Orthodox hierarchs, clergy, monastics, faithful participate in annual March for Life

Washington, D.C., January 22, 2024

Photo: assemblyofbishops.org Photo: assemblyofbishops.org     

Orthodox Christians participated in the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Friday, January 19, led by a delegation of four hierarchs representing three jurisdictions.

There has been a notable Orthodox presence at the March for decades now.

This year, the delegation was led His Grace Bishop John of Worcester (Antiochian), together with His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon and His Grace Bishop Andrei (Orthodox Church in America), and His Grace Bishop Theophan (Albanian-Constantinople), reports the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America.

The day was to begin for Orthodox Christians with the Divine Liturgy for the old calendar feast of the Theophany at the OCA’s St. Nicholas Cathedral in D.C., though it was canceled due to poor weather and road conditions.

The rally before the March was opened with a prayer by Bp. John: “O Heavenly Father, Good Comforter, and Lord Jesus Christ; Creator of all things, you who knew us in our mother’s womb and ordered the world for our salvation, protect your babies both born and unborn, guide their parents, reveal to us the ways which we should walk today and every-day…”

The March began at 1 PM and proceeded along Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court, where prayers were offered for the victims of abortion.

Met. Tikhon also declared yesterday, Sunday, January 21, Sanctity of Life Sunday in the Orthodox Church in America. His address to the clergy, monastics, and faithful of the OCA reads:

My Beloved Children in the Lord,

As we mark Sanctity of Life Sunday this year, there will be much discussion of the “right to life.” Of course, we Orthodox Christians believe that certain rights, the right to life among them, should be respected, enshrined in law, and protected by civil authority. But human life is something even more precious than a mere right: it is a divine gift.

“Lo, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward,” as the Psalmist says (Ps. 126:3). We are called to recognize every human life, from conception to natural death, as a gift of the Lord. This means protecting the unborn, but in a broader sense this means helping our broken society and broken world to view our fellow human beings not as mere mouths to feed or potential threats or problems to be solved or subjects to be controlled, but as blessings from above. The unborn are a blessing; children are a blessing; the elderly are a blessing; the difficult people in our lives are a blessing; even our enemies—perhaps especially our enemies—are a blessing.

Moreover, we speak of the sanctity of life for two reasons: because life comes from the Lord, and because it should be offered back to the Lord through service to him and to others, resulting in sanctity. If we understand that we are merely servants, doing as we have been bidden (Lk. 17:10), and if we recognize that the greatest and holiest is the one who became a servant of all through his Incarnation, his ministry, and his Passion and Rising (Mt. 23:11), then we are in the best position of all to treat each human being as a blessing, not in an abstract sense, but in the sense of someone whom we are privileged to serve.

Living in this way, we also better understand our own life as a blessing, a blessing because it is an opportunity to attain to holiness. If we truly live according to our belief in the profound sanctity of life, then we will naturally “commend ourselves and each other and all our life unto Christ our God,” sending up thanksgiving and blessing his holy Name on account of the incalculably precious gift of human life and for every man who comes into the world (Jn. 1:9).

On this Sanctity of Life Sunday, we pray that all people of North America and throughout the world would come to recognize the good and perfect gift (Jam. 1:17) that is human life and learn to cherish that gift and render glory unto the Giver, the benevolent Creator of all things, one God in Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, unto the never-ending ages.

Yours in Christ,

Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada

Follow OrthoChristian on Twitter, Vkontakte, Telegram, WhatsApp, MeWe, and Gab!


to our mailing list

* indicates required