Archpastoral Letter For The Nativity Fast 2022

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

A Message From Metropolitan Gregory

Protocol No. 20/2022

Glory to Jesus Christ!

Dear Beloved Clergy and Laity of our God-Protected Diocese,

Glory to Jesus Christ!

We now embark on our annual journey to Bethlehem. The Church, as a wise and loving mother, knows that we need preparation in order to reap the spiritual fruits of celebrating Our Lord’s theophany—the “manifestation of God” in His Incarnation, Birth, and Baptism. Yet, while we often sing “let us lay aside all earthly cares” in the Cherubic Hymn of the Divine Liturgy, it seems that our earthly cares increase exponentially during these last two months of the year. To balance this, I urge you to not let this holy season of the Nativity Fast pass by unnoticed. During these next forty days, let us all increase our efforts in attending the divine services; in fasting to the best of our ability; in reading the Holy Scriptures; in charity and almsgiving; in repentance and the Sacrament of Holy Confession; in receiving the Holy Eucharist; and in heartfelt daily prayer.

To help in this last spiritual activity, I have reached out to you for the past seven years with the challenge of offering a special daily prayer during the Nativity Fast. So many people (including many from outside our Diocese) accepted the challenge. Every night, Our Savior looked down upon a variety of people at prayer: parents with their wiggly children; college students in their dorm rooms; elderly men and women in nursing homes; those traveling in their hotels—just to name a few. On Sundays, this special prayer was raised before the altars of our Diocesan churches. Clergy and laity, young and old, men and women were all united in prayer for peace in the days leading up to the birth of the Prince of Peace.

The recently canonized Saint Sophrony of Essex (+1993) once said, “We shall love other people when we pray for them.” This year, my challenge to you is to pray specifically for special intentions within our Diocese, parishes, families, and local communities. Our 2022 Nativity Fast Prayer Challenge is entitled “FORTY DAYS—FORTY PRAYERS.” Forty prayer intentions—one for each day—are included with the prayer. The text has been provided to the clergy for distribution. Please make sure that you have have sufficient copies so that each person in your home can pray along. A similar prayer will also be included in all Divine Liturgies offered during the Fast.

A special section has been created on the Diocesan website containing downloadable texts of the prayer and intentions. Remember: if you are unable to locate a printed copy, you can always find it online! Postings will be made on social media to encourage maximum exposure and participation.

I thank you for your participation in years past and thank you for taking up the challenge in 2022. May Almighty God bless this small effort and grant growth and vitality of our God-Protected Diocese, our parishes, family members and all the well being of those in need of God’s mercy and compassion.  

Working in His Vineyard with much love,