followed the injunction of Our Lord and born the fruits of steadfast faith, generosity and perseverance in support of the ministries and institutions of our Church for the glory of God. As is fitting, Leadership 100 presents Christ the True Vine Icon to all its new members, a reminder to continue to bear fruit in their spiritual life and in their philanthropy.

For two decades, I have personally presented this Icon at the Leadership 100 annual conferences and witnessed the joy and dedication of these outstanding leaders, men, women and young adults, who happily offer their time and energy out of a deep and abiding love to serve and enable the sacred ministries of our Archdiocese.

Leadership 100 has reached out first and foremost to our families and clergy through the Center for Family Care and to our children, youth, and young adults through its support of Church Summer Camps in the Direct Archdiocesan District and in each Metropolis, and through programs of the Youth and Young Adults Ministry and Ionian Village. Leadership 100 has remained firm in its commitment to support men called to the Holy Priesthood through scholarships at our beloved Holy Cross School of Theology, while assisting active and retired clergy and presvyteres.

Furthermore, Leadership 100 has provided essential resources to new and struggling parishes through the Home Mission and Small Parish Programs, to all parishes through the Orthodox Software Initiative, and to all faithful through Religious Education, Greek Education and Internet Ministries. It has also supported the expansion of Outreach and Evangelism and Inter-Orthodox, Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations.

In our challenging times, Leadership 100 has supported the charitable outreach of International Orthodox Christian Charities, the Orthodox Christian Mission Center, Orthodox Christian Fellowship, Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry and Orthodox Christian Fellowship and other ministries under the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America.

Leadership 100 has borne fruit in times of crisis in our nation and in our world, from assistance in the aftermath of September 11 to the devastating hurricanes, fires and earthquakes here and abroad, most recently with generous assistance in the recovery from the tragic fires in Greece. These courageous actions have witnessed to their abounding generosity, continuing to bear even more fruit in the face of mounting odds in crisis after crisis at home and abroad.

On this tenth commemoration of National Leadership 100 Sunday, I ask all of our parishes to honor Leadership 100's faithful service to our Church and to recognize its members and their example. May we acknowledge the special blessings of God through Leadership 100's precious gifts. We fervently pray that the Lord will continue to bless abundantly Leadership 100 in the decades to come and keep its members in good health and prosperity as they continue to stand firm in the faith and bear the fruits of their faith in love.

With paternal love in Christ,

 D E M E T R I O S

Archbishop of America