Syosset, New York
To the Very Reverend and Reverend Clergy, Monastics, and Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America
Dearly Beloved in the Lord:
As we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, we glorify God and give thanks for the gift of the Holy Spirit, given His Church at the beginning of its mission of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ “to the ends of the earth.”
At the Divine Liturgy of Pentecost we hear the wonderful account of the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven… and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit…” (Acts 2:2-4). In that moment the lives of the Apostles were dramatically changed. Simple fishermen had been transformed into bold preachers and zealous evangelizers. Having received the Holy Spirit, they now inaugurated their mission of announcing the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Before the Apostle Luke recounts the marvelous events of Pentecost, he makes a simple observation about the Apostles. He informs his readers, “When the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place” (Acts 2:1). Before the gift of the Holy Spirit was given them, the apostles were of one accord. It is to this singleness of mind and heart that we, who have also received the gift of the Holy Spirit, are also called. It is our unity in faith and in love that enables us to live the Gospel and to preach it with credibility. In the Divine Liturgy we receive the admonition, “Let us love one another, that with one mind we may confess: Father, Son and Holy Spirit! The Trinity, one in essence, and undivided!” It is our unity in faith and love that makes it possible for us to fulfill our mission of proclaiming the Gospel to the world in a manner that is both sincere and credible.
As we look ahead to the Fourteenth All-American Council, soon to be convened in Toronto, Ontario, let us pray that our unity in faith, our love for one another, and our shared commitment to the work of the Church will be blessed by the Lord so that we, like the Apostles on that first Pentecost morning, will also be empowered by the gift of the Holy Spirit to go into the world and transform it with by our proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
With love in Christ,
Archbishop of Washington and New York
Metropolitan of All America and Canada