SANCTITY OF LIFE SUNDAY 2022
Each year, the Orthodox Church reaffirms its commitment to, in the words of Metropolitan Tikhon, "the proclamation of the Sanctity of Life – as an opportunity to reiterate unequivocally our commitment to the defense of the defenseless, and the protection of the most vulnerable, and thus our opposition to abortion. As Christians it cannot be any other way."
From the OCA's 2022 announcement:
His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon has designated Sunday, January 16, 2022 as Sanctity of Life Sunday to be observed in parishes of the Orthodox Church in America and has released the statement below. Prayers and petitions for the liturgical services are available here.
Sanctity of Life Sunday will be a precursor to the March for Life on January 21, 2022, on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion in the United States of America. His Beatitude will be present and gather with the Orthodox faithful from across the country to remember the victims of abortion.
The March for Life will begin with a Divine Liturgy at Saint Nicholas Cathedral and conclude at the Supreme Court building. A complete schedule of events will be posted in the coming weeks. More information can be found at Orthodox Christians for Life.
Below are numerous links to outstanding materials from a variety of sources, including several of Fr Steven's classic meditations:
RESOURCES FROM THE ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA:
Read the OCA's announcement of Sanctity of Life Sunday 2022, with numerous links to further resources.
See more OCA Sanctity of Life Resources here.
See this story from 2020: Bishop Paul participates in national “March for Life”.
Read these meditations by Fr Steven on the Sanctity of Life:
Scroll down to explore a helpful introduction to the Orthodox Christians for Life ministry, as well as links to a recent conference held at St Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary, at which one of our parishioners delivered a brief talk on the Sanctity of Life and the issue of Abortion.
For more information and pastoral questions regarding the Sanctity of Life, please contact our pastor, Fr Steven Kostoff.
venerable organization expands its goals, activities and resources for 2022,
announces schedule for Orthodox participation in annual March For Life on January 21, 2022;
scroll down for info, links and March For Life 2022 flier:
2022 MARCH FOR LIFE
ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS FOR LIFE
NEW UPDATES - January 21:
Ancient Faith Radio interview with OCLife Executive Director Emily Wilkinson,
Link to attend the virtual March for Life Reception on Sunday, January 23.
...announced January 18
SCHEDULE OF ACTIVITIES
8:00 am - Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Cathedral, 3500 Massachusetts Avenue NW (attendance limited due to Covid)
11:00 am - Meet at the National Mall, corner of 12th Street NW and Madison Drive NW
12:00 - 1:00 pm - March for Life Rally onstage
12:30 pm - Orthodox hierarchs and faithful gather for the Service of Supplication for an End to Abortion
1:00 pm - March for Life commences up Constitution Avenue - Orthodox group will walk and sing hymns
4:00 pm - March for Life concludes at the Supreme Court
5:00 - 8:00 pm - Virtual Reception hosted by Orthodox Christians for Life, join livestream via YouTube
Full info, updates and numerous resources for the March for Life at oclife.org/march
Orthodox Christians for Life re-launches with energetic new platform:
Orthodox Christians for Life ("OCLife") is a non-profit organization dedicated to equipping the Orthodox Christian community to strengthen its commitment to the sacredness of human life from conception to death, illuminating the Church's teaching on life issues through education and engagement.
OCLife was originally founded in 1986 by a group of faithful volunteers, who were eventually unable to continue their work. After nearly two decades of dormancy, the organization was relaunched in 2020 to continue its important mission.
A New Beginning
Recognizing the important work accomplished by the original founders and the need for its mission to continue, an effort has emerged to revive the organization, and we have ambitious plans for impacting the Orthodox community.
Orthodox Christians for Life will strive to engage hearts and minds at all levels of Christian life, from our Sunday school classrooms to our seminaries. We will cultivate an Orthodox Christian pro-life ethic that incorporates prayer, education, and service into the existing ministries of our church communities. In collaboration with clergy and lay leaders, OCLife will produce pastoral resources, create sanctity of life educational curriculum, establish parish-based pro-life ministries, develop an Orthodox post-abortion recovery program, and further offer opportunities to strengthen the Orthodox community’s commitment to the sanctity of life.
As we renew its mission, we pray that Orthodox Christians for Life will bear fruit to the glory of God.
LISTEN to a recent conversation with OCLife President and Executive Director Emily Wilkinson, by Fr Andrew Stephen Damick on the Orthodox Engagement podcast (Ancient Faith Radio).
WATCH a recent YouTube interview with OCLife President Emily Wilkinson, conducted by Michael Baclig, of the Antiochian Men (AMEN) ministry (Diocese of Miami and the Southeast, Antiochian Orthodox Archiocese of North America).
Christ the Savior parishioner Natasha Frasch delivered a talk at the recent conference, Speaking the Truth in Love, held at St Tikhon's Orthodox Seminary in South Canaan PA, November 7-9, 2019.
The lineup of speakers included Archbishop Michael of New York & New Jersey, well known and prolific writer and speaker Kh. Frederica Mathewes-Green, Archimandrite Sergius (Abbot of St Tikhon's Monastery), and many other scholars and clergy, monastics and laity, and was organized by Drs. David Ford and Mary Ford, who presented a retreat at our parish back in the 1990s.
"From ancient times, all who have believed in the One God have believed that He takes special care in the formation of each human being. As God Himself expressed to Jeremiah: 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you' (Jeremiah 1:5).
"In the moment of conception in the mother’s womb, a human being comes into existence. Yet even before being conceived and formed, this human being is known by God. God exists outside of time, and already knows and loves each one of us personally, knowing what we will do and who we will become both in this life and in eternity. As Solomon proclaims, “God did not make death, and he does not delight in the death of the living. For he created all things that they might exist” (Wisdom of Solomon 1.13-14). God wants us to be alive, and certainly, this is why we must speak against abortion and its legalization in our country: it is in opposition to God’s loving plan to bring a human being into the world to live..."
Icon of the Meeting of the Virgin Mary and Elizabeth (LK 1:39-56), with Jesus and John the Baptist alive and aware in their wombs.
Dear Parish Faithful,
"To love Christ means not to be a hireling, not to look upon a noble life as an enterprise or trade, but to be a true benefactor and to do everything only for the sake of love for God." — St. John Chrysostom
Affirming the Sanctity of Life
Yesterday (January 22) was Sanctity of Life Sunday in the OCA. This is a day on which we openly affirm our belief that all life is sacred, especially the lives of preborn children in the wombs of their respective mothers. The Church affirms that life has greater priority than a "choice."
If you were at the Liturgy you will recall that I read this year's pastoral letter from Metropolitan Tikhon on the subject, adding some further commentary during the homily. This letter was firm, balanced and compassionate. It deserves a careful and thoughtful reading. This letter can be found on the OCA website, here attached for your convenience. At the end of letter, you will find the petitions and prayer that we offered to God in yesterday's Liturgy. These can be used during one's personal prayers at home. You will also find a video at the same site of Metropolitan Tikhon being interviewed. This is also well-done:
If you think that you need to be further informed on the Orthodox Christian position on bio-ethical issues - and who doesn't? - one of which is, of course, abortion; then I have included links to two remarkable books by Fr. John & Lyn Breck.
The strength of Fr. John's writing is that in addition to being an excellent theologian who writes with great pastoral sensitivity; he also has full command of the biological/scientific facts that are essential to being fully informed on these issues. Fr. John ably demonstrates how biology/science works in favor of Orthodox theological positions. Lyn Breck has years of experience as a counselor and spiritual retreat leader. In Ch. 5 of Stages on Life's Way she addresses addictions and family systems with great insight. These are two endlessly rich resources to have at hand when dealing with such important contemporary issues.
The Sacred Gift of Life : Orthodox Christianity and Bioethics
Stages on Life's Way: Orthodox Thinking on Bioethics (SVS Foundations Series Book 1)
— Fr. Steven
See also the Orthodox Christians for Life website for resources and ways to connect with other Orthodox Christians to support the Sanctity of Life.