March 9, 2012
Archiepiscopal Encyclical for the Greek Independence Day Parade
Greek Independence Day Parade
To the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in the tri-state area
It is with great joy and anticipation for our commemoration of Greek Independence Day that I invite you to participate in our annual parade on Fifth Avenue in New York City, which will be held this year on Sunday, March 25. This year we have the blessed opportunity of combining our celebration of the Feast of the Annunciation with our parade, offering a witness of the historical connection between these two observances and the significance of the relationship of our heritage and faith as Greek Orthodox Christians.
On this day we will affirm that our first priority is our worship of God and our offering of gratitude and praise for His great work of salvation through Christ. We will celebrate how Christ has honored and sanctified our humanity by becoming incarnate, and we will venerate the Theotokos for her commitment to God’s will. We will also be inspired by our understanding of freedom as revealed to us by God, and we will honor those who sacrificed even unto death so that we might have this beautiful heritage of liberty and faith. We will commemorate the struggles for independence of our ancestors and of all peoples, affirming that freedom is an essential spiritual and physical condition for justice, peace, human dignity, and life.
In recognition of the significance of this day, the day of the Annunciation and the fight of 1821 for the Independence of Greece, and of our witness through our Greek Independence Day parade, I encourage you to begin planning for the full participation of your community, youth and organizations. We will begin this day in worship and praise of God for the revelation of our salvation in Christ, for the independence won by our blessed fathers and mothers, and for the heritage of freedom we have as Hellenes and Americans. And we will continue and complete our celebration of March 25 with our enthusiastic presence in the parade on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York. Let us make a strong declaration of the priceless value of Orthodoxy and Hellenism for the contemporary world.
With paternal love in Christ,
† D E M E T R I O S
Archbishop of America
Note: To be read in Church (tri-state area) on Sunday of St. Gregory Palamas, March 11 or on Sunday of the Holy Cross, March 18, 2012.