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 Day and Afternoon Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America
My Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On Independence Day we come together as families, as communities, and as a nation to celebrate freedom and to honor the history of a country that has offered people unprecedented opportunity for achievement and growth in all areas of life. But as we gather on this day, we do so following the events of September 11, a day of national and world tragedy on which we witnessed the of thousands of people and a vicious attack on freedom.
In the aftermath of these events we have affirmed our love of freedom and have manifested the strength that true freedom offers for overcoming destructive hatred and the unjust attacks of evil. As members of this society we know and experience freedom as a political and social reality that has tremendous potential for fostering and upholding what is good. Even more significant, though, as Orthodox Christians and members of the heavenly kingdom, we know and experience the eternal reality of freedom in Christ, a freedom from the of sin and , an unsurpassable freedom that gives us abundant life and assurance that rests upon the promises of God.
Therefore, our task on this day is not just one of remembrance and thanksgiving for the freedom that is offered in America. Our calling as the faithful of God and as carriers of the Hellenic legacy, a legacy that reveals the nobility of freedom, is to share with others a deeper understanding of freedom that will nurture and uphold the existence of a free society - an understanding of what it means to be truly free not only in the temporal world of uncertainty, but for all ages unto eternity.
May the life of true freedom and unlimited blessings in the Lord be yours always.
With paternal love in Christ,
Archbishop of America