Greetings from Metropolitan Silouan


His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan writes on May 12:

Very Esteemed Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy,

Honorable Members of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees, and

Beloved Faithful of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America 

Christ is risen!

I wholeheartedly greet you in this paschal season, accompanied by the “fresh air” of the Spirit that stems from our daily reading of the Acts of the Apostles where the witness of the first apostles and their “fresh air” reaches us, the apostles to this modern time.

After celebrating Holy Week and Holy Pascha with your brothers and sisters in Argentina, I returned to North America in order to start the second period of pastoral visits across this Archdiocese. From April 22 to 29, I visited Wichita, KS, Houston, TX, Miami, FL, Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA, and from May 2 to 4, I visited Washington, DC, Baltimore and Potomac, MD.  Then from May 8 to 11, I visited Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.

In all these visits, the hierarch of each diocese accompanied me. The program usually consisted of celebrating vespers in the evening or Divine Liturgy in the morning, meeting with the clergy of the deanery, and a parish council meeting, along with lunch or dinner with the parishioners in the church hall. In some places, I was able to meet with members of Teen SOYO, the Fellowship of Saint John the Divine, and the Antiochian Women.

Indeed, it is very inspiring to me to witness the work of the hierarchs, clergy and faithful. Together we shared the Word of God from the daily readings of the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel of Saint John. A fruitful discussion usually followed the bible study, mainly at the clergy meetings, with emphasis upon the reality of their priesthood and ministry. We also shared, in various events and activities, a fresh look at this transitional period in the life of the Archdiocese and the preparations for the Special Convention on June 5. Peace, love, joy and openness prevailed at all the receptions and celebrations. The dialogue among us was fruitful. We were more receptive of the “Spirit” of our Church. It was an opportunity to think, behave, deliberate and decide “as a Church.”

I feel very blessed for having made these pastoral visits and I recognize their importance at such a crucial time. I may not be able to see the fruit they will ultimately bear, but the vice president of the parish council of our cathedral in Buenos Aires, recalling their experience in Argentina during the time prior to my election as Metropolitan, underlined the importance of the visitation, support, presence and guidance of a hierarch during such a transitional period. In fact, they lacked for such a hierarch at that time, as the Patriarch had appointed one of the local archpriests as Patriarchal Vicar.

I have noticed that everyone - hierarchs, clergy, and members of the parish councils - spared no effort in order to ensure the full benefit from these visits. I am indebted to all of you for your dedication and commitment in organizing, in a very short time, all the activities and celebrations that took place.

Based on all I have seen and experienced, I am at peace regarding our preparations for the forthcoming events. I hope and pray that you will reveal your unity in Christ, your apostolic roots, and your Antiochian heritage. I also pray for your Antiochian witness among and to the Orthodox on this continent, your vocation as a “bridge,” your mission in advocating the Antiochian witness of your brethren (who are fighting like you the good fight) and your gladness in serving our Lord. There is no better time for all of you to take into your hands the responsibility of acting as “a Church,” bear witness to your willingness to show who you are, be grateful for what you have received, partake of your gifts, be in communion with your brethren and minister to whom our Lord called you to serve. I have no greater wish that your witness during this period will be a sign to those who pray for your continued service and commitment to Christ’s Holy Church.

Finally, I am fully confident in your continued prayers for the best outcome of the forthcoming events by the leading of the Holy Spirit and according to our Lord´s will.

Silouan
Metropolitan of Buenos Aires and all Argentina & Patriarchal Vicar of New York and all North America

 

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