Brothers and sisters in the Lord,

It was in 1621 that the first religious gathering for Thanksgiving took place. And now, over 400 years later, the traditions of this holiday still hold strong and have expanded to provide an opportunity for families to come together, to break bread, to convey gratitude, and to “give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalm 107:1-2)

Thanksgiving has a unique significance in the Greek Orthodox tradition. While this is not a religious holiday, the spirit of thanksgiving is prevalent in our Orthodox faith as a time for reflection, gratitude, and a renewed awareness of God’s abundant blessings.

One of the central themes in the Greek Orthodox faith is Ευχαριστία – Thanksgiving. The Divine Liturgy is a profound act of thanksgiving, where faithful come together to offer gratitude to God for His redeeming love and the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. The Eucharist is the ultimate expression of this thanksgiving, as Orthodox Christians partake in the Body and Blood of Christ, giving thanks for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ upon the Cross.

Thanksgiving within the Greek Orthodox tradition also reminds us of the importance of gratitude in our daily lives. Gratitude is not just a fleeting emotion but a way of life. It is an attitude that acknowledges God’s providence and love in all circumstances, whether in times of joy or hardship.

We live in a broken world, surrounded by violence, war, religious persecution, and racial intolerance, as well as natural disasters that have destroyed God’s creation. We must be vigilant and pray to God for healing in our world, and for unity and peace to prevail.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, let us use this as an opportunity to give thanks for God’s many blessings—the gifts of life, health, family, friends, and the abundance of His creation. It is a time to offer heartfelt thanks for the spiritual guidance and support of our clergy and fellow parishioners, as well as for the opportunities to grow in faith and holiness.

Giving thanks goes beyond words; it is expressed in action. It is a call to love and serve our neighbors, to extend hospitality to strangers, and to show compassion to those in need. It is these acts of kindness and generosity that we embody the true spirit of thanksgiving and fulfill the teachings of Christ.

This Thanksgiving, let us remember that our faith calls us to be thankful, not only for what we have, but also for who we are becoming through our relationship with God. May our hearts overflow with gratitude, and may our lives be a living testimony of thanksgiving, reflecting the love and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

St. John Chrysostom writes, “Nothing is so agreeable to God as a grateful and thankful soul.” May the spirit of gratitude and God’s unwavering love fill your hearts on this day and always.

Wishing you and your loved ones a most blessed and Happy Thanksgiving! God bless you!