...is the Word of God good only in the old country and not in the entire universe?
Is not the Church of Christ universal? Is not the Orthodox Faith the foundation of the universe?
-Archbishop Tikhon, Sunday of Orthodoxy, San Francisco, 1903
Dearly Beloved in the Lord,
One hundred years ago St Tikhon, Confessor of Moscow and Enlightener of North America, presided as ruling Archbishop of the Missionary Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church in North America. In 1903, he offered the above words as part of his Sunday of Orthodoxy sermon to the Orthodox Church in this land. The missionary character and challenge of his words, although nearly a century old, are nonetheless as true and worthy of our reception today as they were 99 years ago!
The example of St Tikhon and other missionary Saints of North America is a testimony to the missionary roots of the Orthodox Church in America. The missionary origin of our Church guides our present work in a land that is not historically Orthodox, yet today Orthodox parishes populate North America from Alaska and Canada in the north to Mexico in the south, and across the vast expanse of the United States of America from the Pacific to the Atlantic oceans.
The composition of our parishes is a mosaic of peoples reflecting Orthodoxy throughout the world. It encompasses those from countries in the Middle East, Eastern and Western Europe, Africa, the Far East and the Pacific rim, as well as four generations of Orthodox Christians born and raised in North America.
I thank God that, because of your voluntary gifts, the Orthodox Church in America Church Planting Grant Program continues to help us plant new missions to expand our Orthodox witness in North America. Your contribution to the OCA Mission Appeal helps support missionary endeavors in your diocese. This partnership over the years has helped our Church to be a leader in missionary work and outreach, and as such, enables the Orthodox Church in America to embody the words of our beloved Archpastor and missionary in America that the Orthodox Faith is for all people!
I invite you this year to help us reach a new level of support for all of our Church’s missionary work. Your generous gift will make this possible, and by God’s grace - with the tireless work of our missionary clergy and faithful - we will, soul by soul, enrich the spiritual landscape of North America for the Glory of God!
In closing, I invite you to once again read the next issue of The Orthodox Church newspaper, and log on to the OCA website at Mission Appeal to see in more detail how your support for the OCA Mission Appeal is making a dramatic difference in our ability as a Church to fulfill the commandment of our Lord to baptize all nations and to offer the Orthodox Faith to all.
Thank you again for your most generous 2002 Mission Appeal gift. May the Lord continue to bless you!
With love in Christ,
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada