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Protocol No. 159/16

September 1, 2016

Beginning of the Ecclesiastical New Year

Day for the Protection of our Natural Environment

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 give thanks to our merciful and holy God for this blessed opportunity to begin another ecclesiastical year, and we anticipate the witness of His presence and power in our lives and in our worship and work of spreading His Gospel.  In addition to the observance of this day as the beginning of a new liturgical cycle, it has also been designated by our beloved Ecumenical Patriarchate as the Day for the Protection of our Natural Environment.

The connection of these two observances is significant in a number of ways.  First, this is the beginning of the agricultural year and the cycle of harvesting, tilling, and sowing that is essential to our physical existence.  On this day we affirm very clearly the priority of proper stewardship of the natural order to provide for the physical well-being of all humankind.

Second, this is the beginning of our annual observances that connect the present with our witness of the salvific events of the Incarnation, Passion, and Resurrection of our Lord.  In our services throughout this cycle, we connect time, space and our natural order to the One who created it and transcends it as we celebrate and experience the power of God’s grace.

Third, as we hear and sing in the hymns of this day, it is a day of hope in which we share with God’s creation the longing for redemption (Romans 8:22-23).  It is a day leading us to dedicate the days and months ahead to offering a witness of love, justice and peace.

We anticipate the blessings and provision of our Creator, and as we receive them we will offer thanksgiving and praise. We gather at the beginning of this ecclesiastical year with hearts filled with joy.  Our experience of an abundant life in Christ leads us in our mission to the world—to be His voice, to offer the Gospel of truth and love, and to guide others to salvation and His promise of eternal life.

May you have a blessed ecclesiastical new year and feast, making its beginning filled with expectations of the glorious works and blessings of Jesus Christ our Lord.

With paternal love in Him,

†Demetrios

Archbishop of America