To the Venerable Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, Monastics and Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America
Dearly Beloved in the Lord:
On September 11th, the citizens of the United States will commemorate the anniversary of the horrific terrorist attacks that took place two years ago in New York City, at the Pentagon, and in rural Pennsylvania. Millions of Americans will pause to honor the memory of the thousands of innocent victims who perished as a result of a complete disregard for the gift of life. As we pause in remembrance of those whose lives were lost, we also offer our prayerful support to those who continue to mourn the loss of their loved ones.
This prayerful remembrance takes place as we prepare to celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation of the Precious and Life-giving Cross. As Orthodox Christians it is the Cross which inspires and instructs us in our response to such human tragedy, for the Cross leads to reconciliation, forgiveness, and peace. In such moments of sorrow and pain, we hold fast to the Cross for through it “the eternal justice has been brought to pass” (Vespers, Exaltation of the Cross).
As we reflect upon the events of September 11, 2001, we know that the horrors of that day will always be understood as a turning point in the history of the American people and, indeed, in the history of the entire world. As we prepare to celebrate the Feast of the Holy Cross, and reflect upon its place in the history of our salvation, let us pray that we will be led to find meaning in the midst of the horror and loss and to transform each experience of the Cross into an experience of the Resurrection, as a true victory over sin and death.
Honoring and praying for both the living and departed victims of the tragedy of September 11th, we approach the Lord with confidence that He will comfort us in our sorrow and strengthen us in our common task of proclaiming the good news of His victory over the powers of darkness, for “through the Cross joy has come into all the world.”
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada