May 18, 2008
Encyclical of Archbishop Demetrios of America for AHEPA Sunday
May 18, 2008
To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, 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 America
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Christ is Risen!
It is in the joy of the Risen Lord and the light of His glorious Resurrection that I greet you for our annual observance of AHEPA Sunday and the recognition of the good work and efforts of the members of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association. This prominent organization has promoted education, civic responsibility and philanthropy since its founding in 1922, and it is fitting that we show our honor and support for the AHEPA on this day in our liturgical calendar, the Sunday of the Paralytic.
In the reading of the Holy Gospel of this Sunday, we hear the story of a man who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When our Lord saw him, He had compassion upon him and immediately responded to his infirmity, offering him healing and salvation. It is in this spirit of compassion for the needs of others and of respect for life and wellbeing that AHEPA continues its work in so many critical areas. From scholarships and awards for excellence, to the promotion of Hellenic ideals in modern society, to raising funds and implementing programs for disaster relief, preservation projects, and medical needs, the members and organizations of the AHEPA Family are committed to the example of Christ and His divine mandate, "you shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 19:19), and apply it in practical ways.
Therefore, in recognition of the work of the AHEPA, we designate Sunday, May 18, 2008, as this year’s AHEPA Sunday. I kindly ask that you offer your prayers and your support for the local chapters of the AHEPA in your communities, and for the national organization. Together may we emulate our Risen Lord and His ministry to those in need, and may our love for God and for one another bring salvation and life to all.
With paternal love in the Risen Christ,
Archbishop of America