Simply put, our goal during this Pre-Nativity Fast is to mature in Christ, to attain to spiritual quality and excellence in our profession of the Orthodox Christian Faith, to invite Christ Jesus into our very being, to proclaim to an increasingly nominal and apathetic Christian society that, which it would rather not hear: “I bring you tidings of great joy…a Savior is born…He is Christ the Lord!” and He can be found in the hearts and homes of those who proclaim Him by their willingness to “let our light so shine before men, that they might see our good works and give glory to our Father Who is in Heaven” [Matthew 5:16].
JOHNSTOWN, PA — It is proper and just to sing to You, to bless You, to praise You, to thank You, to worship You in every place of Your kingdom, for You are God, ineffable, inconceivable, invisible, incomprehensible, ever existing yet ever the same, You and Your only-begotten Son and Your Holy Spirit. You brought us out of non-existence into being and, when we had fallen, You raised us up again, and left nothing undone to lead us to heaven and to bestow upon us Your future kingdom. For all this we give thanks to You and to Your only-begotten Son and Your Holy Spirit, for all that we know and do not know
JOHNSTOWN, PA [Diocesan Chancery] — With the Thanksgiving and Nativity Fast Season upon us, the Diocesan Chancery is pleased to provide you information regarding the Orthodox Christian Fellowship’s (“OCF”) Student Leadership Board’s 2017 Giving Tuesday Challenge. Giving Tuesday is November 28, 2017, which is less than a week away. As most of you know, OCF is our Orthodox Church’s campus ministry. You can visit OCF’s website at www.ocf.net to learn more about all of OCF’s programs and events.
Recently in 2017, I agreed to join OCF’s Board of Directors, the governing body of OCF. In addition to OCF’s Board of Directors, OCF has a Student Leadership Board. OCF’s student leaders comprise the Student Leadership Board and develop and plan leadership training, programs, regional and district retreats for our Orthodox college students. All across the United States and Canada, OCF, through its Student Leadership Board, hosts retreats for college students.
Protocol No. 186/17
November 23, 2017 – Thanksgiving Day
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,
On this day of Thanksgiving we are blessed as Orthodox Christians to offer gratitude to God, our Creator, who gives us life and has revealed His amazing and transforming love for us. He is the source and foundation of our thanksgiving, as we respond to His love and presence offering our praise and adoration. Our worship affirms the words of the Psalmist as we come into His presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise! (Psalm 95:2)
We offer to the world a witness of the true nature of thanksgiving. In the Holy Eucharist, identified by name as an act of thanksgiving, we show our gratitude through our faith in His grace and our obedience to His will. We approach and receive the most holy and sacred Body and Blood of Christ with contrite and gracious hearts, and we are filled with joy, hope, and assurance. The celebration of the Holy Eucharist in our communal worship reveals the transformative power of gratitude.
When we express our gratitude to God, when we offer Him thanksgiving and call upon His name, we show humanity the power of grace to turn despair into hope, to change fear into courage, to calm animosity with compassion, and heal what is broken. As we experience in the Holy Eucharist, our communion with God leads us to an awareness of the needs of others and how we might serve them as an expression of our gratitude to Him.
The Thanksgiving Day holiday is a unique time in this country for us to reflect on the role of thanksgiving in our faith and in our lives. It is a time to be thankful for the many blessings we have received as we are mindful of the One who blesses us with life and grace. It is a day to call all people to affirm the power of gratitude, a call we make consistently through our worship and service. It is a day to extend grace to more and more people so that thanksgiving may increase to the glory of God. (II Corinthians 4:15)
May the blessings of God’s grace be with you and your families as you gather on this day of Thanksgiving. May your hearts be filled with joy, and may this be a time of sharing and giving in gratitude so that lives will be transformed and many more will join us in proclaiming blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might to our God for ever and ever! (Revelation 7:12)
With paternal love in Christ,
Archbishop of America
As 2017 year of our Lord draws to a close, and the sacred Season of St. Philip’s (Pre-Nativity) Fast about to begin, we in the U.S. come again to a peculiar weekend. Our national day of Thanksgiving is perhaps the only remaining civic holiday with an overtly religious purpose: the entire nation is meant to pause and thank God for the blessings bestowed upon it. Of course, many will spend this day without any thought of God whatsoever; since they don’t think of God at other times, why should this day be any different? This is a day for the people of God to delight in, however. We are a Eucharistic people; thanksgiving is our way of life. We are never more truly ourselves than when we are conscious of our dependence upon God, and God’s loving providence at work in our lives.
On Sunday, November 19, 2017—the 24th Sunday after Pentecost—His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon presided at the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at Saint Nicholas Russian Orthodox Patriarchal Cathedral, New York, NY, marking the 100th Anniversary of the Election of Saint Tikhon to the Patriarchal throne and the 115th anniversary of the cathedral’s consecration. Concelebrating with Metropolitan Tikhon was His Grace, Bishop John of Naro-Fominsk, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the United States of America; Archpriest John Jillions, OCA Chancellor; Archdeacon Joseph Matusiak; and the cathedral clergy.
During the Liturgy, special prayers commemorating the election of Patriarch Tikhon were offered.
At the conclusion of the Liturgy, Bishop John welcomed Metropolitan Tikhon and thanked him for the opportunity to serve together in commemorating these momentous occasions in the life of Saint Nicholas Cathedral.
“It is a pleasure and honor for myself, and all the clergy and parishioners, to celebrate the Divine Liturgy with you on this day, marking the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the Council that elected Patriarch Tikhon, who was Archbishop here in the United States, who established missions and strove to bring together all the Orthodox who fled from other countries to find a new home in the new world, so that they would have an opportunity for consolation in the Church, and to partake in the Holy Eucharist,” said Bishop John. “Today we also celebrate the anniversary of the consecration of this cathedral. Finally, it is my pleasure and honor to greet you on the occasion of your fifth anniversary of Primatial ministry to the Orthodox Church in America. I greet you warmly, and wish you many years in your service to God, and to all the Orthodox people in the United States, and those seeking God and the Orthodox Faith, as I know you put a lot of effort into promoting missionary work here in the United States, Canada and Mexico.”
Bishop John presented Metropolitan Tikhon with a panagia in honor of his visit. In turn, Metropolitan Tikhon greeted Bishop John, the clergy and the faithful, underlining the importance of these anniversaries for all Orthodox Christians in America.
“It is a joy to be with you today, with the blessing of His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Council and of the election of Saint Tikhon,” Metropolitan Tikhon said in response. “It is especially significant that we are here together in this cathedral since Saint Nicholas Cathedral was blessed by Saint Tikhon, as well as Saint Alexander Hotovitsky, who labored here. So it is truly a blessing to be here in this cathedral that was so central to the life of the Orthodox Church here in North America, and connected so closely to Saint Tikhon, who labored here before his election as Patriarch, but then carried over to Moscow, and took upon himself, that difficult task of taking on the Patriarchal Throne during a very difficult time in the life of the Russian Church.
“Saint Tikhon gave an example of that martyric life that gives strength to all of our faithful, and we can trust that in part it was his ministry here in North America that perhaps strengthened and prepared him for that ministry in Russia,” Metropolitan Tikhon continued. “So as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of his enthronement, we give glory to God for his witness, for his connection to us here in North America, and especially here at Saint Nicholas Cathedral, and we pray that indeed, as we continue to celebrate this important anniversary, we will continue to pray to Saint Tikhon, to ask for his prayers for us, and to remember the central role that he had in this Church in North America.”
A festal dinner followed in the cathedral refectory, during which Metropolitan Tikhon and Bishop John discussed cooperative efforts between the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA and the Orthodox Church in America.
On Tuesday, November 21, the Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, His Grace Bishop John of Naro-Fominsk led the Divine Liturgy in St. Nicholas Cathedral in New York City for the feast of the Synaxis of Archangel Michael and the other Bodiless Powers.