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Orthodox Christian Archbishop Herman New Year's Message

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  • Rev Fr John Brian
    MEDIA RELEASE / ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA PO Box 675 Syosset, New York 11791-0675 Contact: The Very Rev. John Matusiak OCA Communications Director
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 31, 2005
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      PO Box 675 Syosset, New York 11791-0675

      Contact: The Very Rev. John Matusiak
      OCA Communications Director
      info@... or tocmed@...


      January 1, 2006

      Dearly Beloved in the Lord:

      The beginning of every new year finds many people making resolutions to
      improve their lives. Some people make a resolution to strengthen their
      financial or professional standing. Others resolve to lose weight or
      stop a bad habit. And there are many people who express the desire to
      improve their relationships with their families or coworkers, to help
      the needy, or to pursue some other lofty goal in life.

      While it is natural to make such resolutions at the beginning of a new
      year, it is also more often than not the case that, within a few weeks,
      such resolutions are broken or forgotten. Life returns to "normal," to
      the "status quo." During the subsequent months, little attention is
      paid to broken resolutions which, by the end of the year, have been
      thoroughly forgotten.

      The very heart of the Gospel may be summed up into a single word:
      repent! To be a follower of Christ means to resolve to change our
      minds, our hearts, and our lives, resolving to discern not our own wills
      and desires, but the Lord's.

      Resolving to live according to God's will and the example we have been
      given by Our Lord, Jesus Christ, is something that is not restricted to
      the beginning of a new year, but faces us every day of our lives as
      Orthodox Christians. We are continually challenged to embrace change by
      growing stronger in our faith, by participating more regularly in the
      life of the Church, and by reaching out to others with compassion and
      love. As we begin every new day, we pray that our repentance will bring
      us into a more intense relationship with God, with others, and even with
      ourselves, seeking to accomplish not our own wills, but the will of our
      Heavenly Father.

      The beginning of the new year offers us an opportunity to make a
      resolution that matters, that transcends the goals inherent in so many
      "new year's resolutions" and offers us a foretaste of the very Kingdom
      of God that, while yet to be fully revealed, is already fully present in
      the life of the Church. It affords us an opportunity to pursue a new
      beginning, to transform our commitment and words into conviction and
      action, and to put our spiritual households into order, not only during
      the coming year but for the remainder of our lives. Ultimately, making
      the resolution to repent is not something restricted to the beginning of
      a new year; rather, it is the challenge - the Gospel's challenge - to be
      renewed in body and soul every day of our lives, to change our focus and
      direction in our pursuit of holiness rather than our own trivial

      We are blessed by God with the beginning of a new year. In
      thanksgiving, let us make our resolution one of repentance and interior
      change, aimed at "the one thing needful" - pursuing our lives in
      accordance with the will of God and the example of our Savior. Let us
      "lay aside all earth cares" - and "resolutions" - replacing them with a
      firm commitment to seek renewal in the Lord. And let us resolve to
      remain vigilant in fulfilling this resolution, especially in times of
      temptation or distress - times when Our Lord is quick to hear our
      prayers for help, guidance, and direction. In so doing, we will
      discover that indeed the Lord is with us at every moment and in every
      circumstance, giving us the resolve to grow in and with Him now and in
      the days to come.

      With love in Christ,

      Archbishop of Washington and New York
      Metropolitan of All America and Canada

      The Orthodox Church in America, which traces its roots to the arrival of
      Orthodox missionaries in Alaska in 1794, has over 700 parishes and
      communities throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

      -- END --
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