Archpastoral Letter For The Nativity Fast 2023

A Message From Metropolitan Gregory

Protocol No. 9/2023

Glory to Jesus Christ!

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

Glory to Jesus Christ!

It is hard to believe that this month marks the eleventh anniversary of my Consecration and Enthronement as your Hierarch. It has been a very strange couple of years with the arrival of the Coronavirus early in 2020. The pandemic turned our lives upside down in all aspects: physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, social, and financial. Anxiety and despondency soared dramatically. Many of our Clergy and Laity were exposed and sickened.  Unfortunately, we also lost many wonderful people of our Diocese and beyond. May their memories be eternal!

Today we see our world spinning out of control. Violence, poverty, hatred, drug overdoses, homelessness, theft and senseless killings are all increasing. We are at the brink of a World War with conflicts in Ukraine, the Holy Lands in the Middle East and other places around the planet raging. From the very beginning as God fearing people we have been praying for the Lord's help. In all of our Divine Liturgies additional petitions and prayers have been offered. And yet the struggle continues around the world. I believe we must intensify our prayers. If we are feeling like we are sinking because we are overwhelmed in our home life, work life, school life or even our social life (including social media and technology) we must be like Peter. He was walking on the water towards Jesus and when he became distracted by the winds and waves, he began to sink. Peter cried out, "Lord, save me!" (Matthew 14:30) and Jesus Christ reached down and pulled him out of the stormy sea. We too are sinking and need to cry out "Lord, save me!"

As we once again enter the Season of the Nativity Fast, I ask you, actually I plead with you, the good faithful people of our Diocese, to join me on a journey to meet the new born King. During these 40 days leading to the Nativity of our Lord let us increase our efforts in church attendance, in prayer, in fasting, in scriptural reading, in almsgiving, in repentance and confession, in receiving the Eucharist. This is who we should be as active Orthodox Christians.

In the last eight years, I have challenged everyone, Clergy and Laity, to offer a special prayer for peace during evening prayers.  The text of this prayer will be provided by the Clergy for distribution. Each household should have sufficient copies so that each young person that can read has one by their bed to use nightly and those who are too young to read may say the prayer with their parents before they go to bed. Of course, all the adults should also participate.

To assist with this challenge, a special web page has been created on the Diocesan Website, which contains downloadable texts of the special prayer. Other postings will be made on various social media outlets to encourage maximum exposure and participation.

With all of us united in prayer this Nativity Fasting Season, I am convinced that we will help to improve our lives and those of others throughout the world.

Working in His Vineyard with much love,

+Metropolitan Gregory of Nyssa 

Download Archpastoral Letter for the Nativity Fast 2023 (PDF Format)