“Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”
James 3:18

✠Dionysios the Orator

Beloved in the Lord,

It was on July 20, 1974 that the people of northern Cyprus suffered greatly during the invasion of the Turkish forces. Since that day, their lives have been forever changed. The destruction, persecution, loss of homes, jobs and lives are constant reminders of those very dark days which still persist 45 years later.

While we enjoy many freedoms in this country, many other parts of the world are suffering under oppression. We must never take for granted the liberty that we enjoy, and subsequently we must always remember in prayer those whose rights have been taken away and continue to be persecuted.

Many people look at today’s world and see the turmoil caused by political unrest, religious fanaticism and economic upheaval. In his Epistle to the Galatians St. Paul reminds us that we are to “Stand fast…in the liberty by which Christ has made us free.” As Orthodox Christians, we must look beyond the chaos in the world and focus our lives on Christ Who “has made us free.” True freedom and liberty, however, cannot be enjoyed by just few individuals or even by one nation. For us to truly experience Christ’s gift of being free we must be concerned about everyone’s freedom.

Let us remember our brothers and sisters in northern Cyprus who are still suffering and struggling for freedom by lifting them up in prayer, seeking peace for their homeland through the Lord’s wisdom and mercy. As you gather on Sunday, July 21, 2019 I ask that each parish in our Metropolis offer a Memorial Service in remembrance of all those who lost their lives during the Turkish Invasion of Cyprus. We must continue to honor them with our prayers as well as with our ongoing commitment for the restoration of the freedom which they so deserve.

With Love in Christ,
+ G E R A S I M O S

Metropolitan of San Francisco