God made the Saints in His Land worthy of admiration, in them He magnified all His will.
Your Grace and Dear Brother, Bishop Maxim,
With great joy the world has received the wonderful news concerning the inclusion of the names of Bishop Mardarije of Libertyville and Archimandrite Sebastian of San Francisco and Jackson among the names of the Saints of the Orthodox Church. We glorify God for this blessing bestowed upon the Church, and in particular upon our country.
Indeed, Saints Mardarije and Sebastian were loyal disciples of Christ and shared the joy of the Holy Gospel with others in word and deed. Their very presence in the United States served as a living testament of Christian patience, hope and love, and their commitment to Christ certainly inspired people to embrace the Orthodox faith..
Their love for others and their desire to embrace all people is vividly manifested by their fraternal relationship with other Orthodox Hierarchs in America. As his dear friend, and as Archbishop of America at the time, Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras wrote to Bishop Mardarije to commend him on the consecration of a monastery. Among other things, Athenagoras envisioned that one day Mardarije’s labors would render his name immortal in the minds and hearts of all Orthodox Christians in America.
The communal and liturgical glorification of Saints Mardarije and Sebastian, led by His Beatitude Patriarch Irinej of Serbia, represents the realization of this prophetic statement.
On behalf of the Hierarchs of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States, I welcome His Beatitude to America on this sacred occasion and pray that our Lord Jesus Christ continues to bless Patriarch Irineij with an abundance of years of fruitful ministry in the Church of Serbia.
Your Grace Bishop Maxim, it is my prayer that, through the intercessions of Saints Mardarije and Sebastian, we may renew our dedication to our Lord Jesus Christ and reinvigorate our love for each other.
With profound love and high esteem in Christ,
† Archbishop Demetrios of America
Chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America