Independence Day and the Value of Freedom

Encyclical of Archbishop Demetrios for Independence Day - July 4, 2015

Protocol No. 122/15

July 4, 2015

Independence Day

To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The annual celebration of Independence Day in this country is an opportunity for all to reflect on the value of freedom, its role in the history of the United States of America, and the opportunities it provides for relationships, life, and well-being.  The value and priority of freedom is evident in the history of this country, both through the struggles to achieve it for all persons as well as in the great accomplishments and progress that have been made in terms of the freedom to think, speak, move, invent, and succeed.

As Greek Americans and Orthodox Christians we celebrate this freedom.  We recognize the blessings that freedom has provided to our families and ourselves as we live, work, and worship in this country.  We also recognize the value of freedom in emphasizing our heritage and identity.  We are free to share this cherished heritage in an environment that values freedom of expression and the open sharing of ideas and diversity.

We have much to offer from our historic heritage.  As members of this society and as Orthodox Christians we know we are truly free when our pursuits and goals are not for ourselves but for the benefit and spiritual well-being of others and for the honor and glory of God.  Our freedom to speak is an opportunity to proclaim the Gospel.  Our freedom to live securely is freedom to keep our ultimate trust in God.  Our freedom to achieve is the opportunity for spiritual growth in communion with God and to guide others to do the same.  Our freedom to believe is our opportunity to be a constant and beautiful witness through our worship in truth and love.

As we join with family, communities, and as a nation in the observance of Independence Day and the celebration of freedom, may we affirm our commitment to sharing the true freedom we have thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ, and may we lead others to see the abundant life and tremendous blessings that this freedom offers to all people.  I pray that the Liberator God and God of freedom be with you always.

With paternal love in Him,


Archbishop of America

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