My dear spiritual children,
In a little over four short months, our Holy Archdiocese will convene the 33rd Clergy-Laity Congress in New York City. This year's event promises to be most historic for it will not only afford us the opportunity to chart the course of our Church into the 3rd Millennium but also because it will be the last one convened by me as your Archbishop.
It is, therefore, appropriate that we have chosen as the theme of this year's Congress this verse from Philippians "Let us go forward on the road that has brought us where we are". In going forward, it is important to know the history of our Faith and where we have come from, so that we may always be true to our unique identity as Orthodox Christians. It is imperative that we always prepare ourselves spiritually to meet the challenges of the future and for this reason, it is my fervent hope that every parish of our Archdiocese will participate in this gathering by sending their priest and lay representatives.
Your presence will also afford me the opportunity to thank each and every one of you for your assistance these many years. Without you, my ministry would have been greatly diminished and I intend to meet separately with all the participants of each diocese so that we may share some time together and I may express my personal appreciation to you. I depart with mixed emotions but I am comforted by the knowledge that I leave behind clergymen and laity of the highest caliber who have proven their dedication to Christ and His Holy Orthodox Church and I am confident that you will worthily lead our community to new heights going "forward on the road which has brought us where we are".
Looking forward to seeing you this July and sharing with you in this historic event, I remain
With paternal blessings and affection,
+ ARCHBISHOP IAKOVOS
Primate of the Greek Orthodox
Church of North & South America