Beloved in the Lord,

I wish to share with you this letter which I received from His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America. He is presently at the Ecumenical Patriarchate, but even from afar he has been monitoring the dangerous fires throughout the state of California.

We are grateful to Archbishop Elpidophoros for his archpastoral care and love for our Metropolis, and for his fervent prayers before Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as well as the Theotokos, for our safekeeping and deliverance from danger.

With gratitude to His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros for his uplifting message and for his love and support during this difficult time, I remain,

With Love in Christ,
+ G E R A S I M O S
Metropolitan of San Francisco

August 25, 2020
via e-mail

The Recovery of the Holy Relics of the
Holy Apostle Bartholomew

His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos and
The Faithful of the Metropolis of San Francisco

Your Eminence, Beloved Brother in the Lord and
Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

I am writing to you from the Sacred Center of our Faith, the Phanar, where I have been keeping His All-Holiness and the entire Patriarchal Court abreast of the horrendous fires sweeping through California. In the midst of the pandemic, we have yet one more disaster to overcome. I want you all to know that the prayers of all the faithful here and across the Archdiocese are being lifted up to the Throne of God on your behalf, that you may be kept safe and sound from the devastation that surrounds you.

The sheer number and size of the blazes across the state, which now exceed the size of the State of Delaware, are cause for great anxiety and concern. This is why now, in the moments when we are feeling most afraid and vulnerable, we implore Almighty God and His Holy Mother on behalf of you all, and on behalf of the brave firefighters who are risking their very lives to protect their fellow citizens. Indeed, I write to you on a most auspicious day, when we celebrate the Recovery of the Holy Relics of the Apostle Bartholomew, the heavenly patron of our Ecumenical Patriarch. Those Relics survived the storms of the sea to arrive safely upon the shores of the Island of Lipari, traveling an incredibly great distance.

We pray for your strength and resilience during these difficult days, and that through the intercessions of Saint Bartholomew, the Apostle, the waters that bore his earthly remains to the safe harbor of veneration may be assumed into the skies over California, and rained down upon you to cool the flames and bring healing to the land.

With many prayers and love in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Archbishop of America