To the delegates of the 36th Annual Convention of the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada, and Australia in Boston, MA, July 15-17, 2011
Beloved in the Lord spiritual children,
We greet you with paternal love on the occasion of the 36th Annual Diocesan Convention in Boston, MA.
Our joy is full that the host of the convention is the spiritually and materially well-established Bulgarian Orthodox Church “Holy Resurrection” with its hardworking clergy – Very Rev. Fr. Patrick Tishel, Very Rev. Fr. Michael Kon, Fr. Deacon John, Fr. Deacon Andrei, and the newly ordained Fr. Deacon Teodor and Fr. Deacon Tudor. We also hope that the other Bulgarian Orthodox Church “St. Petka the Bulgarian” in Boston with parish priest Very Rev. Fr. Rumen Pelovski will be inspired by your historic presence and in the next few years will invite you and become the host of another convention.
Our brother in the Lord, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, always speaks with satisfaction about the “Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church” in Boston. Therefore, we thank the Lord that under the guidance of Fr. Patrick and the parish council with its president Mr. Theodore Kuranov, the Church “Holy Resurrection” will be able to boast before the diocesan delegates with a renovated building, an active Orthodox school “St. Herman of Alaska”, active members, a united sisterhood, a multitude of subdeacons and a large group of talented singers of the Eastern and Western musical traditions.
We, who are in the Mother Patriarchal Bulgarian Orthodox Church, also make efforts according to our strength, and we labor for the flourishing of Holy Orthodoxy and for the goodness and salvation of our God-entrusted Bulgarian people.
As you already know, on April 4th we, together with the Holy Synod, canonized the new martyrs of Novo Selo and of Batak, and their memory will be celebrated in the Orthodox Calendar – the martyrs of Novo Selo on May 9th and the martyrs of Batak on May 17th.
With their martyric death, these holy new martyrs pleased the resurrected Lord, astonished the angels, gave joy to the saints, humbled the demons, and gave an exemplary lesson in the faith to the non-Christians, comforted the sorrowful, and became the cause of celebration for the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, which has been strengthened by their blood. The graceful presence of the Lord is evident among us, the Bulgarians, through the holy new martyrs. We will be assured in this by keeping their memory and imitating their faith. We insist that all of you in the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese in the USA, Canada, and Australia do so as well.
2011 is memorable for all of us. It is 11 years since our historic decision to open the doors of the diocese to all of you Orthodox people of a different nationality, who desired the jurisdiction of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and to be under our Patriarchal Omophor. We are gladdened by the proofs which witness your love towards us expressed in prayer, good memories, material support and a life of piety and honesty. In 1978 we, and the official church delegation, visited the Bulgarian parishes in the US and Canada and know from experience your life and service there. From the visits to Bulgaria of your representatives of the new parishes during the past several years and from correspondence with many pictures, which we see on your websites, we are convinced that in the 30 years after our patriarchal visit, your diocese has advanced greatly. Glory be to God! Official reports state that your missionary work has increased 122% placing you first in America and Canada. This softens and gladdens our patriarchal heart.
All this gives us reason to congratulate you on your 36th convention and especially the delegates from our churches in Boston, Santa Rosa, Indianapolis, East Syracuse, Kodiak, Roanoke, Morgantown, Sterling Heights and our monasteries “St. Savva the Sanctified” in Harper Woods and “St. Maxim the Confessor” in Palmira, as well as the delegates of the newly established churches “St. George the Trophy-bearer” in Orlando and “St. Nicholas the Wonderworker” in San Diego.
With fatherly love and joy we also greet the delegates of “St. George” Macedono-Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church of Toronto, Canada. After almost four decades outside the jurisdiction of the Mother Bulgarian Orthodox Church-Bulgarian Patriarchate, this beloved church returned home under our Patriarchal Omophor into your holy diocese. We commend all brothers and sisters of “St. George” headed by the parish priest Very Rev. Fr. Nikolai Georgiev and members of the Church Committee, with its president Dr. Simeon Simeonov, who accomplished this praiseworthy deed. “We should make merry, and be glad” (Luke 15:32) that we are together again.
We are moved that you all are encompassed in the greatest mercy of God for the faithful – to achieve the salvation of your souls in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church – Bulgarian Patriarchate. We assure you that you will receive this mercy because you are merciful and you emulate the Samaritan, whom the Lord Jesus cured from leprosy. Seek Lord Jesus and fall down at his feet, give thanks to Him and remember His words: “Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole” (Luke 17:19)
The great prophet Moses describes how the Ark of the Covenant was built: “And they came.., brought willing offering unto the Lord, every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all manner of work, which the Lord had commanded to be made by the hand of Moses.” (Exodus 35:21, 29)
In their likeness, you too, whose hearts made you willing to strengthen and beautify your diocese, are bringing a willing offering to the Lord. Therefore, you receive also, because whoever brings an offering to the Lord will also receive. Is our generosity greater than God’s? Is the mercy of our heart greater than God’s? If you give generously, believe that God too will pour His rich generosity upon you. Your diocese is the ornament of your generosity. Keep it before your eyes, rejoice in God’s mercy to you and be filled with gratitude towards your heavenly Father, from Whom comes every good thing.
In affirmation of our constant love and fatherly care for you, we send you with prayer and blessing His Grace, the bishop of Dragovitia, Daniil, as a Vicar, and the Very Rev. Econom Peter Totev, as a priest of the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocesan Cathedral “Sts. Kyril and Metodi” in New York City, who with God’s help will offer their contribution for the good estate of your diocesan vineyard.
May God bless the 36th Annual Diocesan Convention by granting you His great mercy according to the multitude of his compassions!
Patriarch of Bulgaria