His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, met with chaplains of all faith traditions at Bolling Air Force Base on Friday, September 21, 2001.
Accompanied by the Very Rev. Ken James Stavrevsky, Chaplain Lieutenant Colonel, United States Air Force, Metropolitan Theodosius’ visit was hosted by Chaplain Brigadier General Charles C. Baldwin, Deputy Chief of the Chaplain Service.
After pausing for prayers for those who perished in the September 11 tragedies in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania, for their families and friends, and for those who survived the attacks, Metropolitan Theodosius shared with the chaplains his impressions as to how their ministry has changed in light of the events of that day.
“There are a lot of people who don’t fully understand or appreciate the work done by military chaplains, especially during these times of unprecedented tragedy,” Metropolitan Theodosius told the chaplains. “But the chaplains’ ministry is an extremely important one, as many are seeking comfort, answers, a way to look at the tragedies we’ve all experienced during these past days.”
Later that day, Metropolitan Theodosius joined His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America at Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Washington, DC, where the Archbishop celebrated a Service of Thanksgiving and a Memorial for those who perished in the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Standing on the cathedral’s solia with Metropolitan Theodosius were the Very Rev. Constantine White and Protodeacon Vsevolod Borzakovsky, both of the OCA’s Saint Nicholas Cathedral.
After the service, Archbishop Demetrios welcomed Metropolitan Theodosius to the cathedral and invited him to address the faithful. Metropolitan Theodosius spoke about his visit to the site of the World Trade Center tragedy two days earlier and about the importance of unity during these times of uncertainty.
“It is in times like these that we must come together, to be strong together, to show our unity with one another and with all the inhabitants of our land,” Metropolitan Theodosius said. “Now is the time to show that indeed we are a nation under God, united together with one another and with Him, as we face the days, weeks and months ahead.”
Among those in the congregation were a number of government and military personnel representing the US Navy, Army, Air Force, and Marines. The newly installed Ambassador of Greece to the US was also present.
A reception followed in the cathedral hall, during which Archbishop Demetrios led everyone in the singing of “God bless America.”