Metropolitan Methodios' Encyclical for the new Ecclesiastical Year
To the Rev. Clergy, Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils, Philoptochos Societies, Catechetical and Greek Schools, Youth Organizations and all the faithful in the Metropolis of Boston
As we embark upon the new ecclesiastical year, I pray that we be blessed daily with the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. May it be a year of spiritual growth and maturity for the clergy and laity of our beloved Metropolis. May this year be especially dedicated to relieve the suffering of our fellow human beings throughout the United States and the entire world.
Who among us can be unconcerned with the plight of millions of brethren in Haiti, Chile, Pakistan and China victimized by various catastrophes? And, who can be indifferent to our fellow Americans in New Orleans, still homeless five years following hurricane Katrina?
Yes, there is much suffering around us. Recently, administrators from the well known Pine Street Inn came to my office to thank the Metropolis Philoptochos Board for their outreach to the hungry and homeless in the Greater Boston area. I learned from the Program Director that the Pine Street Inn prepares meals for over 1500 men, women, and children every day. If we multiply this number with the many other similar philanthropic institutions in Boston alone, we may begin to fathom the plight of the needy in New England and throughout America.
The financial crisis our nation and the entire world is facing since 2008 has affected thousands---if not millions---who are suffering, having lost their savings, their jobs and their homes. These are not merely statistics. They are our neighbors, our brothers and sisters in the household of God. I remind you of the Parables of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10, 25-37) and the Last Judgment (Matthew 25, 31-46) in order to strongly encourage you to embrace “the least of our brethren” who need us. Sadly, there are many in our midst like the beggar Lazaros (Luke 16, 20) “full of sores who lay at the gate” of us Christians “desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fall from our table”. Sadly, they are often ignored.
It is not enough to remember the hungry and homeless only on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but every day of the year. I commend those Parishes, Philoptochos Chapters and individuals that generously contribute to disaster relief efforts and support programs which benefit soup kitchens and shelters throughout New England. I am particularly thankful to our Catechetical and Greek School children as well as our GOYAns and Young Adults for being especially cognizant of and responsive to needy brethren in our cities and towns. Emulating their sterling example, and in conjunction with the Clergy-Laity Congress theme, “Gather my People to my Home, Come and See”, I urge all Parishes in the Metropolis of Boston to dedicate this ecclesiastical year to reach out and minister to brethren in the community at large who are suffering, especially the hungry and homeless. Let us identify Christ the Savior in the persons of those who suffer, calling to mind His assurance, “inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of my brethren, you did it to me” (Matt. 25, 40).
Let us call to mind the admonition of Saint James, “What does it profit my brethren if someone says he has faith but does not have works?” (James 2, 14). “Faith by itself, if it does not have works is dead” (James 2, 17). Let us thank Almighty God for providing us with “every heavenly gift that is from above”, and let us share the love of our benevolent and merciful Lord with our fellow human beings.
With Episcopal love,
M E T H O D I O S
Metropolitan of Boston