Beloved in the Lord,

“O Lord, to You I cry out; for fire has devoured the open pastures, and a flame has burned all the trees of the field.” Joel 1:19

There are presently over 115 fires burning in Greece, causing damage and destruction in several areas. As Greece faces its worst heat wave in nearly 35 years along with strong winds, and parched lands exacerbated by drought, these conditions have led to a severe situation that is yet to be brought under control.

As we anxiously await these next few critical days as fires burn furiously in Greece, we call to mind in fervent prayer all those who have been affected by this devastation. Prayer has proven time and again to be the most powerful way we can come together as Orthodox Christians to seek the help of God. Therefore, I am directing all the clergy in our Metropolis to include the Paraklesis services and the Divine Liturgy the following petition and prayer:

  1. Please add the following petition during the Litany:

    “For a rapid end to the fires in Greece, for comfort to the victims and their families, eternal rest to those who have perished, and strength to the firefighters and those who bring aid and relief, let us pray to the Lord.”
  2. Prior to the Dismissal, please also offer the following prayer:

    Let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.
    O Lord Our God, Whose peace surpasses all understanding and Whose grace and mercy abound, send down your Holy Spirit to comfort those who are suffering in mind, body and spirit as a result of the devastating fires in Greece. We ask that You stretch forth Your mighty hand during this time of uncertainty, steadying us by Your love, compassion and peace. Grant strength to those who are fighting these fires, calm the winds, and open the heavens so that rain may pour forth and cease further destruction. We especially ask for Your blessings and protection upon all those who have fled their homes, that they may be spared injury, and that their homes may be preserved. May You also grant peaceful repose to those whose lives have been lost, as well as comfort to those who are grieving. For You are a merciful and loving God, and to You we give Glory, to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and forever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Praying that the Lord’s mighty hand may bring peace to this ravaged land, and that His grace and mercy will comfort all those who are suffering, I remain,

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

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