Your Eminence, beloved brother in Christ, Archbishop Spyridon of America,
Your Eminence, Cardinal Keeler,
Your Honor, Mayor Schmoke,
Your Graces and brother Hierarchs,
Much loved Clergy and People of God,
Our beloved children in the Lord,
We give thanks to the Holy and Consubstantial and Life-giving Trinity, for the joy and spiritual refreshment of this our united solemnities and praises of the One God in Three Persons.
We acknowledge, on this first ever visit of an Ecumenical Patriarch to Baltimore, the love of our beloved brother Cardinal Keeler and our dear friend, Mayor Kurt Schmoke. Indeed, the Cardinal and the Mayor formed a wonderful team who, led by our beloved spiritual son, Senator Paul Sarbanes, who first invited our Modesty to Baltimore, paved the way for our visit here today. They both visited our Modesty in the Phanar and joined Senator Sarbanes in extending an eager invitation for us to come and celebrate the two hundred years of the City that gave this country and the world the National Anthem.
We have come to this City — known for its many diverse neighborhoods, replete with Orthodox Christian communities from all over the oikoumene,– to speak boldly the word of faith and to engage the task of perfecting Orthodox unity in all facets of our own Orthodox jurisdictions and to work for Christian unity worldwide.
This year, as we celebrate the seventy five years of our own much beloved daughter, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, we are moved by the profound love that we have experienced from the American people. Even as we mark this historic milestone in the life of our Church, we sense a new beginning as more and more Americans turn to the Orthodox Faith.
We Orthodox do not accept and have never accepted an attempt to proselytize anyone. We simply hold high the flaming torch of our faith and try to live in this place, blessed by religious tolerance and freedom of expression.
The treasures of the Orthodox faith speak for themselves. These treasures are the inexhaustible wealth of truth that springs from the unbroken tradition of the Church. But we do not cling jealously to these treasures for their own sake. We have them that we might share them freely with everyone who is seeking the truth.
This Pan-Orthodox doxology affords us the opportunity to encourage our brethren and spiritual children to even greater cooperation. This cooperation will succeed when we give even greater significance to our common Faith. First, we must encourage the spiritual renewal of our faithful. Second, we must insure our Faith is free of all extraneousness teachings, concepts and practices which are foreign to Orthodox tradition, and which have quietly made their way into our communities. Third, we must illumine the icon of Orthodoxy even more brilliantly, for the benefit of all our faithful and the education and salvation of those who are coming to the Orthodox Church.
We need more holiness and more saints in this country. If the contemporary Orthodox Church does not manifest her holiness by saints, it means that she has not fulfilled Her apostolic mission.
Let us beseech the Lord, Whom we glorified just a moment ago, that He might grant us even closer cooperation with each other, that He might reveal to us the depth and riches of the Orthodox Faith, and manifest saints in this land. May God bless richly this city and all its beloved inhabitants, and this Nation.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.