Beloved in the Lord,

On November 1st, the Church commemorates Saints Cosmas and Damianos, the Anargyroi, the Holy Unmercenaries. These early saints of the Church were twin brothers and physicians who, as their title describes, treated the sick without accepting money as payment. They healed purely out of their love for God and humanity, observing the words of the Lord in the Gospel, “You received without paying, give without pay” (Matthew 10:8). In the icons of these saints, they hold medical instruments, usually with a cross at the end of them, reminding us that healing must be of soul and body.

Over the centuries, their lives have inspired many others who have also cared for the less fortunate. Even today, Saints Cosmas and Damianos, as the patron saints of the Ladies Philoptochos Society, continue to guide and motivate the life-changing work of the ministry of the Philoptochos whose mission is to “help the poor, the destitute, the hungry, the aged, the sick, the unemployed, the orphaned, the imprisoned, the widowed, those with disabilities and the victims of disasters.” They achieve their mission tirelessly, very effectively, and without seeking attention. Spending just a small amount of time with the members of Philoptochos, whether at a parish meeting, the Metropolis or the National levels will inspire you. Spending time when they are at work assisting those in need will inspire you even more!

The Metropolis of San Francisco Philoptochos is truly an army of dedicated women who emulate the love of Jesus Christ through their actions. No task is too big or too small for our 57 parish chapters, and our more than 4,000 members. Special programs including Kids ‘n’ Cancer and Social Services have made a significant difference in the lives of others, caring for the body and soul of those who are the grateful recipients of the unconditional love and support of Philoptochos.

A signature initiative in the Metropolis of San Francisco since 1984 is the Bishop Anthony Philoptochos Student Aid Endowment Fund. In the past decade alone, we have provided $1.5 million dollars in support of the seminarians and students and their families from our Metropolis enrolled at Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. Many of the recipients of these funds have said that they could not have attended the seminary without the support that the Endowment Fund offered them. This would not be possible without your generosity and vision to cultivate the best and brightest leaders for the Greek Orthodox Church for the next generation and beyond.

Light the Path is the annual event that supports the Bishop Anthony Philoptochos Student Aid Endowment Fund, but with ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, this, too, will become a virtual celebration. Even though we cannot gather together at a festive Christmas luncheon does not diminish the importance of your support for this most worthwhile cause. I hope that many of you will join me online for Light the Path on Saturday, December 5, for an inspirational program and the opportunity to learn how you can provide for the future of our Church in this country.

The ministry of Philoptochos, in our Metropolis and across the Archdiocese, is a ministry in service to the entire Church that emulates their patron saints, Cosmas and Damianos. As the words of the Philoptochos prayer state, the Lord has “enabled them to minister to those who are in need of Your Love, your comfort, and Your care.

May the work of Philoptochos always be guided by faith in Jesus Christ, hope in His promise for eternal life, and love that brings unity and peace to all.

May God bless Philoptochos and all of you!