His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, headlined the impressive array of religious leaders who addressed an estimated 150,000 marchers at the 30th annual March for Life here on Wednesday, January 22, 2003.
While lamenting the “30 year struggle” to protect the lives of the unborn, Metropolitan Herman waxed optimistic that, through the commitment and prayer of countless individuals who have valiantly upheld that all life is “a sacred gift from the One Who is Life Itself,” the Roe v. Wade decision may soon be reversed.
An outspoken advocate for the sanctity of life in general and the rights of the unborn in particular, Metropolitan Herman, who was joined at this year’s march by His Grace, Bishop Job of Chicago and the Midwest and His Grace, Bishop Nikon of Baltimore, has addressed marchers at the annual gathering for many years.
Earlier in the day, over 1000 Orthodox Christian marchers - the largest contingent of Orthodox marchers on record - gathered with Metropolitan Herman and Bishops Job and Nikon and two dozen students from Saint Tikhon Seminary, South Canaan, PA, under the Orthodox Christians for Life banner at the Washington Monument. After the formal program during which Metropolitan Herman delivered his stirring address, the marchers made their way up Constitution Avenue to the US Supreme Court, where Metropolitan Herman and the hierarchs offered memorial prayers for the millions of innocent children who lost their lives since the Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion on demand 30 years ago.
In a second address, Metropolitan Herman reached out to anyone and everyone who had participated in the abortion process, assuring them that the Church welcomes their return with open arms and offers them the opportunity for reconciliation and new life in Christ.
Metropolitan Herman and Bishops Job and Nikon also distributed icons of the Protection of the Mother of God, printed especially for the occasions, to countless marchers. For many, it was their first contact with Orthodox Christianity and its unswerving commitment to the proclamation of the sanctity of life.
Later the same day, Metropolitan Herman delivered the invocation and benediction at the annual Rose Dinner at the Hyatt Regency North West, which was attended by some 600 key pro-life advocates and leaders from around the country and throughout the world.
On Tuesday, January 21, the eve of the march, Metropolitan Herman attended a Service of Thanksgiving at Saint Nicholas Cathedral, during which the Very Rev. John Kowalczyk, a spokesman for the New York-based Orthodox Christians for Life, delivered a homily. In addition to offering petitions for abortion victims and the return to a public policy which acknowledges the sanctity of all human life, Metropolitan Herman met with pro-life activists from around the country. The evening was hosted by members of the Washington, DC chapter of Orthodox Christians for Life.
Metropolitan Herman’s keynote address was broadcast live on C-Span. He also was interviewed by the Eternal Word Television Network, a popular national Roman Catholic ministry that is widely known for its support for the sanctity of life.