HOTCA: Encyclical on the Overturning of Roe v. Wade


Beloved clergy and faithful of our Holy Metropolis,
Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit.
In the Book of the Holy Prophet Jonah, we read that, in response to words of the Prophet of God, “the
people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them
even to the least of them … And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented
of the evil that He had said that He would do unto them; and He did it not.” (Jonah 3: 5, 10)
In September 2020, the faithful of our God-protected Metropolis undertook a special three-day fast of
repentance––a τριήμερον––in response to my hierarchical appeal, for God to protect our Church, our
Families, and our Nation and to turn away and dispel the wrath stirred up against us and our neighbors, on
account of our many sins.
The next day after the fast of repentance, our Lord provided for the future overturning of the infamous “Roe
vs. Wade” decision with the nomination and subsequent appointment of another pro-life justice to the
Supreme Court of the United States of America.
On June 11/24, 2022, on the feast of the Mother of God “Axion Esti”, the Supreme Court finally abrogated
the fifty-year legal precedent that had permitted the murder of tens of millions of innocent infants over the
The overturning of the abomination that was “Roe vs. Wade” is an event of great significance. For us, this
is not a political matter, but rather a spiritual one. Abortion is murder. To enable it is to be an accomplice
to murder. To endorse it is to endorse the murder of innocents––to the extent that being “pro-choice” is
entirely incompatible with being an Orthodox Christian. The abrogation of the decision that permitted and
sanctioned abortion throughout the country is a victory for truth, goodness, and justice.
But more importantly, it is a demonstration of divine intervention. At a time when our liberties are
increasingly hemmed in by the forces of technocratic despotism and, more broadly, when the mystery of
iniquity is at work without check, who could have predicted that religious liberty and the principles of God’s
law would be upheld in worldly courts?
Ordinary Orthodox Christians do not have access to the halls of secular power to have an audience with the
Supreme Court of the United States or to influence policy and legislation. The pious, however, do have
access to the Master of all, Who guides history and provides for our salvation. They do not trust in the sons
of men, for, indeed, in them there is no salvation. Rather they commend their whole life and hope unto
God alone; and our Master, when He sees the genuine fruits of repentance, hears the prayers of His people
and grants them their requests which are unto salvation. Accordingly, the recent decision to overturn
demonstrates the power of repentance and prayer to draw God’s mercy and to confound the plans of the
evil one. For this reason, I often tell the faithful to never underestimate the power of prayer.
Throughout sacred history, whenever the people of God repented, after facing destruction on account of
their sins, God showed them mercy and delivered them from righteous chastisement. In the lives of the
saints, we see how God, in response to prayer and repentance, overturned the plots of the evil one. So too
in our own time, we see the schemes of the demons overturned and undone, and from this we have a firm
hope that His mercy will prevail. In this we find great solace, for God is with us.
Let us, therefore, continue our repentance and give thanks unto the Lord so that He continue to help us in
the struggle to overcome altogether the great evil of abortion. St. Isaac the Syrian teaches that gratitude from
the receiver incites the Giver to bestow gifts greater than before. In gratitude to our Lord for His manifest
benefaction and mercy, let all the parishes in our God-protected Holy Metropolis chant a Doxology of
Thanksgiving after Divine Liturgy this Sunday, June 12/26, 2022.
Lastly, let us continue to repent, for the days are evil. The evil one will never cease to fight the Church. But
let us remember: if God is with us, who can be against us?
Your fervent suppliant before God,
+ Metropolitan Demetrius of America