His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, offered the invocation at the annual Rose Dinner, held at the Regency Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC on Wednesday evening, January 22, 2014. The annual event was a culmination of 2014 March for Life programme.
The keynote speaker at the dinner was Ryan Bomberger, Founder of the Radiance Foundation and a tireless activist for life, who addressed the theme of this year’s March—“Adoption: A Noble Decision.” He drew upon his own experience of being adopted and raised by a loving Christian family and having become an adoptive father himself.
The complete text of Metropolitan Tikhon’s invocation appears below.
In related news, Archpriest John Jillions, Chancellor, represented the OCA at the interdenominational prayer service at Constitution Hall—the “national memorial for the preborn and their mothers and fathers”—on the morning of the March. He was among 35 clergy from a broad range of Christian traditions who participated. The main speaker was Father Frank Pavone, a Roman Catholic priest and long-time activist in the Sanctity of Life movement, who said that the movement is a human rights issue on behalf of those human beings who are still in the womb but have no voice to speak on their own behalf.
Benediction for the Rose Dinner Offered by Metropolitan Tikhon
January 22, 2014
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
My dear brothers and sisters,
It is customary, in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, to commemorate one or more particular saint on every day of the year. January 22nd, the day in 1973 on which the Roe versus Wade decision was handed down, the day in 2014 on which we gather for the 41st Annual March for Life, is the day on which, for many centuries now, the Orthodox Church has commemorated the Holy Apostle Timothy, the young disciple of St Paul who bore witness to Christ and His life even unto his own martyric death.
And so, in his honor, I would like to draw on the words of the Holy Apostle Paul to his disciple Timothy as we give thanks to Almighty God for this meal, for this day, and for our fellowship with one another.
O Lord, our God, help us to heed the words of Saint Paul, who exhorts us first of all to make supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence [1 Timothy 2:1-2]. We pray that our civil authorities will remember that God our Savior… desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth [1 Timothy 2:4].
O Lord, our God, we honor the humble example of the bishops, priests and pastors, who have chosen a good work and have offered themselves as examples of blamelessness, temperance, sobermindedness, hospitality and teaching to their flocks [1 Timothy 3:2], calling them to hold fast to the sanctity of life and to be mindful that the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith [1 Timothy 1:5].
O Lord, our God, we rejoice in the large numbers of young men and women who are here with us today, and we encourage them to not despise their youth, but to be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. [May they] give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. [May they] not neglect the gift that is in [them]... may they meditate on these things; giving [themselves] entirely to them, that [their] progress may be evident to all; [knowing that] in doing this [they] will save both [themselves] and those who hear [them] [1 Timothy 4:12-16].
O Lord, our God, may each of us gathered here not be afraid to proclaim the faithful saying, [that is] worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief [1 Timothy 1:15]. May the men among us remember to pray everywhere, without wrath and without doubting [1 Timothy 2:8]. May the women, both those among us today and those who have struggled with, or will struggle with, the decision to keep or terminate the life within them, remember to adorn themselves with good works and to continue in faith, love, holiness and self-control, so that they might be saved through childbearing [1 Timothy 2:15].
O Lord, our God, let us not forget the millions of lives that have been lost through the tragedy of abortion. We remember them in our hearts and in our prayers. Help us to not be overwhelmed by this tragedy, but to be encouraged by the promise of the resurrection and eternal life. Let us be inspired by the following prayer of another saint, one who lived not in the first century, like Saint Timothy, but in our own time, the saintly Bishop Nikolai (Velimirovich) from Serbia, who suffered in Auschwitz, survived to preach the Gospel of life in America and now comforts us with these fiery words:
My Lord is the One who resurrects. He resurrects the dead from morning until dusk, and from dusk until dawn.
What the morning buries, the Lord brings to life in the evening; and what the evening buries, the Lord brings to life in the morning.
What work is more fitting for the living God than to resurrect the dead into life?
Let others believe in the God who brings men to trial and judges them.
I shall cling to the God who resurrects the dead.
Let others believe in the God who does not even draw near to the living when they call upon him.
I shall worship the God Who holds His cupped ear even at the cemeteries and listens, to hear whether anyone is crying out for resurrection or for the One Who resurrects….
The Lord has neither tears nor smiles for the dead. His whole heart belongs to the living.
The world mourns for their kindred in the cemeteries, the Lord seeks His own with a song and awakens them.
Resurrect my soul, O Lord, so that my body might also be resurrected. Dwell in my soul, and my body will become Your temple….
Lord, You are the One who resurrects, and you are the resurrection, for you are life.
[Prayer XCII (92), Prayers by the Lake (pp. 181-182), Free Serbian Orthodox Diocese of the United States and Canada, ND.]
O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, for the sake of the prayers of Thy most pure Mother, the Holy Apostles Paul and Timothy, of Saint Nikolai and all the saints, have mercy on us, bless our meal and our fellowship, and save our souls, O Good One, both now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
View St. Tikhon’s Seminary photo gallery of the March for Life below: