H. E. Metropolitan Nicolae Romanian Orthodox Metropolia of the Americas & Liaison Bishop to IOCC from the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops
As we begin our journey once more to Pascha, the celebration of our Lord Jesus Christ’s trampling down death by death,
I invite you to enter this holy season with reflection. We are called during this time to devote additional effort to prayer, fasting, and almsgiving - thus, we mark Great Lent as a season apart. Let us carefully examine our thoughts, words, and deeds, seeking to make them reflections of God’s mercy, so generously bestowed on us.
These pages offer considerations written by IOCC board members, past and current. They offer thoughts on the service we each offer to Christ through IOCC, directly and indirectly, as we care for the physical and emotional needs of people who have survived disasters or who face adversity every day. Those who have seen their lives disturbed, whether by floods or hurricanes or conflict or poverty, are those whom Christ calls His Church to lovingly serve. And when we do, we offer hope for renewed life, despite hardship.
As we journey through Great Lent in the hope of Resurrection, let us look to this call to service, and consider ways that service might be alms. Let us keep always before us the example of Christ, the One who washed His disciples’ feet, that we may humbly serve wherever we are able.
The Sunday of Orthodoxy
FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT
Very Rev. Leonid Kishkovsky Director of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations, Orthodox Church in America
He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” - John 1:43
Christ’s call to those who seek salvation is straightforward: Follow Me. And the remarkable thing is that so many did: they chose to leave what they knew and accompany a charismatic stranger along a path they could not imagine. They believed Him, and they acted on that conviction by following Him. Follow Me. I think it is worthwhile, as we begin the journey of Great and Holy Lent, to hear these words with fresh ears.
To follow Christ - and holy Scripture makes this clear - is to serve our neighbor. Christ, through Whom all things were made, became a human being and served others with deep compassion. He fed the hungry, He healed the sick, He washed His followers’ feet.
As we follow Christ toward the Cross this Lent, let us renew our commitment to serving wherever and whenever we can, in ways small or large, because this is our offering to Christ.
Most Holy Trinity, give me strength for the journey that lies ahead, and give me the heart of a servant, that I may humbly offer myself to You!