March 25, 2015
“…through her has come for the sick the Physician; for them that sit in darkness, the Sun of righteousness; for all that are tossed and tempest-beaten, the Anchor and the Port undisturbed by storm. For the servants who are in irreconcilable enmity has been born the Lord; and One has sojourned with us to be the bond of peace and the Redeemer of those led captive, and to be the peace for those involved in hostility. For He is our peace; and of that peace may it be granted that all of us may receive the enjoyment, by the grace and kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ; to whom be the glory, honor, and power, now and ever, and unto all the ages of the ages. Amen.”
-St. Gregory the Wonderworker
I greet you with love and joy in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, giving thanks and praise for all the abundant blessings in our lives, especially the great gift of our salvation.
Although it is Great Lent, we celebrate this day with special joy and thanksgiving. Because today, with the announcement of the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she would bear the Savior of mankind, is the beginning of our salvation. In Greek, we call this Feast Day ‘Evangelismos’, from the word ‘Evangelion’ meaning ‘Good News’. Thus this is the Feast Day of the Good News of our Savior, beginning with the Virgin Mary’s acceptance of God’s will, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38).
On this great day, we also celebrate Greek Independence Day, when Bishop Germanos of Patras raised the Greek flag and the Cross of Christ in an act of defiance against the Turks, marking the beginning of the War of Independence, and the end of nearly 400 years of Ottoman oppression. It is this legacy we honor as we celebrate Greek Independence Day, realizing the truth of the Greek proverb, “The passion for freedom never dies.” I thank God for this special occasion to pay tribute to the courage of our forefathers and to celebrate with our friends and neighbors the gift of freedom!
It is my hope that these thoughts will encourage your thinking and your participation in the means by which our Holy Orthodox Church assists us in our spiritual growth and renewal. Let us now resolve to celebrate the great Feast of the Annunciation, and Greek Independence Day by renewing our efforts to be His faithful disciples in the world.