To the Reverend Clergy, Esteemed Members of Parish Councils, Ladies Philoptochos Society Chapters, Teachers and Students of the Parochial Schools, Youth and Faithful Stewards of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco,

Dearly Beloved,

The beginning of the new Ecclesiastical Year coincides this year with the Labor Day holiday. We all observe Labor Day as a celebration of the last days of our summer activities. Today let us celebrate the first day of the new Ecclesiastical Year, adopting as our motto the following quotation from the Gospel according to St. John: “But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God.” (John 3:21).  It would be beneficial if we applied the words in this motto, “wrought in God” as part of our daily work and all of our daily activities. By applying these words throughout the new Ecclesiastical year, this would mean that everything we do would be in accordance with the Will of God.  Doing what is in accordance with the Will of God means laboring and carrying on all of our activities with “brotherly love toward one another” as St. Paul records in his Epistle to the Romans (Romans 13:10).

The world would be noticeably different if our labor, indeed all of our tasks and activities, were inspired by our love and concern for others. In contrast to those who gauge everything on the basis of personal gain and advantage, the Christian believes that his obligation is to do the works of the One Who brought him into the world. This is so aptly described by St. Luke the Evangelist, with thoughts borrowed from the book of Isaiah the Prophet. The first is a notion of love and care for the poor and needy. The second is comfort and care for the sick. The third is liberation of all those imprisoned and persecuted for the sake of justice in the world.

Let us all begin the new Ecclesiastical year with these thoughts in mind - as individuals, families, parishes, schools, and organizations. If we follow the dictates of our conscience, the prevailing atmosphere in our homes, our churches, schools, youth organizations and all of the organizations in the Greek Orthodox Community would be clear, serene, imbued with the warmth of the Grace of God.

With heart-filled prayers and hope for a productive year filled with God’s blessings, I urge you to do all you can for yourselves and for your parish, schools, and organizations to make this the kind of year we really want and await in prayerful anticipation. Let us strive in this fashion to enable our Community to move forward steadfastly and progressively toward the fulfillment of its sacred task and mission, and to offer its services and render assistance with a Christian awareness of all that is good and well-pleasing in the sight of God.

Labor Day calls us to a new year of labor and toil. Let us respond with vigor and in a meaningful manner so that it may be a beneficial year for us all. Our Mother Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which is constantly laboring under difficult conditions, is also calling us to offer our labor, support and love in the same spirit, imbued with God’s light and blessed with the love of Christ. In this way, it would indeed be possible to say that our deeds - all of our works - “have been wrought in God.”

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