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Metropolitan Tikhon’s 2013 Message for Sanctity of Life Sunday

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://oca.org/holy-synod/statements/his-beatitude-metropolitan-tikhon/sanctity-of-life-sunday-2013 Sanctity of Life Sunday 2013 Sanctity of Life January 27,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 18, 2013

      Sanctity of Life Sunday 2013

      Sanctity of Life

      January 27, 2013

      To the Hierarchs, Clergy, Monastics, and Faithful of the Orthodox Church
      in America

      Dearly Beloved in the Lord:

      As we make our way into the civil New Year, we continue to grieve over
      the tragic loss of the innocent lives at the Sandy Hook Elementary
      School. Those directly affected by this most recent act of violence, as
      well as those who have suffered through the many other examples of
      inhuman brutality during the past year, undoubtedly will require a long
      period during which they can find healing for their broken hearts and
      answers to their questions concerning the providence of God and the
      goodness of humanity.

      Our society is increasingly weary of the sting of death and human sin
      and wary of the proclamations of hope and life coming from religious
      circles. Young people, unconvinced by shallow theology and hypocritical
      sermonizing, are increasingly identifying themselves as unbelievers,
      atheists, questioners or simply confused. People of all ages are losing
      faith or becoming critical of it, in part because they do not seem to
      find a satisfactory Christian response to tragedies such as the Newtown
      and Aurora massacres.

      As Orthodox Christians, we too dwell under the shadow cast by every
      assault on the sanctity of human life, whether it be against the unborn,
      the infirm, the terminally ill, the condemned, or innocent school
      children. We, too, wrestle with the same questions with which society
      wrestles, since every one of us faces the same reality of death. But
      unlike those who have no hope, we know that, just when death seems to
      have gained the victory, life blossoms forth, as seen most clearly in
      Christ’s arising from the tomb on the third day.

      The same paschal confirmation of death being swallowed up by life is
      revealed in our most recent celebration of the feasts of the Nativity
      and Theophany of Christ. The months of December and January are the
      richest in commemorations of some of the most venerable saints of the
      Church: Prophets and Ancestors who pave the way for the birth of the
      Savior and Hierarchs, Confessors and Monastics who shine with the glory
      that was revealed at His baptism. But no less proclaimers of His glory
      and His life are the martyrs, including those little ones who suffered
      incomprehensibly—the Holy Innocents.

      We proclaim, as Orthodox Christians, that all life is a participation in
      and reflection of the One Who is Life Itself. And we do so, even in the
      midst of the insanity of this world, knowing that human passions and
      human sin may cause destruction in our communities. But Christ Himself,
      by His example of voluntary suffering, reminds us that we have our part
      to play in proclaiming life. If we are to transform the collective heart
      and mind of our society, we must begin by transforming our own hearts
      and minds.

      Heeding the Gospel, let us remain faithful to the vision of human life
      as a sacred gift, recommitting ourselves to defending the lives “of all
      mankind,” as we pray at every Divine Liturgy. And let us commit
      ourselves to bearing witness to the life of Christ in all we do, say and
      think, so that even in small ways, we might proclaim the glory of the
      Kingdom not yet fully revealed, but already fully present in our midst.

      Sincerely yours in Christ,
      Archbishop of Washington
      Metropolitan of All America and Canada
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