To the Blessed Clergy and Congregations of the Diocese of Los Angeles, Southern California, and Hawaii,
Greetings in the Lord!
As we commemorate Independence Day, we reflect on the blessings of liberty and opportunity we have received in the United States of America. On this day, we offer our thanksgiving to God as well as our gratitude to the Founding Fathers and forbears who nobly labored and sacrificed to safeguard the blessings of liberty and freedom for future generations.
We Coptic Orthodox Christians are especially indebted to this nation which opened her doors and welcomed generations of Copts to a new life and opportunities for growth, not the least of which is our ability to worship God in freedom, build churches, and raise our children in the Orthodox faith. As a Church, we follow the command of St. Paul to his beloved disciple, St. Timothy, that “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority.” We continue to pray for our nation and leaders “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1 Tim 2:1–2).
We have been called to freedom in our Lord Jesus Christ, as St. Paul affirms in his Epistle to the Galatians: “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Ga 5:13). In these turbulent times, let us labor to shine bright with the light of Christ, to be sources of solutions, to be defenders of the tenets upon which this nation was founded.
We ask each of you to continue to pray for God’s grace on this nation and to reflect on the ways you can use this freedom to serve God and our neighbor.