1 November 2001
But I say to you who hear; Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. Luke 6:27-29
Dearly Beloved in the Lord,
Since the events of 11 September 2001 the faithful of the Orthodox Church in America have responded with an outpouring of generosity and love to help the victims of the attacks on New York and Washington and those who died in the plane crash outside of Pittsburgh. For this we are grateful to God and to the members and friends of our Church.
The word Charity means love. It is in this understanding that Jesus can instruct His followers to do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you - because love is more powerful than hate. As hard as it may be to accept, the Evil One has NO power, except for the power that is given him. Indeed, people freely choose darkness, hatred, and evil. Yes, people choose to follow false prophets who lead them down the path of destruction. But these same people are free to choose the Light, Goodness, and the Truth - and it is up to those of us who know that the Light is Jesus Christ, who is also all Goodness and Truth, to help those who hate to see their hatred is powerless.
This year’s Orthodox Church in America Charity Appeal, coupled with the gifts from the Emergency Relief Appeal will show that we believe that love is greater than hate. The 2001 OCA Charity Appeal will help us continue our Church’s daily response to charitable calls we receive here and from around the world. I ask you to review the materials on the FOS website that show how your gift to the 2000 Charity Appeal was used.
Dearly beloved, in closing, I ask you to be generous to this year’s OCA Charity Appeal. Be also generous in your prayers for those who love us and for those who hate us (Liturgy of St. Basil) and support those good works in your neighborhood, city, state, and country as may be asked of us in the days ahead to help our nation cope with what has been set upon us. Let us be instruments of love that will turn us and the world away from hatred and toward the Love that is Jesus Christ.
May the Lord bless and keep you and may He give you and our world Peace.
With love in Christ,
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada