On Friday, January 24, 2020 following the Divine Liturgy for the feast of Saint Xenia of Petersburg, His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon addressed the bishops, clergy, and faithful who, having traveled from various locations throughout the Northeast, gathered in his Cathedral of Saint Nicholas, to worship and celebrate the Holy Eucharist together before participating in the annual March for Life. His Beatitude’s full comments appear below.
The Divine Liturgy was celebrated by His Grace Bishop Daniel of Santa Rosa, who is today celebrating his 5th anniversary of Ordination to the Holy Episcopacy. Also present at the Divine Liturgy were Archbishop Melchisedek of Pittsburgh, Archbishop Michael of New York, Archbishop David of Sitka, Bishop Paul of Chicago, Bishop Apostolos of Medeia, of the Greek Archdiocese of America, and Bishop Thomas of Charleston, of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America.
His Beatitude’s remarks at the end of Divine Liturgy
Friday, January 24, 2020
Prior to the March for Life
Esteemed Seminarians, Monastics, Faithful lay men and women,
I greet you in the Name of the Lord, in his Peace, after celebrating this liturgy together and coming to know in it the full Power, Wisdom, and Word of God. May our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has received our offering, being Himself what is offered, grant us the unity as Orthodox Christians this day, so that in the strength of our convictions, we are able to confess, in ways that are appropriate and effective, our faith in Him. May the powerful, the mighty, those who make decisions hear with all clarity the words of Solomon, “God did not make death, and He does not delight in the death of the living. For He created all things that they might exist (Wis Sol 1.13-14).”
These are the words we speak to the whole world as we march today, as we march for life! Let the patter of feet, the march of our steps, the movement of our bodies testify that we hold firm to the words of scripture about creation: when God beheld what He created, He saw that it was good! From the first day of creation until these very days, God beholds His creation in love. What He beheld to be good, He now redeems. From His throne on high, where He created all things, He remains fully engaged with His creation, looking “down from heaven to hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die (Ps 102.20),” because life is precious. Life is precious because it comes from above, from the Author of “every good gift, every perfect gift.”
And so, as we march on the woeful anniversary of Roe v. Wade, as we march to defend life, let us proclaim life with the Defender of life, our Lord Jesus Christ, let us proclaim life to a culture that has confused life with death, a society that has confused a staggering and incomprehensible number of abortions since this case was decided – over 50 million abortions – with notions of choice and quality of life. We love life, the life that He has given us, we seek to protect life, foster life, care for the living, because life, being alive, existing is good.
The path that we march on today, of course, extends far beyond the National Mall, far beyond Washington, DC, far beyond our nation’s capital. Indeed, our march does not end today. It is a path that we must tread every day of our life. Our deeds, and work, as well as our words must be committed to the proclamation of the gift of life, from conception to the end of life, from the newly born to the elderly. Only by bearing witness to what we believe, our faith in Jesus Christ, renewed in knowledge of him, and by his Grace, will change be effected in the world around us, and life will come to be known as it is: a great gift from God for us.
I give thanks to God for the community of believers who have gathered from afar this morning in my Cathedral. In the midst of so much of the fractured existence that we experience day by day, with political polemics, enmity between nations, difficulties even within the Church, it is by the Grace of God that we are able to come together in the unity of faith and oneness of purpose. We should not be misled, or consider this situation unremarkable. A great mystery has been revealed to us, and God himself has allowed us to participate in it: we have come together to worship our Heavenly Father, who has given us his Son, by his Holy Spirit. And now we leave here nourished, strengthened, and renewed for our common purpose: the proclamation of life. This mystery should not be ignored. The love and goodness that we insist undergirds our defense of life, the love and goodness that God has revealed to us in this liturgy we have just celebrated, this same love should burn within our hearts for each other, just as this same goodness needs to be the substance of our actions towards one another. Let the first steps on our march in defense of life be made showing the love that we have for the life of the other, beginning right now.
May God be with each of us today as we march!
May the Lord direct our steps!
May the Lord remember each of us in his heavenly kingdom!