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, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
With the beginning of a new school year, given to us by the love of God, we are offered the opportunity to once again consider, with deeper appreciation, education in general, and Greek Orthodox education in particular.
Education plays a tremendous role within the contemporary world. The advancement of various sciences, the progress of technology, the evolution of economics and the improvement of living conditions depend to a large extent on the education that is offered in schools, Universities and various educational centers and institutions. The advancement of knowledge and the efficacy of every type of scientific research can only be realized when a foundation of a good, essential and complete education exists. Todays universal multi-faceted struggle and methodical effort aims at enabling all children to attend school and receive an education so that all young men and women will have access to Colleges and Universities. Education is indeed a gift of God given to man for his learning, refinement, and progress in the personal as well as social realm.
If education in general is a precious gift of God, Greek Orthodox education is a special gift of the Almighty God, which offers further possibilities to its partakers. Firstly, this education is based on the Greek language, a language characterized by a wealth of words, by precision and beauty of expression and by a unique rendering of hard concepts throughout all areas of science, philosophy, theology and communication among people. As it is well known, the masterpieces of classical Hellenism and the basic text of the in-Christ-divine-revelation, which is the New Testament, were written in Greek. In Greek were also written the admirable texts of the Fathers of the Church, the decrees of Ecumenical Synods, and the fabulous liturgical texts comprised of incomparable hymns of the Orthodox faith.
Secondly, Greek Orthodox education is a special gift of God for, besides the richness of language, it offers richness of content. This content advances and cultivates fundamental human principles and values such as freedom, respect for human beings and their God-given rights, social order, justice, equality, democracy and freedom of scientific research and a critical approach to human problems, to name the most characteristic.
Thirdly, Greek Orthodox education, with its powerful Orthodox content, creates a vivacious spiritual opening, offers possibilities for the fruitful of knowledge and faith and offers opportunities in connecting the worldly with the celestial reality, which essentially is the reality of our communion with God.
We are invited to nurture and advance this wonderful Greek Orthodox education as Omogeneia in the new school year that has just begun; let us cultivate it zealously and methodically in our schools and educational institutions and in our parishes and families.
I wholeheartedly pray that with the help and grace of God this school year of 2005-2006 will be a year of important conquests in the area of Greek Orthodox education for the advancement of our Omogeneia and the glory of God.
With paternal love in Christ,
Archbishop of America