To the Reverend Clergy and All Faithful of the Metropolis of San Francisco

Dearly Beloved in the Lord,

The annual Labor Day holiday honoring the hard-working men and women of our country will be observed this year on Monday September 3, while our new Ecclesiastical year will begin on September 1. Through these two observances we offer our prayerful thanks and supplications to God for all these hard-working citizens and their families, as we are reminded of our Savior’s saying in the Gospel of John: “My Father is working still and I am working” (John 5:17).

Let us for a moment concentrate on our national Labor Day observance and all hard-working wage earners, both skilled and unskilled workers. Through the writings of St. Paul, our Church calls us to honor the worker. In his Epistle to the Christians in Rome during a period of major social and moral problems stemming from social injustice and racial and ethnic discrimination, he states: “Glory, honor and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew and also to the Greek, for there is no partiality with God.” (Romans 2:10-11).

Glory, honor and peace to our own hard-working wage earners, and to those of other national and religious backgrounds. It is our sacred duty. If this were put into practice conscientiously as a sacred duty for our entire society, there would be no labor problems and no fear of exploitation and discrimination by anyone in power at the market place. If social justice, a Christian axiom and principle, prevailed with a guarantee of fair treatment and employment for all workers, there would be very few labor disputes.

Glory, honor, and peace to laborers throughout the world, and especially to our priests, teachers, parish council members, parents and everyone who toils in the Vineyard of our Lord. They work indeed what is good. And what is good is the unity and spiritual development of our children.

The Labor Day observance in our country coincides with the beginning of our new Ecclesiastical and academic year for our Orthodox parishes, institutions and schools. This is a cause for rejoicing because in this new year we anticipate that our children will grow in knowledge, in understanding and in their spiritual and moral outlook, and especially so through our own labor and efforts as responsible adults.

I am personally grateful to our parishes that have the courage, foresight and determination to support day schools. To all the parish councils and parent-teacher organizations that labor to maintain day and afternoon schools, may I express the sincere gratitude and appreciation of every communicant of our Church and Metropolis.

May Holy Scripture, and indeed, all the sacred writings and every form of literature that guides our youth into greater and deeper understanding of life through a well-grounded and properly directed program of education, all of which are sacred and dear to all, be our foremost concern if we wish to maintain and enhance our Orthodox Faith and Heritage.

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