Feast of the Holy Unmercenaries - November 1, 2009
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 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 day when we commemorate the Holy Unmercenaries Cosmas and Damian, we are reminded by the lives and deeds of these two saints of the beautiful parable of our Lord concerning the Good Samaritan. In the Gospel of Luke we read of the compassion of the Samaritan who tended the wounds of the injured traveler and arranged for his care until he was healed. In addition, the Samaritan showed his attentiveness to the needs of the man who had fell among robbers by stating to the innkeeper, “Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend” (Luke 10:35). This genuine concern for one in need extended beyond an initial offering of assistance to the assurance that everything needed for healing would be provided.
The ministry of healing that offers a true witness of the compassion and grace of Christ is characterized by a commitment of time, attentiveness to the real needs of a person, and a willingness to offer what is necessary to ensure restoration of body and soul. This is the kind of ministry that is offered both by our beloved Ecumenical Patriarchate and our National Ladies Philoptochos Society. The philanthropic work of the Ecumenical Patriarchate provides vital care and meets critical needs in the Greek Orthodox Community of the Archdiocese of Constantinople. Through the Baloukli Hospital and elder center, together with other institutions and associations for orphans and the poor, the Ecumenical Patriarchate offers an environment of care and faith that is attentive to the physical and spiritual wounds of those in need.
This philanthropic work has been assisted by the efforts of our National Ladies Philoptochos Society in their ongoing ministry of healing. Dedicated to offering time and resources for physical and spiritual healing, the members of the Philoptochos Society of our Holy Archdiocese have brought glory to God by their willingness to ensure the viability of quality health care, educational, and charitable programs. As a part of this sacred work, they have led us in collecting offerings for the philanthropic ministries of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and in support of this effort, I ask all of our parishes to take a special collection on Sunday, November 1, the Feast day of Saints Cosmas and Damian, for the National Ladies Philoptochos Ecumenical Patriarchate Fund. This is an opportunity for all of us, in the spirit and example of the Good Samaritan, to ensure the quality and attentiveness of the care offered to those in need.
May we continue to offer our prayers and support for the work of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and for the faithful of the Archdiocese of Constantinople and the Metropolises of Turkey. May we also heed the words of our Lord and be the people who show mercy. In a world filled with haste and neglect, we must offer the time, compassion, and resources that will reveal the love of God and restore bodies and souls to life.
With paternal love in Christ,
Archbishop of America