Mission Sunday, the Sunday of Cheesefare
March 9, 2008
Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
proclaim the good news
of His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonder among all people.
To the Most Reverend Clergy, Venerable Monastics and
The Devout Faithful of the Holy Orthodox Churches in the Americas
Dearly Beloved in the Lord,
We greet all of you in the Name of our Lord Jesus Chris as we prepare to embark upon the Great and Holy Fast, which is our common sojourn to the glorious Pascha of the Lord. Every year, the Hierarchs of SCOBA designate the Sunday preceding Great Lent, this year March 9th, to be Mission Sunday. It is a day on which we reflect on the commandment of the Lord that enjoins us to go forth and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (St. Matthew 28:19). It is a day in which we, your spiritual fathers from Churches grounded in the old world where our Faith has flourished, encourage you, who are building up the Faith in the New World of North America, to take stock of how we are spreading the Holy Orthodox Faith throughout a world that so desperately needs the love and mercy of God. Mission Sunday is a day when we ask you to re-commit to proclaiming the Gospel of His salvation, to declaring His glory among the nations and His wonders among all people by answering the call to missions.
As the official international missions agency of SCOBA, and for over twenty years, the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) has been helping Orthodox Christians to answer the call to spread abroad the love of God that is in our hearts by the Holy Spirit throughout the world (cf. Romans 5:2). In third world countries, in post-Communist countries, OCMC has carried forth a holistic expression of sacramental worship and a living witness to the Orthodox Faith. OCMC's supporters, its missionaries and Mission Team members around the globe are catechizing the newly illumined, raising up churches, ministering to the poor, and bringing healthcare to the sick. Yet many have yet to hear the Gospel. There are nations who are waiting to hear good news of His salvation, His glory among the nations, His wonders among all people.
As Orthodox Christians, what can you do? First and foremost, we can and must pray for our brothers and sisters who are bringing the gift of Holy Baptism to those who are far off from the Gospel. Some of you may even consider becoming a witness to the faith as an OCMC missionary or as an Orthodox Mission Team member. All of us, great and small, can support the work of missions by making a gift to the Mission Center.
May this day of Mission awareness, and all the coming holy days of the Great Fast be filled with the fervor to seek the light of Christ in your own hearts, and to share the light of the Resurrection with our brothers and sisters around the world.
With paternal blessings and love in Christ,
+Archbishop DEMETRIOS, Chairman
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
+Metropolitan PHILIP, Vice Chairman
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
+Metropolitan CHRISTOPHER, Secretary
Serbian Orthodox Church in the USA and Canada
+Metropolitan NICHOLAS of Amissos, Treasurer
Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese in the USA
Orthodox Church in America
Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America & Canada
Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
+Bishop ILIA of Philomelion
Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America