September 1, 2002
To the Venerable Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, Monastics and Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America
Dearly Beloved in Christ:
The beginning of the new ecclesiastical year invites us to enter once again into the mystery of our redemption, for it is in the context of the Church’s yearly liturgical cycle that God’s saving interaction with humanity is both experienced and celebrated. Our liturgical year, with its own cycle of feasts and fasts and its own rhythm of jubilation and penance, is a prelude to the joy of eternity. In the liturgical year, time and eternity forge an inseparable bond, and we are united to the great and saving events of the past even as we are called to enter the fullness of that which is yet to come.
United to both time and eternity, the liturgical worship of the Orthodox Church is a theological and therefore evangelical experience. It is also an evangelical tool to be utilized in bringing all people to the fullness of the Gospel. As the Church sojourning in North America, the greatest gift we have to offer the society in which we live is our theology. And our theology finds its fullest expression in our worship, for worship is a living theology that touches the minds and hearts of all who seek to come to the knowledge of the truth. Our worship manifests to us and to the world that the Kingdom that is to come is already upon us. The crucified and risen Lord is among us here and now. And here and now, by the Holy Spirit, He invites us to share eternal life with our Father before the ages.
Our commemoration of the beginning of the ecclesiastical year must be more than a formality. Our observance of the new Church year must be joined to our love for the divine services. Celebrating the beginning of the ecclesiastical year, we are to discover yet again the gift of liturgical worship and the great responsibility that is ours in making this gift available to all. Entering upon a new year of salvation, and a new chapter in the history of our Church, let us share the gift of the Church’s liturgical worship and through it offer to all the Gospel of new and eternal life.
Expressing my gratitude for your prayers and kind expressions of support on the occasion of my election as Metropolitan of All America and Canada and invoking God’s blessing upon you, I remain
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada