“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights…” — James 1:17

Dearly Beloved in the Lord,

Reflecting upon the dynamic parishes of our Metropolis, we offer our thanksgiving to God confessing that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down to us from the Father of lights.”

In this beloved country, November affords us the opportunity to once again celebrate the Thanksgiving Day holiday. We should always give thanks to our Creator, for He has set upon His inheritance as His sons and daughters to toil in His creation. But on this very special day as we give thanks to the Almighty God, and as we turn our attention toward the pilgrims who settled on the eastern shores of our country, we must also be in remembrance of the pioneers that established each and every parish in this Metropolis and throughout our beloved Archdiocese of America. It is difficult to imagine the hardships they encountered when they first came to this land. They labored strenuously to provide for their families. The pilgrims and the pioneers that came to this great land recognized that through God’s blessings and compassion, they would have the opportunity to achieve success. Their faithfulness and trust in God must be the guiding light for us today, as we offer prayers of thanks to God, the Giver and Sustainer of life.

Observing Thanksgiving Day is a time for families and friends to gather around the table and partake of God’s blessings in unity, love, and fellowship. Our lifestyle in America, busy as we are with our daily routine, is not usually conducive to the development of close family ties. Thanksgiving Day is an opportunity to set aside our hectic schedules and enjoy the love and companionship of relatives and friends. It is also time to reminisce about families that founded our parish churches. It is time to establish a vision of how each of us will carry on their legacy.

We should realize that Thanksgiving Day is a sacred holiday. Giving thanks to God for His blessings is a most fundamental part of our individual and corporate life of prayer in Christ. This is a day of giving thanks to God, our Father, and the giver of all good things. Let us therefore celebrate Thanksgiving Day in a warm, joyous family atmosphere. Put away the differences, no matter how small or great, and be thankful for the gift of life that we share as the children of God.

I encourage my beloved priests to celebrate the Divine Liturgy in commemoration of Thanksgiving. In this way we may take the initial steps in making Thanksgiving Day a truly holy day. To the faithful and pious Orthodox Christians, join your parish family by attending the Divine Liturgy and give thanks to God for all the blessings He bestows upon us.

Sincerely hoping and praying that you have a joyous Thanksgiving Day and that our Almighty God will bless your home, I remain,

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