Message of the Ecumenical Patriarch to Syndesmos

[Translation from the Greek Original]

To the most learned General Secretary of "Syndesmos," the world-wide organization of Orthodox youth, our Modesty's beloved son in the Lord: Grace and peace from God.

With particular paternal joy we read your letter of November 25th of last year requesting that we, from the Holy Great Church of Christ, bless the world day of Orthodox youth, set for February 2nd of the new year. We are happy to respond to this request and convey to each of you, dearly beloved young Orthodox men and women, our fervent paternal greeting and wholehearted blessing from the Sacred Centre of Orthodoxy, praying for the success of the events planned for this day, that they may reward all of you richly.

"Syndesmos," as a world-wide communion of Orthodox youth, shares in a vision and is obliged to constantly seek the most authentic witness of our Holy Orthodoxy for the youth throughout the Christian Oikoumene. This, in any event, is the highest obligation of every faithful member of the Orthodox Church, but particularly of Orthodox youths, who live the redemptive message of Divine Economy in Christ and who trustworthily bear witness to the hope in us.

With this understanding, the establishment of the feast of the Presentation of the Lord in theTemple as the universal day of Orthodox youth is undoubtedly not only a typological reference to be sure, but also an expression which is nourished by the Body and Blood of the Holy Eucharist and which manifests new life in Christ. Orthodox youths are chosen members of the Body of the Church, and precisely only by being members of the Ecclesiastical Body are they capable of offering their witness to Orthodoxy in the contemporary world. Any pursuit whatsoever to separate this witness to Orthodoxy from those which are celebrated in the Church would lead to the severance even of the most admirable efforts from the holy Table of the Lord and from the source of every grace in the Church of God.

Embracing the young Orthodox men and women, the hope of tomorrow, with these thoughts and with feelings of paternal affection and love, we congratulate you on selecting this ecclesiastical day and we wholeheartedly bless your endeavors to motivate Orthodox youths more fully in bearing witness to Orthodoxy during these crucial and revelational times for people today and for the entire world.

Praying that the day of Orthodox youth is a total success, we bestow upon you, our beloved, and upon all the cherished young men and women our wholehearted paternal and Patriarchal blessing and invoke upon you the grace and infinite mercy of the God of our Fathers, of light, of truth and of life, who became a babe for our salvation and manifested himself to the Oikoumene.

January 15, 1994

Your fervent intercessor before God, Bartholomew I

[Seal of the Ecumenical Patriarch]

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