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
My Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On this Day of Independence, I greet you in the spirit of love and joy inspired by our gracious God, the giver of life and liberty. Our annual celebration of July 4th as a national holiday commemorating the independence and founding of the United States of America is an occasion to affirm the necessity of freedom for promoting loving and lasting relationships with others and with God. As such, it is also an occasion to consider the tremendous blessings of God in our lives, and especially the great gift of true freedom and national independence.
Our cultural and religious legacy as Greek Orthodox Christians in America speaks directly to the real sources of freedom and independence, as we have been blessed by the double advantage of adhering to the Hellenic culture of freedom and of living in a free and democratic country, while also living as citizens of the kingdom of Heaven, enjoying "the glorious freedom of the children of God" (Romans 8:21). Thus, our citizenship in both these earthly and heavenly domains places upon us the awesome responsibility to promote liberty and freedom for all, and to call others into a loving fellowship with us and with one another in a spirit of freedom enriched by love, and love enriched by freedom.
As we proclaim the necessity of personal freedom and national independence in the world, celebrating them with all our might on this great Day of Independence, I invite all of us to be mindful of this our charge as Orthodox Christians "to proclaim to others that which we have seen and heard" (I John 1:3), that which we have inherited from our ancestors, and that which we happily experience in this blessed land of freedom which is America. May God bless every one of you on this important day of freedom. May He grant unto you liberty, prosperity, and peace, and may He offer continued strength to our American nation in advancing His gift of liberty unto all peoples and all nations of the world.
With paternal love in Christ,
Archbishop of America