JANUARY–FEBRUARY 2010 • Vol. 75 • No. 1255
Archdiocese, Philoptochos, IOCC Aid Haiti Victims
Great and Holy Lent
Compiled from Archdiocese, IOCC and other sources NEW YORK – The tragic earthquake that devastated the capital of Haiti and surrounding area on Jan. 12 and caused the loss of tens of thousands of lives brought an urgent plea from Archbishop Demetrios calling on the faithful of the Archdiocese to come to the aid of the suffering population there. “Our thoughts and prayers are now with the people of Haiti,” said Archbishop Demetrios who immediately issued an encyclical calling upon the faithful of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America to pray for the safety, health and well being of all the people of Haiti and in particular the Greek Orthodox faithful there. In his encyclical to the parishes of the Archdiocese, (see full text, page 6) the Archbishop also calls for all parishes “to conduct a special collection on Sunday, January 17 as a response of compassion to the needs of the people of Haiti.” There are two Greek Orthodox parishes in Haiti under the Metropolis of Mexico. The first is the parish of St. John the Baptist in Pétionville, a district in the capital of Port-au-Prince. The second is the newly established parish of St. Mathias. Due to the severed communications, the Metropolis of Mexico has not been able to establish contact with the parishes until
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Photo by Paul Jeﬀrey.
People in a Port-au-Prince neighborhood line up to obtain safe drinking water from a system installed by International Orthodox Christian Charities and the Norwegian Church Aid organization.
Photos D. PANAGOS
Epiphany season scenes
Archbishop Demetrios presided at the 104th annual Epiphany weekend events at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Tarpon Springs, Fla., where about 70 teen-age youths jumped into the frigid waters of Spring Bayou in a record cold spell for the region. Similar scenes took place throughout the nation, from the cold waters of Long Island to the balmier locales of Southern California and Hawaii. See page 13 for extensive coverage.
A 60 Minutes Producer Reflects on Her Experience
Bob Simon introduces the 60 Minutes segment on his interview with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on Dec. 20.
NEW YORK – As many Greek Orthodox faithful of the Archdiocese and around the world witnessed on Dec. 20, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was featured on the CBS News program “60 Minutes” in an interview with veteran journalist Bob Simon that broadcast throughout the United States and globally on the internet at http://www.60minutes.com. Nielsen Media Research reported the show was watched by more than 12.7 million people in the United States making it the 14th highest rated show on network television for the week of Dec.14-20. The wheels were set in motion last May, when producers for “60 Minutes” traveled to Turkey to lay the groundwork for the story. The following are reflections on the experience by Associate Producer Magalie Laguerre-Wilkinson, which appear on the 60 Minutes website. “Last May I had the privilege of travel-
To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, We begin this holy season of the year in anticipation of the great spiritual blessings that we will receive through a deeper commitment to God and through our repentance and humility as we live each day in His divine presence. Great and Holy Lent is a very treasured period, filled with moments in which we can focus our hearts and minds on the grace of God. Through daily prayer, fasting, worship, and offering for the needs of others, and by the grace of God our lives will continue to be transformed by Him and our souls will be drawn closer to our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the primary goal of the Lenten season and of all the disciplines of our Orthodox faith – to lead us to Christ. In Holy Scripture we read that prayer, fasting, and service to people were a part of our Lord’s sacred ministry. Through His example we are presented with a manner of living that focuses on communion with God and on the Gospel message of truth and life. This is also the focus of Great Lent. First, Great and Holy Lent leads us to Christ through prayer. This season is an excellent opportunity for prayer. It is a period when we are called to renew our commitment to daily prayer and to devote more time to it. We make more time each day for personal and family prayer. All of this directs our hearts and minds to the presence and power of Christ. Our Lord is in our midst, ready to guide those who seek Him, assure those who are struggling, and lead us all through the power of God’s grace to real life. Second, the Lenten season leads us to Christ through worship. Over the coming weeks the parishes of our Holy Archdiocese will have frequent
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Find Them, Greet Them, Feed Them: Redefining Our Ministry to Young Adults by Fr. Mark A. Leondis
A Young Adult Task Force convened on Oct. 30 in conjunction with the fall Archdiocesan Council meetings held in New York. Attendees included the Archdiocese Youth and Young Adult Ministry Team (Metropolis youth directors), the Archdiocese Council Youth Committee, various clergy active in young adult ministry, and Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco. The purpose of the Task Force was to analyze and evaluate young adult ministry from its inception until its current state. The Task Force began the important and significant work of re-defining this ministry by looking at the past success and models, current ministry, other denominational paradigms and recommendations for both short and long term goals. While the group recognized the enormous success of Young Adult Ministries (YAL) in the 70’s through 90’s, it’s focus was to look forward toward redefining the ministry with current young adult demographics in mind—it must be real, relevant, relational, and revolutionary. The Young Adult Ministry of today must reflect various “transitions” that take
place during a young adult’s development: the transition from high school to college, from college to career, from single to married life, from one vocation to another, to the losing of loved ones. One model of ministry can no longer meet the needs of a young adult in 2010—a redefined young adult ministry must meet the needs of the young adults in the local parish, whether it be college ministry, a singles group, a young married couples group, etc. While the National YAL Conference will not take place in 2010, the Task Force has planned a series of events to inspire young adults in their respective parishes. In an effort to revitalize young adult ministry in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries will launch a National Awareness Campaign for young adults: Find them, Greet them, Love them. The campaign will work with each Metropolis to enable to their parishes to effectively meet the needs of local young adults. Parishes will embrace this vision of inclusivity and welcome young adults utilizing the following programs: “10 for 10” – in 2010, we will offer 10 service projects throughout the Arch-
diocese (one in each Metropolis/Direct Archdiocesan District, and one national project). We will use the Internet through social networking and websites. 10 Parish Visitation – Each Metropolis Director will visit 10 parishes that do not have an active young adult ministry and assist them in starting one We will identify key people in each Metropolis and region to assist in spreading this vision and share the successes and failures. The campaign will also offer the parishes online resources, an awareness poster, brochures, and articles in the Observer to help them crystallize their own parish ministry. While it may seem that young adults are not participating in parish life, the Task Force found that young adults are participating in Orthodoxy through other venues: OCF college ministry, OCMC mission opportunities, and camping programs throughout the Archdiocese. Our hope is to bring these young adults back into parish life by re-defining and re-evaluating successful local ministries, and assisting local communities with new initiatives that will better service the needs of their young adults.
Archdiocese Represented at UN Event on the Environment During the recent visit to New York by Eumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and on the occasion of the United Nations Week of Spirituality, a screening and discussion of the documentary film Values and Global Concerns, focusing on “Spirituality and the Environment: the Example of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew” took place at the offices of the Greek Press and Communications at the UN. The event was organized by Georgios Kostakos, president of the United Nations Hellenic Kyklos Club and Lila Prounis, NGO representative of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. The presentation included a screening of the documentary”Living Waters” and a panel discussion with the participation of Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis, environmental advisor to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the author of “Cosmic Grace,”” Humble Prayer,” and “Beyond the Shattered Image,” and
UN event participants, (from left), Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis, Sister Joan Kirby, Maria Luisa Chavez, Lila Prounis and Georgios Kostakos.
Sister Joan Kirby, former president of the United Nations Religious NGO’s. The discussion was moderated by Georgios Kostokos. Maria Luisa Chaves, chief of the
United Nations Department of Public Information and vice-president of the United Nations Hellenic Kyklos Club also attended. Submitted by Lila Prounis
Archdiocese Statement on Case of Orphaned Children NEW YORK – In recent days, misleading statements distributed in the press on the case of two orphaned children in the Democratic Republic of Congo, whose relatives in the United States approached the St. Basil Academy for assistance, require that the Archdiocese of America set forth the following factual information. In June of 2009, St. Basil Academy in Garrison N.Y., received an inquiry as to whether the institution could be of as-
sistance in bringing these two children to the United States and accept them into the Academy family. The relatives of the two children were advised that under present US immigration law, the Academy, as a residential facility and no longer a school, could not legally sponsor the children to come to the United States. The family was also advised to consider options only available to them that would allow the children to enter the
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U.S. Under those circumstances, the Academy would be able to provide interim accommodations with a view to a more permanent placement once permanent guardianship status by the U.S. relatives had been established. St. Basil Academy never refused to accept the children and has been in communication with the family over the past
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St. Photios Shrine Essay Contest Winners Named ST AUGUSTINE, Fla., – St. Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine recently held its fourth annual National Shrine Essay Contest. Fifteen high school students submitted essays for the 2009 event. Essay Committee Chairman Katherine Bacalis announced the following winners: Emmanuel Maginas of Fair Oaks, Pa. first place; Niko P. Birbilis of Moorestown, N.J., second and, for third place, Madelaine Assi of Jacksonville, Fla. and Victoria Pitenis of Daytona Beach, Fla. (tie). Honorable Mention winners were freshmen Nicholas Edward Kelly of Elkton, Fla., and Maggie Treuting of Swarthmore, Pa. The committee issued certificates of participation to Chris Kateyiannis, Kristo Pantelides, Stephanie Thomas, Richa Susan Varughese, Sophia Kayafas, Christina VanSuch, Elene Mironidis, Mary Blizzard and Angelo Pinar. Contest judges Jennifer E. Constantinou, Professor Nicholas Kokonis, and Presbytera Renee Ritsi ranked the 1,000word essays. In announcing the national level awards, Mrs. Bacalis said, “We are pleased to recognize the thoughts of these students who all so vividly share their perspective with us. The concept of witness materializes solidly for many of them. I congratulate all the students and their families, who show beautiful dedication to their faith and heritage.” Mrs. Bacalis, with committee members Renee Gahagan and Kathleen Mendez, choose a topic each year. Participating in the process is program consultant Dr. Constantine Santas, retired professor of Flagler College and Shrine Director Polly Hillier. This year students were offered a brief explanation of how the National Shrine provides an environment for spiritual, cultural and historic witness to our Orthodox faith, the Hellenic culture and history of the early Greek settlers who arrived in America in 1768. The essay question asked: “What is the purpose of this witnessing, this outreach and how do you witness the Orthodox Faith in your life?” Trudy Pappas and her daughters Pamela Toundas, Mary Grawe and Tina Blizzard sponsored the 2009 Essay Contest in memory of her husband and their father – John N. Pappas Their gift provides a laptop to the first prize winner and savings bonds to all who place in the first, second and third place categories.
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2010 Yearbook Now Available NEW YORK – The 2010 Yearbook of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is now available online at www.yearbook.goarch.org and also by mail. Every parish will receive two complimentary copies. In his letter to the faithful announcing the new yearbook, Archbishop Demetrios states, in part, “Here is the year 2010, a year of the Lord offered to us as a time to know Him and His will better, to know ourselves better, to know the world in which we live better, and to know our fellow human beings better. If we progress in the above vital areas of knowledge, then we will be able to better and deeper understand our extraordinary place and destiny on earth as the blessed sons and daughters of God...” The yearbook is designed as an easyto-read, accurate, reference handbook of the Archdiocese. The 274-page edition includes updated directories of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Archdiocesan departments and institutions, parishes, clergy, religious and secular media resources and a photo section highlighting the visit of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to America. Limited prepaid copies may be obtained by calling (212) 774-0244 or send a check/money order or credit card information for $18 (plus $6.00 s&h) payable to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Attn: Yearbook – 8 East 79th Street, New York, NY 10075.
CLERGY UPDATE Ordinations to the Diaconate Chris Wallace – by Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey – St. Katherine Church, Falls Church, Va., 11/15/09 Evagoras Constantinides – by Bishop Andonios of Phasiane – Holy Trinity Church, Dallas, 12/27/09 Sokratis Demetriadis – Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta – Holy Trinity Church, Orlando, Fla., 01/17/10 Constantine Shepherd – Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta – Annunciation Church, Winston-Salem, N.C., 01/24/10 Ordination to the Priesthood Deacon. Nathanael Symeonides, by Archbishop Demetrios –Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, New York, 01/30/10 Assignments Fr. Costas Constantinou – St. Nicholas Church, Temecula, Calif., 06/01/09 Fr. John Angelis – Holy Trinity Cathedral, Portland, Oregon, 12/01/09 Fr. Seraphim Majmudar – St. Nicholas Church, Tacoma, Was., 12/01/09 Fr. Athanasios Michalos – Annunciation Church, Ft. Myers, Fla., 12/15/09 Fr. Polykarp Steve – St. Spyridon Church, Clarksburg, W.Va., 01/01/10 Fr. Andrew J. Lesko - Greek Orthodox Mission of South Orange County, San Joan Capistrano, Calif., 12/01/09 Offikia Fr. Vasilios Thanos – Office of Protopresbyter, bestowed by Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco, 12/05/08 Fr. Nikiforos Fakinos – Office of Economos, bestowed by His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew, 10/25/09 Fr. Iakovos Olechnowicz – Office of Economos, bestowed by Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit, 11/15/09 Fr. Nicolaos H. Kotsis – Office of Economos, bestowed by Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit, 12/05/09 Fr. Anthony S. Evangelatos – Office of Economos, bestowed by Metropolitan Methodios of Boston, 01/06/10 Fr. Agathonikos Wilson – Office of Archimandrite, bestowed by Metropolitan Methodios of Boston, 01/10/10
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ARCHIEPISCOPAL ENCYCLICAL Feast of St. Basil To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America D. PANAGOS
St. Michael’s Vasilopita
Archbishop Demetrios celebrates the start of the New Year at St. Michael’s Home n Yonkers, N.Y. on Jan. 7 with the cutting of the Vasilopita. He is joined by (from left) Bishop Philotheos of Meloa, Consul General of Greece in New York Aghi Balta, Bishop Andonios, director of the home, Consul General of Cyprus Koulla Sofianou, National Philoptochos President Aphrodite Skeadas and board members and residents of the home.
Great and Holy Lent page 1 services, opportunities to gather together in praise of God and to renew our strength through prayer and participation in the Holy Eucharist. The services of Lent are beautiful and solemn, leading us to examine our hearts within the sacred space of our sanctuaries and in communion with God and our brothers and sisters in the faith. In the holy atmosphere of worship, through the hymns, petitions, readings, and Holy Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Repentance and Confession of sins, we are presented above all with the One who offers liberation from sin and guilt and brings salvation. Through worship we affirm the truth of what Christ has accomplished, we acknowledge His presence, and we respond in repentance and faith to His call to come and see all the blessings that God has for us. Third, Great Lent leads us to Christ through fasting. This is a very special discipline of our faith that helps diminish our attachment to the material things of this world and deepens our dependence on God. It directs our hearts and minds toward the spiritual needs of our lives through a reorientation of our will. Through abstinence from various types of foods and limitations on the time we
Oratorical Festival committee
spend procuring and preparing food, we can devote more time to prayer, and we can discipline our entire being to be more attentive to the presence and will of God. As children of a heavenly kingdom, the purpose and goal of our lives is not tied to the treasures of this earth, but to the condition of our souls and to our faith in God. Fasting contributes to an awareness of this. Finally, Lent leads us to Christ through offering for the needs of others. Our Lord is our example of offering, even through sacrifice. Through giving of our time and resources to others, we imitate Christ, or rather we offer Christ. We experience the joys and blessings of securing the wellbeing of others, and we also realize that the true meaning of life is found and fulfilled not only in what we receive from God, but in what we can give back to Him by giving to others. At the beginning of this blessed time, may we have hearts and minds that are seeking Christ. The way to Him through Great Lent is the true way of life; it is the journey of this season toward Holy Week and the celebration of the Feast of Feasts, Holy Pascha. May we, by the grace of Christ, and through genuine repentance make this Lent a time of transformation of our existence and a renewal of our souls and minds.
ORTHODOX OBSERVER photo
Planning for the 2010 St. John Chrysostom National Oratorical Festival in New York began with the organizing committee’s first meeting, which took place Jan. 26 at Holy Trinity Archdiocesan Cathedral in Manhattan, site of the event on June 4-6. At far center are national co-Chairmen Presbytera Margaret and Fr. John Orfanakos and Cathedral Dean Rev. Dr. Frank and Presbytera Haidee Marangos. Additional volunteers are welcome to become part of the committee. To oﬀer assistance, contact Presbytera Haidee at 212.288.3215 or 212.774.0560, or e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, We greet the beginning of this new calendar year and the end of the first decade of the new millennium in the grace and strength of our Lord. The coming of the New Year is always accompanied by a variety of emotions and concerns, as well as goals and plans. It is a time for reflecting on the past and anticipating what the year may bring. As we look back and forward in our thoughts, it is essential that we be mindful of the centrality of Christ and our spiritual well-being in all that we do. For reflection and anticipation are both characteristics of our lives as Orthodox Christians. Reflection is inherent to our identity, beliefs, and practices. The divine services, the Holy Scriptures, the lives of Saints, and the iconography and architecture of our sacred places of worship all call us to reflect on a history of revelation and of the manifestation of God’s grace and presence in our world. We are invited to engage with the truth about our existence, the challenges of human life, and the telos, the purpose of this life in salvation and eternal communion with God. We are also called to reflect upon the teachings and examples of our Orthodox faith and to contemplate the condition of our souls. It is in this holy context of faith and truth that we reflect upon our lives. Through worship and prayer, we commune with God, laying bare our entire being, experiencing His guiding presence, and realizing our need for repentance, forgiveness and renewal. The assurance of God’s forgiveness is accompanied by anticipation of what is to come. In the observances and teachings of our faith, we anticipate the fulfillment of all things, the Eschaton, the coming of our Lord, and the inauguration of eternal life in His presence. As we begin this New Year, we look forward to the wonderful blessings that God will give to us as we commit to the transformation of our lives in becoming the holy people He calls us to be. Through a life of prayer and faithful worship, we anticipate the beautiful growth of our souls, as well as our lives of service to others. Through genuine repentance and the loving forgiveness of God, we anticipate great spiritual victories over evil and temptation and the further sanctification of our hearts, minds, and souls. Our thoughts on reflection and anticipation are also applicable to an annual commemoration of our Holy Archdiocese in honor of St. Basil Academy. Named for the great saint of wisdom and love, St. Basil Academy is complet-
Feast of St. Photios, St. Photios National Shrine Day To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, On this feast day of St. Photios the Confessor, we have the blessed opportunity to honor the life and work of an amazing Patriarch and Theologian of our Holy Orthodox Church. We also commend the witness of our beloved St. Photios National Shrine in St. Augustine, Florida. This relationship of the name of a great Father of the Church and the Shrine was initiated in 1969 by Archbishop Iakovos of North and South America. Together with leaders and donors of our Greek Orthodox Church in America, he recognized the historical significance of the Shrine, which was a place of worship for a small group of Greek immigrants in the late eighteenth century. He also realized the role the Shrine would serve as a witness of our faith. Just as St. Photios was a beacon of truth in a very challenging time, so too the Shrine would offer a witness of the beauty, power, and holiness of Orthodox Christianity. True to his name, St. Photios labored to see hearts and minds illumined with the light of truth. He did this in the face of great adversity, not by the power of ecclesiastical office or the use of political force, but through love and humility. His witness of truth brought him scorn, imprisonment, and exile; but when he was restored to his office, he did not seek retribution. Knowing and experiencing the transformative power of the divine grace imparted by the presence of the Holy Spirit, Saint Photios worked for peace and reconciliation within the Church. In all circumstances he was a luminary of the love of God and the presence of Christ.
This has been the nature of the ministry of the St. Photios National Shrine since its dedication in 1982. In addition to preserving the memory of the first Greek immigrants to North America and presenting important facets of the Greek American experience, the Shrine enlightens visitors on the vitality, holiness, and truth of our Orthodox faith. The solemn beauty of the chapel, the engaging presence of the iconography, the opportunity to pray, and the offering of resources for encouraging faith invite persons to open their hearts and minds to the presence of God and the witness of the Holy Spirit. The witness of the St. Photios National Shrine would not be possible without the generosity of its founders and of the many throughout our Holy Archdiocese who continue to support this ministry. This year the Shrine will be conducting its annual pilgrimage on Feb. 5-7. I encourage you to attend these events for the blessing you will receive and to show your support. Further, on Sunday, Feb. 7 members of our National Philoptochos Society will collecting a special offering for the work of the Shrine. On this day and as an ongoing commitment, I encourage the faithful and parishes of our Archdiocese to be a part of the preservation of our past and a witness of our faith through the ministry of the National Shrine. Through our generosity and our gratitude to God, may the example of humility and love of St. Photios and of all the Saints illuminate the way of our lives.
With paternal love in Christ,
â€ Archbishop DEMETRIOS of America
Archbishop Demetrios knocks on the doors of the newly built Holy Cross Church in Whitestone, Queens at the thyranoixia (door opening) service on Dec. 13.
Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh, Fr. Theofanis Nacopoulos and Dr. Gary Esper, board president, display the church’s Design of Merit Award.
Pa. Church Gets Landmark Status ERIE, Pa. – The state of Pennsylvania declared the Assumption Church basilica as and architectural landmark in early December. In a proclamation from Gov. Ed Rendell, he stated that the church “has added to the architectural treasures of our commonwealth,” according to the Erie
Times-News. The building, designed by architect Steven Papadatos, won the award from the Pennsylvania Council of the Society of American Registered Architects. The 13,412-square-foot building was built at a cost of $2.25 million in 2008. It replaced the church that burned on Nov. 21, 1985.
ORTHODOX OBSERVER photo
Fr. Chris Metropulos, pastor of St. Demetrios Church in Fort Lauderdale, meets with participants of the Atlanta Metropolis’ Spiritual Odyssey 2009 in January to discuss their participation in a YouTube and OCN presentation of their trip to Greece. Every four years, Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta takes the winners of the competition that is part of the Hellenic Dance Festival on a tour of Greece where they present an exhibition of dances and attend several spiritual activities.
Boy Scouts Can Witness to Unity The Hierarchs of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas To the Most Reverend Clergy, Venerable Monastics and Devout Faithful of the Holy Orthodox Churches in the Americas. Dearly Beloved in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ. In 1955, the hierarchs leading the various Orthodox Christian Churches in our land came together to recognize and endorse the work of the Boy Scouts of America. This encounter prefigured the promising possibilities for witnessing our unity in Jesus Christ in this land and culture when we live and work in unity. Then and now, we believe that the Scout affirmation and Law are significant aids to our parishes and families in raising young men and women who “do their duty to God.” The methods of the Boy Scouts of America, the Girl Scouts USA, and the Camp Fire Boys and Girls programs are tremendous tools and we continue to fully endorse the work of these valued institutions. We encourage each of our parishes to actively support the celebration of “Scout Sunday” on Sunday, February 7, 2010. We recognize our Orthodox Scouts every February but this year’s celebration is a particular joy to us as the Boy Scouts of America celebrates 100 years of vital service to the youth of our nation. We are grateful for the efforts of the first SCOBA endorsed agency, the Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting (EOCS), that has prepared materials for our parishes to assist in their celebration, available at www.eocs.org. We also call on the reverend pastors and faithful of our parishes to support and recognize their youth engaged in neighborhood units. Integrating a young person’s Scouting experience in the fullness of Church life and the Church’s youth ministry programs is a powerful witness to our conviction that Christ is all and in all (Colossians 3:11). We prayerfully look forward to commemorating Scout Sunday with you on Feb.7. We ask you to work with the EOCS (www.eocs.org) or with your Church’s Scouting representative to make this day a success for our youth ministry.
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Agris Memorial Journalism Scholarships BOSTON - The Peter Agris Memorial Journalism Scholarship Fund is accepting applications for 2010. These $5,000 grants have been given for the past 18 years in memory of the late founder and publisher of The Hellenic Chronicle by the organization that he founded, The Alpha Omega Council of New England, and his family. Last year, the scholarship committee considered over 150 applications from graduate and undergraduate students. Comprised of leading businesspersons, The Alpha Omega Council continues to honor its late founder, who was also an Archon, a Hellenic College/Holy Cross School of Theology trustee and an Ahepan. Scholarships will be presented June 5 at the Alpha Omega Council’s annual awards dinner in Boston, where a noted Greek American individual or organization will be recognized for contributing to Hellenic and Orthodox ideals. Criteria for applicants includes: Greek
American heritage; current full-time enrollment as a journalism or communications major at the graduate or undergraduate level in an accredited college or university in the United States; active participation in school, community, church organizations; a minimum of a 3.0 GPA and demonstrated financial need. To apply download an application on the Alpha Omega Council’s website at alphaomegacouncil.com. The following items must be returned by e-mail to email@example.com or by mail to The Peter Agris Memorial Journalism Scholarships Committee, c/o Nancy Agris Savage, 9 Nonesuch Drive, Natick, MA 01760 no later than March 1 • a completed application • current transcript • required essay and • copies of any published articles or other professional materials that would enhance an application. Questions may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Archdiocese Scholarships Available Applications for the three scholarships administered by the Archdiocese Chancellor’s Office are available for the 2010-2011 academic year. Two scholarships are for undergraduate studies: the George & Naouma (Gioule) Gioles Scholarship and the Katina John Malta Scholarship; the third is the Paleologos Graduate Scholarship for non-theological graduate work. Each scholarships was established through generous gifts from dedicated Greek Orthodox Christians to provide financial aid for young people in the
Orthodox community. Deadline for applying for all three is April 20. Further details, including complete instructions and applications, are available on-line on the Archdiocese website at www.goarch.org Applications are also available from the Chancellor’s Office by calling (212) 774-0513, by e-mail at scholarships@ goarch.org, or written request to the Scholarship Committee, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Office of the Chancellor, 8-10 East 79th Street, New York, NY, 10075.
The Voice of Philoptochos Commitment to Troops Overseas Renewed
National President Sends Greetings
Dear National Board Members, Chapter Presidents and Members of the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, May the Lord bless you and your families in the New Year 2010 with good health, joy, strength and peace. Each year on the first day of the New Year we celebrate the Feast Day of St. Basil the Great. In honor of this feast, the Philoptochos leads us in focusing our efforts toward the Academy of St. Basil. The Academy is our warm and inviting residence in Garrison, N.Y., which offers a loving family environment whose purpose is to nurture and support children and alumni calling it home. Through the tireless dedication of its director, Fr. Constantine Sitaras, the great commitment of the Board of Directors, the quality care offered by the excellent staff, and the faithful volunteer support, the children at the Academy are raised in a bucolic setting on the eastern bank of the scenic Hudson River. It is at the Academy where they are educated in and practice their Greek Orthodox faith each and every day. The children are embraced spiritually and emotionally at the Academy and during the day they attend excellent schools that offer the best in academic and extracurricular programs. The Academy is named for St. Basil, the Church Father who studied, wrote manuscripts, established a soup kitchen, distributed food to the poor, offered medical assistance and served, through love, those in his community in a remote part of central Turkey named Cappadocia, Caesaria. This year I was blessed to travel with the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on a pilgrimage to Cappadocia, where St. Basil the Great lived in the fourth century. This region’s lunar-like landscape of bizarre, towering cones and gigantic stone mushrooms resulting from evolutionary geological erosion is evidence of the desire and persistence of the faithful to pray and live free of religious persecution. Remaining for the world to witness are inspiring churches, homes, elaborate cities built underground and in caves. This was home to St. Basil and faithful communities. This is the very great hierarch himself, St. Basil, whose memory we celebrate every New Year’s Day and whose faith and wisdom inspires us every day. For many years, since the purchase of the Academy in 1944, the women of the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society demonstrate their commitment in numerous and various ways but especially by organizing the Vasilopita events in their church communities. Like St. Basil the Great offering support and ministering to his community, the faithful women of the Society offer their strength and devotion to minister, with love, to the precious children of the Academy. Every year, in celebration of this feast, you are asked to support the Vasilopita Fund so that the Society may continue its support for this most wonderful Academy. Your efforts are expressions of love and compassion. The beneficiaries are the children at the Academy. This mission is sacred. We ask that you send your contributions from your Vasilopita event to the National Philoptochos Office, 7 West 55th Street, New York, NY 10019. With love in Christ, Aphrodite Skeadas
Detroit Philoptochos meet
Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit with members of the Metropolis Philoptochos Board and National President Aphrodite Skeadas at Sts. Constantine and Helen Church in Westfield, Mich., where they held their biennial conference. (Story on page 11).
New Year Greetings and Gratitude January is an important month for the Philoptochos chapters nationwide as they seek support for two critical ministries: St. Basil Academy and Social Services. Chapters throughout the country hold the annual Vasilopita to raise funds for the life-changing ministry at St. Basil Academy and also demonstrate strong monetary support for the Department of Social Services that daily meets the ever-increasing needs of those seeking assistance. National Philoptochos President Aph-
rodite Skeadas offered the following: “The National Philoptochos Society is grateful to all its members, the Philoptochos chapter presidents and boards and the parish communities for their continued support of the National Philoptochos ministries and asks that we all begin the New Year 2010 by renewing our commitment to offer our time, talent and treasure so that Philoptochos may experience a banner year in support of St. Basil Academy, the Department of Social Services and all Philoptochos programs.”
President Aphrodite Skeadas announced in November 2009 that National Philoptochos is renewing its commitment to support our troops overseas by asking that Philoptochos chapters prepare Care packages to send to servicemen and women. “Care packages from home demonstrate our support for the troops and help lift their spirits. Servicemen and women are often away from their base for 30 days or more without any sanitary facilities so that even the most basic items are welcome.” Two websites have been identified by the New Philanthropic Initiatives Chairmen, Barbara Pasalis and Crystal Thomas, to assist the chapters in this Care Packages for Our Troops effort, www.AnySoldier. com provides the name of a service member who will distribute care packages directly to the troops being served. Volunteers obtain a contact’s address and send all packages directly in care of this person. The website has a wealth of information, including links for Where to Send, What to Send and How to Send The website provides detailed lists of items desired by both male and female troops. Groups may either assemble their own care packages and mail them to the contact, or purchase ready-made packages that will automatically be forwarded from the website. Packages normally take approximately 14 days to arrive and are welcome year-round. Operation USO Care Package, www.usocares.org, allows individuals and groups to make donations in $25 increments and ready-made care packages are forwarded to the troops with a personalized message from the sender.
Metropolis of Pittsburgh Elects New Board, Holds Fundraisers by Barbara Pasalis
The Metropolis of Pittsburgh Philoptochos Board held its annual fall meeting and election in October in Upper St. Clair, PA. Activities for the coming year were discussed and charitable donations of over $50,000 were approved. The election of the 2009-2011 Metropolis Board included the following: Rosemary Nikas, Metropolis President, Anna Andrews, 1st Vice President; Mary Doreza, 2nd Vice President; Mary McElheny, Recording Secretary; Barbara Pasalis, Corresponding Secretary; Alexandra Melonas, Treasurer; Helen Bardis, Assistant Treasurer; Helen Pam Lagios, Advisor; Maria Alex, Ann Koukoulis, Joan Lamprinakos, Pauline Skeriotis, Joyce Spanakis and Crystal Thomas.. The Metropolis of Pittsburgh Philoptochos resently sponsored an afternoon of music and art, Spotlight on Music II and Silent Art Auction, at the University of Pittsburgh Campus and St. Nicholas Cathedral, where vocalists, instrumentalists, painters, sculptors, and photographers from 20 parishes contributed their time and talent to the fund-raiser. Pittsburgh-area Philoptochos chapters organized the “Meet the Artists” reception. Immediate Past Metropolis President Helen Pam Lagios presented a check for $10,000 which represented the evening’s proceeds, to Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh at the October 2009 Metropolis Philoptochos meeting. The annual Metropolis Daffodil Luncheon will take place on April 17 on Mt. Washington. The event will combine music and presentations with the luncheon.
Metropolitan Maximos with new members of the Metropolis Board.
Proceeds from this year’s event benefit the Metropolis Philoptochos Social Services Fund (75 percent) and the Lupus Center for Excellence (25 percent). Hosting the event are chapters from four Pittsburgh area churches: Annunciation (McKeesport), Holy Dormition (Oakmont), Presentation of Christ (East Pittsburgh), and St. Nicholas Cathedral (Pittsburgh). The St. Demetrios Philoptochos of Rocky River, Ohio creates unique initiatives for charitable giving. The chapter reported that at its first general meeting of the year, it hosted a baby shower to benefit ZOE for Life! (www. zoeforlifeonline.org). Lea Georgantas and Irene Panagopoulos, who volunteer at ZOE House, spoke to the members about ZOE’s mission and activities.
Infant supplies, clothing and toys were collected to be distributed to women in need. The St. Demetrios Philoptochos has identified six Philanthropic Circles that will guide their charitable work for the coming year: Community Service, Health Initiatives, Literacy, Social Services, Spiritual Enrichment, and Warm Up America! Knitting and Crocheting. Each month, an activity will be sponsored to benefit one of these initiatives. Rather than sponsoring events to raise funds to donate to worthy organizations, St. Demetrios will concentrate on activities designed to engage members in a more personal form of philanthropy. St. Demetrios Philoptochos hopes to enlist the active participation of members across all generations through these varied initiatives.
Commentaries and Opinions
Studying the Scriptures: A Necessary Spiritual Discipline
What is the Bible?
by Fr. Steven Tsichlis
Second of two parts One of the things people often say is that they don’t know how to go about beginning to read the Bible. And when they try to read it, they often don’t understand what they’re reading. It is a simple fact that people who are picking up the Bible and reading it for the first time will often find it difficult to understand – especially at first. But when you are reading the Bible, emphasize what you do understand, not what you don’t understand, and put what you do understand into practice in your life. For example, much of St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans discusses the sorry state of the human race, the nature of sin, the relationship between Jews and Gentiles, the Law of the Old Testament, Abraham and faith, redemption and the coming of Christ. The first 11 chapters of Romans, the longest and in some ways most theological of St. Paul’s letters, are a compendium of what Christians believe about all these topics and more, and parts of it may be difficult for us to comprehend. But at the beginning of chapter 12, St. Paul switches gears and in essence says, if this is what we believe we must therefore live in this way: “Love others without hypocrisy. Be eager to show respect for one another. Work hard and do not be lazy. Do not be arrogant. Do not think of yourselves as wise. If someone has done you wrong, do not repay him with evil. Never take revenge. Try to do what everyone considers to be good. Extend hospitality to strangers. Do everything possible on your part to live at peace with everyone. Conquer evil by doing what is good. Owe no one anything except to love one another.” These admonitions are simple, clear and straightforward – easy to understand, but much more difficult to put into practice. What we will discover is that as we begin to live what the Scriptures teach by putting into practice what we do understand, the rest of the Bible will often slowly begin to open up to us. But you might ask: what concrete, practical steps can we take to begin reading the Bible as a spiritual discipline, always seeking Christ with an open mind and heart? Here are seven suggestions on how to begin reading the Bible: 1.) We must read the Bible prayerfully. Always pray before you read the Bible that God will help you understand what you are reading in order to put His Word into practice in your daily life. One possible prayer to use is from the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom: Loving Master, shine the pure light of Your divine knowledge in our hearts. Open the eyes of our minds that we may
understand the message of Your Gospel. Instill in us reverence for Your blessed commandments, that having conquered our sinful desires, we may pursue a spiritual life, thinking and doing all those things that are pleasing to You. For You, O Christ our God, are the light of our souls and bodies and to You do we offer glory, together with Your Father who is without beginning and Your all-holy, good and life-giving Spirit now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen. 2.) Set aside a few minutes every day just for Bible reading – in the morning, afternoon, or before you go to bed—whenever is best for you. Don’t say you don’t have the time. You can make the time. No excuses! Everybody, no matter how busy, can set aside 5 or 10 minutes each day in order to read the Scriptures. 3.) Begin reading the Bible by reading those books that are easiest to understand. This means: in the New Testament, begin with the Gospel of Matthew and Luke, focusing on Christ, and then perhaps the First Letter of John. In the Old Testament, begin with the Book of Proverbs and then the Psalms. For first time readers it is generally not advisable to attempt to read the Bible straight through, starting at Genesis and ending with Revelation. Very few people who begin this way get much past the first half of Genesis. 4.) Don’t read too much at one time. Concentrating on a few verses and what they mean is far better than skimming through a whole chapter superficially. But if the Bible is totally new to you, you might want to read through a whole book quickly just to get a sense of the whole and then go back and focus on smaller passages. 5.) As you read the Bible, try to focus on what this passage means for us today and how we can actively apply the Bible’s teachings to our lives today. The Bible is not just a history book – it is the record of God’s Word addressed to each of us and our guide for Christian living! As St. Hesychios of Jerusalem wrote in the 4th century, “The words of the Scriptures are written for us not simply to understand them but also to do them.” 6.) Don’t worry about passages that seem strange to you or that you don’t understand. Ask God to help you to understand them in time. Every Scripture verse has to be understood in terms of its immediate context and in context of the entire Bible and the life of the Church as a whole. Always beware of people who quote a Bible verse in isolation and draw strange conclusions from it. 7.) The Bible is the Book of the Church. It is the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit that provides the proper context for interpreting the Scriptures, not any one individual (including ourselves). Therefore, in any question of Biblical interpretation, we must seek to learn what the Church teaches about it by consulting the lives and writings of the saints, the texts of our liturgical services, the icons, etc. You may also ask your priest for guidance. “First of all, you must understand this: no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20)
Feast of the Three Hierarchs and Greek Letters Day For I am not ashamed of the Gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith…. (Romans 1:16) Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, In this first month of the new year we are blessed to have in the calendar of our Holy Orthodox Church the commemoration of the Three Great Hierarchs and Ecumenical Teachers, St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory the Theologian, and St. John Chrysostom. On this day of their feast, we honor the lives and witness of these holy and brilliant men, who brought glory to God through their amazing service to the people in the name of Christ. Their lives offer to us a genuine image of the power of the Gospel, the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ, as they each believed in Him to the depths of their hearts, souls, and minds and as they were transformed by His presence into godly men imbued with divine power and wisdom. Further, the Three Hierarchs present a witness of the Gospel through their ministry of teaching, their defense of the faith, and their love of learning, together with service to others characterized by compassion, humility, and sacrifice. The lives of Saints Basil, Gregory, and John Chrysostom are beautiful testimonies of their acceptance of and total commitment to the Gospel. Each was influenced by holy family members and teachers who had received the message of Christ and believed. Each overcame struggles of mind and soul, challenges that were ultimately resolved in complete acceptance of divine grace. Through their life-long commitment to God, they conveyed the priority and purpose of our human existence in receiving the Gospel and being restored to communion with God. The belief of the Three Hierarchs in the Gospel was the foundation for their lives of service to God and to others. What they believed and preached, they lived. The Gospel was for them not only a message of truth leading to true life and salvation, it was and is a ministry. For Saints Basil, Gregory, and John Chrysostom the purpose of the message of God’s love extended beyond their own spiritual destiny to the needs of others. Thus, they served in compassion and humility, denying their own selves and sacrificing any personal gain for the sake of their fellow human beings. They lived the Gospel because they took upon themselves the example and ministry of Christ, oblivious to what they suffered, and generously offering all so that souls might be saved. As bishops and teachers of the Church, the Three Hierarchs also lived the Gospel in their priestly service and in their emphasis on the role of worship and the Holy Mysteries in leading us to life with God. This is a main theme throughout their writings. Through homilies, biblical expositions, great theological treatises in defense of the faith, and letters of admonition and counsel, Saints Basil, Gregory, and John Chrysostom affirmed the centrality of Christ in all things and the necessity of our response of faith to the message of salvation. In so doing, we enter a new life in communion with God, a relationship that is deepened and strengthened through participation in the community of believers, in worship, and in receiving Christ through the Holy Eucharist. Our faith in the Gospel and experience of it leads to our transformation, and the Three Hierarchs were fully aware of this fact. It is the power of the Gospel that changes our understanding of all facets of our human existence. This was reflected in the love of learning and language expressed by the Three Hierarchs as they affirmed the great potential of our God-given human abilities and the role of the mind and word in communicating the truths of life and faith. This is why today is also a celebration of Greek Letters. We recognize the role that Greek thought, language, and culture has had in furthering knowledge and understanding of our world. Methods of thought encouraged intellectual clarity and contributed to great scientific discoveries and advances; the Greek language became a foundation for many areas of modern language, offering conciseness and structure; and Greek culture as an expression of thought, art and language, set standards in literature, rhetoric, art and architecture. Sts. Basil, Gregory, and John Chrysostom recognized the relevance of this in communicating the Gospel of Christ. In addition to acknowledging the benefits of learning in the development of the mind, they also tapped the resources of Greek language and thought in order to illuminate great theological truths and to explore the implications of the divine revelation for our minds, souls and all of the created order. They also saw the relevance of adapting various cultural elements, which were expressions of the creativity and ingenuity of humanity, as means of communicating the Gospel. Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, on this feast day of the Three Hierarchs and the celebration of Greek Letters, let us look to the example of these great Saints of our Church and emulate their love of God and their faith in the Gospel of salvation. May we build a life of service and witness on the foundation of our belief in what Christ has done for us. May we also be grateful for the great inheritance we have received, one that nurtures a love of learning and language in the service of God and the ministry of the Gospel so that all humanity may hear, believe, and receive a Gospel leading to eternal life.
With paternal love in Christ,
The Bible in Worship Orthodox Christians are not merely to read the Bible, we are also to pray
† Archbishop DEMETRIOS of America
A RCHDIOCESE N E WS
Ecumenical Patriarch, Archbishop Condemn Synagogue Arson
On Jan. 20, the Etz-Hayyim synagogue in Hania, Crete, nearly burned to the ground after unknown arsonists set fire to a wooden staircase in the building. Upon learning of the incident, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Demetrios each issued statements condemning the attack. The following is a translation of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s letter dated Jan. 20 to the Jewish community of Greece on the recent arson attacks on the historic synagogue, “Erz Hayyim” in Chania, Crete. To the honorable Mr. Moses Konstantinis, Chairman of the Central Israeli Council of Greece: grace and peace from God. It is with profound sadness that we were informed at the Ecumenical Patriarchate about the new arson attempt against the building of the Hebrew Synagogue in the Old City of Chania. Therefore, through this our Patriarchal Letter, we want you to know that we condemn this deed as any other deed of violence and terrorism and, particularly, against sites of the worship of God. Fur-
thermore, we express to you the deep sympathy of our Most Holy Church of Constantinople and ours too, as well as our deeply felt compassion over this sad event. We pray to God to protect you and the Jewish community in Greece from every assault. In closing, we invoke upon you the grace and infinite mercy of God. His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America also made the following statement: It is deeply sad and disturbing that an attack on this historic 15th century synagogue or any house of worship should have ever happened. Clearly, such a sacrilege has been perpetrated by aberrant person or persons, who in no way represent the proud people of Crete or the Hellenic people as a whole, the names of whose heroes of the Holocaust are inscribed in the hearts of the Jewish people. We stand in solidarity with His All Holiness and all people of good will who condemn this cowardly act, and we pray for the swift restoration of this Synagogue, and for the well being of the historic Jewish community of Crete
were relocated to Nassau where my uncle Tommy was working for a hotel chain. The meeting turned into marriage for my mother and father and they continued their work in the church at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Des Plaines, Ill. As a family now including my brother Jim and I went back to visit Nassau and the church where my father’s best man, Peter the Greek, was from in 1986 and I remember feeling like I was home with extended family that was there, including the Annunciation Cathedral. Years have certainly passed I am now happily married to my wife, Kristine, and we have three boys where we still attend St. John’s today. Though mom and pop have since passed, my Aunt Stella is still with us and not a day goes where she reminds my brother and me about the early beginnings in Nassau and the Annunciation Cathedral. Thank you for profiling this parish and bringing back many memories. George J. Melachrinakis Des Plaines, Ill.
I just received my copy of the December issue of the Observer, and as always, I find it very informing and entertaining, especially this month. When I read the parish profile I was astonished to see the Annunciation Cathedral in Nassau, Bahamas profiled! My early beginnings are rooted in that church and the Bahamas. My grandfather, who I am named after, was one of those who immigrated from Skopelos, Greece to the Bahamas for work and no doubt attended that church. The tradition continued when my grandfather passed away that my father left Skopelos to continue earning a living in the many resorts and restaurants in the area to help his family back in Greece, being that my father was the only son in the family. The story continues in the late 1960’s when my father working and attending church met my mother through her sister Stella Waddell who with her husband, Thomas, and two kids Kathe and Jami
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(Center) Archbishop Demetrios and staﬀ members of the Archdiocese gather around the Christmas tree for the oﬃcial lighting and singing of traditional Greek and American Christmas carols. Gathering with their staﬀs for a Christmas photo are (clockwise from right) Metropolitan Methodios of Boston, Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco, Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit and, with (at left) staﬀ members and their families, Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh.
Archdiocese, Philoptochos, IOCC Aid Quake Victims page 1 now. There also are several parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Encyclical letter Archbishop Demetrios issued an encyclical letter on Jan. 13 to all parishes of the Archdiocese requesting prayers and a special collection “as a response of compassion to the needs of the people of Haiti.” His Eminence’s encyclical reads, in part: “I ask first and foremost of the faithful of the Greek Orthodox Church in America to offer their fervent prayers for the people of Haiti. May we help them through our prayers to find heavenly solace in this hour of grief and pain, and may they find strength and hope in Him through faith and through the ministry of love and healing offered from around the world. “In addition, may we also offer our prayers for the Greek Orthodox faithful and the two parishes of Haiti who are under the archpastoral leadership of Metropolitan Athenagoras of Mexico.
We pray for their safety and well-being, and for their witness and service during this difficult time …. This country and its people have experienced numerous tragedies and struggles, and this natural disaster has deepened the challenges with the destruction of hospitals, schools, churches, and relief centers. It is requested that the offerings be sent to the Archdiocese made out to the ‘Greek Orthodox Archdiocese’ earmarked for the Haiti Relief Fund.” Major IOCC effort International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC). mobilized its disaster response team and is coordinating with its Orthodox and ecumenical partners to monitor and respond to the needs in Haiti. “Our prayers are with the people of Haiti who have lost loved ones in this disaster that has brought even more suffering to one of the poorest nations in the hemisphere,” said IOCC Executive Director and CEO Constantine M. Triantafilou. “IOCC will be working with our fellow ACT Alliance members who are already in place to provide humanitarian aid to
those affected by the earthquake.” Also as part of this effort, Orthodox parishes throughout the country and volunteer metropolitan committees of the agency have called IOCC to participate in the drive to provide the hygiene kits. These hygiene kits are filled with such basics as soap, towels, toothbrushes and band aids. They are crucially important to help maintain sanitary conditions and keep disease at bay during humanitarian disasters like Haiti. They have been assembled by many parishes throughout the country. “The earthquake has taken its toll, but the fear now is that disease will set in and that will take its toll as well,” said Fr. Angelo Pappas, pastor of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Portsmouth, N.H., who immediately recruited the youth of his church as well as the Philoptochos Society chapter to create hygiene kits and clean-up buckets for IOCC. Orthodox Christians assemble the kits and then send them to a facility in western Maryland where their delivery to areas of need such as Haiti is coordinated
with ecumenical partners. “It’s both a practical thing for us and for those in need -- and it educates our children as well,” said Fr. Gregory Mathewes-Green, pastor of Holy Cross Antiochian Orthodox Church in Linthicum Heights, Md. During one recent weekend, an airlift of water purification and sanitation equipment for 10,000 people and 500 family tents arrived in Port-au-Prince. The airlift was made possible by a partnership between ACT Alliance members, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) and Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) and valued at more than $600,000. IOCC’s contribution to the airlift was underwritten by an emergency grant from the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, a long-standing partner with IOCC. Other Orthodox Christian organizations also helped to acquire aid for Haiti, including, the Northwest chorale group Cappella Romana, which held a humanitarian aid concert on Jan. 29 at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Portland, Oregon.
Metropolitan Nicholas Honored at Detroit Clergy-Laity Conference WESTLAND, Mich. – More than 160 registered delegates attended the Metropolis of Detroit’s 2009 Clergy-Laity and Philoptochos Assemblies Oct. 8-10 at Sts. Constantine and Helen parish. Among the highlights of the event was the celebration of Metropolitan Nicholas’ 10-year anniversary of his enthronement. Archbishop Demetrios attended the conference and participated in the plenary session on Oct. 9. Vice-chair Gus Stavropoulos opened the plenary session and Lou Kircos served as the Assembly chairman. The Archbishop also attended the Philoptochos Conference and held an affirmation ceremony for new board members. His Eminence presided at the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Oct. 11 and, at the conclusion of the service, presented the Medal of St. Paul to John Angelopoulos, who was celebrating his 40-year anniversary as the parish chanter. The Archbishop also tonsured the altar boys of the parish and elevated Fr. Teodor Petrutiu to the rank of economos.
Metropolitan Nicholas and clergy (above) at the 2009 Metropolis of Detroit Clergy-Laity Conference. Archbishop Demetrios and Metropolitan Nicholas (below) with the altar boys and their parents after the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, Oct. 11.
Opens assembly Metropolitan Nicholas opened the Assembly on Oct. 8 with his keynote address based on the words of Jesus: “You are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5: 13). “The theme has a particular significance for all of us,” the Metropolitan said. “There is something special about salt: it is extremely versatile and precious, preserves goods and gives flavor, and it is indispensable to life. “In the same way, the teachings of the Gospel are as salt: simple, yet penetrating, curative, cleansing and preserving us from spiritual decay. We have a call to live
Metropolis Philoptochos Convenes Biennial Conference by Elene Zaferes
The Metropolis of Detroit Philoptochos Biennial Conference was held October 2009 at St. Constantine and Helen Church in Westland, in conjunction with the Metropolis of Detroit Clergy-Laity Conference and the 10th Anniversary celebration of the Enthronement of Metropolitan Nicholas. National Philoptochos President Aphrodite Skeadas inspired the delegates in her opening remarks to reach out to other women to join the Mission of Philoptochos. Delegates from every corner of the Metropolis joined in fellowship for an educational and informative conference. A joint Philoptochos and Clergy-Laity session centered on the theme “You are the Salt of the Earth”. Philoptochos focused on “Back to Basics” workshops in which delegates were informed on Membership; Chapter Procedures; Elections and Officer Responsibilities for the Treasurer and Secretary. A Public Relations booklet was distributed to assist chapters in promoting their projects and events in the media and their communities. The Metropolis Philoptochos Board hosted an awards breakfast for the delegates. Over 40 Metropolis awards were given for large and small chapters in the following categories: Growth and Expansion, Commitments, Best Outreach
Metropolitan Nicholas and the Philoptochos delegates at the Clergy-Laity Conference.
and In-reach Projects, Best Fundraising Techniques and Cookbook Sales. Projects submitted were distributed to each chapter as a resource. A “Rotating Drawing” awarded two chapters at the Conference a donation for a charity of their choice. The drawing has proven to be successful by assisting the local chapter’s charity and informing their communities of Philoptochos philanthropic endeavors. The Metropolis Board initiated the “Partners In Philanthropy” in the Spring to give assistance to those in need within
the Metropolis of Detroit. The economic difficulties have been great in the Metropolis and we hope to bring a ray of sunshine to the lives of those experiencing various difficulties. Traverse City is the newest chapter in the Metropolis of Detroit. Although small in size, the chapter women are already proving how large their hearts are in helping the local parish and the Traverse City community at large. It is a true testament of their devotion and love for the Church that they are now a chapter of Philoptochos. The following were elected to
the Metropolis Philoptochos Board: Eleni Zaferes, Metropolis Philoptochos President; Harriet Stoukas, 1st Vice. President; Florence Stefanou, 2nd Vice President; Margaret Yates, Treasurer; Thalia Laventzis, Recording Secretary; Theone Dickos, Corresponding Secretary; Katherine Kotsis, Advisor. Board members are: Presbytera Thea Ballas, Beck Demery, Anna Feles, Mary Kotsis Gaggos, Perry Katsikas, Patricia Ladas, Pres. Teri Maggos, Voula Maggos, Dena Moraites, Presbytera Eva Paul, Jeanne Savas, Maria Stavropoulos, Helen Torney and Evanthia Valassiades.
Faith, Dance and Fellowship Shared by Families at FDF 2010 In 2011, FDF will celebrate its 35th Anniversary and will take place over Presidents Day Weekend, Feb. 17-20. SAN JOSE, Calif. – “Family Takes Center Stage” was The following are the Sweepstakes and first place the theme for the 2010 Metropolis of San Francisco Folk winning groups in each category. Space limitations Dance and Choral Festival, held Jan. 14 – 17. Throughout prevent the listing of every group in the Observer, but its history, FDF has attracted thousands of youth and for a complete listing, visit the website. their families to a weekend celebrating our Orthodox DIVISION I faith and Hellenic heritage. A generation is often defined Sweeptstakes: Mnemosyne, Holy Trinity, San as a span of about 30 years, and with FDF now in its 34th Francisco, Calif. year, we have seen generations come and go. Intermediate 1st: Peloponnisos, St. Nicholas, San The grandparents who proudly watched their Jose, Calif. - Choral: Periyiali, St. Katherine, Redondo grandchildren in those early years have departed this Beach, Calif. life; the parents who encouraged their children to dance Advanced Intermediate 1st: Asterakia, St. Anare now the new generation of grandparents; and those thony, Pasadena, Calif. - Choral: Nea Ellas, Assumption, young children who danced in mid 1970’s are now Long Beach, Calif. parents watching their own children dance. Senior 1st: Paradosi, Holy Trinity, San FranciscoPanagos photo Metropolitan Gerasimos stated, “A remarkable onChoral: Romiosini, Holy Trinity Cathedral, Portland, Archbishop Demetrios with a young dance group in colorful costumes. going legacy is found in many aspects of FDF. Dancers Oregon from the 1970’s are now parents, directors and judges. Advanced Senior 1st: Olympians, Assumption, Grandparents have mentored their children and grandLong Beach - Choral: Olympians, Assumption, Long children on native instruments and music, passing down Beach. to them the history of their ancestors and instilling in DIVISION II them a deep-rooted connection to generations past, Sweepstakes: Ellinopoula, St. Nicholas, Northridge, along with the obligation to share their knowledge with Calif. generations to come.” Primary 1st: I Parea, St. George, Downey, Calif. At the FDF weekend opening ceremonies, MetroChoral: I Parea, St. George, Downey politan Gerasimos was joined by over 25 Metropolis Advanced Primary 1st: Chrisi Thisavri, St. John the clergy on stage at the San Jose Civic Auditorium, blessing Baptist, Las Vegas - Choral: Opalakia, Sts. Constantine all the participants and attendees. and Helen, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Calif. This was followed by a presentation by the Drum Junior 1st: Maniates, Resurrection, Castro ValCafé–an interactive team-building performance that ley, Calif. - Choral: Rhythmos, St. Katherine, Redondo involves the audience in communication through drumBeach, Calif. ming rhythms, creating an atmosphere of energy and Advanced Junior 1st: Elliniki Klironomia, St. unity through sound. Nicholas, San Jose - Choral: Minoan Dancers 2, Nativity Kristen Bruskas photo A demonstration of the FDF theme, Family Takes of Christ, Novato, Calif. Center Stage, was the presence of Major League Soccer Metropolitan Gerasimos with the Division III Exhibititon Dance Groups. CHORAL AWARDS player George John, a midfielder with FC verse offering of Liturgical and Folk music. commitment to promoting our Orthodox Sweepstakes: Antilali, St. Demetrios, Dallas. George has been part of the FDF Top honors in the choral competition faith and Hellenic heritage. Mrs. Valerie Tucson, Ariz. family since his childhood, and has been went to Antilali from St. Demetrios Church Roumeliotes has served as Metropolis of Division I 1st:Aidonia, St. Demetrios, a participant in the dance groups at St. in Tucson, Ariz. San Francisco Philoptochos president for Seattle Demetrios Church in Seattle. On Friday and Saturday, workshops the past eight years and has been a memDivision II 1st:Youth Choir, St. John Dance competition was off to an early were led by Metropolis clergy and youth ber of the Metropolis Philoptochos Board the Baptist, Las Vegas - Choral Director start on both Friday and Saturday, with workers. for 22 years. Valerie was honored with the Award: Theodora Lamantia, St. Demetrios, more than 95 groups that included 1,500 Topics included current events and Humanitarian Award which was renamed Tucson youths from Arizona, California, Nevada, issues, especially those focusing on family, this year in honor of the late Metropolitan DIVISION AWARDS Oregon and Washington. faith, friendship and service to the com- Anthony. Directors In all, more than 4,000 people at- munity. Dr. Kenny Frangadakis was honored Division II: Marty McAndrews-Kyrimis, tended FDF throughout the weekend. Archbishop Demetrios made his third with the Elios Award for his outstanding Seattle - Division I: Chris Retelas, SacraChoral Competition was held on Friday visit to the Folk Dance Festival and the commitment to the Church. mento afternoon with the groups presenting a di- Metropolis of San Francisco officially honAs a founding member of the Elios Instrumental ored him for the 10th anniversary of his Society, Kenny has raised funds to support Division II: Alex Torres, Castro Valley programs that promote Hellenism. He is a - Division I: Michael Garibaldi enthronement. Archons of the Metropolis hosted an member of Leadership 100 and an Archon Special Awards elegant dinner on Friday night for more of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Division I: Vergina, St. George, Archbishop Demetrios celebrated the Downey, Calif., for their Pontian suite. than 100 persons, including many priests Archieratical Divine Liturgy on Sunday and presbyteres. Regional Archon Commander Fanis morning, with the Metropolis Youth Choir Economidis spoke about the Order of singing hymns and responses under the St. Andrew’s efforts to call stronger in- direction of Presbytera Maria Hondros from ternational attention to the plight of the Las Vegas. Archbishop Demetrios and MetroEcumenical Patriarchate. The Archons also presented the Archbishop with the Hellenic politan Gerasimos also led the faithful in a Urn designed by Robert Cassetti for Steuben five-year memorial service for Metropolitan Glass. Metropolitan Gerasimos remarked Anthony and past FDF participants who are on the Archbishop’s distinguished service reposed in the Lord. Sunday afternoon’s final round of comto the Church,. Kristen Bruskas photo Saturday afternoon brought forth more petition for the Advanced Senior Division Metropolitan Gerasimos with one of the littlest than 150 “young dancers in training” with featured musicianship and took the audidancers. the Division III Exhibition performances.. ence on a virtual tour of Greece through Panagos photo The exhibition round began with Metro- dance suites representative of many differThe Mnemosyne group from Holy Trinity in politan Gerasimos leading the children in ent regions and islands. The Sunday Awards Banquet was at- San Francisco. They took home top honors as a traditional Kalamatiano. Sweepstakes. Cultural Night on Jan. 16 featured tended by more than 2,100 people. During his remarks Archbishop Demethe stunning performances from the top winners in 2009 – the Youth Choir from trios stated, “If anyone says ‘I’ll show you Saint John the Baptist Church in Las Vegas a star’, I would say to them, ‘Come to FDF (Choral Sweepstakes); the Spartiates from and I will show you a constellation.’” The 2010 FDF was led by Fr. Gary St. Demetrios Church in Seattle (Division II Sweepstakes), and the Olympian Danc- Kyriacou, the Board of Trustees chairman, ers from the Assumption Church in Long and board members Spiro Beckas, John Boudouvas and Michael Syrengelas. They Beach, Calif. (Division I Sweepstakes). Two distinguished individuals were were assisted by management yeam Direcalso honored at Cultural Night for their tor Christa Barbas and a group of young Kristen Bruskas photo Panagos photo exemplary service to the Metropolis and the adults. Elliniki Floga from St. Nicholas Church in San Jose. Three young dancers of the exhibition group. by Kristen Bruskas
Epiphany 2010 from New York to Florida to California Several parishes across the country held their annual Epiphany events, with young people diving for the cross in many venues, braving cold weather in most places. In the oldest celebration at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Tarpon Springs, Archbishop Demetrios presided over the festivities and tossing of the cross into Spring Bayou, where a record 71 divers participated in frigid conditions. A record cold snap in the area brought temperatures down to the mid-30s and turnout was small compared to other years. Metropolitan Alexios, who would normally be co-celebrating with the Arch-
bishop, had to go to Greece because his father had passed away. The event included participation by several clergy from neighboring communities. Elsewhere, cross diving events took place in Babylon and Merrick on Long Island, and at Battery Park in Manhattan where the parish of St. Nicholas at Ground Zero continued the tradition in New York Harbor. In icy northern Michigan and Spokane, Wash., clergy conducted water blessing services. In sunny Southern California, parishes in San Diego and Long Beach held their ceremonies in a more comfortable environment. Tarpon Springs In his first dive, Dimitrios Kalogiannis of New Po r t R i c h e y, Fla. Retrieved the cross from Spring Bayou as a few thousand shivering spectators looked on. (below).
Nassau At Annunciation Church in Nassau, Bahamas, cross retrievers Terry Mosko and Katherine Henderson are shown with Fr. Nicholas Triantafilou, president of Holy Cross-Hellenic College, who oﬃciated at Epiphany ceremony and who has been involved with the spiritual development of the community for several years, Fr. Teodor Bita, pastor, and other parishioners. (Photo by Nick Klonaris)
Babylon, ΝΥ Several boys in wetsuits leap of the dock at a marina near South Oyster Bay to retrieve the cross thrown in by the Very Rev. Nektarios Papazafiropoulos, pastor of St. Nicholas Church in West Babylon.
Corpus Christi Situated directly across the Gulf of Mexico from Tarpon Springs, the unusually cold weather also aﬀected the Epiphany ceremony at St. Nicholas Church in Corpus Christi, Texas, by John Piperis, 18, did successfully retrieve the cross from the bay. He is shown with Fr. Stelios N. Sitaras, pastor.
Merrick At St. Demetrios Church in Merrick, N.Y., Yianni Hilas successfully retrieved the cross from the Wantagh Park Marina. Five boys participated. (Photo by Iraklis Dimoulas). San Diego From the frigid cold back east to the balmy waters of San Diego Bay, Fr. Andrew Scordalakis, pastor of St. Spyridon Church stands with cross retriever Stavros Markakis and parish council President Spero Tzathas. The event took place at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina.
Long Beach, Calif. Fr. John Roll, pastor of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Long Beach, Calif., officiates at the cross diving ceremony on Jan. 6. (Nick Zamvakellis photo)
Spokane A Pan Orthodox blessing ceremony took place along the Spokane River in Washington with Fr. Stephen Supica of Holy Trinity Church in Spokane, joined by priests from Christ the Savior Antiochian Orthodox Church, Spokane Valley, and St. John’s Antiochian Orthodox Church,
Michigan Fr. Iakovos Olechnowicz, pastor of Archangel Gabriel Mission Church in Traverse City, Mich., performs an outdoor blessing of the water of Grand Traverse Bay oﬀ of Lake Michigan from the pier of the Great Lakes Maritime Academy. The church has about 100 members.
A 60 Minutes Producer Reflects on Her Experience page 1 ing to Istanbul, Turkey. We were heading there to profile the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Church, Bartholomew I. I didn’t know very much about him. For one, I always assumed the heart of the Orthodox Church was in Athens, Greece. Finding out it was in Istanbul, Turkey was the beginning of my history lesson. My knowledge of Greco-Turk relations was also very thin and so learning about the fragile position the Orthodox Church finds itself in, in a country that is 99 percent Muslim was also an eye opener. As with all stories done on “60 Minutes” the first step is research; some stories require more than others and this one involved 17 centuries worth of research! I knew that I was going to see Istanbul; Cappadocia in Eastern Turkey, the Sinai in Egypt and our trip would end in Jerusalem. Overall our story was about the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Church and the position of Christianity in the part of the world where it all began. Seeing Istanbul for the first time is like walking into a giant museum; not only is it a beautiful city, but you somehow get a sense that things happened there a very long time ago. Turkey in general is a beautiful country with lovely people and such a rich culture. So I constantly had to remind myself that our story was about a controversial issue in Turkey which had to do with a minority of people - Turks of Greek ancestry - whose presence had gone from a population of nearly 2 million in the early 1920s to only 4,000 today. The story was ultimately about discrimination and the lack of religious freedom on the part of the Turkish government. Our profile of His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was to be his first on a major American television network and his can-
dor, calm and determination are qualities to be appreciated considering the risk he took in speaking with us. A slight man in stature, his presence is that of greatness. My first encounter with him is one that I will never forget. I was filming some shots with my camera crew at the Phanar - the Church’s headquarters in Istanbul - when someone from His All Holiness’s office came to us stating that The Patriarch wanted to meet us right then and there. Because this meeting was not to happen until that evening, I didn’t feel I was appropriately dressed to meet him right then and there. We are so focused on people’s perceptions of first impressions that I feared his first impression of me wouldn’t have been so positive. I felt - and was - underdressed to meet such a person of his stature, but of course I couldn’t exactly say ‘no, I’d rather go back and change and meet him later.’ So here I am feeling both nervous and shy, walking through these lovely corridors and through two doors. I walk in and up from his desk Patriarch Bartholomew walks towards me, with his hand out to shake mine and as soon as I felt him, I simply begin to weep. Rarely have I felt someone exude so much goodness, and he just held my hand for what seemed to be a good, long while in the most reassuring way. I composed myself and was invited to sit down. Someone brought in a treat called “Mastica” which was a sweet, white paste on a spoon in a glass of cold water. I watched as the others began licking their spoons, so I followed and as the Patriarch was licking his, I couldn’t help but think that here we are, so relaxed and this man is fighting a battle of survival, the survival of his church. It was really quite surreal. That evening we had dinner with His All Holiness and other members of The
Church. He talked of his travels and his education at the Halki School of Theology, his family and his life. He spoke fondly of his parents and his siblings and growing up on his home island of Imvros. A lot of the conversation was also in French, a language he’s more comfortable in than English. Bob Simon and I are lucky to speak it and that made The Patriarch feel more at ease. After that dinner we were to catch a flight to Cappadocia in Eastern Turkey and His All Holiness was very keen to know what our experience would be there upon our return to Istanbul. He told us that seeing the small churches there would make us better understand why the heart of the Orthodox Church is in Turkey and despite what he feels are efforts on the part of Turkish officials to eventually squeeze the church out of Turkey, seeing Cappadocia would, to him, make us better understand why leaving that land is out of the question. With barely enough time to rest after our arrival in Cappadocia, our adventure began at about 5:00 a.m. in a hot air balloon. It was my first time in one and my curiosity and excitement about what I was about to see completely overshadowed any fear I had of getting in a balloon. The landscape just took my breath away and yet I also felt as though I was on another planet, or on the set of a George Lucas film. Seeing these caves carved into the side of these stone mountains was something unimaginable. I wondered how the people who lived in these caves survived and yet the evidence is there that these places were lived in for what seemed to be a long time. I was also surprised to see quite a number of pilgrims there, yet another eye opener that not everything only happens in The Holy Land. Hearing that most of the caves with were built in the late 4th to early 5th centuries and seeing these frescoes painted on their walls just simply
rendered me speechless. We headed back to Istanbul and thanks to our trip to Cappadocia we were better prepared for the formal interview with His All Holiness at the Halki School of Theology. The Halki was shut down by the Turkish government back in 1971 according to a Turkish law that states that due to that country’s secular position, there can be no religious instruction. Halki’s closure is His All Holiness’s greatest battle and he’s determined that in his lifetime the school will reopen because he feels that its closure threatens the future of his church. The school is on a lovely property located on an island called Heybeliada, part of the Princes Islands. We took a private boat to the island from Istanbul because I was told that when His All Holiness would take the regular ferry, many times he was ridiculed and even spat on by non-Christians. The school, built in 1844, is inhabited by about three monks who maintain the grounds with a handful of helpers. It is kept in immaculate condition, at the ready, in case the Turkish government gives permission to reopen its doors. Throughout our tour, His All Holiness showed us the empty dormitories, classrooms and library. By the time we sat down with him he summed up the Turkish government’s actions towards him and his church in one word: crucifixion. Aside from the sniffles heard in that room, one could hear a pin drop. Following our stay in Turkey, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew also sent us to St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai in Egypt. That was yet another trip back in time and yet so 21st century. Seeing Christian monks living side by side with Bedouins, in total harmony was also an eye opening experience. It was an issue of National Geographic coming to life! It
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Ο Αγιασμός των Υδάτων στο Τάρπον Σπρινγκς της Φλόριδα ΝΕΑ ΥΟΡΚΗ.- Ο Σεβασμιώτατος Αρχιεπίσκοπος Δημήτριος προέστη των 104ων ετησίων εορταστικών εκδηλώσεων των Θεοφανείων στο Τάρπον Σπρινγκς της Φλόριδα, στην “πόλη των Θεοφανείων” όπως είναι γνωστή στο αμερικανικό κοινό, την Τετάρτη 6 Ιανουαρίου. Μετά το πέρας της Θείας Λειτουργίας η οποία τελέστη στον Καθεδρικό Ναό του Αγίου Νικολάου και χοροστάτησε ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Αμερικής, μαζί με τους ιερείς και το εκκλησίασμα, σε πομπή, κατευθύνθηκαν στον κολπίσκο
“Spring Bayou”, όπου παραδοσιακά τελείται ο αγιασμός των Υδάτων και γίνεται η ρίψη και ανάσυρση του Σταυρού. Φέτος τυχερός βουτηχτής -εν μέσω περισσοτέρων από 70 Ελληνόπουλωναναδείχθηκε ο 16χρονος Δημήτριος Καλογιάννης, από το Νιου Πορτ Ρίτσι, ο οποίος και ανέσυρε στην επιφάνεια τον Σταυρό που έριψε ο Σεβασμιώτατος στα νερά του Κόλπου του Μεξικού, με το θερμόμετρο σε πολύ χαμηλά επίπεδα, σημειώνοντας ρεκόρ ψύχους για την περιοχή.
Ανακοίνωση της Αρχιεπισκοπής Αμερικής για δυο Ελληνόπουλα της Αφρικής ΝΕΑ ΥΟΡΚΗ – Τις τελευταίες ημέρες παραπλανητικά δημοσιεύματα στον Τύπο σχετικά με την περίπτωση δυο ορφανών παιδιών από τη Λαϊκή Δημοκρατία του Κογκό, συγγενείς των οποίων στις ΗΠΑ ζήτησαν τη βοήθεια της Ακαδημίας του Αγίου Βασιλείου, υποχρεώνουν την Ιερά Αρχιεπισκοπή Αμερικής να παρουσιάσει τα παρακάτω αντικειμενικά δεδομένα. Τον Ιούνιο του 2009, οι συγγενείς των δύο παιδιών στις Η.Π.Α. απηύθυναν το ερώτημα στην Ακαδημία του Αγίου Βασιλείου της πόλεως Garrison της Νέας Υόρκης για το εάν το ίδρυμα θα μπορούσε να βοηθήσει ώστε τα δύο αυτά παιδιά να έρθουν στις Ηνωμένες Πολιτείες και να γίνουν δεκτά στην οικογένεια της Ακαδημίας. Στους συγγενείς αυτούς των παιδιών, η Ακαδημία του Αγίου Βασιλείου κατέστησε γνωστό ότι σύμφωνα με τον ισχύοντα αμερικανικό μεταναστευτικό νόμο, η Ακαδημία που είναι οικοτροφείο και όχι πλέον σχολείο, δεν θα μπορούσε νομίμως να αναλάβει την διαδικασία ελεύσεως των παιδιών στις Ηνωμένες Πολιτείες. Επίσης, η Ακαδημία συνέστησε προς την οικογένεια να εξετάσει επιλογές που προσφέρονται μόνο σε αυτούς ως συγγενικά πρόσωπα και οι οποίες θα επιτρέψουν στα παιδιά να εισέλθουν στις Ηνωμένες Πολιτείες. Υπ’ αυτές τις συνθήκες η Ακαδημία θα μπορούσε να παράσχει στέγη προσωρινά με την προοπτική για μόνιμη εγκατά-
σταση, μετά την απόκτηση της μονίμου κηδεμονίας των παιδιών από τους συγγενείς τους στην Αμερική. Η Ακαδημία του Αγίου Βασιλείου δεν αρνήθηκε ποτέ να δεχθεί τα παιδιά και βρίσκεται σε επικοινωνία με την εδώ οικογένεια των, τους τελευταίους επτά μήνες. Δεν υπήρξε ποτέ θέμα οικονομικής επιβαρύνσεως της οικογενείας για την αποδοχή των παιδιών. Η Ακαδημία έχει πληροφορηθεί από την οικογένεια ότι ήδη προσπαθούν να εξασφαλίσουν την κηδεμονία των παιδιών ώστε αυτά να τοποθετηθούν στην Ακαδημία του Αγίου Βασιλείου. Τόσο η Ιερά Αρχιεπισκοπή όσο και η Ακαδημία του Αγ. Βασιλείου προσβλέπουν στην υποδοχή του Κωστάκη και του Δημήτρη το συντομότερο δυνατόν. Η Ιερά Αρχιεπισκοπή Αμερικής, Ο Σεβασμιώτατος Αρχιεπίσκοπος Αμερικής κ. Δημήτριος και η Ακαδημία του Αγ. Βασιλείου υπήρξαν και παραμένουν πρόθυμοι και επιθυμούν διακαώς να βοηθήσουν αυτή την οικογένεια. Κάθε άλλη παρουσίαση των ανωτέρω η οποία δίνει αντίθετη εικόνα είναι ανεύθυνη και αξιοκατάκριτη. Πρόκειται περί αίσχους και πρέπει να αισχύνονται όσοι μπορούν και εκμεταλλεύονται με υπερβολές, με παραποίηση της αλήθειας και αβάσιμες καταγγελίες την δυστυχία οποιουδήποτε παιδιού και ιδιαίτερα όταν πρόκειται περί ορφανού.
Ο Παναγιώτης Κουζινός από τη νήσον Ιμβρο ανασύρει το Σταυρό από τα παγωμένα νερά του Κερατίου Κόλπου κατά τη διάρκεια της τελετής των Θεοφανείων.
ΤΑ ΑΓΙΑ ΘΕΟΦΑΝΕΙΑ ΕΝ ΤΟΙΣ ΠΑΤΡΙΑΡΧΕΙΟΙΣ Μετ’ ἐκκλησιαστικῆς μεγαλοπρεπείας καί τάξεως ἑωρτάθη ἐν τοῖς Πατριαρχείοις ἡ λαμπρά ἑορτή τῆς ἐν τοῖς ρείθροις τοῦ Ἰορδάνου Ἐπιφανείας τοῦ Κυρίου καί Θεοῦ καί Σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. Ἡ Α. Θ. Παναγιότης, ὁ Πατριάρχης, ἐχοροστάτησεν ἐν τῷ Π. Πατριαρχικῷ Ναῷ, κατά τόν Ἑσπερινόν μετά τῆς Θείας Λειτουργίας τοῦ Μ. Βασιλείου τήν παραμονήν, Τρίτην, 5ην Ἰανουαρίου, ἐν μέσῳ πυκνοῦ ἐκκλησιάσματος ἐξ ὁμίλου Καθηγητῶν τοῦ 4ου Λυκείου Τρικάλων, ὑπό τήν ἡγεσίαν τοῦ Ἐλλογ. κ. Γεωργίου Γενιτζάκη, Λυκειάρχου, ἐκ πολυμελοῦς ὁμίλου τοῦ Σώματος Ἑλλήνων Προσκόπων (Σ.Ε.Π.), ὑπό τήν ἡγεσίαν τοῦ Ἐντιμ. κ. Χρήστου Σταθοπούλου, Προέδρου αὐτοῦ, ἐκ μελῶν τῆς Ἑλληνικῆς Κοινότητος Μπάρι, ὑπό τήν ἡγεσίαν τοῦ Ἐντιμ. κ. Ἰωάννου Θεοδοσίου, Ἰατροῦ, Προέδρου αὐτῆς, πρός οὕς ὁ Πατριάρχης ἀπηύθυνε πατρικούς λόγους. Τήν ἑπομένην, Τετάρτην, 6ην Ἰανουαρίου, προέστη τῆς Πατριαρχικῆς καί Συνοδικῆς Θείας Λειτουργίας τῆς Ἑορτῆς, συλλειτουργούντων Αὐτῷ τῶν Σεβ. Μητροπολιτῶν Προικοννήσου κ. Ἰωσήφ, Φιλαδελφείας κ. Μελίτωνος, Σεβαστείας κ. Δημητρίου καί Γαλλίας κ. Ἐμμανουήλ. Ἐν τῷ τέλει τῆς Δοξολογίας, ἡ Α. Θ. Παναγιότης, ὁ Πατριάρχης, ἐτέλεσε τόν Μέγαν Ἁγιασμόν, ἁγιάσας ἐν συνεχείᾳ τούς συλλειτουργούς Αὐτοῦ ἁγίους Ἀρχιερεῖς, τούς Κληρικούς τῆς Πατριαρχικῆς Αὐλῆς, τούς Ἐξοχ. κ. κ. Ἰωάννην Πανάρετον, ἐκπροσωποῦντα τήν ἔντιμον Κυβέρνησιν τῆς Ἑλλάδος, καί Φώτιον Ξύδαν, Πρέσβυν τῆς Ἑλλάδος ἐν Ἀγκύρᾳ, ᾧτινι καί ηὐχήθη ἐπί τῇ ὀνομαστικῇ αὐτοῦ ἑορτῇ, καί τόν Ἐντιμ. κ. Βασίλειον Μπορνόβαν, Γενικόν Πρόξενον τῆς Ἑλλάδος ἐνταῦθα. Κατά τήν Θείαν Λειτουργίαν παρέστησαν συμπροσευχόμενοι οἱ Σεβ. Μητροπολῖται Πέργης κ. Εὐάγγελος καί Θεοδωρουπόλεως κ. Γερμανός, ὁ Πανοσιολ. Ἀρχιμανδρίτης κ. Νεκτάριος Σελαλματζίδης, Ἐπίτροπος τοῦ Παναγίου Τάφου ἐν τῇ Πόλει, ὁ Ἐξοχ. Πρέσβυς κ. Λεωνίδας Χρυσανθό-
πουλος, Γεν. Γραμματεύς τοῦ Ὀργανισμοῦ Οἰκονομικῆς Συνεργασίας Μαύρης Θαλάσσης «ΟΣΕΠ» («ΒSEC» Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization), ὁ Ἐξοχ. κ. Γεώργιος Παυλίδης, Νομάρχης Ξάνθης, ὁ Ἐντιμ. κ. Στέφανος Ταμβάκης, Πρόεδρος τοῦ Συμβουλίου Ἀποδήμου Ἑλληνισμοῦ, στελέχη τοῦ ἐνταῦθα Δημοκρατικοῦ Κόμματος («Demokrat Parti»), ἄλλοι ἐπίσημοι, ὡς καί πλῆθος προσκυνητῶν ἐκ τοῦ ἐξωτερικοῦ καί πιστοί ἐντεῦθεν. Ο υφυπουργός Παιδείας κ. Γιάννης Πανάρετος εκπροσώπησε την ελληνική κυβέρνηση. Μετά τό τέλος τῆς Θείας Λειτουργίας, ἡ Α. Θ. Παναγιότης, ὁ Πατριάρχης, μετά τῶν Σεβ. Ἀρχιερέων, καί τῶν κωδώνων κρουομένων χαρμοσύνως, μετέβη ἐν πομπῇ εἰς τήν ἀποβάθραν τοῦ Φαναρίου, ὅπου προέστη τῆς τελετῆς τῆς Καταδύσεως τοῦ Τιμίου Σταυροῦ εἰς τήν θάλασσαν καί ηὐλόγησε τούς κατακλύσαντας τάς ὁδούς εὐλαβεῖς πιστούς. Τόν Σταυρόν ἀνέσυρεν ἐκ τῆς θαλάσσης ὁ Ἐντιμ. κ. Παναγιώτης Κουζινός, ἐξ Ἴμβρου, κάτοικος νῦν Ἀθηνῶν, εἰς ὅν ὁ Πατριάρχης ἀπένειμεν ἐπιστήθιον χρυσοῦν σταυρόν εἰς εὐλογίαν, ὡς καί ἀναμνηστικά εἰς τούς ὑπολοίπους κολυμβητάς.
Επιστολές Αρχιεπισκόπου Αμερικής Δημητρίου σε Ομπάμα-Μπάϊντεν-Κλίντον και Πελόσι για Ασφάλεια και Προστασία του Οικουμενικού Πατριάρχου Βαρθολομαίου óåë. 16
Επιστολές Αρχιεπισκόπου Αμερικής Δημητρίου σε Ομπάμα-Μπάϊντεν-Κλίντον και Πελόσι για την Ασφάλεια και την Προστασία του Οικουμενικού Πατριάρχου Βαρθολομαίου
Βαρθολομαίος σε CBS: «Πιστεύω στα θαύματα. Μετά τη Σταύρωση έρχεται η Ανάσταση. Εμείς πιστεύουμε στην Ανάσταση». ΟΙ ΕΙΝΑΙ ΑΔΕΛΦΙΑ» και στα τουρκικά «να δικαστούν οι πραξικοπηματίες και όσοι σχεδιάζουν «κλωβούς»». Υπενθυμίζεται ότι το σχέδιο «Κλωβός», που αποκαλύφθηκε από την τουρκική δικαιοσύνη πρόσφατα, είναι σχέδιο που επεξεργάζονται δυνάμεις του στρατού για την δολοφονία προσωπικοτήτων με στόχο να προκληθούν επεισόδια ανάλογα με τα Σεπτεμβριανά. Εκπρόσωπος του συνασπισμού διάβασε ανακοίνωση στην οποίαν παρουσιάζονται οι στόχοι της διαδήλωσης και ανάφερε μεταξύ άλλων «δεν αισθανόμαστε ήσυχοι. Διότι σύμφωνα με το σχέδιο «Κλωβός», ο πρώτος που θα εδολοφονείτο ήταν ο Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος», αναφέρει ανακοίνωση και τονίζει ότι «δεν θα επιτρέψουμε ούτε πραξικόπημα, ούτε και νέα Σεπτεμβριανά».
ΝΕΑ ΥΟΡΚΗ.- Ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Αμερικής Δημήτριος στις 24 Δεκεμβρίου, λίγες μόλισ ημέρες μετά την ιστορική συνέντευξη του Οικουμενικού Πατριάρχου Βαρθολομαίου στο αμερικανικό τηλεοπτικό δίκτυο CBS, απέστειλε επιστολές με αποδέκτες τον πρόεδρο των Ηνωμένων Πολιτειών, Μπαράκ Ομπάμα, τον αντιπρόεδρο Τζο Μπάϊντεν, την υπουργό Εξωτερικών Χίλαρι Κλίντον, την πρόεδρο της Βουλής Νάνσι Πελόσι και τον επικεφαλής της Δημοκρατικής πλειοψηφίας στη Γερουσία Χάρι Ριντ μέσω των οποίων εξέφρασε την ανησυχία του για την ασφάλεια του Οικουμενικού Πατριάρχη Βαρθολομαίου. Ο Προκαθήμενος της Ελληνορθόδοξης Εκκλησίας στην Αμερική ζήτησε την αρωγή της αμερικανικής ηγεσίας στην προστασία του Πατριάρχη, αλλά και και περαιτέρω στην κατοχύρωση των δικαιωμάτων λειτουργίας και θρησκευτικής αποστολής του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου Κωνσταντινουπόλεως. Επίσης, στη Νέα Υόρκη συνήλθε εκτάκτως η Ιερά Σύνοδος της Ελληνορθοδόξου Αρχιεπισκοπής Αμερικής η οποία αποφάσισε να προβεί σε διαβήματα για να εξασφαλιστεί η περαιτέρω ελεύθερη και αδιατάραχτη λειτουργία του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου. Εκτός από τις επιστολές του Αρχιεπισκόπου Δημητρίου, στάλθηκαν επίσης επιστολές και από τα μέλη της Ιεράς Συνόδου. Οι επιστολές και άλλες ενέργειες από πλευράς Αρχιεπισκόπου Δημητρίου κρίθηκαν αναγκαίες μετά από τις ανησυχίες που δημιουργήθηκαν λόγω της συνέντευξης του Οικουμενικού Πατριάρχη Βαρθολομαίου στην τηλεοπτική εκπομπή «60 λεπτά» του CBS. Τόσο ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Αμερικής Δημήτριος όσο και στελέχη και παράγοντες της Ομογένειας εξέφρασαν την ικανοποίησή τους για τα όσα ανέφερε ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος στη συνέντευξη που παραχώρησε στην τηλεοπτική εκπομπή «60 λεπτά» του CBS και η οποία προβλήθηκε στις 20 Δεκεμβρίου. Ο Σεβασμιώτατος Αμερικής δήλωσε πως «με ηρεμία και χωρίς κανένα ίχνος εχθρότητας, παρουσίασε τις τεράστιες δυσκολίες που αντιμετωπίζει το Πατριαρχείο», τονίζοντας ότι «εκτός από το κλείσιμο της Θεολογικής Σχολής της Χάλκης, είναι και η άρνηση της τουρκικής κυβέρνησης να αναγνωρίσει τον τίτλο ‘Οικουμενικός’ για τον Πατριάρχη». Ο κ. Δημήτριος τόνισε επίσης ότι «ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης ανέφερε με έμφαση την ανάγκη όπως η τουρκική κυβέρνηση επιτέλους να ενεργήσει σύμφωνα με τα ιδεώδη της δημοκρατίας και της ελευθερίας της θρησκείας». «Συνδυάζοντας σαφείς και αμετακίνητες θέσεις με ταπεινότητα, μίλησε ειλικρινά για την κατάσταση του Πατριαρχείου. Ένα πολύ σημαντικό στοιχείο που παρουσιάστηκε κατά τη διάρκεια της συνέντευξης ήταν και η αναφορά στην Ιερά Μονή Αγίας Αικατερίνης του Όρους Σινά και στη βιβλιοθήκη της όπου φυλάσσεται έγγραφο που υπογράφεται από τον ίδιο τον Μωάμεθ, ο οποίος μιλά για το δικαίωμα της ελευθερίας της θρησκευτικής πίστης». Η ΣΥΝΕΝΤΕΥΞΗ ΣΤΟ CBS Κατά τη διάρκεια της τηλεοπτικής συνέντευξης, που έγινε λίγες μέρες μετά το περασμένο Πάσχα, σε μια από τις πιο καταξιωμένες ειδησεογραφικές εκπομπές της τηλεόρασης, ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης
Ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος κατά τη διάρκεια της συνέντευξής του στο δημοσιογράφο του CBS Μπομπ Σιάμον για την εκπομπή «60 λεπτά».
χρησιμοποίησε - όπως τόνισαν ελληνοαμερικανοί παράγοντες - για πρώτη φορά «σκληρή γλώσσα» κατά της Τουρκίας. Παράλληλα με τη συνέντευξη του Οικουμενικού Πατριάρχου προβλήθηκαν φωτογραφίες από το γραφείο του και το Φανάρι, τη Θεολογική Σχολή της Χάλκης και την Αγία Σοφία. Σε ερώτηση του δημοσιογράφου Μπομπ Σιάμον, ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης τόνισε ότι αισθάνεται «σταυρωμένος», σημειώνοντας: «Πιστεύω στα θαύματα. Μετά τη Σταύρωση έρχεται η Ανάσταση. Εμείς πιστεύουμε στην Ανάσταση». Και συνέχισε: «Μας συμπεριφέρονται σαν να είμαστε πολίτες δεύτερης κατηγορίας. Και αισθανόμαστε ότι δεν απολαμβάνουμε τα πλήρη δικαιώματά μας ως πολίτες της Τουρκίας. Θα ήταν ευτυχές, να έβλεπε (εννοεί το τουρκικό κράτος) το Πατριαρχείο να διαλύεται ή να φεύγει στο εξωτερικό, αλλά εμείς πιστεύουμε ότι αυτό δεν θα συμβεί ποτέ». Σε κάποιο άλλο σημείο της ιστορικής αυτής συνέντευξης ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης τόνισε πως: «Επισκέφτηκα τον πρωθυπουργό και πολλούς υπουργούς εκθέτοντας τα προβλήματά μας και ζητώντας βοήθεια», αλλά υπογράμμισε ότι δε βρήκε «καμία ανταπόκριση». Στην ερώτηση «σας μεταχειρίζονται σαν πολίτες δεύτερης κατηγορίας και είστε Έλληνας. Γιατί δεν πάτε στην Ελλάδα;» ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης δήλωσε: «Αυτή είναι η πατρίδα μας, εδώ γεννηθήκαμε, εδώ θέλουμε να πεθάνουμε. Αισθανόμαστε ότι εδώ είναι η αποστολή μας, όπως είναι εδώ και 17 αιώνες και διερωτώμαι, γιατί οι Αρχές της χώρας μας δεν σέβονται την ιστορία μας. Για εμάς εδώ είναι η συνέχεια της Ιερουσαλήμ και εξίσου ιερή γη. Προτιμάμε να παραμείνουμε εδώ παρά το γεγονός ότι κατά διαστήματα μας σταυρώνουν». Μετά τις αντιδράσεις του Τουρκικού Υπουργειου Εξωτερικών, δια στόματος Νταβούτογλου, ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος προέβη σε ανακοίνωση προς τα τουρκικά ΜΜΕ με αφορμή την παρερμηνεία των δηλώσεων που έκανε κατα τη διάρκεια της συνέντευξής του στο CBS, στην οποία αναφέρεται ότι ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης, «ως πνευματικός ηγέτης που έχει καθήκον να εκφράζει τα προβλήματα που αντιμετωπίζει το Πατριαρχείο, εξέφρασε τα προβλήματα με τον παραδοσιακά ρεαλιστικό και ταυτόχρονα προσεκτικό τρόπο του». Στο κείμενο που συντάχθηκε στην τουρκική γλώσσα, αναφέρονται τα εξής: «Ο
όρος περί σταύρωσης σχετίζεται με την έκφραση των προβλημάτων που αντιμετωπίζει το Πατριαρχείο. Τέτοιοι όροι υπάρχουν σε όλες τις γλώσσες και εννοούνται όχι με τη στενή έννοια, αλλά με βάση τις έννοιες που έχουν αυτοί στην κάθε γλώσσα. Είναι προφανές ότι ο Πατριάρχης, καθώς απαντούσε στην ερώτηση στην οποία χρησιμοποιήθηκε ο όρος αυτός, δεν είχε πρόθεση να εκφράσει πιέσεις που προέρχονται από την κυβέρνησή μας. Εξάλλου και ο πρωθυπουργός μας, ο οποίος ασχολείται ειλικρινά με τα προβλήματα της κοινότητάς μας, έχει εκφράσει ορισμένες φορές τις δυσκολίες που αντιμετωπίζει στην πορεία προς το κράτος Δικαίου, χρησιμοποιώντας όχι εκφράσεις δυτικών γλωσσών, όπως η σταύρωση, αλλά εκφράσεις της τουρκικής γλώσσας, όπως το σάβανο. Τα κυβερνητικά στελέχη αντιμετωπίζουν τις ίδιες δυσκολίες κατά τις ειλικρινείς και καλοπροαίρετες πρωτοβουλίες τους με στόχο το δημοκρατικό κράτος Δικαίου, τις οποίες υποστηρίζει ο λαός μας. Ο Πατριάρχης προσεύχεται πάντα για την ευημερία της χώρας μας και τις προσπάθειες και επιτυχίες της κυβέρνησης στην πορεία προς το κράτος Δικαίου. Η δημοσιοποίηση των δυσκολιών που υπάρχουν, δίχως αυτές να αποκρύπτονται, είναι αποτέλεσμα της εμπιστοσύνης προς το δημοκρατικό κοινωνικό σύστημα. Όλοι οι σώφρονες και καλοπροαίρετοι άνθρωποι δέχονται ότι σε μία ανοιχτή και δημοκρατική κοινωνία, για την εξάλειψη των δυσκολιών αυτών, δεν υπάρχει άλλη λύση εκτός από τη δημοσιοποίησή τους». ΔΙΑΔΗΛΩΣΗ ΣΥΜΠΑΡΑΣΤΑΣΗΣ Διαδήλωση συμπαράστασης στις μειονότητες οργανώθηκε στις 9 Ιανουαρίου στην Κωνσταντινούπολη, μπροστά από τον Πατριαρχικό Οίκο στο Φανάρι, με συνθήματα και πανό που τόνιζαν ότι «κανείς δεν θα μπορέσει να αγγίξει το Πατριαρχείο και τον Πατριάρχη Βαρθολομαίο». Η πρωτοφανής αυτή εκδήλωση, οργανώθηκε από συνασπισμό φιλελεύθερων οργανώσεων, που αποκαλείται «70 εκατομμύρια βήματα κατά των πραξικοπημάτων». Οι διαδηλωτές φώναζαν μπροστά από τον Πατριαρχικό Οίκο «Ζήτω η αδελφοσύνη των λαών», «Ελευθερία», «να διαλυθεί η Εργκενεκόν» και κρατούσαν πλακάτ στο οποίο έγραφε στα ελληνικά «ΟΛΟΙ ΟΙ ΛΑ-
ΣΤΗΡΙΞΗ ΚΑΙ ΠΡΟΒΟΛΗ Στο μεταξύ σε άνευ προηγουμένου προβολή και στήριξη των αιτημάτων του Οικουμενικού Πατριάρχη Βαρθολομαίου στον τουρκικό Τύπο εξελίσσεται η υπόθεση που ξεκίνησε με αφορμή τη συνέντευξη που έδωσε ο κ. Βαρθολομαίος στο αμερικανικό τηλεοπτικό δίκτυο CBS για να παρομοιάσει τα προβλήματα που αντιμετωπίζει ο ελληνισμός στην Κωνσταντινούπολη με σταύρωση. Ο κύριος αρθρογράφος της «Χουριέτ», Οκτάι Εκσί, έγραψε ότι «η πιο βαριά κουβέντα του Βαρθολομαίου ήταν το ότι ορισμένες φορές αισθάνεται σαν να σταυρώνεται» και σημείωσε: «Έχει μήπως άδικο; Να το ξεκαθαρίσουμε, ακόμη και αν έχει υπερβάλει. Όχι, δεν έχει καθόλου άδικο». Ο Εκσί έγραψε επίσης ότι ο κ. Βαρθολομαίος «έχει συναντηθεί με τον πρωθυπουργό Ρετζέπ Ταγίπ Ερντογάν, εγώ να σας πω πέντε, εσείς πείτε δέκα φορές. Γνωρίζουμε ότι σε κάθε συνάντηση, ο Βαρθολομαίος επανέλαβε τα ίδια πράγματα. Ανοίξτε τη Θεολογική Σχολή, αναγνωρίστε την Οικουμενικότητα του Πατριαρχείου και επιστρέψτε στα ελληνικά κοινωφελή ιδρύματα τις ακίνητες περιουσίες τους που έχουν περιέλθει στο τουρκικό δημόσιο. Αυτά ήταν τα αιτήματά του. Φαίνεται ότι κάθε φορά το αποτέλεσμα ήταν ο εμπαιγμός της μορφής ``έχει ο Θεός`` και ``θα δούμε``». Οπως αναφέρει ο φωτορεπόρτερ Νίκος Μαγγίνας, με τον χαρακτηριστικό τίτλο «To οξυγόνο μας εξαντλείται» παρουσιάστηκε η συνέντευξη του Οικουμενικού Πατριάρχου Βαρθολομαίου στην τουρκική εφημερίδα Milliyet, στην οποία εξέφρασε με ξεκάθαρο τρόπο, με ειλικρίνεια και χωρίς περιστροφές, την αγωνία του, τις ανησυχίες του και τους προβληματισμούς του, για τις αδικίες που έχει υποστεί εδώ και δεκαετίες το Πατριαρχείο και η Ρωμαίϊκη Κοινότητα. Αναφέρθηκε στον Πρωθυπουργό Ερντογάν λέγοντας ότι η γνωριμία τους ξεκίνησε από την εποχή που ήταν Δήμαρχος, υπενθυμίζοντας την συνάντηση που είχε μαζί του τον περασμένο Δεκαπενταύγουστο, στο γεύμα στο νησί της Πριγκήπου, και στις επισκέψεις του Πρωθυπουργού στο Ορφανοτροφείο και στο μοναστήρι του Αγίου Γεωργίου, υπογραμμίζοντας: «Μας ετίμησε και μας χαροποίησε. Μας έδωσε ευχάριστα μηνύματα. Τώρα περιμένουμε τη συνέχεια». Ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης δήλωσε ότι όσα είπε στη συνέντευξη του στο CBS «είναι αλήθεια» και εξήγησε τη σημασία της επίμαχης απάντησης του στο ερώτημα του αμερικανού δημοσιογράφου, εάν αισθάνεται «σταυρωμένος». Υπενθύμισε τα σχέδια δο-
ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΟΣ ΠΑΡΑΤΗΡΗΤΗΣ ORTHODOX OBSERVER
Ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος κατά τη διάρκεια συνέντευξης με τη δημοσιογράφο της τουρκικής εφημερίδας «Μιλλιέτ», Ασλί Αιντιντάσμπας στο Φανάρι.
λοφονίας του και επανέλαβε ότι «η μη επαναλειτουργία της Θεολογικής Σχολής θέτει σε κίνδυνο το μέλλον του Πατριαρχείου». «Ο Πατριάρχης εξεγείρεται», σημειώνει η δημοσιογράφος Ασλί Αιντιντάσμπας, «στο άκουσμα της θέσης που διατυπώνεται συχνά ότι «θα ικανοποιήσουμε το Πατριαρχείο μόνο στο πλαίσιο της αμοιβαιότητας με τους Τούρκους της δυτικής Θράκης». Μας έχουν αιχμάλωτους του Κυπριακού και της μειονότητας της δυτικής Θράκης σημείωσε ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης αναφερόμενος στο ζήτημα της αμοιβαιότητας που θέτει κατά καιρούς η Άγκυρα. «Η αμοιβαιότητα δεν έχει λογική για την επαναλειτουργία της Σχολής. Ως τούρκοι υπήκοοι ζητούμε τα δικαιώματά μας. Το ποίμνιό μας λιγόστεψε λόγω των γεγονότων των προηγούμενων δεκαετιών». «Η Σχολή άνοιξε επί Οθωμανικής Αυτοκρατορίας. Στην εποχή του Ατατουρκ ήταν ανοικτή. Γιατί δεν την έκλεισε τη Σχολή ο Ατατούρκ; Δεν την έκλεισε ο Ινονού. Ούτε και ο Μεντερές. Την έκλεισαν άδικα το 1971. Η Λωζάνη μας δίνει αυτό το δικαίωμα», σημείωσε στη συνέντευξή του ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης και τόνισε: «Το βαθύ κράτος δεν την ανοίγει». Επανέλαβε δε ότι οι δύο τελευταίοι υπουργοί Παιδείας είχαν δηλώσει ότι δεν υπάρχει νομικό κώλυμα για την επαναλειτουργία της Σχολής, η οποία όπως έχουν οι ίδιοι πει θα μπορούσε να ανοίξει αμέσως. Στη συνέχεια ο Πατριάρχης επεσήμανε ότι ακούγοντας διάφορες λύσεις για την επαναλειτουργία της Σχολής εκφράζοντας το παράπονο ότι κανείς ως τώρα δε ρώτησε την άποψή του και τόνισε: «Το βαθύ κράτος δεν το θέλει κατά πάσα πιθανότητα». «Στην πραγματικότητα μεταξύ των πολιτικών που ασχολήθηκαν περισσότερο με τα ζητήματά μας είναι ο σημερινός Πρωθυπουργός. Ο Ερντογάν, σε σχέση με άλλους ενδιαφέρεται περισσότερο. Είναι θαρραλέος και καλών διαθέσεων. Κάνει τολμηρά ανοίγματα προς τους Αρμενίους, τους Κούρδους, του Αλεβίτες, κάνει θαρραλέα βήματα. Αυτά για την Τουρκία είναι χρήσιμα πράγματα. Είμαστε σίγουροι ότι θα έρθει και η δική μας σειρά». Αναφερόμενος στην πρόσφατη συνέντευξή του σε αμερικανικό τηλεοπτικό δίκτυο, που προκάλεσε αντιδράσεις στην Τουρκία, ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης τόνισε : «Ό,τι έχω πει στο CBS είναι αλήθεια. Η σταύρωση έχει μεταφορική έννοια». Στο σημείο αυτό ο Προκαθήμενος της Ορθοδοξίας θύμισε τη σταυρική πορεία του Πατριαρχείου και της Ομογένειας της Πόλης κάνοντας ιδιαίτερη αναφορά στις χειροβομβίδες που ρίχθηκαν στον Πατριαρχικό Οίκο, αλλά και στα σχέδια της Εργκενεκόν και της υπόθεσης «Κλουβί» που αποκάλυψαν πρόσφατα οι Αρχές. «Ήθελαν να με σκοτώσουν, αν αυτό δεν είναι να σε σταυρώνουν, τι είναι;» διερωτάται ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης. Και αναφέρθηκε στις καταστροφές τάφων, στα κατειλημμένα ιδρύματα (mazbut),
στα γεγονότα του ’55 αλλά και στα τάγματα εργασίας της δεκαετίας του ’40. Τη διαφωνία του προς την αντίδραση του Τούρκου υπουργού Εξωτερικών Νταβούτογλου εξέφρασε ο αρθρογράφος της «Πόστα» Μεχμέτ Αλί Μπιράντ, γράφοντας: «Οσο κι αν θυμώνει ο Νταβούτογλου, ο Ελληνορθόδοξος Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος, φαίνεται ότι εξερράγη, επειδή έχει φτάσει το μαχαίρι στο κόκκαλο. Είπε πως αισθάνεται σαν να σταυρώνεται και ότι μπορεί να αναγκαστούν να προσφύγουν στο Ευρωπαϊκό Δικαστήριο. Επαναστάτησε μπροστά στην αναποφασιστικότητα της Άγκυρας και στο γεγονός ότι η τελευταία κωλυσιεργεί στο θέμα της Θεολογικής Σχολής. Ο Πατριάρχης συνήθως είναι πολύ προσεκτικός. Φροντίζει να μην έρχεται αντιμέτωπος με τις τουρκικές κυβερνήσεις και πάντα υπερασπίζεται την Τουρκία. Εάν τούτη τη φορά προβαίνει σε αυτό τη σκληρή δήλωση, θα πρέπει να τον ακούσουμε». Ο Μπιράντ γράφει: «Δεν συμμερίζομαι την αντίδραση του υπουργού Εξωτερικών Α. Νταβούτογλου» και καταλήγει σημειώνοντας ότι «ο Πατριάρχης έχει δίκιο. Το κράτος, μην τηρώντας τους λόγους του και εμπαίζοντας εδώ και 38 χρόνια ένα τουρκικό ίδρυμα, έχει σταυρώσει τον Πατριάρχη». Μία πιο γενική αναδρομή στην πορεία του ελληνισμού της Πόλης, έκανε ο αρθρογράφος της «Χουριέτ» Σεντάτ Εργκίν, αφού αναφέρθηκε προηγουμένως στη δήλωση του Αχμέτ Νταβούτογλου ότι «δεν υπάρχει σταύρωση στην ιστορία της Τουρκίας». Συγκεκριμένα, ο Εργκίν ανέφερε τα εξής:»Ναι είναι σωστό, δεν υπάρχει σταύρωση των μειονοτήτων στον πολιτισμό μας, αλλά ο ελληνικός πληθυσμός στην Πόλη που στα τέλη της δεκαετίας του ‘20 και μετά την ανταλλαγή πληθυσμών ήταν περίπου 120.000, σήμερα είναι λιγότερος και από 2.500. Μπορεί να μην έχουν σταυρωθεί, αλλά με το νόμο περί φόρου περιουσίας που εγκρίθηκε το 1942, αντιμετώπισαν βαριές διακρίσεις και τους αφαιρέθηκε σημαντικό μέρος της περιουσίας τους. Ναι, δεν υπάρχει σταύρωση στον πολιτισμό μας, αλλά κατά τα επεισόδια που ξέσπασαν στις 6-7 Σεπτεμβρίου (1955) με κυβερνητική πρόκληση κατά την εποχή της εκλεγμένης κυβέρνησης του Δημοκρατικού Κόμματος, λεηλατήθηκαν τα καταστήματα των μειονοτήτων και μεταξύ αυτών, των Ελλήνων, ενώ υπήρξαν και άλλα πολύ δυσάρεστα γεγονότα. Η Τουρκία δεν έχει ακόμη λυτρωθεί από την ντροπή αυτή. Μπορεί να μην υπήρξε σταύρωση, αλλά το 1964, απελάθηκαν περίπου 12.000 από αυτούς με μυστικό διάταγμα, ως αντίποινα για τις πιέσεις που αντιμετώπιζαν οι Τουρκοκύπριοι, πράγμα που δημιούργησε κύμα φυγής. Επιπρόσθετα, όσοι έχουν απομείνει, αντιμετωπίζουν ακόμη σημαντικά προβλήματα ως προς τις ακίνητες περιουσίες τους και η κατάστασή τους απασχολεί συχνά το Ευρωπαϊκό Δικαστήριο Ανθρωπίνων Δικαιωμάτων».
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Attorney Demetrios M. Moschos Worcester, Massachusetts
Ἑορτή τῶν Τριῶν Ἱεραρχῶν καί Ἡμέρα τῶν Ἑλληνικῶν Γραμμάτων Πρός τούς Σεβασµιωτάτους καί Θεοφιλεστάτους Ἀρχιερεῖς, τούς Εὐλαβεστάτους Ἱερεῖς καί ∆ιακόνους, τούς Μοναχούς καί Μοναχές, τούς Προέδρους καί Μέλη τῶν Κοινοτικῶν Συµβουλίων, τά Ἡµερήσια καί Ἀπογευµατινά Σχολεῖα, τίς Φιλοπτώχους Ἀδελφότητες, τήν Νεολαία, τίς Ἑλληνορθόδοξες Ὀργανώσεις καί ὁλόκληρο τό Χριστεπώνυµον πλήρωµα τῆς Ἱερᾶς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς Ἀµερικῆς. Προσφιλεῖς μου ἀδελφοί καί ἀδελφές ἐν Χριστῷ, Σ’ αὐτό τόν πρῶτο μήνα τοῦ νέου χρόνου, εἴμεθα εὐλογημένοι διότι στό ἐκκλησιαστικό ἡμερολόγιο τῆς Ἁγίας Ὀρθοδόξου Ἐκκλησίας μας συγκαταλέ-γεται ὁ ἑορτασμός τῶν Τριῶν Ἁγίων Πατέρων, Μεγίστων Ἱεραρχῶν καί Οἰκουμενικῶν Διδασκάλων, Βασιλείου τοῦ Μεγάλου, Γρηγορίου τοῦ Θεολόγου καί Ἰωάννου τοῦ Χρυσοστόμου. Τήν ἡμέρα αὐτή τῆς ἑορτῆς των, τιμοῦμε τήν ζωή καί τήν μαρτυρία πίστεως αὐτῶν τῶν ἁγίων καί λαμπρῶν ἀνδρῶν, οἱ ὁποῖοι ἐδόξασαν τόν Θεό διά τῆς ὑπέροχης προσφορᾶς των στούς ἀνθρώπους ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι τοῦ Χριστοῦ. Οἱ ζωές των μᾶς προσφέρουν μία αὐθεντική εἰκόνα τῆς δυνάμεως τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου, μᾶς προσφέρουν τήν καλή εἴδηση τῆς σωτηρίας ἐν Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ, καθώς καί οἱ τρεῖς πίστεψαν σ’ Αὐτόν μέ ὅλη τους τήν καρδία, τήν ψυχή καί τήν διάνοια καί καθώς μεταμορφώθηκαν ἀπό τήν παρουσία Του σέ ἁγίους, διαποτισμένους μέ θεία δύναμη καί σοφία. Ἐπιπλέον, οἱ Τρεῖς Ἱεράρχες προσφέρουν μαρτυρία τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου μέσα ἀπό τή διακονία τῆς διδασκαλίας, τήν ὑπεράσπιση τῆς πίστεως καί τήν ἀγάπη των γιά μάθηση, καθώς καί τήν διακονία των στούς ἄλλους ἡ ὁποία χαρακτηρίζεται ἀπό εὐσπλαγχνία, ταπεινοφροσύνη καί θυσία. Οἱ ζωές τῶν Τριῶν Ἱεραρχῶν ἀποτελοῦν ὡραῖες μαρτυρίες τῆς ἀποδοχῆς καί πλήρους ἀφοσιώσεώς τους στό Εὐαγγέλιο. Ὁ καθένας τους ἐπηρεάσθηκε ἀπό τά μέλη τῶν ἁγίων οἰκογενειῶν στίς ὁποῖες ἀνῆκαν καί ἀπό διδασκάλους οἱ ὁποῖοι εἶχαν δεχθεῖ τό μήνυμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ καί ἐπίστευσαν. Καί οἱ τρεῖς ὑπερνίκησαν διαμάχες τοῦ νοῦ καί τῆς ψυχῆς, προκλήσεις οἱ ὁποῖες τελικά κατέληξαν σέ πλήρη ἀποδοχή τῆς θείας χάριτος. Μέσα ἀπό τήν διά βίου ἀφοσίωσή των στόν Θεό, μετέδωσαν τό μήνυμα τῆς προτεραιότητος καί τῆς ἀποστολῆς τῆς ἀνθρωπίνης ὑπάρξεώς μας νά δεχθῇ τό Εὐαγγέλιο καί τήν ἀποκατάσταση τῆς κοινωνίας μας μέ τόν Θεό. Ἡ πίστη τῶν Τριῶν Ἱεραρχῶν στό Εὐαγγέλιο ὑπῆρξε ἡ βάση γιά τήν ζωή των, μιά ζωή προσφορᾶς των στόν Θεό καί τούς ἀνθρώπους. Αὐτό πού πίστευαν καί κήρυτταν, αὐτό καί ἔπρατταν. Τό Εὐαγγέλιο ἦτο γι’ αὐτούς ὄχι μόνον μήνυμα ἀληθείας τό ὁποῖο ὁδηγεῖ στήν ἀληθινή ζωή καί τή σωτηρία, ἀλλά ἦτο καί διακονία. Γιά τόν Ἅγιο Βασίλειο, τόν Ἅγιο Γρηγόριο καί τόν Ἅγιο Ἰωάννη Χρυσόστομο, ὁ σκοπός τοῦ μηνύματος τῆς ἀγάπης τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐπεκτείνετο πέραν τοῦ προσωπικοῦ πνευματικοῦ των καταρτισμοῦ στίς ἀνάγκες τῶν ἄλλων. Ἔτσι, ὑπηρέτησαν μέ εὐσπλαγχνία καί ταπεινοφροσύνη, ἀπαρνούμενοι τόν ἑαυτόν τους καί θυσιάζοντας οἱοδήποτε προσωπικό ὄφελος πρός χάριν τῶν συνανθρώπων των. Ἔζησαν κατά τό Εὐαγγέλιο διότι ἔκαναν δικό τους τό παράδειγμα καί τήν διακονία τοῦ Χριστοῦ, μή ὑπολογίζοντας τίς θλίψεις τίς ὁποῖες ἀντιμετώπιζαν καί προσφέροντας γενναιόδωρα τά πάντα οὕτως ὥστε νά σώσουν ψυχές. Οἱ Τρεῖς Ἱεράρχες εἶχαν πλήρη συνείδηση τῆς μεταμορφωτικῆς δυνάμεως τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου. Εἶναι ἡ δύναμη τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου ἡ ὁποία ἀλλάζει τήν ἀντίληψή μας γιά τίς διάφορες πτυχές τῆς ἀνθρωπίνης ὑποστάσεώς μας. Αὐτό ἀντικατοπτρίσθηκε στήν ἀγάπη γιά τήν παιδεία καί τή γλώσσα, μιάν ἀγάπη τήν ὁποία ἐξέφρασαν οἱ Τρεῖς Ἱεράρχες καθώς ἐπιβεβαίωναν τίς μεγάλες δυνατότητες τῶν θεοσδότων ἀνθρωπίνων ἱκανοτήτων μας καί τόν ρόλο τοῦ μυαλοῦ καί τῆς γλώσσας στήν μετάδοση τῶν ἀληθειῶν τῆς ζωῆς καί τῆς πίστεως. Γι’ αὐτό τόν λόγο, στήν σημερινή ἡμέρα τιμοῦμε μέ γιορτές τά Ἑλληνικά Γράμματα. Ἀναγνωρίζουμε τόν ρόλο τόν ὁποῖο διεδραμάτισε ἡ Ἑλληνική σκέψη, γλώσσα καί πολιτισμός στήν προώθηση τῆς γνώσεως καί κατανοήσεως τοῦ κόσμου μας. Κλασσικές μέθοδοι σκέψεως ἐνεθάρρυναν τήν πνευματική σαφήνεια καί συνέβαλαν σέ μεγάλες ἐπιστημονικές ἀνακαλύψεις καί προόδους. Ἡ Ἑλληνική γλώσσα ἔγινε ἡ βάση γιά πολλούς τομεῖς τῆς σύγχρονης γλώσσας, προσφέροντας ἀκρίβεια καί δομή. Ὁ Ἑλληνικός πολιτισμός ὡς ἔκφραση σκέψεως, τέχνης καί γλώσσας, δημιούργησε πρότυπα γιά τήν λογοτεχνία, τή ρητορική, τήν τέχνη καί τήν ἀρχιτεκτονική. Οἱ Ἅγιοι Βασίλειος, Γρηγόριος καί Ἰωάννης Χρυσόστομος ἀνεγνώρισαν τήν σημασία τῶν παραπάνω ἀληθειῶν γιά τήν μετάδοση τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου τοῦ Χριστοῦ. Ἐκτός ἀπό τήν ἀναγνώριση τῶν ὠφελειῶν τῆς παιδείας στήν ἀνάπτυξη τοῦ νοῦ, ἄντλησαν στοιχεῖα ἀπό τίς πηγές τῆς Ἑλληνικῆς γλώσσας καί σκέψεως γιά νά φωτίσουν μεγάλες θεολογικές ἀλήθειες καί νά ἐξερευνήσουν τήν σημασία πού ἔχει ἡ θεία ἀποκάλυψη γιά τίς διάνοιες καί ψυχές μας καί γιά ὁλόκληρη τήν Δημιουργία. Εἶδαν, ἐπίσης, τήν σημασία πού ἔχει ἡ υἱοθεσία διαφόρων πολιτισμικῶν στοιχείων, τά ὁποῖα ἦταν ἐκφράσεις τῆς δημιουργικότητος καί ἐφευρετικότητος τῆς ἀνθρωπότητος, ὡς μέσα διαδόσεως τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου. Προσφιλεῖς μου ἀδελφοί καί ἀδελφές ἐν Χριστῷ, τήν ἡμέρα τῆς Ἑορτῆς τῶν Τριῶν Ἱεραρχῶν καί τοῦ ἑορτασμοῦ τῶν Ἑλληνικῶν Γραμμάτων, ἄς κοιτάξουμε τό παράδειγμα αὐτῶν τῶν μεγάλων Ἁγίων τῆς Ἐκκλησίας μας καί ἄς μιμηθοῦμε τήν ἀγάπη τους γιά τόν Θεό καί τήν πίστη τους στό Εὐαγγέλιο. Εἴθε νά οἰκοδομήσουμε μία ζωή ὑπηρεσίας καί μαρτυρίας ἐπί τοῦ θεμελίου τῆς πίστεώς μας σέ ὅσα ἔχει κάνει ὁ Χριστός γιά μᾶς. Εἴθε, ἐπίσης, νά εἴμεθα εὐγνώμονες γιά τήν μεγάλη κληρονομία τήν ὁποία ἐλάβαμε, καί ἡ ὁποία καλλιεργεῖ τήν ἀγάπη γιά τήν παιδεία καί τή γλώσσα στήν ὑπηρεσία τοῦ Θεοῦ καί τήν διακονία τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου ἔτσι ὥστε ἡ ἀνθρωπότητα νά ἀκούσῃ, νά πιστεύσῃ καί νά δεχθῇ τό Εὐαγγέλιο τό ὁποῖο ὁδηγεῖ στήν αἰώνια ζωή.
Μετά πατρικῆς ἐν Χριστῷ ἀγάπης,
† ὁ Ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Ἀμερικῆς Δημήτριος
OFFICIAL NOTICE CANDIDATES ELIGIBLE FOR ELECTION TO THE OFFICE OF METROPOLITAN OR AUXILIARY BISHOP Following the regular review of the Holy Eparchial Synod and in accordance with Article 14 of the Charter of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the pertinent Regulations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (Advisory and Consultative Role in Hierarchical Elections) there follow herewith the names of the clergy (in alphabetical order) who constitute the current list of candidates eligible for election to the office of Metropolitan or Auxiliary Bishop. This list has been ratified by the Ecumenical Patriarchated on September 16, 2009. The Auxiliary Bishops are automatically included in the list for the election of a Metropolitan by virute of their office. (Namely, their Graces, Bishop SAVAS of Troas, Bishop ANDONIOS of Phasiane and Bishop DEMETRIOS of Mokissos). CELIBATE CLERGY OF THE GREEK ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE OF AMERICA at least 35 years of age with a theological degree from an Orthodox institution and sufficient service in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America as of April 30th, 2009. (*) indicates widowers
V. Rev. Archimandrite DIONYSIOS ANAGNOSTOPOULOS V. Rev. Archimandrite IGNATIOS APOSTOLOPOULOS V. Rev. Archimandrite TIMOTHY BAKAKOS V. Rev. Archimandrite CONSTANTINE BEBIS (*) V. Rev. Archimandrite AMBROSIOS BITZIADIS (BOWERS) V. Rev. Archimandrite ERNEST BLOUGOURAS Rev. Fr. KYPRIANOS BOUBOUTSIS Rev. Fr. PETER CHAMBERAS (*) V. Rev. Archimandrite JOHN E. CONSTANTINE V. Rev. Archimandrite PANTELEIMON (PETER) COSTARAKIS (*) V. Rev. Archimandrite JOACHIM A. COTSONIS V. Rev. Archimandrite NEKTARIOS COTTROS V. Rev. Archimandrite LEONIDAS H. DRAKOPOULOS V. Rev. Archimandrite DAMASKINOS V. GANAS V. Rev. Archimandrite ALEXANDER I. KILE V. Rev. Archimandrite FRANK KIRLANGITIS (*) V. Rev. Archimandrite LUKE G. KONTGAS Rev. Fr. KONSTANTINOS KOSTARIS (*) V. Rev. Archimandrite APOSTOLOS KOUFALLAKIS V. Rev. Archimandrite CYRIL M. LOEB V. Rev. Archimandrite GERASIMOS MAKRIS V. Rev. Archimandrite STAVROFOROS MAMAIES V. Rev. Archimandrite CONSTANTINE T. MERSINAS V. Rev. Archimandrite CONSTANTINE MORALIS V. Rev. Archimandrite MAKARIOS J. NIAKAROS V. Rev. Archimandrite GEORGE NIKAS V. Rev. Archimandrite EUGENE N. PAPPAS V. Rev. Archimandrite SERAPHIM P. POULOS V. Rev. Archimandrite NEKTARIOS SERFES V. Rev. Archimandrite SEVASTIANOS SKORDALLOS V. Rev. Archimandrite CLEOPAS M. STRONGYLIS V. Rev. Archimandrite JOHN TRAVIS Comments concerning any of the individuals on the list should be sent in writing and marked “STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL” to: CONSULTATION COMMITTEE GREEK ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE OF AMERICA 8 East 79 Street New York, New York 10075 Comments should be received no later than February 28, 2010.
A 60 Minutes Producer Reflects on Her Experience page 14 was a very peaceful place and the monks were, for the most part distant, but some were also very friendly and excited to see other faces. Seeing the largest collection of icons, protected by these 25 men was just another mind-blowing experience. I couldn’t believe that I was sleeping in a place, at the foot of Mount Moses (its correct name, I’m told - NOT Mt. Sinai), where Moses came down with the tablets of the Ten Commandments. The end of our trip took us to Jerusalem and I saw the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Via Dolorosa… All of those Sundays of my life in (Catholic) Church all came to life during this trip; all the refer-
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew with CBS’ Associate Producer Magalie Laguerre-Wilkinson.
ences to gospels and apostles were all now real in front of me and simply put, I felt like one of the luckiest people on Earth. What a privilege it was and I will never forget it.”
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The Monastery and the Parish by Bishop Savas of Troas
First of a series I was 23 years old, a year-anda-half out of college, when I left the United States for the first time on my own in January of 1981 to test my monastic vocation. I didn’t have much choice about leaving; there were no viable options for men or women of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese who felt called to the monastic life in those days. Although I left home intending never to return, in fact I came back to the States a year to the date after my departure, but not before I had experienced Orthodox Christian monastic life in a surprising variety of expressions: for two months, in ten of the twenty monasteries of the Holy Mountain of Athos; for seven months, at the Monasteries of the Apocalypse and St Panteleimon on the islands of Patmos and Kalymnos; and at the Holy Stavropeigic Monastery of St John the Baptist in Tolleshunt Knights by Malden, Essex, for four months. My life’s path has taken unexpected turns, and I now serve the Church of Christ in the world rather than apart from it, but I often reflect on who I met and what I heard and saw and did and read and thought about and learned in that long but single year of my monastic testing, with gratitude to God for every part of it. Nearly three decades later, much
has changed. There are now several thriving communities throughout North America where men and women can go to live lives of evangelical simplicity, to be alone with others who are alone with God. The rapid rise of monasticism in this country – from no communities to nearly 20 in just over 25 years - has been for many of the faithful evidence of a genuine spiritual renewal and cause for celebration, but for other equally conscientious and committed Orthodox Christians it has been a source of confusion and frustration. In parishes within driving distance from a monastery, the very nature of parish life and ministries is felt by some to be under attack by people overly enthusiastic for the monastic worship and ethos. Over the course of the next few months, I hope to address some of the most contentious issues concerning monasteries and parishes in a nonpolemical manner, drawing from Holy Scripture and the Fathers and the Canons and some of the best of our living theologians, in an effort to help clarify the real differences between monastery and parish and the important role of each in the life of the Orthodox Church. I welcome questions from anyone concerned about such issues, and invite you to address your questions and concerns to me at bishopsavas@ goarch.org.
Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, 33, has won the Illinois Democratic primary for U.S. Senate seat previously held by President Obama. Giannoulias became the youngest state treasurer in the nation having been elected at the age of 30. He founded and chairs the AG Foundation, a not-for-profit charity that donates money to treat child-related illnesses, curb poverty and assist disaster relief organizations.
Parishioners of St. Demetrios Church in North Wildwood, N.J., recently honored their pastor, Fr. Steven J. Vlahos, for his 45 years as a priest of the Archdiocese. Fr. Vlahos also has served parishes in Little Rock, Ark., Rockford, Ill.; Bethesda, Md., and Cherry Hill, N.J. Fr. Vlahos is a 1963 graduate of Holy Cross School of Theology. He has served as the priest in North Wildwood since 1992.
Teacher of the Year Christopher D. Felton, 33, of Virginia Beach, Va. was named the “Teacher of the Year” at Bayside High School in Virginia Beach. He has taught health and physical education at the school for 10 years and also served as the student government adviser, yearbook adviser, and JV baseball and soccer coach. He was also appointed to the City of Virginia Beach Planning Commission January to represent the Rose Hall District. Mr. Felton also serves as parish council president at St. Nicholas Church in Virginia Beach.
N.H. Priest honored Fr. Angelo Pappas, pastor of St. Nicholas Church in Portsmouth, N.H., recently was honored by the New Hampshire Suicide Prevention Conference for bringing elected officials, first responders and concerned citizens together to prevent suicide. Fr. Pappas was honored for his role in the formation of the Seacoast Prevention Coalition. The conference was held at Loon Valley in Lincoln, where he was presented with a plaque by representatives from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The Seacoast Suicide Prevention Coalition meets monthly on the third Wednesday of every month at St. Nicholas Church.
Featured chanter Fr. Dimosthenis Paraskavaides, the new assistant priest at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Portland, Oregon, was a featured cantor at the recent Cappella Romana’s performance of “A Byzantine Christmas: Byzantine Chant from Christmas to Theophany,” that was performed in January in Seattle and Portland, according to the Hellenic Journal newspaper.
Licensed counselor Athina-Eleni G. Mavroudhis recently received her licensure as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the state of Massachusetts. She is currently the psychological care director of the Office of Spiritual Formation & Counseling Services at Hellenic College and Holy Cross School of Theology, where she works with the students and future Orthodox priests and their families. AthinaEleni has years of individual, group and family counseling experience. She completed her undergraduate work at Boston University, where she double majored in biology and psychology. She went on to obtain her master’s in counseling psychology, from Northeastern University’s School of Bouve, where she concentrated in Marriage and Family Therapy.
Seattle’s Second Parish Part of Larger Orthodox Presence P A R I S H
Name: Assumption Greek Orthodox Church Location: Seattle, Wash. Metropolis of San Francisco Size: about 250 families Founded: 1939 Clergy: Fr. Dean Kouldukis (Holy Cross ’91) E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.assumptionseattle.org Noteworthy: People comment that they feel very welcome; warm and friendly environment. ASSUMPTION GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH
Assumption Church got its start in the 1930s when a number of parishioners of Seattle’s older Greek Orthodox parish, St. Demetrios (profiled July 2002) desired the use of more English in the sermons and an all English Sunday School. About 75 couples were Greek men and nonGreek women, according to a parish history. The debate over the use of English at St. Demetrios caused a polarization of the community in the early ‘30s. The priest, Fr. Stephanos Phoutrides, a native of Egypt, a 1917 Yale graduate, a journalist and Greek school teacher who had arrived in Seattle in 1926. He had studied at the St. Athanasius Theological Seminary in Long Island, N.Y., and was ordained by Archbishop Alexander. He served in Waterbury, Conn., before going to Seattle. Fr. Phoutrides pioneered several firsts in the U.S. in the use of English in the services and Sunday School. Fr. Phoutrides left Seattle for Oakland, Calif., in 1932, but was invited to return in 1935. The story becomes complicated when a group of leaders in the church opposed to the use of more English tried to force the ouster of Fr. Phoutrides, causing a split that resulted in the closing of the church on Aug. 15, 1939. A splinter group favoring English formed a second community, which became recognized by the Archdiocese as Assumption Church. The new parish held its first Liturgy on Sept. 24, 1939 at St. Barnabas Chapel of St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral with Fr. Phoutrides as the first priest. He served until his untimely death in July 1946. Following the establishment of the church, a Ladies Auxiliary was formed to help meet the church’s needs, according to the parish history, and Presbytera Calliope Phoutrides served as the first Sunday School superintendent. The first baptism was held in 1940 for John Nicon, son of Clara and Spiro Nicon. John Mitis and Katherine Stergiou were the first couple married in the church. After the Episcopal congregation lost its cathedral to the bank, Assumption community purchased a lot at the parish’s current location
and constructed a small church and separate hall, affectionately known as the “hollaki,” which served as the focal point of activities until a new hall was built in 1950. Several organizations were established in the early 1950s that included a youth group GOYA-Sigma Epsilon Phi (after the initials of the late Fr. Phoutrides’ name), the Philoptochos chapter and the Assumption Guild, a club that helped young married parishioners draw closer to the church through the support of Sunday School. The guild also published the Pacific Northwest’s first Greek cookbook, “The Key to Greek Cooking.” These groups were founded under the leadership of Fr. George Stylianopoulos (father of retired Holy Cross professor Fr. Theodore Stylianopoulos, who was ordained in the parish in 1965). Fr. George had arrived with his family from Greece in 1951 and served the parish until suffering a stroke in 1954. The parish outgrew its church by the late 1950s and a new building, the present edifice, was built in 1961, Also in the 1960s, GOYA was reestablished and a Junior GOYA chapter was formed. The parish established a church library under the leadership of Fr. Nicholas Krommydas in the late 1970s which has grown to become the second largest in the Metropolis with more than 5,000 titles. Under the leadership of Fr. Steven Tsichlis in the 1980s and most of the ‘90s, the parish began a community outreach program for the homeless named St. John the Almsgiver. A group known as “MOMs” was organized for young mothers and their children to keep them connected to the faith. In 1990, the parish established a book store that offers Bibles and other religious books, icons, recordings, notepads, wedding and baptismal items. A major program of the parish is the youth summer camp that also involves participation by several Orthodox parishes in the Northwest. It takes place at the All Saints Center, which is also the setting for Camp Agape, providing a ministry for children with cancer. It is a joint ministry of the Philoptochos chapters of Assumption, St. Demetrios and St. Nicholas in Tacoma. Several new programs for the youth and their parents were established by Fr. John Hondros beginning in the late
1990s, including the Orthodox Family Meeting, Vacation Bible School, HOPE and JOY groups and a youth choir. The GOYA chapter was revitalized and a young adult group was also established. The current pastor and a Seattle native Fr. Dean, has served the parish for nearly eight years. Most of his parishioners live along the Interstate 5 corridor and west Seattle. Assumption has been maturing demographically. About 47 percent of the members consists of persons “age 60 and older,” he said. Another 30 percent are families between their late 30s to early 50s with young children. The remaining members are either unmarried or married couples without children. Many parishioners are professionals, including engineers employed at Boeing and Microsoft, as businesses people, including traditional Greek restaurateurs. With fewer of its members being Greek-born or emigrating from Greece, the parish focuses more on outreach evangelism. There is no Greek school, but Assumption has a strong Greek dance program with its groups competing successfully in the San Francisco Metropolis Folk Dance Festival and performing in the parish’s annual Winter Festival, which is held for the greater Seattle community indoors in December The Sunday School has an enrollment of about 45. Fr. Dean’s ministry includes Bible study and a once-a-month youth riteof-passage class for teenagers on the Scriptures and Church Fathers. “I enjoy it and I think the kids enjoy it as well,” he said. The Seattle area has a strong Pan Orthodox presence and Assumption participates in various activities through the year with the three other Greece Orthodox churches in the area and five from other jurisdictions represented. The parishes take turns hosting feast day events in their communities open to all Orthodox Christians, as well as Vespers services during Great Lent and at other times during the year. — Compiled by Jim Golding
Folk Dancing with the Atlanta Metropolis ‘Stars’ ORLANDO, Fla. – The Metropolis of Atlanta held its 10th Hellenic Dance Festival Jan. 13-15, which drew nearly 40 dance groups and five chorale groups. Dance groups competed in six categories from junior to adult level. Participating communities included: Atlanta, Wilmington, N.C., New Port Richey, Fla., St. Petersburg, Fla., Ashville, N.C., Orlando, W. Palm Beach, Fla., Charleston, S.C., Marietta, Ga., Fort. Lauderdale, Fla., Charlotte, N.C., Greenville, Clearwater, Fla., Boston and Hollywood, Fla., In addition, six parishes competed in the Choral category. They were: Charleston, Tarpon Springs-Levendia, Orthodox Youth Choir
‘Singing Stars” – Atlanta Metropolis Youth Director Presbytera Marilisse Mars and HDF Chairman Gerry Clonaris sing the national anthems of Greece and the U.S. at the banquet
of Tampa Bay, consisting of Greek and Serbian Orthodox members, Wilmington, Charlotte and Orlando. Several spiritual workshops and lectures took place over the weekend, with presentations from the Very Rev. Grigorios Tatsis of the Metropolis of Atlanta, who also officiated at the Sunday Divine Liturgy, and Frs. Constantine Simeonidis (Orlando), Seraphim Dedes, Efstathios Varvarelis, Dionysios Lazarides, Spiro Bobotas, Demetrios Tsigas, John Bociu, and others. Host committee members from Orlando included: Fr.Constantine Simeonidis, Simone Behar, Venetta Jones (winner of the Pursuit of Excellence Award), and Stacie and John Lagoutaris. Visit email@example.com to view hundreds of photos of Hellenic Dance Festival 2010.
Holy Trinity-Clearwater’s Hellas Dancers won top honors and best costume award.
Traveled the farthest-The honor goes to the Metropolis of Boston dance group from Brookline, Mass., that competed in the Adult category.
Metropolitan Alexios greets a young participant at an HDF social event. At left is Fr. Constantine Simeonides, pastor of the host parish, Holy Trinity Church in Orlando (Maitland).
The chorale group from Holy Trinity Cathedral, Charlotte, N.C., led by their assistant priest, the Very Rev. Efstathios Varvarelis.
Time for prayer – Members of this dance group bow their heads in prayer shortly before their turn to dance before the judges.
Serbian dancers – One of the exhibition groups performing at the banquet was this one from St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in St. Petersburg that performed a native dance.
The ‘Elinopoula Dancers’ of New Port Richey go before the judges.
Orthodox Observer Photos The Hellenic Dancers of Clearwater at the semi-final round on the first day of the event. Orlando’s Holy Trinity dance group hopes their performance will be “fruitful.”
Fr. Mark Leondis delivers a spiritual message to the hundreds of participants and their families at the oﬃcial opening of the Hellenic Dance Festival.
Though not part of the dance festival, this group of dancers , the Levandia, from Tarpon Springs, performed an exhibition dance at the banquet.
HDF participants took a break from their competition to view a performance of Shamu and other killer whales at nearby Sea World. As Chairman Gerry Clonaris remarked on the young people’s weekend experiences, “They had a whale of a time.”
(Top) Participants in the Metropolis of New Jersey Folk Dance Festival with Metropolitan Evangelos.
Metropolis of New Jersey Holds 15th Annual Greek Folk Dance Festival ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Metropolis of New Jersey held its 15th annual Greek Folk Dance Festival at Sts. Constantine and Helen parish Jan. 15-17. Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey arrived in Annapolis on Friday the 15th for the event and blessed the festivities, beginning with an opening prayer and a keynote address during the opening ceremonies on Saturday morning. In his address to the dancers, dance directors, parents and Greek dance enthusiasts, the Metropolitan stressed the beauty of this cultural event which brings the youth of our Holy Metropolis together in an exciting and fun-filled event which showcases our beautiful and diverse Greek heritage in the area of Dance. His Eminence expressed his gratitude to all of those that had traveled from near and far distances to be part of the annual Folk Dance Festival. Metropolitan Evangelos thanked Fr. Kosmas Karavellas for his many years of love and dedication to the Metropolis of New Jersey Greek Folk Dance Festival and for his unwavering commitment to the youth of the Church. He also thanked Felicia Karavellas, co-chair of the event, all of the volunteers and the entire host parish of Sts. Constantine and Helen Church. The enormous work done by Fr. Kosmas, Felicia, the planning committee and all of the dedicated volunteers ensured that this year’s festival was even more successful than the previous fourteen. On Saturday and Sunday the over 400 dancers representing 14 parishes from throughout the Metropolis performed dances from all parts of Greece, Cyprus, and Asia Minor for the audience of parents, grandparents, family, and friends that had filled the Annapolis High School auditorium to capacity. All the dancers did a wonderful job of demonstrating their love
of the Greek Culture and all of the hard work they have put in over the past year in order to prepare for this event. Their enjoyment and love of Greek dancing was evident to the crowd as they enthusiastically cheered every group for their wonderful performances. One highlight of the weekend was the dinner dance held at the parish community center that was attended by nearly 600 people. There the true purpose of this event could be seen in the fellowship that had taken place as the youth from the 14 parishes gathered together on the dance floor and danced traditional Greek dances as one large group. This fellowship continued into Sunday morning when all of the dancers, directors, advisors, and families came together to participate in the Divine Liturgy at the host parish. Metropolitan Evangelos expressed hope that the annual Folk Dance Festival will continue to grow, attracting more parishes from the Metropolis to participate every year. Results of the 2010 Metropolis of New Jersey Folk Dance Festival are: Primary Division Best Costume: Asteria – Sts. Constantine and Helen, Newport News, Va. - 3rd place: Demetrakia III – St. Demetrios, Baltimore. - 2nd place: Ta Ellinakia - St. Nicholas, Baltimore - 1st place: Asteria - Sts. Constantine and Helen, Newport News Junior Division Best Costume: Junior Olympians – St. Luke, Broomall, Pa. - 3rd place: Diamantia - Annunciation, Baltimore - 2nd place: Elliniki Psihi – Sts. Constantine and Helen, Newport News - 1st place: Demerakia II – St. Demetrios, Baltimore
Intermediate Division Best Costume: Evangelakia – Annunciation Cathedral, Baltimore and Oi Aetoi – St. Athanasios, Paramus, N.J. (tie) - 3rd place: GOYA Dancers – St. John the Theologian Cathedral, Tenafly, N.J. - 2nd place: Oi Aetoi – St. Athanasios, Paramus - 1st place: Evangelakia – Annunciation
Cathedral, Baltimore Senior Division Best Costume: Mythos - St. George, Asbury Park, N.J. - 3rd place: Pegasus – St. Demetrios, Upper Darby, Pa. - 2nd place: Ellinopoula – Sts.. Constantine and Helen, Newport News - 1st place: Mythos - St. George, Asbury Park.
West Coast Clergy Hold Pan-Orthodox Retreat DUNLAP, Calif. – More than 100 priests and deacons joined four hierarchs for the first-ever West Coast Pan-Orthodox Clergy Retreat on Dec. 1-3 at St. Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center. The groundbreaking gathering, which generated e-mails from as far away as Greece congratulating the effort, resulted from the united efforts of the canonical spiritual leaders of the Orthodox Christian Churches of the western United States. Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco, Bishop Joseph of the Antiochian Diocese of Los Angeles and the West, Bishop Maxim of the Serbian Orthodox Western American Diocese, and Bishop Benjamin of the Orthodox Church in America Diocese of the West. The planning committee for the retreat was led by the Rev. John Bakas, dean of St. Sophia Cathedral in Los Angeles, the V. Rev. Nicholas Ceko, dean of St. Steven Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Alhambra, Calif., and the V. Rev. Dr. Michel Najim from St. Nicholas Antiochian Cathedral in Los Angeles. “This retreat developed through the ongoing gatherings of the West Coast Orthodox Bishops, as we collectively recognized the important need for continuing education for our clergy to enhance their ministry to thousands of Orthodox faithful. By combining our resources, this retreat provided an environment of spiritual growth and the strengthening of the brotherly bonds of our clergy,” stated Metropolitan Gerasimos. The hierarchs chose a revered brother, Bishop Ilia of the Albanian Orthodox Church of America, as retreat master. He spoke on the theme, “The Parish Priest as Spiritual Father.” Prior to his elevation, he served for many years as a married parish priest. During the three days, the hierarchs
PAN–ORTHODOX CLERGY RETREAT – Hierarchs and clergy from the western U.S. gather outside the Monastery of the Theotokos, the Life Giving Spring.
and clergy worshiped together in the magnificent katholikon of the Monastery of the Theotokos the Life-Giving Spring, which is adjacent to St. Nicholas Ranch. Bishop Ilia opened the first session with the provocative question, “So you want to be a spiritual father, eh?” This set the tone for his three presentations that basically brought home the message to the clergy that they can only direct and guide their flocks to the extent that they are growing spiritually – in prayer and their personal lives, in love and service,
and in sensitive and discerning pastoral care of those they shepherd. Following each session, the clergy broke into small groups that were facilitated by a hierarch and allowed for deeper reflection and practical application. The brothers were also given many opportunities to connect at mealtime, and late into the evening. The highlight of the retreat was the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, at which the celebrant, Bishop Maxim of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of the West, emphasized in his homily that our unity is fully
realized in the Eucharist. Following the Liturgy, the hierarchs led a Trisagion for the Monastery founder, His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony, and His Holiness Patriarch Pavle of Serbia, who recently reposed in the Lord. During the closing remarks, many of the clergy expressed their appreciation to the Hierarchs for their vision and brotherly leadership in making this retreat possible, with the hope that this historic event will be the first of an annual gathering.
Charleston’s Holy Trinity Concludes Centennial Year Celebrations
USS Yorktown event -- Veterans Gregory O. Theos and Mike Magoulas throw a wreath overboard in honor of the fallen veterans of Holy Trinity, during the parish’s Centennial event in November aboard the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown. by Melanie Mathos
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Holy Trinity Church marked the end of its year-long centennial celebration with a weekend celebration Jan. 29-31. “This joyous occasion commemorates our Holy Trinity parish, our achievements, our involvement in the Charleston community, and our importance in the national Greek-American experience,” said Fr. John L. Johns, presiding priest.“We are celebrating living in the spirit, with gratitude, faith, and hope.”
The celebration of the Centennial Anniversary kicked-off in January 2009 with an event honoring The Three Hierarchs, patron saints of the church’s Rev. Nicholas C. Trivelas Library and Bookstore. Fr. Trivelas served as priest of Holy Trinity Church from 1948 to 1993, and oversaw the construction of the Byzantinestyle church on Race Street more than a half-century ago. He retired in 1993 and continued to serve Holy Trinity as priest emeritus. During his 47-year ministry, Fr. Trivelas was instrumental in ensuring that the
sanctuary of Holy Trinity included authentic Byzantine iconography. He helped commission iconographer Photis Kontoglou, recognized as the greatest master of Byzantine Art in the modern world, and Kontoglou’s collaborators, George Gliatas, John Terzis, and Emmanuel Tsirtzilakis. Holy Trinity has the largest collection of Kontoglou icons outside of Greece. The first Liturgy was performed in the city in 1908, and in 1910, the Grecian Society was established with 70 members for the express purpose of building a church. The first Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, located at St. Philip and Fishburne streets, was dedicated on March 25, 1911. In 1953, construction of the existing church at 30 Race Street was completed and the Church was dedicated. It is the first church in the United States built in the authentic Byzantine style modeled after the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. “The Centennial Anniversary is an occasion for celebrations filled with gratitude for the founders of our Holy Trinity Church as they strived to maintain their faith, values, traditions, and customs when they had the commitment and vision to establish an Orthodox Church in The Holy City,” said Helen “Nitsa” Demos, Centennial chairperson. “Imagine their pride if they were to see us today and the vital part of the Charleston community that we have become.” She added, “Our year-long Centennial Events Calendar celebrates 100 years of progress and spiritual growth as we embark on the
future.” The celebration of the Centennial included many events over the past year. In February, Scouting Awards Sunday honored past members of Holy Trinity’s Scout Troops. Other events taking place through the year included: Greek Independence Day celebration at the Mayor’s office and the celebration of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary in March. • Palm Sunday Lenten Luncheon benefiting Holy Cross and Hellenic College in April. • 39th annual Greek Festival in May; a Sunday School Centennial Display recalling 100 years of the church and a Philoptochos Presidents Brunch honoring its past presidents in May. • Holy Trinity Nameday Reception, “Sunday of Pentecost,” honoring parish past presidents, a special “Through the Centuries with Christ Bible School” program, and a Family Picnic in the Park including a centennial time capsule and tree planting, in June. • Old Fashioned Panageri by Hellas Dancers in August. • Reunion Choir Concert in the Park featuring Ann Caldwell and the Magnolia Singers in September. • Spiritual Renewal Seminar featuring leader Rev. Dr. Frank Marangos, Dean of the Archdiocesan Cathedral in NYC in October. • Veterans event aboard the USS Yorktown honoring parish veterans and a Daughters of Penelope Founders Day Reception honoring the founders and past presidents in November. • St. Basil’s Vasilopeta luncheon in January.
ARCHIEPISCOPAL ENCYCLICAL Feast of St. Basil page 3 ing sixty-five years of unique and dynamic service to children and families. This has been a time of serious appreciation of the work and witness offered by this ministry, offering a chance to review the strong foundations of the past, to be thankful for the lives that have been transformed, and to show our thankfulness to the founders, donors, directors, and staff. But it is also a time of anticipation of the great works that God will accomplish in the years to come. St. Basil Academy will continue to be a ministry of blessing and life to children and families through quality programs and resources, dedicated and trained staff, and a vision that embodies the compassion of Christ. On this Feast of St. Basil and the beginning of the New Year, I ask that you contribute generously to St. Basil Academy through the annual offering gathered by the members of our Ladies Philoptochos Society. I also ask that you dedicate time each day for reflection and anticipation. Remember the past, the challenges, the needs, the joys and blessings. Anticipate the wondrous things that God will bring to your life in the year that has just begun. Certainly, challenges and needs are a part of our earthly existence. But we live each day in anticipation of the life that is completely filled with the love and presence of God for all eternity. May our good and gracious Lord grant you peace and health in the New Year.
With paternal love in Christ,
† Archbishop DEMETRIOS of America
Studying the Scriptures: A Necessary Spiritual Discipline
What is the Bible?
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the Bible. This takes place most clearly and completely in the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom on a Sunday to Sunday basis. Yes, there are two readings from the New Testament during the Liturgy – an Epistle reading from one of the Letters of the apostles Paul, Peter, James and John or other apostolic writings; and a Gospel reading from one of the four evangelists – but we pray the Lord’s Prayer and also sing verses from the Book of Psalms. In the priest’s blessing, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all,” we hear St. Paul’s final farewell to the Church in Corinth (2 Corinthians 13:13); and in the choir’s singing of “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Sabaoth, Heaven and Earth are full of Your glory.” We hear the song of the angelic Cherubim first heard by the Old Testament prophet Isaiah in the Temple in Jerusalem
(Isaiah 6:1-5). The prayers of the Liturgy are shot through with hundreds of Biblical quotes. In fact, the late French Orthodox theologian, Paul Evdokimov (1902-1970), once calculated that there are 98 quotations from the Old Testament and 114 quotations from the New Testament woven into the prayers of the Liturgy. To come to Liturgy attentively is to learn to pray the Bible! In closing, let me remind you of what St. Paul says about the Scriptures: Everything written in the Scriptures was written to teach us in order that we might have hope through the patience and encouragement that the Scriptures give us. - Romans 15:4 The Holy Scriptures are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults and giving instruction for living rightly. - 2 Timothy 3:15-16
Archdiocese Statement on Case of Orphaned Children page 2 seven months. There was never any question of financial resources in accepting the children. The Academy has been informed by the family that they are currently working toward securing guardianship of the children in order for them to be placed at St. Basil. Both the Archdiocese and the Academy look forward to receiving Kostakis
and Demetris as soon as possible. To portray the Archdiocese of America, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, or St. Basil Academy as being anything but willing and eager to assist this family is irresponsible and reprehensible. It is a shame and shameful that anyone would exploit the tragedy of any child, especially ones orphaned of a parent, through exaggeration, misstatement and accusation.
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Marriage as Sacrament and the Sacramental Family by Panayiotis Sakellariou
Everything was perfect. The families and friends of the wedding couple, along with many children, had filled the cathedral long before the service started. The flower girls and alter boys stood in position ready for their first movement in the divine choreography of the marital service. As the priest led the bride and groom by the hand down the aisle, the angelic voice of the Protopsaltis rose high above the aroma and smoke of the incense, seemingly joining “the Heavens and the Earth.” I vividly remember the powerful message delivered by the priest on that extraordinary morning. He underlined three aspects that should be found in marriage and family life: sanctifying, sacrificial and caring. At the time, these words sounded lofty and abstract. From that very day, though, and throughout my marital and family life, I have begun to understand how fundamental those words are to our unity and indeed to our very salvation.
According to its theology and tradition, the Orthodox Church has always perceived life in its entirety as sacramental, which can be described as bringing everything back into a correct relationship with God. “In The Sacrament of Marriage and Union with God,” Dr. Bruce Beck speaks about the sanctifying nature of marriage, which derives from the real presence of Christ in the marriage itself. By definition, a sacrament is an act of transformation; it makes us more like Christ. In Beck’s words, “Sacraments are a door through which Christ returns to us.” All sacraments, including marriage, are ultimately a mystery and a foretaste of the Kingdom of God. What exactly, one may ask, does Christ’s presence in marriage transform? It transforms each spouse individually and their relationship as a whole. It is the inauguration of a new creation and the presence of the Kingdom of God in the marital union. Above all, it transforms human love into an icon of Christ’s love. Moreover, the Wisdom Literature instructs us, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). It’s only through this constant “sharpening”
Family Connections through Christ’s mutually sanctifying love that true healing takes place. Ultimately, it is this transformed love for one another that leads both husband and wife toward loving God more and makes marriage a vehicle for entering into communion with Him.
In his article Reflections on Ephesians 5:22-33, Fr. Stanley Harakas discusses the sacrificial nature of the marital relationship as defined by St. Paul. He eloquently redefines the popular notion of these verses, which misinterprets the role of the husband’s headship as authoritarian and the wife’s obedience as servile. Instead, the original intent of the text was to indicate that the husband’s headship is to imitate Christ’s love and headship over the Church. This headship is not to be understood as one that possesses worldly power and authority. It is a headship of sacrifice, service and love based on the example that our Lord Himself gave us. Fr. Harakas points out that the preceding verse, “Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21), is key to understanding the rest of the text. The concept that is introduced here is mutuality in love between the husband and the wife as shown by self-sacrifice and obedience to one another and together, by obedience to Christ: “Both husband and wife exercise authority over their spouse and both husband and wife obey each other.” In the end, each spouse’s needs are met not by focusing on their own but by concentrating on the welfare of the other! How full of wonder and how glorious are God’s ways!
We see in Genesis 1:26 that man is made in the image and according to the likeness of the Triune God. Expressing this Trinitarian theological point of view in her book “Persons in Communion,” Dr. Kyriaki FitzGerald reminds us that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are expressed
as existing ‘in communion,’ perfectly united in love but without losing their subjectivity—a diversity within unity. Emphasizing the communal and relational aspect of the Trinity, she points to the implications of viewing human relationships as icons of the Triune God: “We are called to grow in authentic relationship with creation, God, self and others.” This kind of relationship by definition includes caring, which in the marital union is often taken for granted. Caring is a softening of heart that embraces the other unconditionally and requires prayer, forgiveness, and ultimately, love.
The Sacramental Family
Scriptures and make him apply himself to the reading of the Scriptures. Make him a Christian!” The spiritual formation children receive at home is critical to their overall growth and wellbeing. Modern day disciplines, such as psychology, confirm this, that every human interaction is of consequence and can become part of our inner fabric. What an awesome and humbling responsibility for parents to shoulder! Recalling the three characteristics of Christian marriage discussed earlier, we are called to raise our children in an environment that is sanctified by our love and devotion to each other and to God. Our sacrificial service to each other is extended to our children, as we seek to imitate our Lord who offered His very life for us. Finally, in the image of the Holy Trinity, one witnesses loving care for the good of each individual in the family. In our Orthodox tradition, these three characteristics are wonderfully illustrated in the lives of saints who were raised in pious families and in an atmosphere of grace–and many whose parents also became saints. Let us take great care of our wives [or our husbands], our children and ourselves. In our care both of ourselves and of them, let us ask God sincerely that He help us in our effort.
If the marital union is the cornerstone of family life, children are its fruit. The crowns received by the bride and groom on their wedding day signify that the couple is also called to be the king and queen of their new home, and that together with their children, they are to become a prophetic witness to God. Their goal is to provide trust, care and growth of personhood, which are necessary to become more Christ-like. According to the Orthodox idea of sacrament, as described above, family life can also be understood as sacramental. To that end, it is important to recognize that the Church, the Body of Christ, begins at home and in the family. This is made evident in St. John Chrysostom’s Homily 20 on Ephesians: “If we regulate our household [properly] . . . we will also be fit to oversee Panayiotis Sakellariou is the Resource the Church, for indeed the home is a little Coordinator for the Center for Family Care of Church.” the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. As parents consider their roles as king Prior to working for the Center, Panayioti and queen in the little Church of the home, spent 5 years on the mission field in India they discern the vocation of true Christian and Albania. He received his B.A. in Political parenthood. St. Paul exhorts parents, “Do Science and a Master’s in Theological Studies not provoke your children to wrath but (M.T.S.) at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School raise them in the training and admonition of of Theology. He and his wife, Shannon, have the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). St. Chrysostom two daughters, Sophia, 5 and Iliana, 3. in Homily 22 explicates this passage: “Let us give them a pattern. Where there are spiritual ties, Lord, help us become better parents. the natural ones will Teach us how to truly understand our children, follow. Do you wish To listen patiently to everything they say to us your son to be obediand to always answer their questions with kindness. ent? Make him from the Protect us from the temptation to react impatiently. earliest age a diligent Help us not to hurt their feelings, injure their sense hearer of the divine
Resources for Parents The Parish Family Night: Learning and living our Orthodox life together. Has your parish held a parish family night? Bring your parish family together monthly with this program by the Center for Family Care. This resource includes 12 detailed sessions and information on how to plan a family night at your parish. Each session includes a comprehensive outline, group activities, breakout sessions, handouts and prayers. Grow closer as a parish as you grow closer to Christ. The Center for Family Care sent a copy to each parish this past spring. Additional copies are available for $25 at www.orthodoxmarketplace. org or download the program at www.family. goarch.org.
A Parent’s Prayer
of self-worth, nor punish them in times of frustration and anger. Enlighten us so that we instruct them calmly and gently and that in every moment, we inspire them through our example. Cause us to ignore our children’s small and insignificant mistakes; rather help us to see their gifts a nd the good things they do. Grant us to use the right words when they deserve our praise. Help us to support them, to treat them according to their age, and to have realistic expectations. May we help them achieve all the good things their hearts desire. Make us good and fair, wise and friendly. May we be loved by them and may we be to them a real Christian example. Finally, through our entire life and in all our actions, help us show them the road which leads only to YOU. Amen.
28 “Paul went downstairs, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “He is not dead ... but alive!”” Acts 20:10
2010 • Window on a New Year
by Rev. Frank Marangos
The Christmas-New Year holiday season in Manhattan was marked by elaborate window displays created at many of the city’s most famous and popular stores. From Macy’s and Lord & Taylor to Bloomingdale’s and Barneys, the holiday season in New York City would not be complete without a visit to these beautifully decorated Yuletide windows. While some preferred just to look, other Christmas window-shoppers were lured into purchasing what they will discover in the New Year they can’t afford. An activity without clearly defined intent, seasonal window-shopping motivates wishful thinking and unrealistic expectations. With every window display more enticing than the other, “surely,” we think, “this one will finally solve all those nagging difficulties in my life!” The first 10 years of the 21st century may be characterized as the decade of unremitting window-shopping. Never before have we seen such a multi-media array of sophisticated “catechetics,” all promising ever-lasting happiness through their respective branding of what is true. Our lives were introduced to interactive television, rich-media Internet service, and global video cell-phone networks. These societal windows provide intimate inspection into competing worldviews that draw us towards their respective gospel – that if we do this, accept this, purchase this – we will be free, transformed, changed for ever, happy as never before, fulfilled, enlightened. By allowing our minds, hearts and finally, our bodies to pass through their beaconing windows we are guaranteed endless adoration, wealth, fame and happiness – or our money back! The Book of Acts has a great deal of advice for such contemporary windowshopping. Its message provides an alternative and a valuable remedy for those who have tragically fallen headlong through the depersonalized windowpanes of secularity. While its first 19 chapters generally illustrate the key characteristics of the early Christian community as spirit, unity, and philanthropy, the 20th chapter of Acts powerfully reveals the more specific nature of the Church. It is not so much a fixed location . . . as an intimate relationship with the Sacred . . . the Resurrected Lord Himself! What then does Acts 20:10 have to say to the Year 2010? What wise counsel for the New Year can be discerned from an unusual biblical pericope concerning a young man’s fall from a three-story window? Apart from describing the first liturgical gathering of the apostolic community, the 10th verse of the 20th chapter of the Book of Acts provides an important framework for Orthodox Christians preparing to pass through the window-break of New Year resolutions. Acts 20:10 is the climactic verse of a liturgical story of mixed incongruity. While on his way to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, St. Paul is described as having stopped at Troas. Since it was Sunday, he prepared to celebrate the Eucharist at the place where the local Christian community normally gathered . . . a large room on the third floor of a house. It is here, that a young adult named Eutychos, whose name literally means “well-favored,” “blessed,” or “lucky,” fell asleep while sitting on the precarious edge of a windowpane. As Paul’s long sermon lingered, Eutychos fell asleep and tragically tumbled to the pavement below. The young adult may have been tired and fatigued from
the previous day’s toil. Perhaps he was distracted, lulled to sleep by the sights and sound emanating from the nightlife outside. In many ways Eutychos represents the minds, hearts and bodies of all young worshipers throughout the ages who struggle at the outermost border of contending visions. One might say that Eutychos was “unlucky” to have chosen to window-shop in such a fashion. He was “fortunate” however, to the extent that he had a loving, wise and concerned Church leader, the Apostle Paul, nearby. By imitating the Old Testament action of Elijah and Elisha (1 Kings 17:21, 2 Kings 4:34) who resuscitated lifeless children by stretching out their bodies on them, St. Paul was able to similarly resurrect young Eutychos from the dead! Significantly, both returned upstairs, and resumed their worship of God “until daybreak” (Acts 20:11)! What does this life-restoring story have to say to young window-shoppers of 2010? Is it a warning against sleeping during church . . . or preaching too long? Is it a note of comfort to long-winded and boring preachers that the Spirit will rescue if we harm one of God’s flock with our words? On the contrary, St. John Chrysostom upholds the story of Eutychos as a life-style model for young adult Christians. While some may stay up into the night for the purposes of entertainment, drunkenness or immorality, Chrysostom insists that Eutychos stayed up because he desired to be spiritually discerning, moral and brave. Rather than seek secular entertainment at late-night parties Eutychus chose to listen to the gospel message of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, suggests Chrysostom, as Paul continued his homily “the Devil disturbed the feast . . . by plunging the hearer in sleep, and causing him to fall down.” Perched on the windowsills of life, the contemporary Orthodox Christian is likewise sandwiched between two competing worldviews – the Church and secularism. While physically present and frequently attentive to the essential messages of Orthodoxy, young adult professionals are nonetheless, in danger of losing interest, nodding off and, like Eutychos, falling
headlong into the concrete lap of a beckoning post-modernism. What can be done to effectively guard against the occurrence of such ill-fated calamities? To safely enter the second decade of the third millennium, the Orthodox Church should diligently aspire to help its young adults cultivate their ability to appraise truth from deceit by nurturing their spiritual intellect and moral character. In his most recent book, Five Minds for the Future (2006), Harvard professor Howard Gardner describes five ways of thinking and acting that are essential if individuals are to develop the requisites for effectively engaging an ever-changing future society. While three are related to the intellect: (a) disciplined, (b) synthesizing, and (c) creative minds; two emphasize character: (a) respectful, and (b) ethical minds. Gardner is one of many distinguished educators and cognitive researchers that insist that the next decade will require American citizens to demonstrate “out-ofthe-box,” non-linear, and creative thinking to solve increasingly complex challenges. Social scientists warn that only individuals with interdisciplinary expertise and enhanced inner discernment will be able to successfully resolve real world problems with their interrelated moral dilemmas. As a result, Orthodoxy has been provided a wonderful opportunity to share her wisdom, as the Apostolic Church has always refrained from over-emphasizing one-dimensional thinking. Reflecting a scriptural perspective, the patristic witness has alternately promoted the cultivation of the “mind of Christ,” a balance of cognitive, moral and spiritual competencies. The cognitive capacity of Orthodox young adults should be cultivated to accept and comprehend pertinent information about Church history, scripture and the sacraments (the disciplined mind). The next decade, however, will require them to likewise nurture the capability of sorting and wisely appraising the value, importance and truth of massive amounts of opinions that will most certainly compete for their acquiescence (the synthesizing mind). In order for such judicious review to occur, however, Orthodox Christians will have to develop rich and robust window-
shopping theological filters. Only those who have been guided to develop such an Orthodox-framed synthesizing mind will be capable of effectively engaging information in such a sensible fashion. The next decade will further reveal the life-transforming truth that self-definition should not be equated with career choice. Our identities, as persons formed in the image and likeness of God, should not be reduced by self-serving philosophies of individualism into the sum total of occupational resumes and professional vitaes! On the contrary, Orthodox young adults must be strengthened to disallow their precious humanity to be scaled by the hollow weights of functionalism and moral relativity. Once they have mastered and synthesized the knowledge and discipline of their respective secular careers with the worldview of their Orthodox Faith, they must then be prepared to “think outside” of strict occupational boxes (the creative mind). Herein lies the Church’s greatest offering, for God-inspired creativity is the hallmark of Orthodox Christianity! In the final analysis, it is the Sacramental Grace of God that empowers inspiration, meaningful innovation and lasting creativity. Only in this fashion can work retain its ontological liturgical character and avoid regressing into self-distorting meaningless toil. Gardner’s two additional “minds” cultivate personal character. If we honestly desire to guard young adult faithful from spiritual slumber, Orthodox leaders must recognize the importance of establishing pastoral strategies that will help them develop the capacity for personal and interpersonal reverence (the respectful mind). Young adult professionals must learn how to distinguish between real respect and “politically-correct” tolerance. Cultivating such respect, however, does not mean a juvenile abdication of core truths. On the contrary! All perspectives must be respected, but they must not all be understood as equally valid. Consequently, while the development of a respectful mind is a worthy and essential goal in a world where diversity of perspectives is a fact of life, true holiness insists on honest assessment and truth. It is significant that advertisers utilize the windows of broadcast television and the Internet to lecture insomniacs on how to make millions of dollars in real estate, change their careers, predict the future, speak a new language and cook perfect burgers. At the same time, the world begins to nod off when the length of the Sunday sermon exceeds the customary ten-minute mark. The story of Eutychos, however, must be preached in its fullness as it illustrates the gospel in miniature. Consequently, Acts 20:10 has much to say to the Year 2010 for it illustrates that faith in Jesus Christ leads to life. Its message brings hope to a continually fragmented and daydreaming world. The “good news” is whenever humanity dozes and drops from the ledges of an inauthentic life; God does not simply look down from heaven’s window and lament our self-destructive preoccupations. Rather, He continually stretches out the Grace of His Son’s Bloodied Body on our own, and through the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, restores us to True Life. This is the eternal window of Love . . . the blessed Icon through which all of our New Year resolutions and visions should pass. I can think of no more valuable message for the next decade of window-shoppers! May our New Year be so blessed . . . so “Eutychos!” Fr. Marangos is dean of the Holy Trinity Archdiocesan Cathedral in New York. He is also an adjunct assistant professor at St. John’s University (NY). Visit www.thecathedral.goarch.org to view the on-line sermon upon which this article is based.
Archbishop Demetrios of AmericA the first DecADe 1999-2009
Detroit Philoptochos meets
Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit with members of the Metropolis Philoptochos Board and National President Aphrodite Skeadas at Sts. Constantine and Helen Church in Westfield, Mich., where they held their biennial conference.
Metropolitan Nicholas Honored at Detroit Clergy Laity Conference page 11 according to these teachings and spread them, which means not only to be good but to do good, to season this fallen world and provide it with the flavor of Christ.” Salt is a remedy for unsavory foods, but there is no remedy for unsavory salt, that is why Metropolitan Nicholas kept reminding his audience of the Lord’s warning in the same passage that as salt can lose its flavor, so we, as Christians, may lose our sense of mission. In closing his remarks, the Metropolitan called everyone to action: “above even your time, talents, and treasures, the Lord calls upon you to give up yourselves for the life and salvation of the world. ‘Pass your salt’ as faithful disciples and true, and so will we all enjoy the Banquet of love in the Kingdom of God on that day that is to come. Amen.” Metropolis Committees and Philoptochos Assembly meetings ran concurrently. Delegates who were not attending committee meetings or other sessions attended educational sessions which centered around the conference theme of Salt. These sessions dealt with ways in which to make our Christian witness more effective for ourselves as well as our communities. The opening common session was led by Frs. Cassis, Olechnowicz, and Pathenos. In addition, there were a total of five learning sessions that followed the opening seminar: Fr. Irenaeus Cox led the first session emphasizing the meaning of spiritual salt in our households; Fr. Mark Sietsema developed the topic of being on a salt free diet and how to be a Christian in the midst of apathy; Fr. Nicolaos Kotsis spoke on offering a balanced diet of spiritual salt to the world; Fr. Gregory Hohnholt elaborated on the renewal of salt in our life; Fr. Anthony Cook followed on the healing power of salt. The Metropolis committees meeting during the Assembly included: Finance, Youth, Administration, Missions and Small Parish, Religious Education, Archdiocesan Commitment, Language and Culture, and Friends of the Metropolis Committee.
A review of the work of the ClergyLaity Assembly will be communicated to the parishes. Metropolitan honored At the Grand Banquet where honored Metropolitan Nicholas was honored, U.S. Navy Chaplain and classmate of the Metropolitan, Capt. William J. Bartz , offered the keynote “Salute” to Metropolitan Nicholas. Fr. Bartz noted their first encounter while they were students, and concluded with their present work and public outreach in the American Bible Society. They collaborated on the first issue of an Orthodox Military Bible. Among His Eminence’s accomplishments: • Establishment of Clergy Speakers Bureau through Religious Chair (Fr. James Bogdan); • Established Clergy Homily Series, Saturday Vespers before Sunday of Orthodoxy; • Metropolis Christmas Choir Presentation; • Reinstituted the 25th of March Parade and Heritage Award Presentation Banquet; • Held Speaker Clergy Training Sessions with Leadership 100 grants; • Spearheaded financial relief for 9/11, Katrina and catastrophic fires in Greece; • Established Southern Camp through the Youth Office; • Contributing Consultant in “My Greek Story” production; • Collaborated with the Clergy Syndesmos in sponsoring a Chinese Seminarian via the American Bible Society; • Keynote speaker in Armenian 1,600 years of Christianity; • Participated in local ecumenical leadership with Cardinal Maida, including receiving a gift of the relics of St. Nicholas in the ceremony held at the St. Nicholas Church in Troy, Mich. • Guided the Metropolis Philoptochos in Medical Luncheon in which over 1,000 people attended from around the country, raising monies for the Children’s Hospitals.
his beautifully produced book presents a full spectrum of the activities in the life of the Greek Orthodox Church in America from the years 1999-2009, the first ten years of Archiepiscopal Ministry of Archbishop Demetrios of America. The 368-page hard cover book contains 537 photographs, all taken by the Official Photographer of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Dimitrios Panagos, and masterfully compiled & edited by Revekka Papadopoulou. Chapters include: Biography, Enthronement, Archpastoral Ministry, Education & Youth, Ecumenical Patriarchate, Official trips, Welcoming Visitors, At the Nation’s Capital, Omogeneia & Cultural Events, September 11-2001, Ecumenical Relations & SCOBA, 40th Anniversary of Episcopacy, and Honors & Degrees.
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by Elisabeth Lourie
Have you ever heard of Tim Tebow? He is the star quarterback, Heisman trophy winner, for the Florida Gators. In addition to being hailed as possibly the best college football player of the decade, he is also a man of great character. His parents were Christian missionaries in the Philippines. Tim began playing football at a local high school and was very talented. He was recruited by all the best schools, but eventually chose the University of Florida (his parents’ Alma Mater). He has made history in many ways, but perhaps most famously by being the first sophomore ever to win the Heisman trophy. The thing that makes him unique and not just another successful football player is his outspoken love for God. He has stated that he lists football as his fourth priority in life: the first being his relationship with Jesus Christ, the second his family, and the third his education. He is an outspoken proponent of missionary work and spent his spring break in the Philippines on a mission trip. He stated, “I could be spending my spring break hanging out, having fun, or I could spend my spring break ministering to orphans…and I think, ‘what really matters?’” When he’s not in school or playing football, you can probably find him speaking to inmates across the U.S. where he provides motivational speeches and brings the word of Christ to the inmates. Recently he was asked in a press conference after a game if he is “saving himself for marriage.” He laughed a little and quickly answered “yes.” This caused some stir among the reporters on hand, but Tim seemed perfectly at ease. After winning the Heisman trophy in 2007 he started his acceptance speech with “I’d like to first start off by thanking my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave me the ability to play football and gave me a great family and support group.” You can see that Tim is not afraid to openly discuss his faith. It is encouraging to hear about young people who are committed to their faith, humble and thankful for their blessings. Because of his experience with those less fortunate, he remains grounded and thankful for all that he has been given. He always speaks about his blessings from God and how he hopes to use his success at football to bring glory to God. I hope that all young people will be inspired by Tim Tebow. And the next time someone asks, “What is important to you?” or “What you believe?” you will have the courage to come right out and say it.
Tim Tebow: Man of God
Who’s Your Role-Model ? by Andrew (Drew) Baker
Epiphany One day a 30-year-old man appeared on the bank of the Jordan River and asked to be baptized. Ever since that day, things haven’t been the same. Epiphany, Jan. 6, is the day we commemorate the Baptism of our Lord, who was baptized by His cousin, St. John the Forerunner. Epiphany means revelation or appearance from above, or from God. At this great event, Jesus appears publicly for the first time to reveal his mission and to make known that he is the Son of God. The Holy Trinity is revealed. God the Father’s voice tells us: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” Jesus the Son, receives baptism from John. The Holy Spirit is made known in the form of a dove. On Epiphany, God not only reveals who he is, but how much he loves us. Epiphany tells us that God’s love for us is forever. Epiphany tells us that God has already poured his love upon us. Our part is to receive his love as freely as he offers it.
For Consideration Do you think it’s important for people who are sports heroes to be good role models? Why do you look up to people who are famous? Do you also look up to people who aren’t famous? Who would you say are your top 5 role models? If you could ask Tim Tebow one question, what would it be? Have you ever considered going on a mission trip? Would you give up your spring break from college to help those less fortunate?
Whether you learn about it in the grocery store aisle, watching television or surfing the Internet, every week seems to bring another celebrity scandal. It doesn’t take much effort to find out which member of the social elite has been unfaithful, uncovered or under arrest. If America’s obsession with celebrities and their bad habits is not overwhelming enough, add to that the complaints of people who worry that the younger generation of Americans is coming of age while looking at these people as role models. How can teenagers be expected to act with integrity, honesty, purity and humility if so many people in the public eye do not? What will become of this generation that sees actors, athletes, politicians and businessmen fall to poor judgment and lack of character? Luckily, as Orthodox Christians, we have our own sort of celebrity circle. When the need arises for role models, simply take a look around the icons in the church. Maybe you see the icon of St. George. He was one of the most decorated and well respected soldiers in the Roman army who publically declared himself a Christian while knowing it would lead to torture and certain death. Or perhaps you see St. Basil who was educated by the best schools in Athens and went on to be the unyielding Bishop who stood up to heretical emperors. The icon of St. Dionysius tells of the saint who heard the confession of his own brother’s murderer and forgave the criminal on the spot. Finally, every church holds the image of the Theotokos and Christ. The Virgin Mary answered God’s call to raise his Son on Earth while Jesus lived in perfection every day with love and complete sacrifice for all those around him. From the images of our church we see examples of strength, valor, intelligence, justice, mercy, humility, love and sacrifice. This is why we hang icons and learn the story of the life of Christ and the saints. Where could we hope to find better role models than these holy men and women who have come before us? Who else could show us a better way to live our lives each day? In a world where so many worry about who will teach the youth to live, it is just another time to be grateful for the teachings and traditions of our Church. Drew served at Ionian Village as a counselor in 2007 and as the program director in 2009. He teaches Sunday School at his parish in Richmond, Va., where he works as a high school history teacher.
Children of St. Basil Academy Continue Holiday Tradition
GARRISON, N.Y. – An outstanding Christmas program has become a tradition at St. Basil Academy as the children presented a celebration of “Infant King,” the story of the Christ Child through scripture, story and song on Dec. 19th. The program featured 20 of the St. Basil children in the traditional roles of the individuals associated with the Nativity of Christ, as well as the first-time appearance of a live sheep, provided by a local area resident. The children sang traditional Christmas carols in English and Greek following the performance. In his comments after the program, Archbishop Demetrios described it as “a very rich theological performance with perfect musical accompaniment.” The set design featured a structure that represented the house of Elizabeth, the mother of St. John the Baptist who received a visit from her cousin the Virgin Mary, who reflected on the miraculous event that was to happen, along with a representation of the cave where Jesus was to be born. Costumes authentically portrayed the
clothing of that period, right down to the sandals. Despite the approaching major snow storm that was making its way up the East Coast, the auditorium at the Academy was nearly filled with more than 150 persons attending from several states, including AHEPA Supreme President Nicholas A. Karacostas, Board of Trustees President Evellyn Tsiadis, AHEPA National President Aphrodite Skeadas, Cyprus Consul General Koula Sofianou, Greek Consul Evangelos Kyriakopoulos and other trustees and parish representatives. Following a Lenten luncheon, a gift presentation ceremony took place in The Main building with children gathered around the tree to receive presents from Archbishop Demetrios. National Philoptochos President Aphrodite Skeadas presented a gift of $30,000 for renovations to the administration building and for a new sidewalk that leads up the hill to the St. Basil Chapel. The consul general of Cyprus presented a first-time gift from her government of $2,500.
Members of the cast of the “Infant King” Christmas play (top, left) acknowledge the resounding applause from the audience following their performance. (center) the children with Archbishop Demetrios, Academy Executive Director Fr. Constantine Sitaras, National Philoptochos President Aphrodite Skeadas, Cyprus Consul General Koula Sofianou, AHEPA Supreme President Nicholas A. Karacostas (left in picture), Greek Consul Evangelos Kyriakopoulos, Board President Evelyn Tsiadis and area resident Dave Koehler, who provided the sheep for the program. (below, left) His Eminence distributes gifts to the eagerly waiting children. (above) A few of the gingerbread houses that the children produced and that were displayed at the entrance to the Academy gym. D. Panagos and Observer photos