To the Venerable Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, Monastics and Faithful
of the Orthodox Church in America
June 7, 2009
Dearly Beloved in Christ:
I recently returned from a visit to the Church of Russia, during which I was blessed to visit once again the Valaam Monastery. One of the great holy places of the Russian Church, this monastery holds a significant place in the spiritual legacy of Orthodox Christianity in America.
In 1794, a group of monks from the Valaam Monastery arrived on Kodiak Island, Alaska, to bring the Orthodox Christian Faith to a people eager to receive the Good News of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Because of the exemplary lives and efforts of those first missionaries, Orthodox Christianity was firmly planted on the North American continent, where it remains firmly rooted and continues to proclaim the fullness of truth.
Although the world has changed dramatically since Saint Herman and his companions first arrived in Alaska, the mission we have inherited from them has not. Following their example, we also are called to bring the fullness of truth found in the Orthodox Christian Church to the people of North America, to any and all who would receive it.
One of the many ways you can take part in this mission is by providing financial assistance through your support of the Orthodox Church in America’s Church Planting Grant Appeal — formerly known as the “Mission Appeal.” Your designated gifts will be shared with qualifying OCA missions, enabling them to grow and prosper by providing a portion of their rectors’ full-time salaries.
This year, Sunday, June 7, the Great Feast of Pentecost, has been designated “Church Planting Grant Appeal Sunday.” The mission entrusted to the apostles on that first Pentecost — the proclamation of the Gospel in its fullness — has also been entrusted unto us. Your generous gifts will enable our mission communities to continue the work of the apostles, as well as the first North American missionaries, in our time. Focusing solely on Christ, may we bring about a new, yet equally Spirit-filled Pentecost, through our efforts to proclaim the Good News in its glorious fullness!
With God’s Blessings,
Archbishop of Washington and New York
Metropolitan of All America and Canada