Feast of the Holy Unmercenaries
Saints Cosmas and Damian

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,

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On November 1, our Holy Orthodox Church commemorates Sts. Cosmas and Damian. Known as the Holy Unmercanaries, Sts. Cosmas and Damian were men of remarkable talent and faith, physicians who lived centuries ago and who bequeathed to our modern world an enduring legacy of unlimited charity and love of neighbor.

As we contemplate their example today, we are mindful of the eternal words of our Lord Jesus Christ: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:12). These words of Christ invite us to consider our remarkable prosperity and freedom as Orthodox Christians living in America, and our concurrent responsibility to share through genuine love the fruits of our bounty with others who live in conditions of need throughout our country and our world. Here, we may note the significant endeavors of the Ladies Philoptochos Society of our Archdiocese, the talented and faithful women from parishes across our nation, whose worldwide charities and philanthropic efforts are truly worthy of praise.

Each year, the National Philoptochos renders special aid to our beloved Orthodox Christian brothers and sisters living in Constantinople by committing funds to the nursing homes, hospitals, and other philanthropic institutions of our Ecumenical Patriarchate. For centuries, the venerable Greek Orthodox community of Constantinople has endured many challenges, and our calling to render service to them in light of their continued trials resounds with a particular clarity today. Therefore, in commemoration of the inspiring example of Sts. Cosmas and Damian, on Sunday, October 31, a special tray will be passed in parishes throughout our country to support the National Philoptochos Patriarchate Fund and the needs of the Greek Orthodox community of Constantinople.

Your contributions to this fund will constitute a tangible expression of love for our neighbors who live in distant places, and will extend comfort and aid to many who are in need. I pray that the enduring example of Sts. Cosmas and Damian may fill your hearts with the unique joy that comes from rendering Christian service. May their intercessions guide each of you along the path of love and care, and may their example of goodness and charity inspire you always.

With paternal love in Christ,

Archbishop of America

Archive: Archbishop Demetrios' Encyclicals