The Reverend Priests, Monastic Communities, Parish Councils, Philoptochos Societies, Choirs, Youth Organizations and the Entire Orthodox Family of the Holy Metropolis of San Francisco,

Let Creation rejoice! Let nature exult! — Doxastikon of the Annunciation of the Theotokos

Dearly Beloved,

With those two brief refrains expressing excitement, the hymnographer greets the Annunciation of the Theotokos. He does so to stress the fact that the Son of God became man in order to save the entire creation and the natural world.

The fall of man precipitated the fall of creation and all nature. “By the sweat of your brows you shall eat your bread,” the Creator said to Adam, after he had transgressed and disobeyed Him. Not even creation would thereafter offer him a happy life, a life free from pain as he was originally promised.

Truly, the Annunciation comes forth in the face of this fallen condition and presents itself as the crown of our salvation and the renewal of man and his world. All creation was part of the Divine plan, “behold I bring you tidings of great joy” is the greeting which speaks of the beginning of a new life and a new creation, the renewal of nature and a new world, chief of which is the new man. “Whoever is in Christ is a new creation,” writes St. Paul to the Christian believers of his time. As man was in the beginning after the fall without discerning that which is honorable, so today we witness man continuing his fallen ways. Crime is constantly increasing day by day in all expressions of creation. Never before has man been so uncaring, unclean, and distorted as today’s man. And he has taken his condition into the natural world making it a world that is distorted and filled with all kinds of pollution.

Our Church however, never loses hope. She always hopes in the renewal and rebirth of man, including all of creation in which he lives. This is why the Church comes to us today, the day of Annunciation, to inspire us with new joyful tidings, singing out, “Rejoice from day to day with the joyful tidings of the salvation of our God.” The new day and hope always exist. A new effort is put forth so that we may escape evil and corruption.

All who believe in Christ accept this annunciation of the new life. They believe that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews: 11:1)

This reality exists also in another annunciation. This is the annunciation of the rebirth of a faithful nation which existed under captivity for over 400 years. It was faith also, that great power which saves and gives new birth to man, which stood up bravely for the beginning of the salvation of this pious nation. This was the faith which from the hands of so many heroes was passed onto the hands of the patriots of 1821 with the exhortation to struggle “for the holy faith of Christ and for the freedom of the nation.”

The legacy which these patriots left us is the command to become like them, fighters for freedom - the freedom of man from evil. It is the time for intense prayer. The hours and the days before us must be a time of prayer that the salvational act of God in the event of the Annunciation and the heroic defense of the faith by the heroes of 1821, will inspire us to be true believers in the power of the Almighty.

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