On Saturday, March 19, 2016, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America issued a message marking the Sunday of Orthodoxy. The full text appears below.
SUNDAY OF ORTHODOXY 2016
Desert, rejoice, with the whole inhabited world; all you mountains, drop down sweetness; hills, be glad, for Christ, the Word, has given peace to those on earth, and to the godly Churches unity of faith.
—Synodikon of the Sunday of Orthodoxy, Ninth Ode
To the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of Parish Councils, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Members of Philanthropic Organizations, the Youth and Youth Workers, and the entire Orthodox Christian Family in the United States of America:
Beloved brothers and sisters,
As we celebrate the great feast of Sunday of Orthodoxy and mark the restoration of the holy icons in the Church, we join our own family and friends in our parishes not only to bear holy icons in our hands, but to also become living icons of Christ and, by God’s grace, to proclaim our common Orthodox faith in the world.
This year, a unique opportunity to make such a proclamation of unity will be offered to the world when the Holy and Great Synod of all autocephalous Orthodox Churches is convened on the Day of Pentecost on the island of Crete. After decades of planning, Hierarchs from every local autocephalous Church will meet in Council to discuss important matters related to both internal Church life and to Church-world engagement. Among other important issues, the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church will undertake the matter of the so-called “Orthodox Diaspora,” and, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, will usher in the next phase of our common experience as Orthodox Christians in the United States.
Certainly, the Holy and Great Council is a most important event for the Orthodox Church. More than this, however, it represents an important moment for the entire world because, through this manifestation of divine communion and fraternal unity, the entire world shall witness the salvation of God (Luke 3:6).
Together, the Hierarchs of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States wish to all of you an abundance of God’s grace. We fervently ask the Lord that He will help you remain steadfast in your commitment to the Orthodox faith and in your efforts to bring others together in the unity of the faith, the knowledge of the Gospel, and the communion of the Holy Spirit.
With warmest prayers and high esteem in the Lord, and on behalf of the Assembly,
+ Archbishop Demetrios of America