Syosset, New York
February 1, 2005
To the Reverend Hierarchs, clergy, monastics, and faithful of the Orthodox Church in America:
From this day forth, from this hour, from this minute, let us love God above all and fulfill His holy will.—St. Herman of Alaska
Dearly Beloved in Christ:
In 1794, a group of monks from the Valaam Monastery completed a year-long journey that led them half-way around the world. They arrived on Kodiak Island, Alaska, carrying within their hearts zeal for the Gospel and the desire to fulfill the mission which had been entrusted to them. The purpose of their mission was clear—to bring the Orthodox Faith to a people eager to receive the Good News of the Gospel. Because of the exemplary lives and efforts of those first missionaries, Orthodoxy was planted on the North American continent where it has now been firmly rooted for over 210 years.
Although the world has changed greatly since Saint Herman and his monastic companions first arrived in Alaska, the mission we have inherited from them has not. Following their example, we also are called to bring Orthodoxy to the people of North America. The mission with which we have been entrusted is unambiguous and unequivocal. It is nothing less than proclaiming the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the peoples of this land.
One of the many ways that you can take a greater role in the Orthodox Church in America’s mission to the peoples of this continent is to provide financial assistance through your support of the annual Orthodox Church in America Mission Appeal. The monies raised through this annual appeal are designated for the use of small mission communities throughout North America and provides crucial financial assistance to them in their earliest stages of formation. Your generous gift will insure that these newest mission communities can continue the work of proclaiming the Gospel, following the example of Saint Herman of Alaska and the hierarchs, clergy, monastics, and faithful who have gone before us.
Through our support of the Mission Appeal, let us recommit ourselves to the mission we have received and follow the example of our blessed Father Herman who said, “A true Christian is made by faith and love towards Christ.” Focusing on Christ, may we bring new life to these words through our efforts to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel.
With love in Christ,
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada