For I also am a man placed under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, 'Go!' and he goes, and to another, 'Come!' and he comes, and to my slave, 'Do this!' and he does it. When Jesus heard this he marveled at him, and turned and said to the multitude that followed him, "I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith." And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave well. — Luke 7:8-9

Beloved in the Lord,

The United States of America has designated November 11 as Veteran’s Day, a day to honor the Veterans of our great country. Many of our parishioners have served in the Armed Forces in our nation, but also in Greece.

From the example of the Centurion in the Gospel of Saint Luke, we see much of the same faith, characteristics and commitment in our veterans. The Centurion has compassion for his servant. He is humble and loves the people of the synagogue. According to our Lord, he also had great faith. Many of our most faithful parishioners are our veterans. They understand, as did the centurion, the importance placing their total trust in Christ. As was the case with many soldiers, they survived the rigors of war and conflict because of that very faith. Our veterans are to be honored and remembered because they served their nation and their fellow citizens. They gave a portion of their lives to defend the rights we so highly value, most especially freedom and faith.

Many of our veterans were called upon to serve their nation during times of war and conflict. They placed themselves in great danger to protect the freedoms we enjoy and some paid the ultimate price, they laid down their lives in service to their country. The sixth code of conduct of the United States military states: "I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America." Our veterans, both living and those who died in service to their country, embodied this ethic.

I encourage you to reach out to the veterans of our communities and thank them for their service. As Korean War veteran and Purple Heart recipient Howard William Osterkamp from Dent, Ohio said, "all gave some; some gave all."

Each time you attend the Divine Liturgy and hear the petition, "For our country, for the president, and for all in public service, let us pray to the Lord," let us truly take these words to heart for all those who have served and are currently risking their lives for our freedom. Thank you to our Veterans for your valiant service and for inspiring us to be patriots of our great nation!

With Love in Christ, 
+ G E R A S I M O S
Metropolitan of San Francisco