September 14, 2013
The Universal Exaltation of The Precious and Life-Giving Cross
Today the Cross of Christ goes forth, and the faithful welcome it with love…. (Hymn of Matins)
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 the Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross, we joyfully continue our celebration of the jubilee anniversary of our beloved Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. We give thanks to God for this blessed place of faith and learning and for the role this institution of our Holy Archdiocese has had in nurturing the call to priestly service, in training future clergy and lay leaders, and in strengthening the mission and witness of our Church in America and of our Orthodox faith around the world.
This witness of Christ and the Gospel has been offered for 75 years through the sacred work of our Schole because of the deep commitment of the faithful throughout our Archdiocese. Over the decades, so many people, parishes, and organizations have given generously and sacrificially, and on this anniversary, we remember these faithful stewards and honor them with a resolve to build on their legacy. The witness of the Cross and its power has been offered by the many who have served on the board of trustees, and as presidents, deans, faculty and staff. These servants of Christ and His Church have shared their lives and love of God on a daily basis in the classrooms, offices, and programs of this institution.
This witness of faith that leads others to true and eternal life has also been offered by the students of Holy Cross. In the midst of tremendous spiritual and temporal challenges and in their commitment to sacred vocations for the glory of God and the salvation of others, students of our beloved Schole have answered the call of our Lord to take up their Cross and follow Him. As they have continued their journey of faith beyond our School, they have gone forth bearing the Life-Giving Cross and offering years of faithful service built on the spiritual and intellectual foundations they received at Holy Cross.
The witness offered through Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, as well as through our beloved Hellenic College, has and continues to produce tremendous blessings and spiritual fruit. Our Archdiocese, with her Metropolises and parishes, has continued to grow under the guidance of the skilled and visionary leadership of our hierarchs and clergy. Our local communities have been strengthened by the quality of service offered by trained priests and ministry leaders. Most importantly, many people have returned or found their spiritual home in the Orthodox Church because of those who have been equipped to lead our parishes in accomplishing the mission of sharing the Gospel, teaching the faith, and offering compassionate service in truth and love.
As we conclude our celebration of the jubilee anniversary of Holy Cross, we must affirm our commitment to our Schole and ensure that the witness of Christ and His Cross will go forth from this place for many more years to come. On the weekend of September 13-15, special events will be held at Holy Cross, and I ask all of our parishes and faithful throughout the Church in America to commemorate this anniversary by offering prayers for the benefactors, leaders, faculty, staff, and students of Holy Cross and Hellenic College. I also ask that our faithful, parishes, and organizations strengthen their commitment to our Schole. Through contributions, donations, endowment gifts, scholarship funds, and direct support of students, even greater blessings will come, needs will be met at all levels of our Church, and the witness of the Cross will be carried to more places in more ways so that the grace of God may be shared with all.
On this holy Feast we lift up the Precious and Life-Giving Cross of our Lord, offering to the world a witness of grace, salvation, and peace. May we also offer our prayers and support for our beloved Holy Cross so that this witness remains strong and vibrant and continues to bring honor and glory to God.
With paternal love in Him,
Archbishop of America