Council of Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We greet you in the love of Jesus Christ on the joyous occasion of our national celebration of Thanksgiving. This is truly a beautiful national holiday, for it presents us with an opportunity to come together as families and communities in gratitude for the tremendous blessings that God continually bestows upon us each and every day of our lives.
This beautiful tradition – the celebration of Thanksgiving Day in our country reminds us that we are a people under God — born from His loving hand, created in His image and for His purposes.
In this sacred season of St. Philip’s (Pre-Nativity) Fast, we need to renew our gratitude to God for all of His gifts. But we also need to learn to say “thank you” with love to the people in our lives.
We know the word “Eucharist” comes from the Greek word, which means “thanksgiving.” And as Orthodox Christians, we are called to be a “eucharistic people,” a people of thanksgiving!
The Eucharist roots our worship in gratitude to God. So, in that spirit, we should make a new commitment to renew our spirit of thanksgiving and to pray for those who bring us good gifts and blessings from God.
We need to live with joyful awareness that everything we have is a gift of grace from our God. And we know that God’s gifts are not given to us to use selfishly. We should give thanks to God — but we also know we should “give back” to him. Our gratitude must be gracious. The gifts we’ve been given, we must share with others.
God expects us to use the gifts he has given us to collaborate with him in building the kingdom of love and truth in our world. He wants our lives to be filled with good deeds, acts of charity. He wants us to bear the good fruit of a strong and steady witness to our faith in our daily lives — in our homes, in our workplaces, in our communities.
We are called as Orthodox Christians to be Eucharistic people — men and women of thanksgiving who offer everything we do as an act of thanksgiving. Men and women who thank God and glorify him for all of his wonderful works in our lives.
It is our heartfelt prayer that as we come together on this Day of Thanksgiving, feasting in thanks and in gratitude with our loved ones, friends, and family, we may be cognizant of the very special blessings that we enjoy in this land and that we may strive in our daily actions to reflect that gratitude in the love we show to others.
Let’s give thanks to God this weekend and let’s commit ourselves to look for new ways to “give back” to God through our service to others.
May our hearts be filled with gratitude to God for all His blessings of life, liberty, and the freedom to worship Him.
May God bless each and every one of you on this Day of Thanksgiving, and may God bless America.
We are those who pray for you unceasingly,
+ Antony, Metropolitan
+ Jeremiah, Archbishop
+ Daniel, Archbishop