Encyclical of Archbishop Demetrios for AHEPA Sunday – May 20, 2012

May 14, 2012
Protocol 55/12
May 20, 2012
AHEPA Sunday

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! Χριστός Ἀνέστη!

As this Paschal season comes to a close and we anticipate the celebration of the Holy Ascension of our Lord, we reflect upon the power of His Resurrection and of the truth of the Gospel in the sacred work we are called to do. Before Christ ascended into the heavens He said to His disciples, “You shall be my witnesses…to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). He also said, “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). It is obvious that we have been chosen and appointed by God to offer a witness of faith and service of love throughout the world.

On AHEPA Sunday we recognize and honor the members of our Greek Orthodox community in the United States who continue to offer this witness and service through their support for the work of the Church and through numerous philanthropic, educational and civic programs. For ninety years, the members of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association and the organizations of the AHEPA family have created a legacy of service in their local parishes, in the ministries and organizations of our Holy Archdiocese, and on behalf of global issues that impact the witness and work of the Orthodox Church.
Ahepan leadership has also continued to pay attention to the challenging issues facing our Ecumenical Patriarchate. Its efforts combined with many other programs that serve the needs of people in the United States, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey and around the world offer a witness of the power of faith and love as revealed in the Gospel and in the highest ideals of our Hellenic heritage.

To the members of the AHEPA family, we extend our appreciation for their faithful service, and we offer our support and prayers. We also observe AHEPA Sunday by recognizing the history and contributions of this vital organization. May God bless and guide the members of AHEPA as they continue their noble legacy of Orthodoxy and Hellenism.

With paternal love in Christ,
Archbishop of America