Protocol Number 01/15
January 1, 2015
Feast of Saint Basil and New Year
Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them;
for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.
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 this blessed Feast of Saint Basil and the beginning of the New Year, our honored tradition is to offer prayers and support for the sacred ministry of our beloved Saint Basil Academy. For seventy years this institution of our Holy Archdiocese has offered the love of Christ, the comfort of His presence, and the healing power of faith to children, youth, and families in need. Serving Orthodox children from throughout the United States, Saint Basil Academy continues to provide a caring and spiritual environment where they are able to grow, learn, and achieve.
This vital mission of Saint Basil Academy, carried out by the directors, staff, trustees and benefactors, is in keeping with our Lord’s command to “let the children come to me.” This is accomplished through this ministry by bringing the love of Christ to those in need. Everything that is offered for the children and youth at Saint Basil’s is offered in the name and presence of Christ. In daily care, in counseling and teaching, in recreation, and in worship, the students encounter Christ and His abundant and comforting love.
Saint Basil Academy is also a place where the lives of the children and youth are guided in Christ. On the beautiful campus, in a nurturing environment of prayer and grace, they are led in the path of truth and love. They are shown the blessings of the life in Christ, how to follow His will and to find strength and assurance in His promises. They see the hope, joy, and power in a life of faith and a lifelong relationship with Him.
This sacred work was also the focus of the patron saint of the Academy, Saint Basil. For the sick, orphans, travelers, and many others in need, he offered an encounter with Christ by taking His love to them. For others he guided them in truth and love through teaching and preaching, as a faithful and caring pastor, to their Savior and Redeemer. This is also our calling today. In our support for Saint Basil Academy, we are led by our Ladies Philoptochos Society and our local Philoptochos chapters in collecting an offering and in the celebration of the cutting of the Vasilopeta. We are also led by Christ and by the example of Saint Basil to fulfill the command of our Lord and let the children come to me. In your ministry in the parish and in your daily life in Christ, you are called to offer Him and guide others to an encounter with the Lord that will lead to abundant and eternal life.
On this day may we offer our prayers and generous support for Saint Basil Academy. May we strengthen this vital work to children and youth in fulfilling the request of our Lord and in honoring the legacy of all who have established and supported this ministry in the past seventy years. May you also receive the abundant and rich blessings of our Lord at the beginning of this new year as we offer Him glory and honor unto the ages of ages!
With paternal love in Christ,
Archbishop of America