March 2nd, 2022
Your Graces, Reverend Fathers, Honourable Presidents and Esteemed Members of the Boards of Directors, Honourable Archons, Members of the Philoptochos Societies, Sunday and Greek Schools, Youth Members of the Communities and all pious Christians.
Beloved in the Lord,
With great anticipation and deep pain in our soul we have been following the horrible events taking place in Ukraine. An unjust and unethical war was instigated and continues to wage on. At this time, we cannot predict how and when the fighting will end. But we all know how destructive war can be. It will surely impoverish many and create countless orphans. We cannot simply remain indifferent bystanders. If this was happening to us, what would we want others to do?
I know that you are tired of us asking you to financially support various causes. Only recently did we ask you twice to collect funds for the wildfires in Greece and related purposes. We are now asking you once again, for a third time, to collect funds for a special purpose. But I am certain we all understand the reasons why.
A special collection is to take place this Sunday, March 6, in all the churches. The priests are directed to read this encyclical and encourage our pious Christians to generously help and support our Ukrainian brothers and sisters who are suffering so much.
The collected funds should immediately be forwarded to our Archdiocese and they will in turn be sent to Ukraine as soon as possible.
We are beginning Great Lent. We are preparing to participate in the Passion of the God-Man Christ, and to celebrate His Glorious Resurrection. Together with Christ, our brethren in Ukraine are ascending to Calvary and the Cross. We need to become like Simon of Cyrene and to bear a little the burden of their cross. Let us all reflect on this. Let us put our hands on our heart and offer as much as we can.
In addition to financial help, please remember our suffering brethren in Ukraine in your daily prayers.
Whoever is merciful to the poor is actually giving to God and stands to receive a hundred times more, both in the present age and in the afterlife.
I am confident that you will help with your hearts and souls, and that you will be mindful of the unique set of virtues known in Greek as philotimo. I wish you all a spiritually beneficial Great Lent.
With fatherly love and blessings,
ARCHBISHOP SOTIRIOS GREEK ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE OF CANADA