His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel, Geron of Chalcedon
Philoptochos Agape Breakfast
Centennial Clergy Laity Congress
July 6, 2022
The Marriott Marquis – Broadway South, Sixth Floor
New York, NY
Your Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America,
Your Eminences and Graces,
Your Grace, Bishop Athenagoras, spiritual advisor of Philoptochos,
President of National Philoptochos, Arlene Siavelis Kehl,
My Dear Sisters in Christ,
As you all know, Philoptochos means “those who love the poor,” and unfortunately, poverty comes in many forms in this life.
Charity and the support of the poor can be understood as an act of selflessly helping others without receiving anything in return. In this sense, philanthropy is applied to every aspect of life through solidarity actions that provide support to those who need it most. This is a fundamental Christian characteristic that identified and shaped the Christian Communities from the early life of the Church.
Charity is closely related to the three values of the Christian faith and the Orthodox tradition: faith, hope and solidarity. For a Christian, charity is the closest thing to goodness.
In the Orthodox Church, charity is based on love of God and our neighbor. It also includes being good and giving generously without any desire for personal gain. In return, it gives feelings of joy, peace and mercy. However, charity is also a mainstay of other human values and many moral principles of life.
In this sense, the concept of philanthropy is also used to talk about the help given to the needy. After all, any selfless action on the part of one person in favor of another, can be considered as charity, a true ethos of solidarity.
For the Orthodox Church, the concept of philanthropy and support of the poor, includes volunteerism and the offering, not only of material goods, but also of social work, not only in response to a specific crisis, but also on a more permanent basis with moral commitment and duration. In this case, our ministry in the Church and local communities, approach the concept of solidarity.
On behalf of the Delegation of the Mother Church of Constantinople, I want to express our gratitude to the Philoptochos of this Archdiocese for their generosity and love. This AGAPE Breakfast is a clear manifestation of the devotion and dedication that truly is transformative love.
I want to acknowledge, in this moment, the appreciation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for all that Philoptochos does for the charitable and philanthropic initiatives of the Mother Church. You are a real support for your brothers and sisters in Constantinople, who continue to affirm the presence of the Orthodox Christian Faith in the Queen of Cities. We are the history of the City – more than anyone else, and as the Lord said: “Let the little flock not be afraid” (Luke 12:32).
We continue to marvel at your activities and your initiatives – all of them sharing the love of God with those whose lives are made richer by your faith.
My Dear Sisters in Christ,
There is physical and material poverty, but there is also emotional and spiritual poverty. By doing what you do so well, you address all these forms of deprivation, and you bring hope to many. I thank you for your generosity and you love. We await you at the Phanar, and please know that His All Holiness keeps you and this Archdiocese in his prayers.
Thank you for your kind attention