OCTOBER – NOVEMBER 2010 • Vol. 75 • No. 1260
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Archdiocesan Council Moves st Forward with New Goals at 1 Meeting of 2010-11 Session by Jim Golding
NEW YORK – The Archdiocesan Council began its new session on Oct. 14-15, with Archbishop Demetrios discussing several important developments in the life of the Church occurring in recent months. In a joint session with members of the National Philoptochos Board, His Eminence said the recent creation of the Assembly of Bishops has brought about “challenging conditions.” “It creates a new situation of interOrthodox cooperation in this country,” the Archbishop said. “It is a very significant step.” The transition of bringing all agencies and organizations previously under SCOBA will become the responsibility of the new Assembly.
Citing a recently completed Orthodox census completed under SCOBA that reveals about 60 percent of the Orthodox Christians in the United States are members of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, he said it “gives us a tremendous responsibility,” but warned against a feeling of superiority over other Orthodox jurisdictions. “That would be a fatal mistake.” Another important development the Archbishop cited is the aftermath of the expanded Atlanta congress theme of “Gather My People to My Home… Come and See.” “Here again is a tremendous responsibility - to cultivate our beloved people,” he continued. “There is a need to think above and beyond the parish;
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Archbishop Demetrios administers the oath of oﬃce to the Archdiocesan Council and National Philoptochos Board Members.
Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art & Culture Established at HC-HC
Mary Jaharis, with Archbishop Demetrios, cuts the ribbon at the dedication of the Center for Byzantine Art and Culture.
BROOKLINE, Mass. – A $3 million gift from the Jaharis Family Foundation to Hellenic College-Holy Cross School of Theology will propel the institution into a new role as a premier international research center for Byzantine art and culture. The Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art & Culture, was inaugurated Oct. 2 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the HC-HC Library Reading Room. It will serve as the venue for academic programs, seminars, conferences, special events, art programs and presentations by visiting scholars. A program featuring speakers and a concert followed in the Maliotis Cultural Center on campus. In his address to the gathering, Archbishop Demetrios called the new center “A reality with tremendous potential for development beyond expectations.” His Eminence cited several converging factors that resulted in the establishment of the center: the philanthropic efforts of the Jaharis family that have benefited HC-HC, Tufts University, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and other institutions and causes; the presence of the school as “the best place for such a center” with its “extremely favorable environment;” the organization and structure of the center enabling it to “produce and promote things in a much easier way:” the “increased attention to Byzantine culture, intellectual, scientific and social accomplishments” along with an increased interest in Byzantine music and the proliferation of
Byzantine-style churches, and the content and perspective of activities that will be connected with the center. Kontoglu exhibit The first of these programs is the center’s opening exhibition of icons by Greek painter and iconographer Photis Kontoglou (1895-1965), which will be open to the public through Nov. 5. Kontoglu is credited with reintroducing Byzantine iconography in Greece beginning in the early 20th century. Byzantine sacred art survived for centuries following the Fall of Constantinople but, after Greece gained its independence in the 1820s, and with the ascendance of King Otto of Bavaria, Byzantine art was rejected in favor of Western European styles of religious art. Through Kontoglou’s efforts in the 1920s and 30s, the creation and presence of Byzantine iconography proliferated in Greece and abroad. In the 1950s, he produced Byzantine icons for Holy Trinity Church in Charleston, S.C., as well as Holy Trinity Cathedral and St. Spyridon Church in New York, the Archdiocese Department of Religious Education, and the Diocese of Boston. Several of his works are on loan to the school for the exhibit. The exhibit curator, the Very Rev. Dr.
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Communique of the Holy Eparchial Synod The Holy Eparchial Synod of the Holy Archdiocese of America convened in its regular fall meeting on October 13-14 at the Synodal Chamber of the Holy Archdiocese in New York. His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America presided and participating were also the Members of the Synod. The Holy Synod deliberated on the following issues: 1. Educational and Youth: The Holy Eparchial Synod had the opportunity to exchange ideas on issues of Religious Education. The Synod was briefed on the work of the Department by its director Dr. Anton Vrame. It was emphasized that Religious Education should be extended beyond the children and adolescents to
include adults. The beneficial effect on the youth offered by youth camps, liturgical and cultural opportunities, and other programs was determined, especially by the didactic success of the use of the new media used by the Religious Education Departments of the Archdiocese (i.e. magazines, CDs etc.) 2. Clergy: The Eparchial Synod dealt with issues of the spiritual, bodily and psychological health of the clergy, and decided to take measures to promote their psychosomatic well being. On the same subject, it was decided to strengthen the candidates to the priesthood through relevant lessons during their studies. 3. Canonical: The Holy Eparchial Synod, after a long working session, final-
ized the text on Regulations for Spiritual Courts. In addition, the Holy Synod discussed canonical issues pertaining to the clergy, and made pastoral and disciplinary decisions. 4. Inter-Orthodox: There was a report and a discussion on the Pan- Othodox Episcopal Assembly, that took place this past May in New York, as well as the meeting of the Executive Committee of the Assembly, with his All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Constantinople in September of this year. 5. Liturgical Issues: The Holy Eparchial Synod worked on a text of Holy Services: of Orthros and Vespers. Also, the Ecclesiastical Music was a subject of relevant discussion, which concluded with
specific proposals. In addition to the detailed discussion on the above subjects, there was also discussion on the Special Educational Program for Deacons, as well as the important Conference that will be held in Brussels, for the support of religious rights and freedom for our Ecumenical Patriarchate. The conference is organized by the Archons of our Ecumenical Patriarchate, who are members of our Holy Archdiocese of America. The Members of the Holy Eparchial Synod participated in the morning of October 14th in the meeting of the Executive Committee of the Archdiocesan Council, and on the following day in the first meeting of the new term 2010-2012 of the Archdiocesan Council. From the Office of the Holy Eparchial Synod
Archbishop Inaugurates 50th EOCS Retreat at Academy by George Boulukos
GARRISON, N.Y. – This year’s annual Northeast Region Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting (EOCS) Retreat was special because the organization celebrated its 50th anniversary. A highlight of this anniversary retreat was the presence of Archbishop Demetrios, who participated in the event and interacted with all the Scouts present. His Eminence is chairman of SCOBA, the Orthodox agency that provides scouting religious activities for our Orthodox Christian Youth on a national level. More than 300 Scouts and Scouters attended this retreat held at Saint Basil Academy. His Eminence opened the retreat with a prayer and spoke extensively about Scouting. He stressed that Scouting was a viable part of our youth ministry and congratulated the adult leaders for devoting their time to both the Girl and Boy Scout programs. During the ceremony, EOCS Chair-
man, George Boulukos, along with the Archbishop, presented Rev. Joe McEachen, from Ansonia, Conn. a “Certificate of Appreciation” for his more than 40 forty years of dedicated work for Orthodox Scouting. During the weekend retreat, the 300 scouts, both girls and boys, participated in various programs. The boys slept in tents in the north woods, while the girls bunked down in the dormitories. Fifteen students and seminarians from Holy Cross School of Theology developed and conducted the retreat programs based on the theme “Perfectly One with God.” It was led by head seminarian Vincent Minucci. The Scouts divided into 10 age groups and participated in discussions related to this theme. While the Scouts participated in the afternoon program, Deacon David Hostetler conducted a lecture and led a discussion with the adults present. The Archbishop invited unit leaders to a short lunch provided by the Academy. He expounded on the importance of Scouting in the church communities
and congratulated the leaders for their dedication. Retreat Co-Chairs Peter Hilaris and Chris Triant from Tenafly, N.J., along with the EOCS chairman, presented His Eminence a commemorative Retreat patch and a coffee mug celebrating this 50th anniversary retreat. During the afternoon program conducted by the Holy Cross team, His Eminence made it a point to visit each of the 10 study groups. He spent time discussing the theme and other topics with the Scouters. He was impressed by the activity and group discussion by the young Scouts. An added activity was making koliva for the Sunday services by a group of scouts. The koliva was made in memory of the late Tony Triant of New Jersey who chaired the retreat for more than 37 years. Following the afternoon activities, everyone attended Vesper services, followed by a Lenten dinner prepared and served the by the adult leaders from Troop 23 of St. Demetrios Church, Astoria, N.Y. After a short free period, all the
Archbishop Addresses HMS of NY
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NEW YORK – “God is the ultimate true healer,” Archbishop Demetrios told members of the Hellenic Medical Society of New York at a lecture he delivered Oct. 21 to the organization, “Honor the Physician: The Healing Arts in Orthodox Biblical Perspective.” The Archbishop related the theme to a passage from the Book of Sirach in the Old Testament (chapter 38:1-15) and the development of medicine as a science in ancient Greece. He also contrasted the modern–day status of medicine, with its impersonal approach and emphasis on the patient’s insurance status, with the Church’s approach to ministering the sacraments to individuals as persons.
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Members of the Hellenic Medical Society and guests attend the Archbishop’s lecture at the Cathedral Center. EDITOR IN CHIEF Jim Golding (Chryssoulis) GREEK SECTION EDITOR Eleftherios Pissalidis
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Scouts attended and participated in the traditional scout campfire. Each Scout unit presented a song or a skit, and these proved to very creative and fun. Even the seminarians participated in songs. A big surprise was that an Orthodox Scout unit from Denver, with l2 Scouts and Scouters, flew in for the retreat under the leadership of Kirk Skogen. The unit is sponsored by the Hellenic Orthodox Community of Denver. They were so impressed that they plan to start a chapter of EOCS in the Denver area and to hold similar activities to those held in the northeast. Sunday brought the retreat to a close with Divine Liturgy at the Saint Basil Chapel where all Scouts partook of Holy Communion. The Liturgy was followed with a closing ceremony and brunch, hosted by Troop 23 of Astoria. Next year’s retreat will be held on Columbus Day weekend, as guests of Metropolitan Methodios at either Holy Cross Seminary or the Metropolis of Boston camp in New Hampshire. For information on the EOCS, visit web page: www.eocs.org.
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ARCHIEPISCOPAL ENCYCLICAL National Leadership 100 Sunday Honors Philanthropic Eﬀorts
Archdiocesan School of Byzantine Music Opens ASTORIA, N.Y. – The Archdiocesan School of Byzantine Music (ASBM) officially opened on Oct. 16 at the Hellenic Cultural Center. ASBM director Archdeacon Panteleimon Papadopoulos spoke to the incoming students about the school’s mission to teach Byzantine Music and its importance in the Greek Orthodox Liturgical Tradition. Conveying Archbishop Demetrios’ blessings to the ASBM student body, the Archdeacon focused on His Eminence’s charge from this year’s Clergy Laity Assembly to “Bring God’s People to His Home and to Come and See.” It was commented that one’s experience at home is contingent upon not only what they “See” but also what they “Hear.” Thus, under the musical direction of Demetrios Kehagias and Antonios Kehagias, the Archdiocesan School of Byzantine Music has been established in order to maintain and enhance the liturgical worship in the Direct Archdiocesan District. The opening of ASBM has already attracted individuals from various age groups. Children and adults are grouped in classes according to their particular skill level in order to ensure proper musical training. ASBM students are expected to become qualified Byzantine chanters who will provide the local parishes with appropriate ecclesiastical music. Though classes have begun, registration is still open. For more information visit www.asbm.goarch.org.
CLERGY UPDATE Ordinations to the Diaconate David Hostetler, by Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos at St. Athanasios Church, Aurora, Ill., 08/22/10 Elevation to Archdeacon Dn. Michael Diamond–Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey–Evangelismos Tis Theotokou,, Jersey City, N.J., 03/24/10 Assignments Fr. Dimosthenis Paraskevaidis, Holy Trinity Cathedral, Portland, Oregon, 11/14/09 Fr. Robert J. Archon, St. Nicholas Church, Portsmouth, N.H., 9/01/10 Fr. Michael Constantinides, St. Nicholas Church, Oak Lawn, Ill., 9/01/10 Fr. Vasileios Flegas, Transfiguration Church, Austin, Texas, 9/01/10 Fr. Athanasios Pieri, Holy Cross Church, Justice, Ill., 9/01/10 Fr. George Anastasiou, Transfiguration of Christ, Corona, N.Y., 10/01/10 Offikia Fr. James Carellas, Office of Archimandrite, bestowed by Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh, 7/12/10 Retired Priests Fr. George Bratiotis, 10/03/10 Receptions Fr. Ambrose Omayas, Aug. 26, 2010 (from the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America) Suspensions Rescinded Deacon George Bithos, 08/02/10 Priests on Loan Fr. Konstantinos Nevrokoplis, Aug. 30, 2010 (from the Church of Greece)
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see Your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
Bishop Savas of Troas ordained Deacon Romanos Khoury to the Holy Priesthood in San Francisco. Also shown is the Archepiscopal Vicar, the Very Rev. George Jweinat. (See related story on page 6).
First Priest Ordained for Palestinian–Jordanian Vicariate SAN FRANCISCO – Bishop Savas of Troas ordained Deacon Romanos Khoury (center) to the Holy Priesthood of the Vicariate for Palestinian/Jordanian Christian Orthodox Communities in the U.S. on Aug. 1 at St. George Church. This was the first ordination since the creation in 2008 of the Vicariate for the Palestinian/ Jordanian Orthodox Christian Communities by agreement of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The parishes and clergy of the Vicariate are under the pastoral supervision of Archbishop Demetrios and report to the Archbishop through the Archepiscopal Vicar, Rev. Protopresbyter George Jweinat. After a long process that began in 1993, related to the ecclesiastical status of a portion of the Palestinian and Jordanian communities in the United States (the portion connected to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem), there was a final agreed decision by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Patriarchate of Jerusalem concerning these communities. The Ecumenical Patriarchate and the
Jerusalem Patriarchate agreed that the canonical and pastoral supervision of these communities and their clergy would belong to the canonically established jurisdiction in the United States which is the Eparchy of the Ecumenical Throne in America, that is, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. The agreement was signed in Jerusalem on Feb. 28, 2007. Archbishop Demetrios was the senior representative for the Ecumenical Patriarchate and signed on its behalf. The process of implementation continued through 2008, when Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem met at the Ecumenical Patriarchate and concluded final details, including the creation of the Vicariate for Palestinian/Jordanian Christian Orthodox Communities in the U.S. Following the meeting at the Phanar, Archbishop Demetrios of America was directed to proceed with the implementation of the agreements by the creation of a Vicariate for the clergy and communities within the Archdiocese of America.
OCF Creates Endowment in Honor of Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos FISHERS, Ind – At its recent Board of Directors meeting, the Orthodox Christian Fellowship established an OCF Endowment Fund in honor of Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos. The fund will offer financial assistance for the OCF ministry. In the 1960’s, Bishop Dimitrios (James Couchell), a recent graduate of Holy Cross School of Theology, was appointed executive director to the Campus Commission of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) – the precursor to today’s Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF). He held this position for seven years. Later, His Grace was appointed executive
director of St Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine where he served for 17 years. During his tenure, he also became executive director of the Orthodox Christian Missions Center (OCMC) and served for 13 years. The OCF board meeting was held jointly with the Regional Chaplains Network, and Student Advisory Board at St. John the Divine parish in Jacksonville, Fla., Sept. 16-19. In addition to the establishment of the Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos OCF Endowment Fund, the Board discussed the day-to-day operations of the North
Two Additional Names on the 9/11 Victims List The list of victims in the 9-11 attacks on page 4 of the September Orthodox Observer did not include the names of Andrew Stergiopoulos and Stephen Emanuel Poulos. Mr. Stergiopoulos is the son of Dr. George Stergiopoulos, whose Andrew
Stergiopoulos Foundation, established in his son’s honor, has made several contributions for the rebuilding of St. Nicholas Church at ground zero. Also, the name of another victim who was listed, Vassili Haramis, incorrectly included the nickname “Bill” in parenthesis.
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, On this Sunday we give thanks to God for the faithful members of Leadership 100, and we recognize and celebrate the great accomplishments of the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund for the glory of God and the work of His kingdom. Through the generosity of many and through the grants and philanthropic endeavors of Leadership 100, the light of Christ has shone forth throughout our Archdiocese and around the world. This light of our Lord that illumines our hearts in truth and love has been experienced by men called to the Holy Priesthood through scholarships offered at our beloved Holy Cross School of Theology. It has been seen in the assistance provided to active clergy in relieving the burden of student loans. It has brightened the lives of retired clergy and presbyteres in need of assistance and care. It is a light that has been shared with more and more people through the preparation and publication of quality resources that broaden the work of the parishes and ministries of the Archdiocese. It is a light that has been carried around the world through generous gifts to relief efforts and missions. For Leadership 100 and its members, this ministry of philanthropy reveals the light of Christ because it shines forth from faith and love. The members of Leadership 100 give of their resources in faith, trusting in the power and will of God and believing that great works of grace will be accomplished in the lives of others. In addition, their gifts and service to God through Leadership 100 and through the many other ways in which they contribute to the Church, are evidence of their faith, not in the treasures of this world but in the eternal treasure of life in the kingdom of God. This is a witness, a light that shines before us leading us to give glory to God. The light of Christ is also visible in the love of God and His Church that characterizes the mission of Leadership 100, which was created to assist the ministries of our Holy Archdiocese. Throughout the history of this Endowment Fund, the members of Leadership 100, these faithful stewards of the Church, have labored intensely to offer adequate resources so that the ministries of the Church, which are the ministries of the Gospel of love, are extended. This has and continues to show the power of God’s love in their lives and a desire to see the power of this love work in the lives of others. On this National Leadership 100 Sunday, may we recognize the faithful members of Leadership 100 in our parishes. May we also highlight the accomplishments and mission of the Leadership 100 Endowment Fund and give thanks to God for a witness of light, faith and love that strengthens all of us in our labors for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ and the promotion of His Holy Gospel. With paternal love in Christ,
† Archbishop DEMETRIOS of America
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Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art & Culture Established at HC-HC from page 1 Joachim Cotsonis, director of the HC-HC library and an expert in Byzantine art history, said the center “is a great honor for the school and the Boston community” and noted that it is only the third time that an art exhibition devoted to Kontoglou has been seen in the U.S. HC-HC President Fr. Nicholas Triantafilou, speaking at the Maliotis Center program, expressed “enormous gratitude for the extraordinary gift and center.” Fr. Triantafilou said the Byzantine Art and Culture Center “will open new horizons for Hellenic College and Holy Cross” and will have “immediate access to a greater horizon” as a result its membership in the Boston-Theological Institute, a consortium of theological schools that includes HC-HC, Harvard, Boston University and Boston College. The Rev. Dr. Thomas Fitzgerald, Holy Cross dean, said he was “deeply grateful for the generous contribution to our life at Holy Cross.” He added that, “Jesus Christ is the essential key to understanding the Roman and Byzantine world” and that Holy Cross is “the only graduate school in the western world where Byzantine studies have a part.” Other speakers included Hellenic College Acting Dean Dr. Demetrios Katos and Professor Margaret Mullett, director of the Byzantine Studies Program at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington. The program also included lectures devoted to Photis Kontoglou by Dr. Helen C. Evans, the Mary and Michael Jaharis curator for Byzantine Art at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, whose topic was “Byzantium and Kontoglou” and Dr. Ryan P. Preston, adjunct professor at the Newberry Library in Chicago, who spoke on “Photis Kontoglou and the Revival of Byzantine Painting.” A lecture and concert followed featuring Nektarios S. Antoniou, founder and artistic director of Schola Cantorum, and a Fellow and Curator of the Mount Athos Center at the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki. The concert by Schola Cantorum and the Silk on the Road Ensemble, “Sailing to Byzantium,” featured traditional Byzantine liturgical selections, including works by St. Romanos the Melodist, and several secular songs from Constantinople, Asia Minor, Pontos, Cappadocia and the Aegean.
tion Inc., and wife of Archdiocesan Council Vice Chairman Michael Jaharis. She was born in Wisconsin and spent much of her early childhood in Athens, Greece. She later moved to Chicago where she completed high school and attended Northwestern University. Mrs. Jaharis graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago with a degree in Fine Arts and later studied at the New York School of Interior Design. She is an honorary trustee and benefactor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and serves on the museum’s Trustee Education Committee. She is responsible for the donations to the Byzantine Gallery in the Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters, and the Mary and Michael Jaharis Greek Gallery in Greek and Roman Art. Mrs. Jaharis also is a benefactor of the Art Institute of Chicago and a trustee of the St. Catherine’s Foundation, which supports conservation work at St. Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai (Egypt). The director of the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture is Dr. Maria Kouroumali, assistant professor of Byzantine Studies at HC-HC. For more information about the center, call Dr. Kouroumali (617) 850-1264. — Jim Golding
Namesake The center’s namesake, Mary Jaharis, is a director of the Jaharis Family Founda-
(Right) The Very Rev. Joachim Cotsonis, curator of the Kontoglu exhibit, delivers a lecture on the life and work of Photis Kontoglou.
ORTHODOX OBSERVER photo
(TOP) Part of the Kontoglou exhibit at the center, located in the Reading Room of the Archbishop Iakovos Library. The exhibit is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Nov. 5.
(Above) Nektarios Antoniou, a Holy Cross graduate, the artistic director of the Byzantine chant group Schola Cantorum, with members of the “Silk on the Road Ensemble” that performed sacred and secular Byzantine musical selections. (Right) Metropolitan Methodios of Boston and Archbishop Demetrios view Kontoglu’s Icon of the Transfiguration. Also shown is Fr. Astergios Gerostergios, pastor of Sts. Constantine and Helen Church in Cambridge, Mass.
PHOTOS D. PANAGOS
Members of the Jaharis family, from left, Elaine, Dr. Steven Jaharis, Mary and Michael Jaharis.
National Stewardship Commission Members Address Boston Metropolis Clergy–Laity Assembly by Jim Golding
BROOKLINE, Mass. – At its annual meeting on Oct 2 at Hellenic College the Metropolis of Boston Clergy-Laity Assembly carried over the theme “Gather My People To My Home... Come and See” from the 40th Clergy–Laity Congress in Atlanta. Metropolitan Methodios presided over the assembly that drew 350 delegates representing 54 of the 63 parishes in New England. The Metropolitan reminded the delegates in his keynote address of the Congress theme “Gather My People to My Home…Come and See” and challenged them to reach out to Orthodox Christians who are not attending church. The meeting format included addresses from several speakers followed by workshops and a brief plenary session. Assembly speakers included members of the National Stewardship Commission Atlanta attorney Bill Marianes, the cochairman of the Atlanta Congress; Theo Nikolakis, director of the Archdiocese Department of Internet Ministries; Department of Marriage and Family Director Fr. Constantine Sitaras, Fr. Charles Joanides and Dr. Philip Mamalakis, assistant professor of pastoral care at Holy Cross School of Theology. The Very Rev. Sebastian Skordallos, chief secretary of the Holy Synod and Anthony Stefanis of Atlanta, chairman of the Archdiocesan Council Administration Committee, addressed the issue of parish leadership. Twenty-two workshops took place in the Hellenic College classroom building and the Pappas gymnasium under the broad themes of Stewardship, Parish Leadership, Marriage and Family, Internet Ministries, Religious Education-Youth Ministry and Philanthropic and Outreach Ministries. They were repeated during morning and afternoon sessions so delegates could attend more than one meeting. Topics included: “The Gospel of Stewardship 101” by Bill Marianes; “The Gospel of Stewardship 201,” by George Matthews, co-chair of the Archdiocesan Council Finance Committee; “Practical Solutions-Practical Steps” by Ron Harb, co-chair of the Archdiocesan Council
National Stewardship Commission; “The Critical Role of Parish Leadership in Stewardship, Outreach and Evangelism,” by Fr. Jim Kordaris, director of the Archdiocese Department of Stewardship, Outreach and Evangelism;”Parish Management Software Initiative,” by Nicholas J. Sialmas, member of the National Stewardship Commission and Parish Management Software Initiative; “The Authenticity of Christian Leadership-Sharing the Ministry of Christ,” by Fr. Skordallos; “Ministry Oriented Leadership of the Parish Council,” by Mr. Stefanis; “Interfaith Marriage: Opportunity for Outreach: by Fr. Joanides; “Helping Couples Thrive,” by Dr. Mamalakis; “Center for Family Care: Resources for Family Ministry,” by Fr. Sitaras, Melissa Tsongranis and Panagiotis Sakellariou; “iPods, Cell Phones and Mobile Pornography,” by Theo Nikolakis; “Social Media Tools and Your Parish,” by Andrew Constantinou, graphic designer for the Department of Internet Ministries; “A Renewed Vision from Religious Education,” by Anton C. Vrame, director of the Department of Religious Education; “Youth and Young Adult Ministries and The St. Methodios Faith & Heritage Center,” by Dino Pappas and Mike Sintros; “Philoptochos: Metropolis Ministries of Philanthropy and Love,” by members of the National and Metropolis boards; “Parish Nursing,” by Marion Avtges, RN; “Special Needs Ministry,” by Mary Lee Pergantis; “Wealth and Poverty, The Ministry of Love and Outreach,” by Micah Hiershy; “Federation of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians,” by Heidi Mason; “Greek Education,” by Fr. Vassilios Bebis; and the “Metropolis of Boston Finance Committee,” by Nick E. Avtges, Angelo Stamoulis and Stephanie Wilson. Mr. Marianes, in his address to the entire assembly, provided several moving examples unique stewardship opportunities and responsibilities that served to inspire the audience. In terms of keeping up with financial obligations, he noted that the one dollar bill that contemporary members’ grandparents placed in the tray in 1960 was the equivalent of $7.28 in today’s economy, but that individuals continue to contribute one dollar bills.“We’re not keeping up with our uneducated immigrant grandparents,” he stated. Theo Nikolakis reported on the
Delegates numbered about 350 from 54 parishes of the Metropolis of Boston.
ORTHODOX OBSERVER photos
Metropolitan Methodios, assisted by Fr. Ted Barbas, oﬀers the opening prayer and address at the Oct. 2 assembly.
Anthony Stefanis conducts a workshop on the parish council’s ministry-oriented leadership.
recent expansion of offerings from the Department of Internet Ministries that include the availability of daily Bible readings and the online chapel on Twitter, Facebook, iGoogle, Microsoft Outlook and iPod. Other offerings including an interactive Children’s Bible online currently under development, a new version of
Bulletin Builder, Orthodox Web Builder, and the opportunity for every parish to operate its own online bookstore through Orthodox Marketplace with commissions on all sales made. Fr. Joanides, speaking on interfaithinterchurch marriage noted that “It’s never
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Executive Director of Administration at the Archdiocese Jerry Dimitriou addresses the audience on the importance of the National Ministries.
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Ministering to Our Fellow Orthodox Christians in the Holy Land by Marilyn Rouvelas
At this sacred time of the Nativity of our Lord and Savior our thoughts hasten back to the Bethlehem of 2,000 years ago, to the humble manger and the profound promise. In the safety of our carols and kourabiethes Christ’s birth once again restarts the cycle of hope within us. However, it is also a time of opportunity to open our eyes to the reality of today’s Bethlehem—a virtual prison— and to our Orthodox sisters and brothers in the Holy Land who are a living, continuous link to the first Christians. In this season of joy, let us embrace them with our understanding of their plight, our Church’s outreach to them, and ways we can help this precious community. Embracing our Holy Land sisters and brothers in America. Our link with the Holy Land Christians was strengthened in the United States in 2008 when the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese welcomed into its jurisdiction the Vicariate for Palestinian-Jordanian Communities in the USA with its eight churches, seven in California and one in Seattle. It is a privilege to become family with these communities once under the Jerusalem Patriarchate. A loving family celebration took place this August when Bishop Savas of Troas, director of the GOA Department of Church, Society and Culture, ordained Fr. Romanos Khoury of the Vicariate at St. George Orthodox Church in San Francisco. The parishioners of this Vicariate know firsthand the hardships and difficulties their families and the entire Christian community suffer in the Holy Land today.
I encourage you to reach out to one of these churches, especially at Christmas time, and welcome them to our family. www.goarch.org/archdiocese/otherpaatriarchal/palestinian-jordanian Embracing the plight of Holy Land Christians As family members, we deeply feel the pain and suffering of the few remaining Christians who are the living stones of our faith in the Holy Land. Economic, religious, social, and political hardships occur daily because of the forty-three-year Israeli occupation of Palestine that has resulted in 60 per cent unemployment, restricted freedom of movement and family separations because of checkpoints and the security wall, and political uncertainty. Over time ,disheartened Christians have migrated to other parts of the world, leaving Muslims the majority in Palestine and Jews the majority in Israel. Yet the
living presence of Christians is essential in keeping Christianity a living faith, not a string of museums and tourist sites. Even on Christmas Day only a few of the indigenous Christians outside Bethlehem will receive permits issued by the Israeli government to celebrate at the Church of the Nativity. Embracing these truths is the first step in helping them. Embracing our Church outreach Last December, Fr. Mark Arey, director of Inter-Orthodox, Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, saw these challenges while visiting the Holy Land with the National Inter-religious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East (NILI), a 15-member delegation that included American Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders. He reported that conditions were substantially worse than when he last went a decade ago. Bethlehem, now surrounded by a security wall, appears as a fortress.
After a week of prayer, meeting and witness, the NILI delegation was united in calling for the urgent pursuit of peace, an end to the occupation, security for Israel and Palestine, and the U.S. government to be the catalyst for obtaining a sustainable ceasefire, humanitarian and economic assistance to Gaza, increased security and economic development for the Palestinian Authority, fewer checkpoints, and a freeze on all settlement expansion. (Dec. 30, 2009 statement at www.nili-mideastpeace.org.) In March, 2010, Bishop Savas and Fr. Nicholas Andruchow of Holy Cross Church in Flagstaff, Ariz., led a Real Break pilgrimage of Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) students who worked with disabled residents at Four Homes of Mercy and cleared grounds of an Orthodox church in an Israeli settlement. Several months later, in May, Bishop Savas and Fr. Mark Leonidis led a Young Adult Ministries pilgrimage to the Holy Land and Mt. Sinai—a spiritual trip to visit the most sacred sites of our Christian faith. If you have not been to the Holy Land, consider a pilgrimage of your own and know that such a visit provides moral support and comfort to our Christian sisters and brothers living there, most of whom are Orthodox. IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities) provides humanitarian relief in ongoing programs in Palestine in the form of medicine, building, job creation, and agriculture development. You can help by contributing money and goods. www.iocc.org As part of its ecumenical outreach,
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The Voice of Philoptochos National President Skeadas Attends Boston Clergy–Laity Assembly
A Message from the President Dear Members of the National Board, Chapter Presidents and Members of the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, With great joy and enthusiasm we enter the new ecclesiastical year beginning September 1st as one united and mighty team. In response to the call of Archbishop Demetrios, Gather My People to My Home – Come and See, the stewards of the Philoptochos Societies throughout the parishes of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America pursue the mission of our great Church. The women of Philoptochos are inspired through their service, faith in action and confirmation of works. During this new ecclesiastical period, we may reflect upon the 2010 National Philoptochos Biennial Convention with its diverse subject matter and presentations to encourage growth in membership and development of empowering outreach. Convention presentations may be seen on www.Philoptochos.org. Through a Patriarchal encyclical, the Mother Church established the beginning of the ecclesiastical year as a day of prayer for protecting the environment, its flora and fauna. While Philoptochos continues to serve through its ministry and outreach programs, it is simultaneously paramount to act upon preserving the world’s natural resources. It is our responsibility to expend less energy by programming conservation into our daily routine thereby striving to produce net positive energy. It is well documented that our world is one not of infinite but rather one of finite natural resources. Philoptochos women renew their faith and their relationship with the Lord exercising the commitment to serve those in need. Philoptochos women are fierce advocates, wielding their firm conviction to fulfill charitable activities. Challenges will always exist and combined with societal complications, a sputtering national economy and natural global disasters, the work of Philoptochos could appear daunting or insurmountable. With the Lord’s blessings, Team Philoptochos fearlessly enters this year addressing its mission respectfully with agape and demonstrating its faithful and loyal service. The stewards of Philoptochos through earnest prayers, fine deeds and the unfathomable goodness of God are blessed. Let us share our many blessings with those most in need this ecclesiastical new year, through our good works and steadfast commitment to our philanthropic mission and ideals. In Christ, Aphrodite Skeadas
National Philoptochos Goes ‘Green’ The National Philoptochos has launched a multi phased process to establish electronic list serves for the chapter presidents and for the entire membership throughout the United States. Chapter presidents are reminded to send their e-mail and the e-mails for their membership to the national office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Membership forms can be accessed at the National Philoptochos website: www.philoptochos.org.
Orthodox Observer photos
National President Aphrodite Skeadas greets members of the Metropolis of Boston Philoptochos who met in a discussion group during the Oct. 2 Clergy-Laity Assembly. (below) Metropolis President Philippa Condakes briefs the Assembly delegates about various projects.
National President Aphrodite Skeadas was a special guest at the Metropolis of Boston Clergy Laity Assembly held at Hellenic College-Holy Cross School of Theology on Oct. 2. Metropolitan Methodios introduced President Skeadas who offered special greetings to the full assembly on behalf of the 27,500 Philoptochos members across the country. Earlier, she joined Metropolis Philoptochos President Philippa Condakes and members from the Metropolis chapters in a forum. Mrs. Skeadas reiterated the importance of reaching out to the women of all ages in their parishes who are not active in Philoptochos and to invite them to come and see the organization’s good works so each may assist in the important mission of the organization. President Skeadas also emphasized the current effort to gather e– mail addresses for all members throughout the United States so that members may receive regular updates from the national office. A very lively and informative question and answer period was appreciated by all the chapter representatives.
In the September issue the letter on the Philoptochos page states that $585,000 was collected at the National Convention for the Center of Philanthropy. The sentence should read as follows: “I am humbled to report that from the Convention floor more than $85,000 was raised through donations and pledges by the numerous delegates in less than 45 minutes on Wednesday, July 7th, 2010.”
Philoptochos Nationwide Demonstrates Philanthropic Outreach Metropolis of Chicago Benefit Luncheon “Falling in Love with Our Faith” The Metropolis of Chicago held its annual benefit luncheon in September to support its many outreach efforts to help the poor, the hungry, aged, sick and more in the ultimate mission for Philoptochos. Greek American actor/writer Robert Krantz spoke about his first novel: Falling in Love with Sophia and graciously signed copies of his book. The luncheon proceeds benefit the Philoptochos Philanthropy Fund, the St. Iakovos Camp and Retreat Center and the Philanthropic Endeavors of Philoptochos. Metropolis Of Boston Benefit Luncheon “The Giving Feast” The Metropolis of Boston Philoptochos extends a warm invitation to its Biennial Charities Benefit Luncheon, The Giving Feast on Nov. 14 at the Granite Links in Quincy, Mass., featuring a spectacular skyline view of Boston. Chef James Botsacos of Molyvos Restaurant in Manhattan makes a return visit for a unique presentation and demonstration. In keeping with its outreach efforts, the Metropolis Philoptochos is asking each participant to bring canned goods and other nonperishable food
items to be distributed to food banks and shelters along with the festive centerpieces consisting of canned goods and flowers. Contact Presbytera Stephanie Panagos at 860.447.8365 for reservations.
tion of America, providing foster care for severely abused, neglected and abandoned children; and the myriad Philoptochos Ministries that promote charity, benevolence and philanthropy in San Diego since 1938.
St. Spyridon San Diego Presented ‘En Vogue 2010’ The Ladies Philoptochos Society Anthousa Chapter of San Diego hosted its annual En Vogue fundraiser Oct. 16 at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina. This creative and inspiring event focused on philanthropy and fellowship and featured a bazaar, a delicious dining experience presented by Chef Steve Black, a fashion show of haute couture from New York and a grand finale where the chapter honored four outstanding San Diego leaders for their philanthropic contributions by presenting them with the 2010 Anthousa Award, the chapter’s highest honor. Alexandra Mouzas served as event general chairman. The chapter developed a website to highlight the event and the En Vogue theme: www.envoguebyanthousa. org. Proceeds benefited the Armed Services –YMCA, enhancing the lives of junior military personnel and their families in spirit, mind and body; The Children’s Founda-
Special Ministries Focus of November Efforts The National Philoptochos commemorates its patron Sts. Cosmas and Damianos on the Feast Day of the Holy Anargyroi, Nov. 1 and throughout the United States the faithful stewards of the Philoptochos chapters use this opportunity to raise awareness of the difficult climate in which the Ecumenical Patriarchate operates. Chapters sponsor a special collection for the philanthropic ministries of the Ecumenical Patriarchate that include the Balukli Hospital and Nursing Home, schools, shrines and parishes. National Philoptochos and its chapters also provide support in November to the National Sisterhood of Presvyteres Benevolent Fund. This fund provides short term support for clergy and or their families in a time of crisis. For more information about the Philoptochos ministries see the website: www.philoptochos.org
Commentaries and Reflections
ARCHIEPISCOPAL ENCYCLICALS The Holy Unmercenaries Sts. Cosmas and Damian Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, On this annual commemoration of the Feast of the Holy Unmercenaries, Saints Cosmas and Damian, we give recognition and support to both our beloved Ecumenical Patriarchate and our National Ladies Philoptochos Society for their ongoing and intensive efforts to minister in the name of Christ to those in need. The occasion of this Feast has become for us as the Greek Orthodox Church in America a day for special prayers and offerings on behalf of the philanthropic work of the Ecumenical Patriarchate through the Baloukli Hospital and elder center and other institutions and programs that assist orphans and the poor. We are led in this effort by the members of our National Ladies Philoptochos Society through the local chapters in the parishes of our Holy Archdiocese. This Feast of the Holy Unmercenaries is also an occasion to reflect on the nature of ministry to those in need, a ministry that was exemplified by Sts. Cosmas and Damian. As prayer was the means of their communion with God, it was also the means through which the power of God brought healing and peace to the lives of others. Second, while Sts. Cosmas and Damian were concerned with the physical well-being of the people they encountered, their ministry of healing was ultimately directed at sharing the Gospel of Christ for spiritual healing. Third, the work of these two holy men of God was a life-long labor of complete sacrifice. They offered their gifts freely and served as vessels for the grace of God, seeking only His glory and the salvation of souls. The philanthropic work of our
St. Nicholas Church Editor, I loved the front page picture of St. Nicholas Church and the feature story on the effort to rebuild it. The year before the towers fell, I had the pleasure of seeing the church and the towers while vacationing in New York, and I marveled at the contrast of that jewel of our ancient faith sitting like a rock in the shadow of such a modern wonder. I hope and pray it will rise again to the glory of God. But I don’t believe we deserve God’s grace in that effort until we stand up for our Muslim American brothers around the corner who are being victimized by misunderstanding and bigotry from extremists who are as intolerant as those who attacked the towers in the first place. It is not in the spirit of religious freedom, and certainly not in keeping with our true Christian faith, to merely sit idly by while this oppression continues. We, who want the Turks to give our Patriarchate its religious freedom and real estate back, and who want the municipal authorities to recognize our right to re-build St. Nicholas Church, must speak up first for our neighbors who now suffer the slings
Ecumenical Patriarchate is first and foremost a ministry of prayer. This work originates in the experience and witness of Christ’s presence in the divine services of our Church and in lives of prayer. In addition, it is a ministry that shares the Gospel of Christ. Many of the philanthropic programs are directed at care for the body or special physical needs; but it is also clear that the motivation for this offering is a firm faith in the truth of the Gospel and the desire to share it with others. Thus, much of this work is for the spiritual well-being of those who receive care. Finally, the ministries of the Ecumenical Patriarchate show us the true nature of offering and sacrifice for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. The nature and ministry to those in need that was exemplified by Sts. Cosmas and Damian is also beautifully reflected in the work of our Ladies Philoptochos Society. This is a work strongly marked by lovemotivated healing in imitation of the Lord Jesus Christ, by sharing the Gospel and by generosity and sacrifice. On this sacred occasion of the Feast of Sts. Cosmas and Damian, I ask all of our parishes to offer special prayers for the philanthropic ministries of our Ecumenical Patriarchate and for the ongoing programs of our Ladies Philoptochos Society at the local, metropolis, and national levels. I also ask our parishes to take a special collection on Sunday, October 31 for the National Ladies Philoptochos Ecumenical Patriarchate Fund. This is an opportunity for all of us to participate in this ministry, as well as a time for renewed commitment to prayer, sharing the Gospel, and sacrifice so that others may find healing, grace, and life in the presence of our Lord.
and arrows of religious bigotry. Who but we can make the case that all Islam is not hell-bent on destroying Christians, as for many centuries under Muslim captivity our faith was recognized and our worship permitted. Only the extremists among them have struck out against us from time to time, but for the most part our vibrant church is living proof that Islam can be a good neighbor. This is America, and we American Orthodox Christians are most grateful for our religious freedom in this great land, but we will not be remembered by those we seek out for assistance as long as we keep silent while our Muslim neighbors are chased away. So before I call my representatives to plead for help with the St. Nicholas Church or with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, I will first call upon my church to speak up on behalf of our Muslim neighbors. Because next time, when the extremists, whether Muslim or Christian, come for us,-- and our history shows that eventually they will, –those neighbors may yet be around to speak up for us, too. Theodore Bosen Sagamore Beach, Mass.
OXI Day of Freedom 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 annual observance of OXI Day we join with our brothers and sisters of Greek descent around the world, with philhellenes and with all who cherish freedom and self-determination in a commemoration that stands as a witness to the necessity of unyielding adherence to universal values and perseverance in faith. On the morning of October 28, 1940, the resounding “NO” given by Greece to the fascist leader of Italy in response to the demand to surrender without a fight and allow the occupation of Greece by a foreign power, was a reply echoed in the streets by the people as they recognized immediately a very real threat. They saw a threat cloaked in abusive power and political machinations that had subjugated other nations. They recognized a force of tyranny that had advanced in deception, leading so many others to compromise their ideals and their faith or to suffer under regimes that valued military might and world domination over the well-being and rights of people. One source of this response to the evil forces of destruction, hate, and oppression was a very rich heritage of Hellenic values. In addition to the love of freedom and self-determination, ideals that had been denied during occupations of previous centuries, the people of Greece valued very highly faith, community, civic engagement and a democratic form of government, all areas of life and relationship that are able to mature in a free society. If the forces of Fascism were allowed to continue their advancement into the nations of Europe and the world, these values would not only be suppressed, but in so doing the great potential of human life, achievement, benevolence, and spiritual well-being would be twisted for the agendas of tyrannical rulers. The other source of the response of “NO” to surrendering and occupation was the tradition and spirit of Orthodoxy, a strong tradition of perseverance that had sustained many generations in Greece through centuries of occupation and oppression, through economic and political hardships, and through the tensions of shaping a nation and attempting to recover elements of culture, language, thought, and identity. When the reply was given to the demands of Mussolini, the people of Greece knew the challenges that were to come. The response of “OXI”, of “NO”, revealed a willingness to sacrifice for what was true, good, and just. As in times past, perseverance inspired by faith and based on these values was the only response that was faithful to the highest ideals of Hellenism and to the truth of the Gospel concerning our human existence and the grace and will of God as offered by our Orthodox faith. The adherence to universal and eternal values of Hellenism and the perseverance in Orthodox faith as we live in this world connects the celebration of OXI Day and the honoring of our heritage and Hellenic identity with our Orthodox faith, our love for God, and our commitment to the work of His divine kingdom. This is essential as we live in the contemporary world because we are in a great conflict with rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness (Ephesians 6:12). Around us are forces that seek to destroy life and faith, and also freedom and human dignity, and we must be watchful and diligent to recognize them, to stand firm shouting a resounding “NO”, and persevering under all conditions for the sake of truth and for the advancement and enhancement of the conditions of freedom and justice for all. As we commemorate October 28 and OXI Day, may we remember the stand of the people of Greece against the forces of tyranny and the sacrifices that were made for freedom. Let us also be mindful of the strength that we can find in our heritage of faith and identity which will lead us to heroic deeds and great victories for the spiritual well-being and salvation of others and for the coming of the eternal kingdom of God.
With paternal love in Christ,
† Archbishop DEMETRIOS of America
Rebuild Church Editor, The rebuilding of a beautiful little Greek Orthodox Church is being disputed by government officials. This church was a way of life for many Greeks living in the area. It was built with many donations from hard working Greek families, who had very little to work with at that time. It was erected 88 years ago, and destroyed in a few seconds, during the outrageous 9/11 attack on America. The actual rebuilding should have started several years ago, but the
elected government officials and the NY-NY Port Authority, can’t agree on the project. Why are we as citizens, just standing by and allowing this to happen? What has happened to our spirit of survival? What has happened to our freedom of speech? Why are we not speaking up? Why are we not demanding our church be rebuilt, as promised? I do believe the government officials are supposed to be representing the people. Fran Glaros-Sharp Clearwater, Fla.
TALES FROM L.A. “The Best Is Yet to Come” by Fr. John S. Bakas
A few weeks ago a very dear friend of mine, a father figure to me and a patriarch of sorts of our St. Sophia Cathedral, died after a couple of months of failing health. A true gentleman graced by God with 93 years of a full, vigorous and productive life, he became suddenly ill and was told after all medical tests were done that his condition was terminal – perhaps he would have days or weeks in this world. It was unexpected news for him. He was shocked and in a state of denial. He had been in and out of hospitals before and always recovered. His attentive family suggested I talk to him about his impending death and the eternal life to come. It is sometimes easier to talk about such things with strangers. How do you do so, even as a priest, with a person you love so much and who is a surrogate father and mentor to you? Frankly I didn’t know initially how to approach the matter in a sensitive inspirational and comforting way. Minutes before going to the hospital I entered the cathedral and fell to my knees at the holy altar asking God to enlighten me and give me the right and sound words to share with my distraught and frightened friend. As I walked to my car I remembered a story I had heard some years before about a “fork and a funeral.” God had answered my prayer. I rushed to our parish hall kitchen and took a fork carefully tucking it in my coat pocket. I knew what I would tell my friend to assure him of God’s love and mercy. At the hospital I heard his confession and sensed his fear. I prayed and anointed my friend with Holy Unction. Between tears shed by both of us I held his trembling hand and looked into his tired eyes and told him the following story: There was a young woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. So as she was getting her things “in order,” she contacted her priest and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes. She told him what she wanted done at the makaria memorial meal, what scriptures she would like read in the eulogy and what outfit she wanted to be buried in. The priest assured her that working with her family everything would be in order and he was preparing to leave when the young woman suddenly remembered something very important to her. “There’s one more thing Father,” she said excitedly. “What’s that?” came the priest’s reply. “This is very important”, the young woman continued. “I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.” The priest stood looking at the young woman, not knowing quite what to say. “That surprises you, doesn’t it?” the young woman asked.
“Well, to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request”, said the priest. The young woman explained. “My grandmother once told me this story, and from that time on I have always tried to pass along its message to those I love and those who are in need of encouragement. In all my years of attending socials and dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, ‘keep your fork.’ “It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming… like velvety chocolate cake or deep dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance! So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder, ‘What’s with the fork?’ Then I want you to tell them: ‘Keep your fork, the best is yet to come.’” The priest’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the young woman good–bye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the young woman had a better grasp of what heaven would be like than many people twice her age, with twice as much experience and knowledge. She KNEW that something better was coming. At the funeral people were walking by the young woman’s casket and they saw the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the priest heard the question, ‘What’s with the fork’? And over and over he smiled. During his eulogy, the priest told the people of the conversation he had with the young woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her. He told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either. My friend loved the story and felt comforted. He made the sign of the cross and kissed my hand. I reached into my coat pocket and gave him the fork I brought with me. “Beloved friend,” I told him, “keep this fork close to you and remember that even though the Lord has given you many wonderful years the best is yet to come for you.” My friend smiled at me and said “now I’m ready for dessert. I’ll keep the fork close by. When I’m down, I’ll hold on to it.” And so it is true for all of us. The best is yet to come. St. Paul quoting the prophet Isaiah said, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” I Cor. 2:9 So for all of us still in this world, next time you are having dinner and reach down for your fork, let it remind you, ever so gently, that the best is yet to come. Fr. Bakas is dean of St. Sophia Cathedral, Los Angeles and a faculty member of Loyola Marymount University, School of Theology.
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Archdiocesan Council Moves Forward with New Goals
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of the people there, and to start becoming more and more aware of the need to cultivate a spirit of mission that is not exhausted within the community but that must also reach out. “If there is no outreach, it is like an organism underfed.” Another development has come about through “the unfortunate condition Greece has found herself,” while at the same time the Greek American community in the United States has progressed in many areas, including financial, academic, philanthropic, and in business and is looked at “differently than 50 years ago.” “People look at us as a model and that increases our responsibility as people to carry the torch of Orthodoxy and Hellenism,” the Archbishop said. He also cited the “tremendous offering” to the Church through the “superb work of previous Archbishops. Where we are “has a past of continuity of development,” he said. Archbishop Demetrios then challenged the Council to consider the Archdiocese’s future development and whether its current administrative headquarters will adequately meet its needs. His Eminence said the current headquarters consisting of two connected townhouses “don’t constitute a proper building for administration. Space is limited. We are forced to have substantive parts of the Archdiocese an hour away at Saint Basil’s,” referring to the location of the departments of Youth, Family and Stewardship, Outreach and Evangelism at the academy 50 miles away in Garrison, N.Y. He called it a “serious administrative handicap” and asked the Council to “think of a plan for something that will be analogous and appropriate to the magnitude and responsibility of what we are doing.” During the meeting Council members unanimously approved the reelection to the executive committee of Michael Jaharis of New York as vice chairman; Nicholas Bouras of Westfield, N.J., as treasurer; and Catherine Walsh of Hartford, Conn., as secretary. The remaining executive committee members consist of George Behrakis of Boston, George Vourvoulias of Chicago, George Matthews of Atlanta, Anthony Stefanis of Atlanta, Peter Kikis of New York, Fanis Economides of San Francisco, along with the eight Metropolitans and Archbishop Demetrios, who serves as chairman. In his comments to the board, Mr. Jaharis reflected on “the incredible change in the philosophy of the council since the 1980s.” “We’ve made this into something far more important,” he said. “We went directly to the people and involved the Metropolitans. He also noted the work under way on a five-year plan for the Council, a study of the monastic situation in the U.S. and the status of St. Nicholas Church at Ground Zero. He indicated the Archdiocese “will take some form of action” to persuade the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to return to talks with the Church. The also Council heard committee reports from Administration, Communications, Finance, Greek Education, Stewardship, Marriage and Family, Out-
reach and Evangelism, Religious Education, Youth Ministry and Technology. Administration Chairman Anthony Stefanis praised the work of the National Stewardship Commission in its presentations to clergy laity assemblies and other groups around the country. He credited a longtime veteran Archdiocesan Council member, Arthur Anton of Boston, whom he called “a role model” whose pioneering work with the League of Greek Orthodox Stewards as laying the groundwork for the Church’s current successful efforts to promoting stewardship and other giving programs. Mr. Stefanis also reported on several ongoing administrative initiatives under way including the standardizing of parish bylaws to help parishes operate uniformly, the posting of new regulations on the Archdiocese website by the end of the year and a proposed amendment from the Denver Metropolis Clergy–Laity Assembly to consider appointing two lay persons from each metropolis to the executive committee of the Archdiocesan Council by each Metropolitan. The Administration Committee also will consider improvements to the clergy-laity congress program. Communications In the Communications Committee report, Chairman Cliff Argue said the committee recommended increasing advertising in the Orthodox Observer and that each Council member bring in new ads. The committee also discussed the potential for a 24-hour, 7-day per week news portal online that could be tied to other networks such as Facebook, and a recommendation by the communications audit for the appointment of a full-time communications director. Finance Chairman George Vourvoulias noted that “the allocation system is functioning well, thanks to all of you and the Metropolitans.” He added, “All metropolises had input into the national budget.” Jerry Dimitriou, executive director of administration at the Archdiocese noted that, for 2009 “99 percent of last year’s allocation has been received. That’s never been done before.” He also said the Archdiocese met its final legal obligations in July that stemmed from past lawsuits. Religious Education Chairman Gerry Clonaris noted the Department of Religious Education will focus on the following goals over the next two years. • Increasing communications with parishes and religious educators about resources available from the department, and emphasizing the importance of adult education. • Increasing the number of parishes using Department-produced materials. • Expanding the list of parishes that are doing well in their religious education programs beyond the nine recognized at the Atlanta Clergy–Laity Congress.
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A RCHDIOCESE N E WS
Archdiocesan Council . .
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• Promoting the issue of a paid, full-time director of religious education in each Metropolis. • Revising of the present teacher certification program. Outreach and Evangelism Chairman Fr. James Dokos and Fr. Jim Kordaris discussed several initiatives and programs under the combined ministries of Stewardship and Outreach, including: • The production of a new parish welcome folder to serve as a resource for welcoming newcomers to a parish. • A natural church development program that measures eight ministry areas of the church to identify strengths and weaknesses of a particular parish. • A review of newly developed resources, including pamphlets and brochures, for distribution to parishes. • A cooperative outreach effort with the National Philoptochos, and the Center for Family Care on Family Outreach Sunday. • Programs to minister to people with disabilities and to work with parishes for greater accessibility to churches. • A program in cooperation with the Department of Religious Education to provide low-cost Bibles for parish outreach efforts. About 1,500 Bibles have been shipped since August. • Church activity days, modeled after a program at Fr. Dokos’ parish in Milwaukee, designating certain days of the month for activities and programs involving the entire family. The committee also reaffirmed the importance of camping and retreat center programs for the spiritual development of children and adults. Greek Education Director of the Department of Greek Education Dr. Ioannis Efthimiopoulos reported on new textbooks being printed for the Greek schools through a grant from the FAITH Endowment. The books will be produced for the three levels: elementary, intermediate and advanced. Each level has three different books: one for the teacher, one for the student and other to assist the student in English at home. Technology Department of Internet Ministries Director Theo Nikolakis reported on several Internet-related projects that present the lives of the saints, daily Bible readings and other offerings, on various social media such as a Youtube channel with videos, a Twitter feed, a Facebook page for the Archdiocese, access to igoogle, an E-book presence and other venues. National Stewardship Commission Fr. Jim Kordaris reported on the activities of the travel team, which includes Archdiocesan Council members and various National Ministries directors, and its participation in a one-day stewardship conference at the Metropolis of Boston on Oct. 1. The commission also produced its annual Stewardship Resource Packet that has been posted on the Stewardship website. The packet includes a seven-minute DVD on the theme “Come and See.” Recommendations also were made for the 2012 packets.
The commission has established a Parish Management Software Initiative to evaluate programs currently available and to recommend suitable programs to the parishes. The effort is coordinated with the Archdiocese Departments of Administration, Finance and Information Technologies. Social Ministry Archbishop Demetrios noted the efforts of Bishop Savas of Troas to establish a presence for the Church on social media sites on the internet with plans to develop a blog site. The bishop discussed his work and observed that a “number of people have come into Orthodoxy because of things like Facebook.” Youth Ministry Fr. Jason Roll, director of Ionian Village, noted a recent $200,000 grant from the FAITH Endowment that enabled 38 young people to attend the program in Greece who would otherwise not be able to attend, along with a $20,000 donation from the National Hellenic Society. (Related story, page 13) Committee Chairman Ted Germanakos noted the changes in young adult ministries that have taken place over the past 20 years, with the YAL age group relying more on computer contacts, instead of attending a once-ayear conference to make connections. He also said that costs for staging such conferences have become astronomical. Another factor in the change in young adult ministry is the continuing growth of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship with chapters at most major colleges and universities. A program undertaken in recent years that is increasing in popularity is the Real Break program, which provides young people with the opportunity to spend their spring break serving the faith through projects that restore Orthodox facilities and build churches. Marriage and Family The Department of Marriage and Family includes the Center for Family Care and Office of Interfaith Marriage. Fr. Constantine Sitaras, director, discussed the Center for Family Care, whose goal “is to bring the Church into the home as much as possible.” Its projects include the Table Top Prayer Guide, Family Link E-mail ministry, Family Gospel lessons, parish family nights, family retreats, seminars and parent workshops and other initiatives.
FAITH: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism Donates $200,000 in Scholarships FAITH; An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism, again offered scholarships to deserving and qualified individuals to attend Ionian Village this past summer. This year, 38 worthy and grateful individuals received scholarships allowing them to attend the celebrated camp program. Among the recipients, 18–year–old Alexia Zecopoulos from South Carolina reflects on her experiences: As my senior year in high school quickly drew to a close, I began to think about what big senior trip I was going to take. My parents had promised me a vacation upon my completion of the high school honors program. After four years of hard work, I was ready to go! I remembered hearing about a camp called “Ionian Village” but really did not know much about the program other than it was held in Greece. I figured a trip to Greece would be a great way to end my high school years. Due to our struggling economy, I began looking for scholarship opportunities and learned of the Ionian Village FAITH Scholarship. I applied and anxiously waited to hear back. I was so excited when I was informed that I would receive the scholarship but have to admit that I didn’t really know what to expect at Ionian Village. During the flight to Greece, I was nervous and unsure of what I would experience. I found that Ionian Village was not like any other summer camp I’ve experienced. When arriving at Ionian Village, the staff was jumping up and down, holding a large welcome sign, and screaming, greeting me along with over 150 other campers. The next 20 days were filled with everything I could ask for in a summer camp experience. From learning The Lord’s Prayer in Greek to Kyria Sophia’s amazing food, gatherings in the amphitheatre and tie dying in arts and crafts. I had an incredible time meeting new friends from all over the country, from California to New York and even from the Bahamas. I
was able to embrace the Greek heritage that I am so extremely proud of. Traveling to different churches and monasteries was the most phenomenal experience that I have ever had. I had the opportunity to venerate the relics of St. Alexios, my patron saint. When we traveled to the site of the Kalavrita massacre, I was moved to tears when I looked into the underground cave and saw all of the candles, each one representing the souls of those lost in the massacre. Standing on top of the hill in Kalavrita overlooking the village and hearing stories of teenagers younger than me who had died was a moving moment for me. From that moment on, I felt my faith strengthen like never before. I began to see things in a different way. On my laptop, I have a video of all the IV campers singing a hymn to the Theotokos, and now while I am college, if the pressure and stress seems overbearing, I plug in my headphones and close my eyes. I am back in Greece at Ionian Village, with a hundred of my best friends, where my only worry and stress was that eventually I had to say goodbye to my new friends. I talk to my friends from Ionian Village every day, and they have truly become family to me. Even now that camp is over I know that if ever I need anything, I can turn to my devoted counselors, my loving new friends, or my favorite new priests. After experiencing Ionian Village, I can’t thank the amazing group at Faith Endowment enough. As this trip would have been a huge financial burden on my family, it is thanks to the Faith Endowment that I experienced the greatest summer of my life. I was able to see my faith in a new light. The perfect mix of spiritual, cultural and social fun that Ionian Village provided showed me that there is a balance that can be reached, and now I feel the calling to show this to my fellow Orthodox Christians in Charleston, S. C. This pivotal trip changed my life. Many things in life come and go, but IV Agape is forever.
National Hellenic Society Helps Sponsor Athens Excursion The National Hellenic Society of Bethesda, Md. recently donated $20,000 to help sponsor the Ionian Village summer 2010 Athens excursion. The Athens excursion is held at the end of the summer camp session and consists of visiting the Acropolis, the New Acropolis Museum and attending an evening performance by the Dora Stratou Dancers. “The Athens excursion is often a bittersweet outing,” said Fr. Jason Roll, director of Ionian Village. “Because it is held toward the end of camp
everyone knows that saying goodbye to one another is just a few days away. However, it is also an exciting trip as campers are immersed in the culture of ancient and modern Greece. On behalf of Ionian Village, I am grateful for the National Hellenic Society’s support and their recognition of such a beneficial and significant excursion.” More than 260 campers attended Ionian Village this past summer and enjoyed the eventful day in Athens.
Obituaries V. REV. CYRIL LOEB CAMARILLO, Calif. – The Very Rev. Cyril Loeb of Thousand Oaks, Calif., 72, a retired priest of the Archdiocese and a former chancellor of the Diocese of San Francisco, died Sept. 4 while on a visit to Europe. He most recently served as pastor of St. Demetrios Church in Camarillo before his retirement in September 2004. Fr. Loeb was born in Chicago in March 1938. He attended private elementary schools in Hollywood, Fla., and graduated from high school in Chicago. He also attended Quigley Preparatory School in Chicago and the Blackstone School of Law where he earned an LL.B. degree in law. He worked as a defense counsel specializing in military and commercial law before turning to theology. His theological training included the John XXIII Institute in Bronx, N.Y., where he earned an M.A. in Eastern Christian Theology, and Holy Cross in Brookline, Mass, graduating with an M.Div. degree. He was ordained to the deaconate on Aug. 26, 1984 in Charleston, W.Va., by Bishop Maximos of Pittsburgh, and to the priesthood on March 31, 1985 in Anaheim, Calif., by Metropolitan Anthony of San Francisco. Fr. Loeb was elevated to the rank of Archimandrite on May 14, 1988 at St. Nicholas Ranch. He served as executive director of the ranch from April 20, 1988 to Sept. 14, 1989. His first assignment was St. John the Baptist Church in Anaheim as assistant priest, from April 1, 1985 to January 1987. Fr. Loeb next served the first of two assignments at St. Demetrios Church in Camarillo, from Feb. 1, 1987 to April 17, 1988. His second tour at the church took place from Oct. 1, 1983 to Aug. 31, 2004. In the interim period between the two assignments, he served at St. Nicholas Chapel in Dunlap, Calif., from April 18, 1988 to Sept. 30, 1992, and as the diocese chancellor from Oct. 1, 1992 to Sept. 30, 1993. Funeral services took place Sept. 18 with Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco presiding.
FR. CHARLES L. MIHOS LYNN, Mass. – Fr. Charles L. Mihos, 89, a retired priest of the Archdiocese and a long-time pastor of St. George Church, died Sept. 8 at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He was born and raised in Brockton, Mass., the son of the late Louis and Stella (Poulopoulos) Mihos. A graduate of Brockton High School, he became the first Greek American to letter in basketball at the school. He also played for the Sons of Pericles baseball team as the catcher. In 1939, he entered Holy Cross Seminary in Pomfret, Conn., and graduated in 1944. He married Penelope DeCoulos in 1944. She preceded him in death. They had two children, John, an attorney, and Stephanie (Dr. Stephanie Mihos Pappagianopoulos).
Fr. Mihos was ordained as a deacon in Troy, N.Y. in October 1944 and as a priest in November 1944, both times by Bishop Germanos Polizoides. He was assigned to Holy Trinity Church in Sioux City, Iowa, where he attended Morningside College and earned an AB degree in 1946. Returning to the Boston area, Fr. Mihos was assigned to Kimisis Church in Ipswich, Mass., serving from March 1946 to August 1950. During this time, he enrolled at Boston University and earned an M.A. degree. While in Ipswich, Fr. Mihos started a summer camp for young people in nearby Georgetown. From 1950 to 1952, he served at the Annunciation Cathedral in Boston, where he coached the basketball team and initiated the Boston Invitational Basketball Tournament. In 1952, Fr. Mihos was assigned to St. George Church in Lynn, first as an assistant priest and later as pastor. He went on to serve the parish 44 years until his retirement in 1996. During his time at St. George, he delivered the eulogy at the funeral of Harry Agganis, the outstanding Greek American star quarterback at Boston University and later a professional baseball player for the Boston Red Sox. Fr. Mihos later initiated the Harry Agganis Basketball Tournament. He also oversaw the church’s consecration in 1978. After retirement, he still assisted at St. Vasilios parish in Peabody. His other activities included serving as a trustee of the Lynn Library and as former chaplain of the Lynn Fire Department. In addition to his children, survivors include five grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. His brothers and sisters predeceased him. Services took place at St. Vasilios Church in Peabody.Memorials may be made to St. Vasilios Greek Orthodox Church in Peabody or to St. George Church in Lynn.
FR. GEORGE PAPADOPOULOS NEW YORK – Fr. George Papadopoulos, 81, a retired priest of the Archdiocese and former pastor of St. Barbara Church in New York, died June 6 in Greece. He was born in April 1910 in Lyssarea, Arkadeas, Greece and immigrated to Canada in 1974. He was married in 1945 to Alexandra Christopoulou of Lisarea Greece. They had five children, Stavroula, Konstantina, Athanasios, Marinos and Giannoula. He completed public school in Lagadia, Greece and attended the Theological School of Corinth for three years. He was ordained in 1953 by Bishop Prokopios of Corinth. After coming to the United States from Canada, he was assigned to St. Barbara Church in 1981, which he continued to serve even after retirement in May 1992 until February 1994. Survivors include his presbytera, children and other relatives.
ΟΚΤΩΒΡΙΟΣ – NΟΕΜΒΡΙΟΣ 2010
ΑΝΑΚΟΙΝΩΘΕΝ ΙΕΡΑΣ ΕΠΑΡΧΙΑΚΗΣ ΣΥΝΟΔΟΥ ΝΕΑ ΥΟΡΚΗ.- Ἡ Ἱερά Ἐπαρχιακή Σύνοδος τῆς Ἱερᾶς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς Ἀμερικῆς συνῆλθεν εἰς τήν τακτικήν συνεδρίαν αὐτῆς εἰς τήν αἲθουσαν τῆς Συνόδου τῆς Ἱ. Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς ἐν Νέᾳ Ὑόρκῃ τήν 13ην καί 14ην Ὀκτωβρίου ἐ. ἒ. ὑπό τήν προεδρίαν τοῦ Σεβασμιωτάτου Ἀρχιεπισκόπου Ἀμερικῆς κ. Δημητρίου καί τήν συμμετοχήν τῶν Μελῶν αὐτῆς, καί συνεζήτησε: 1. Θέµατα Παιδείας καί Νεολαίας: Ἡ Ἱ. Ἐπαρχ. Σύνοδος εἶχε τήν εὐκαιρίαν ἀνταλλαγῆς ἀπόψεων ἐπί θεμάτων Θρησκευτικῆς Παιδείας, καί ἐνημερώσεως τοῦ ἒργου τοῦ εἰδικοῦ Τμήματος αὐτῆς ὑπό τήν διεύθυνσιν τοῦ Δρ. Anton Vrame. Ἐτονίσθη ἡ ἀνάγκη ἐπεκτάσεως τῆς Θρησκευτικῆς Παιδείας πέραν τῶν παιδιῶν καί τῶν ἐφήβων, καί εἰς τούς ἐνήλικας. Ἐπίσης, διεπιστώθη ἡ εὐεργετική ἐπίδρασις ἐπί τῶν παιδιῶν καί νέων διά τῶν κατασκηνώσεων, λειτουργικῶν εὐκαιριῶν, πολιτιστικῶν ἐκδηλώσεων, κ.ἂ. Ἰδιαιτέρως, ὑπεγραμμίσθη ἡ διδακτική ἐπιτυχία διά τῆς χρήσεως νέων μέσων (περιοδικῶν, ψηφιακῶν δίσκων, κλπ). 2. Θέµατα Κλήρου: Ἡ Ἱ. Ἐπαρχ. Σύνοδος ἠσχολήθη μέ θέματα πνευματικῆς, σωματικῆς καί ψυχικῆς ὑγείας τοῦ κλήρου, καί ἀπεφάσισε τήν λήψιν μέτρων προαγωγικῶν τῆς ψυχοπνευματικῆς καταστάσεως τῶν κληρικῶν μας. Ἐπί τοῦ θέματος αὐτοῦ, ἀπεφασίσθη νά ὑπάρξῃ ἐνίσχυσις καί ἀπό πλευρᾶς σχετικῆς διδασκαλίας εἰς τούς ὑποψηφίους κληρικούς, κατά τήν διάρκειαν τῶν σπουδῶν των. 3. Κανονικά Θέµατα: Ἡ Ἱ. Ἐπαρχ. Σύνοδος, κατόπιν μακρᾶς προηγηθείσης ἐπεξεργασίας, ὁριστικοποίησε τό κείμενον Κανονισμοῦ Πνευματικῶν Δικαστηρίων. Ἐπί πλέον συνεζήτησε θέματα κανονικῆς φύσεως ἀφορῶντα εἰς τόν ἱερόν κλῆρον, καί ἒλαβε σχετικάς ποιμαντικάς καί πειθαρχικάς ἀποφάσεις. 4. ∆ιορθόδοξα Θέµατα: Ἐγένετο ἀναφορά καί συζήτησις διά τήν Πανορθόδοξον Συνέλευσιν Ἐπισκόπων, ἡ ὁποία ἒλαβε χώραν κατά τόν παρελθόντα Μάϊον τ. ἒ. ἐν Νέᾳ Ὑόρκῃ, ὡς ἐπίσης καί περί τῆς συναντήσεως τῆς Ἐκτελεστικῆς Ἐπιτροπῆς τῆς Συνελεύσεως, μετά τοῦ Οἰκουμενικοῦ Πατριάρχου κ.κ. Βαρθολομαίου εἰς Κωνσταντινούπολιν κατά τόν παρελθόντα Σεπτέμβριον τ. ἒ. 5. Λειτουργικά Θέµατα: Ἡ Ἱερά Ἐπαρχιακή Σύνοδος ἐπεξεργάσθη κείμενα τῶν Ἱερῶν Ἀκολουθιῶν, τοῦ Ὂρθρου καί τοῦ Ἑσπερινοῦ. Ἐπίσης, ἡ Ἐκκλησιαστική Μουσική ὑπῆρξεν ἀντικείμενον σχετικῆς συζητήσεως, ἡ ὁποία κατέληξε καί εἰς συγκεκριμένας προτάσεις. Πέραν τῶν ἀναλυτικῶν συζητήσεων ἐπί τῶν ὡς ἂνω θεμάτων, ἐγένετο ἀναφορά καί εἰς τό Εἰδικόν Πρόγραμμα Διακόνων, ὡς καί εἰς τό σημαντικόν Συνέδριον τό ὀργανούμενον ἐν Βρυξέλλαις, ὑπέρ προασπίσεως τῶν δικαιωμάτων θρησκευτικῆς ἐλευθερίας τοῦ Οἰκουμενικοῦ ἡμῶν Πατριαρχείου. Τό ἐν λόγῳ συνέδριον ἒχει ὀργανωθῆ ὑπό τῶν Ἀρχόντων τοῦ Οἰκουμενικοῦ Πατριαρχείου, μελῶν τῆς Ἱερᾶς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς Ἀμερικῆς. Τά μέλη τῆς Ἱ. Ἐπαρχ. Συνόδου εἶχον τήν εὐκαιρίαν νά συμμετάσχουν τήν πρωϊαν τῆς 14ης Ὀκτωβρίου εἰς τάς ἐργασίας τῆς Ἐκτελεστικῆς Ἐπιτροπῆς τοῦ Ἀρχιεπισκοπικοῦ Συμβουλίου, καί τήν ἑπομένην, 15ην Ὀκτωβρίου εἰς τάς ἐργασίας τοῦ Ἀρχιεπισκοπικοῦ Συμβουλίου. Ἐκ τοῦ Γραφείου τῆς Ἱερᾶς Συνόδου
ΕΤΟΣ 75 • ΑΡΙΘΜΟΣ 1260
Αρχιεπίσκοπος Δημήτριος: ΜΝΗΜΗ ΗΡΩΙΚΗ ΚΑΙ ΜΝΗΜΗ ΠΙΣΤΕΩΣ Η 28η ΟΚΤΩΒΡΙΟΥ 1940 του ΛΕΥΤΕΡΗ ΠΙΣΣΑΛΙΔΗ
ΝΕΑ ΥΟΡΚΗ.- "Αι ιταλικαί στρατιωτικαί δυνάμεις προσβάλλουσιν από της 05:30 ώρας της σήμερον τα ημέτερα τμήματα προκαλύψεως της Ελληνοαλβανικής Μεθορίου. Αι ημέτεραι δυνάμεις αμύνονται του Πατρίου εδάφους." Εβδομήντα χρόνια έχουν περάσει από το πρωϊνό εκείνης της Δευτέρας 28 Οκτωβρίου του 1940 όταν ο ελληνικός λαός δεχόμενος ύπουλη και αναίτια επίθεση από την φασιστική Ιταλία δεν αποδέχθηκε το τελεσίγραφο παράδοσης της χώρας λαμβάνοντας μέρος στον πιο αιματηρό παγκόσμιο πόλεμο της ιστορίας του ανθρωπίνου γένους, γεμίζοντας για μια ακόμα φορά στην μακραίωνη ιστορία του σελίδες δόξας και τιμής. Απο τους πρωταγωνιστές, που τότε νέα παλλικάρια λάμβαναν μέρος στον ηρωϊκό αγώνα υπέρ πίστεως και πατρίδος, έχουν οι περισσότεροι κατά πολλού αναχωρήσει να συναντήσουν ξανά συγγενείς, φίλους και συντρόφους που άφησαν για πάντα νέους πάνω στα χιονισμένα βουνά, αφήνοντας πίσω τους ιστορική παρακαταθήκη τον τίμιο αγώνα για τη Λευτεριά και την τιμή, όπως οι πρόγονοί τους έπραξαν 115 χρόνια πριν όταν η Ελλάδα αποτίναζε τα δεσμά της δουλείας. Ο Σεβασμιώτατος Αρχιεπίσκοπος Αμερικής Δημήτριος μέσα από τα προσωπικά του βιώματα αναφέρεται στις ηρωϊκές εκείνες ημέρες του Εθνους, στις τραγικές και μαύρες μέρες της γερμανικής κατοχής, αλλά και στα συσσίτια της Εκκλησίας που γλύτωσαν χιλιάδες παιδιά από βέβαιο θάνατο. ΣΥΝΕΝΤΕΥΞΗ ΑΡΧΙΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΟΥ ΔΗΜΗΤΡΙΟΥ Ξημερώνει η 28η Οκτωβρίου Σεβασμιώτατε, η ημέρα που πρόκειται να αλλάξει τον ρου της νέας Ιστορίας του ελληνικού έθνους, κι εσείς ένα νέο παιδί τότε ακούτε και μαθαίνετε τα πρώτα ανακοινωθέντα μέσω μιας πραγματικά πανηγυρικής έξαρσης. Πως θυμάστε εκείνες τις πρώτες ώρες του πολέμου; Υπήρχε από πριν η αίσθηση ή ο φόβος της επικείμενης σύρραξης; Πριν μιλήσουμε για την ημέρα εκείνη, θα ήθελα πρώτα να γυρίσουμε μερικούς μήνες πίσω, στον Αύγουστο του 1940 με τον τορπιλλισμό του καταδρομικού “ΕΛΛΗ” στο λιμάνι της Τήνου. Αυτή η πράξη ήταν ένα εντελώς απροσδόκητο γεγονός. Την ημέρα αυτἠ βρισκόμασταν με την οικογένειά μου στο χωριό του παππού μου, στη Βάβδο Χαλκιδικής και δεν ξεχνώ το μούδιασμα το οποίο δημιουργήθηκε γιατί αμέσως σχεδόν οι άνθρωποι άρχισαν να κάνουν διασυνδέσεις με άλλα πράγματα και προηγούμενες-ιστορικά-καταστάσεις και να αισθάνονται ότι πλέον υπήρχε μια πολύ σοβαρή απειλή πολέμου και στην περιοχή μας. Ο πόλεμος ήδη βρισκόταν σε έξαρση στην υπόλοιπη βόρεια και ανατολική Ευρώπη από καιρό πριν. Ετσι κύλισαν οι μέρες και φτάσαμε στο εορταστικό τριήμερο της 26ης Οκτωβρίου, εορτής του Αγίου Δημητρίου, Πολιούχου της Θεσσαλονίκης, αλλά και της επετείου της απελευθέρωσεώς της. Ηταν ένα ηλιόλουστο και υπέροχο Σάββατο όπως θυμάμαι, αλλά και η επομένη, η Κυριακή, μια ωραία ημέρα κατά την οποία, λόγω αργίας,
Αρχιεπίσκοπος Δημήτριος: Ο Θεός να δίνει πάντα να υπάρχει αυτό το ηρωϊκό πνεύμα πίστεως, πατριωτισμού, αλλά και ενότητας του Ελληνισμού. Την επόμενη ημέρα του πολέμου, την παρατάθηκαν οι πανηγυρισμοί. Ανακαλώντας από τη μνήμη τα γεγονότα την ημέρας εκεί- Τρίτη, εάν θυμάμαι καλά, ακούσαμε τις σεινης, δε νομίζω ότι υπήρχε αναμονή ότι θα ρήνες της αεράμυνας – μας είχαν ειδοποιήσει γινόταν κάτι σοβαρό. Η επικρατούσα ατμό- πως όταν θα ακούγαμε τις σειρήνες να ηχούν, σφαιρα ήταν πανηγυριού και χαράς όπως έπρεπε να τρέξουμε να καλυφθούμε σε όποιο πάντοτε τις ημέρες εκείνες. Ισως, στους μεγά- υπόγειο μπορούσαμε για να προφυλαχθούμε λους κι όχι σε εμάς τα παιδιά, να υπήρχε αυτή από επικείμενο βομβαρδισμό. Βέβαια, οι άνθρωποι δεν είχαν αίσθηση η έγνοια. Γι’αυτό κι όταν ξυπνήσαμε τη Δευτέρα το πρωί, όλο αυτό για μας ήταν μια τε- των συστημάτων ασφαλείας, καθώς ένα υπόράστια έκπληξη: γίνεται πόλεμος! Θυμάμαι γειο ενός διόροφου σπιτιού δε μπορούσε να ότι ο πατέρας μου ο οποίος ήταν έφεδρος προφυλάξει κανέναν. Εν πάση περιπτώσει, ανθυπολοχαγός – είχε βρεθεί νεαρός στο θέ- μόλις ακούσαμε τις σειρήνες, καταφύγαμε στο ατρο των πολεμικών επιχειρήσεων στη Μικρά μεγάλο υπόγειο του σπιτιού μας το οποίο Ασία – ντύθηκε με τη στρατιωτική του στολή βρισκόταν στο κέντρο της πόλεως, στη γωνία και εν μέσω μιας μεγάλης έκπληξης για όλους των οδών Φιλίππου και Παλαιολόγου. Εκεί καταφύγαμε εμείς, οι δυο οικογένειμας είπε “φεύγω, γίνεται πόλεμος”. Από παντού άκουγε κανείς κωδωνο- ες του δευτέρου ορόφου και άλλη μια οικογέκρουσίες, φασαρία, η πόλη ήταν ανάστατη νεια που ζούσε στον πρώτο όροφο, κάπου – βέβαια για τα παιδιά η κατάσταση αυτή δεν 15-20 άνθρωποι όλοι μαζί. Οταν τερματίστηδημιούργησε τόσο πολύ φόβο, όσο αναστά- κε ο αρχικός ήχος των σειρήνων και επικράτωση και το πρώτο-πρώτο πράγμα που ξέρα- τησε εκείνη η νεκρική σιγή, κάποια στιγμή με ήταν ότι δεν είχαμε σχολείο και είχε μεγά- αρχίσαμε να ακούμε τον τρομακτικό βόμβο των αεροπλάνων που πλησίαζαν πάνω από λη σημασία αυτό το πράγμα. Το δεύτερο πράγμα που ξέραμε ήταν ότι την πόλη. Θυμάμαι τότε πως αναμεταξύ μας τα τραμ της Θεσσαλονίκης, ήταν πλέον ανοι- στο υπόγειο βρέθηκαν και δυο ηλικιωμένοι κτά και χωρίς εισιτήριο, καθώς όλα τα λεω- άνδρες οι οποίοι λόγω ηλικίας δεν μπορούσαν φορεία, τα αυτοκίνητα και κάθε άλλο μετα- να επιστρατευθούν και μας είπαν πως αυτό φορικό τροχοφόρο μέσο είχαν αμέσως επιτα óåë. 16 χθεί από το Στρατό. Ετσι θυμάμαι τόσο το τραμ το επάνω της οδού Εγνατίας, όσο και το τραμ της οδού Τσιμισκή – Τσιμισκή, Ντεπό, Εγνατία, Λεωφόρος Στρατού – ήταν κατάμεστα από κόσμο, οι άνθρωπο κρεμόντουσαν κι από τα παράθυρα δηλαδή, για να πάνε να καταταγούν και να ξεκινήσουν για το Αλβανικό Μέτωπο. Για μας τα παιδιά, ήταν μια αφορμή να παίξουμε βέβαια, να πάμε κι εμείς εκεί, να σκαλώσουμε και να κρεμαστούμε κι εμείς από το τραμ μαζί με τους μεγάλους. Ετσι ξεκίνησε η πρώτη μέρα του πολέμου, μέσω μεγάλης αγωνίας στην οικογένειά μου, από τη μητέρα μου, τη γιαγιά μου και όλους τους μεγάλους, για αυτήν την απροσδόκητη κι απίθανη κατάσταση που είχε δημιουργηθεί καθώς ο πατέρας μου είχε ήδη αναχωρήσει για το Μέτωπο από τις πρώτες κιόλας ώρες των εχθροπραξιών.
ΟΚΤΩΒΡΙΟΣ – ΝΟΕΜΒΡΙΟΣ 2010
ΜΝΗΜΗ ΓΟΝΙΜΗ , ΗΡΩΙΚΗ ΚΑΙ ΜΝΗΜΗ ΕΞΑΡΣΕΩΣ Η 28η ΟΚΤΩΒΡΙΟΥ 1940 óåë. 15 που ακούγαμε ήταν ο χαρακτηριστικός ήχος βομβαρδιστικών αεροπλάνων. Θυμάμαι σαν να ήταν χθες, ο ένας από αυτούς μας είπε ότι “έρχονται θαλασσίως και πολλά”. Είχε καταλάβει ότι τα βομβαρδιστικά πετούσαν από την πλευρά του Θερμαϊκού Κόλπου με σκοπό να βάλλουν κατά της Θεσσαλονίκης. Μετά από τον βόμβο των αεροσκαφών και με διαφορά ελαχίστων λεπτών ακούσαμε αυτό το χαρακτηριστικά ανατριχιαστικό σφύριγμα της πρώτης βόμβας που έπεφτε κοντά μας και αμέσως μετά συνεχόμενα σφυρίγματα πράγμα που σήμαινε ότι γινόταν βομβαρδισμός. Αμέσως μετά ένας εκκωφαντικός, ειδικού τύπου κρότος, όταν η βόμβα έβρισκε το στόχο της, είτε αυτός ήταν οικίες, άσφαλτος ή ακόμη δεντροστοιχίες. Πρέπει να σας πω, πως οι βόμβες που εξερράγησαν σε δρόμους της Θεσσαλονίκης που αποκαλούσαν “καλντερίμι” δηλαδή ήταν φτιαγμένοι εξ ολοκλήρου από πέτρες και κυρίως αποτελούσαν δρόμους των οδών άνωθεν της Εγνατίας, δημιουργούσαν έναν τρομερό και κοφτό κρότο, πολύ δύσκολο να σας τον περιγράψω, εαν δεν το βιώσει κανείς. Εμείς, μικρά παιδιά δε ξέραμε τι να κάνουμε, μερικά πιο μικρά από εμάς άρχισαν να κλαίνε, τους είπαμε “μην κλαίτε, δεν είναι τίποτα” αλλά μέσα μας γνωρίζαμε ότι θα μπορούσε από στιγμή σε στιγμή να μας κτυπήσει κι εμάς μια από τις βόμβες αυτές και το αντιλαμβανόμασταν αυτό από τη διαφορά του ήχου των εκρήξεων, που μας πλησίαζε. Μετά από ένα χρονικό διάστημα τερματίστηκε ο βομβαρδισμός κι ακούσαμε και πάλι τις σειρήνες της αεράμυνας που σήμαιναν τη λήξη του συναγερμού. Κι έτσι βγήκαμε έξω στο δρόμο, κανείς δε μπορούσε να μας σταματήσει, ιδίως εμάς τα παιδιά. Είμασταν περίεργοι να δούμε που έπεσαν οι βόμβες και τι είχε γίνει έξω κατά τη διάρκεια που εμείς βρισκόμασταν στο υπόγειο. Θυμάμαι πως μας διακατείχε ένα αίσθημα αγωνίας και τρόμου όταν πρωτοαντικρύσαμε τις μεγάλες οπές – τύπου χωνιού - που είχαν ανοίξει οι εκρήξεις των βομβών στην άσφαλτο, παντού σπασμένα γυαλιά από τα τζάμια των τριγύρω σπιτιών, σπασμένα τούβλα, μια εν γένει εικόνα καταστροφής. Εκεί μας ανέφεραν πως ο βομβαρδισμός αυτός είχε θύματα, κι ενώ εμείς προσπαθήσαμε να πλησιάσουμε, δε μας το επέτρεψαν και τα συνεργεία άρχισαν αμέσως τη απομάκρυνση των λειψάνων. Μας είπαν πως σε αυτόν, τον πρώτο βομβαρδισμό της πόλης, είχε σκοτωθεί κι ένας ηρωϊκός Μακεδονομάχος, ο οποίος πάντοτε ηγείτο της εθνικής παρελάσεως. Επρόκειτο για ένα πανύψηλο και λεβέντη Μακεδόνα ο οποίος έδωσε το αίμα του για την πατρίδα κατά τη διάρκεια εκείνου του βομβαρδισμού. Αποφασίσαμε λοιπόν με την οικογένειά μου επειδή δε γνωρίζαμε τι θα μπορούσε να γίνει στο άμεσο μέλλον, και καθώς ο πατέρας μου ήδη είχε φύγει για το Μέτωπο, όπως είπε η μητέρα μου να φύγουμε από την πόλη της Θεσσαλονίκης καθώς δεν υπήρχε καμμία ασφάλεια. Οι Ιταλοί κτυπούσαν αμάχους κι όχι μόνο στρατιωτικές εγκαταστάσεις ή βομηχανικά κέντρα, όπως έκαναν και κατά της πόλης των Πατρών; Ναι, μα δεν υπήρχε στρατός μέσα στην πόλη, το έκαναν με μοναδικό σκοπό να τρομοκρατήσουν τον κόσμο και να δημιουργήσουν το ανάλογο κλίμα τρόμου και αβεβαιότητας στον άμαχο πληθυσμό. Αναχωρήσαμε την επομένη ημέρα, Τετάρτη, βρέθηκε κάπου ένα κάρο, ανεβήκαμε εμείς τα οκτώ παιδιά της οικοδομής μας, όλα παιδιά του Δημοτικού και όλοι οι κάτοικοι του σπιτιού μας, αυτοί που είμασταν και στο υπόγειο. Eτσι ξεκινήσαμε εμείς με προορισμό τα Βασιλικά, ένα κοντινό
χωριό στη Θεσσαλονίκη – σήμερα είναι προάστιο της πόλης, τότε μας είχε πάρει μια ημέρα να φτάσουμε με το κάρο - όπου είχαμε συγγενείς εκεί από την πλευρά του πατέρα μου. Καθ’ οδόν όταν περάσαμε το σημείο που ονομάζεται Ντεπό και την εποχή εκείνη ήταν το οριοθετημένο τέλος της πόλεως, πέρα από εκει άρχιζε η εξοχή, ακούσαμε και πάλι τις σειρήνες, σημάδι πως ξεσπούσε και πάλι αεροπορική επίθεση, η δεύτερη στη σειρά, και πιθανώς βομβαρδισμός από τα ιταλικά αεροπλάνα. Kατεβήκαμε από το κάρο και κρυφτήκαμε στα πλάγια του δρόμου, εκεί που άρχιζε η πρασιά και το ανάχωμα. Στην ουσία δεν υπήρχε καμία ασφάλεια εκεί πέρα, επρόκειτο γα ανοικτό χώρο αλλά δεν μπορούσαμε να κάνουμε διαφορετικά. Μετά από κάποιο χρονικό διάστημα, ήχησε το τέλος του συναγερμού, ανεβήκαμε και πάλι στο κάρο και συνεχίσαμε το δρόμο μας. Φτάσαμε το βράδι στα Βασιλικά, όπου και μείναμε ένα μήνα. Εκεί στο χωριό βρισκόντουσαν μόνο παιδιά, γυναικες και οι ηλικιωμένοι άνδρες, όλοι οι νεώτεροι είχαν επιστρατευθεί και είχαν αναχωρήσει για το αλβανικό μἔτωπο. Υστερα από ένα μικρό χρονικό διάστημα, όταν ο ελληνικός στρατός, όχι απλώς απέκρουσε την ιταλική επίθεση, αλλά μπήκε και προήλαυνε καθημερινά στο Αλβανικό έδαφος, σταμάτησαν οι βομβαρδισμοί της Θεσσαλονίκης και συμφωνήσαμε ότι ήταν πλέον ώρα να επιστρέψουμε στην πόλη μας. Εκεί μας βρήκαν οι καλές ειδήσεις όταν με κωδωνοκρουσίες και μέσα σε κλίμα εθνικού ενθουσιασμού μαθαίναμε ότι έπεσε η Κορυτσά, και κατόπιν οι Αγιοι Σαράντα, το Αργυρόκαστρο, το Τεπελένι, η Πρεμετή και άλλα κέντρα. Ο ελληνικός στρατός προχωρούσε νικηφόρα σε όλο το μέτωπο. Κι εμείς όμως βρισκόμασταν σε μια διαρκή κίνηση και κινητοποίηση. Ετοιμάζαμε τη “φανέλα του στρατιώτου”, όλοι ανεξαιρέτως όταν μπορούσαν έπλεκαν μάλλινα ενδύματα για τους στρατιώτες ή ετοιμάζαμε δεματάκια με ξηρά τροφή, όπως σταφίδες και ξηρούς καρπούς για αποστολή στο Μέτωπο. Στο μεταξύ, μετά την πάροδο δυο μηνών, αρχίσαμε να γινόμαστε μάρτυρες της φρίκης του πολέμου, των φρικτών καταστάσεων που επικρατούσαν στο Μέτωπο, όταν άρχισαν να φτάνουν στην πόλη μας τα πρώτα λεωφορεία με τους τραυματίες και τους ετοιμοθάνατους, βαμμένα άσπρα από έξω, για να μη μπορεί κανείς να δει στο εσωτερικό τους. Θυμάμαι τη μεγάλη μας θλίψη, κλαίγαμε δηλαδή, όταν μας έλεγαν ότι εξαιτίας των τραυματισμών και των κρυοπαγημάτων έπρεπε να χάσουν μέλη του σώματός τους, έχω την εικόνα αυτή καλά χαραγμένη στη μνήμη μου, να περνούν τα άσπρα λεωφορεία με τους τραυματίες και τους ετοιμοθάνατους σε πομπή
από τις οδούς Εγνατίας και Τσιμισκή με προορισμό τα νοσοκομεία ή σε άλλες περιπτώσεις τα κοιμητήρια. Κάθε τόσο λαμβάναμε τα νέα από το Μέτωπο, ότι ο τάδε συγγενής μας τραυματίστηκε, ο δείνα σκοτώθηκε, δημιουργώντας ένα μείγμα θλίψεως για τους θανάτους και τις δυσκολίες που αντιμετώπιζαν οι Ελληνες φαντάροι στο Μέτωπο μας, αλλά ταυτόχρονα και φοβερής εθνικής υπερηφανείας για ένα στρατό που ενώ υστερούσε οπλικά και αριθμητικά, ήταν πάνοπλος ψυχικά. Υπήρξαν άνθρωποι που πολέμησαν εκεί που μου είπαν πως ‘στη ζωή μου δε θα μπορούσα να το φανταστώ πως θα μπορούσα να περπατώ και να κοιμάμαι όρθιος, κατά τη διάρκεια των εφοδιοπομπών κρατούσα την άκρη ή την ουρά του μουλαριού μου, το ζώο προχωρούσε κι εγώ κοιμόμουν, ήταν φορές που έβλεπα κι όνειρα’. Ο εγκέφαλος δεν άντεχε άλλο, αλλά το σώμα προχωρούσε. Περί την Άνοιξη επειδή άρχισαν και πάλι οι δυσκολίες, η μητέρα μου αποφάσισε να πάμε και πάλι πίσω στο χωριό του παππού μου και είμεθα εκεί όταν την 6η Απριλίου ακούσαμε ότι η Γερμανία μας κήρυξε τον πόλεμο. Εμείς τα παιδιά που δεν ξέραμε, είπαμε ότι ‘ε, ότι κάναμε στους Ιταλούς, θα κάνουμε και στους Γερμανούς’ αλλά αυτό ήταν πραγματικά αδύνατο, όλος ο στρατός βρισκόταν στο αλβανικό μέτωπο, οι Γερμανοί είχαν σαρρώσει τη Γαλλία, την Πολωνία και εν γένει όλη την Ευρώπη μέσα σε ελάχιστες μέρες, εμείς πως θα τους σταματούσαμε; Ελεγαν βέβαια πως υπήρχε η ‘γραμμή Μεταξά’ που είχε οχυρά και όντως αντιστάθηκε με σθένος, πείσμα, αυτοθυσία και ηρωϊσμό. Εν τω μεταξύ, περιμέναμε εναγωνίως να μάθουμε νέα από τον πατέρα μου, δε γνωρίζαμε την τύχη του, εάν ζούσε ή είχε χαθεί στο Μέτωπο, όμως μετά από την είσοδο των Γερμανών στην Αθήνα και τρεις ημέρες μετά την κατάληψή της από τα στρατεύματα της ναζιστικής κατοχής, εμφανίστηκε στο σπίτι. Γύρισε πίσω φορώντας τη στολή του, κουρελιασμένη από το μέτωπο και θυμάμαι ότι φορούσε μπότες ως Ανθυπολοχαγός και τα πόδια του ήταν τόσο πρησμένα που δεν έβγαιναν με κανέναν τρόπο τα υποδήματα… Αυτή η ιστορία είναι πρωτοφανής, ιδίως για μικρά παιδιά που τη ζουν, αλλά δε μπορώ να ξεχάσω, το ηρωϊκό πνεύμα ότι όλοι, όλοι ανεξαιρέτως, έκαναν ό,τι μπορούσαν. Υπήρξαν άνθρωποι που έπλεξαν εκατοντάδες μέτρα κάλτσες, φανέλλες και κασκώλ για τους στρατιώτες μας. Υπήρξαν βέβαια και οι ηρωϊκοί στρατιωτικοί μας ιερείς, οι οποίοι πολέμησαν στο Μέτωπο, κοινώνησαν τους στρατιώτες μας, τέλεσαν λειτουργίες και πολλοί έχασαν τη ζωή τους επάνω στις τραχιές κι αφιλόξενες ράχες της μεθορίου, δίπλα στα παλικάρια μας. Η ΠΕΡΙΟΔΟΣ ΤΗΣ ΚΑΤΟΧΗΣ “Είναι η περίοδος της Κατοχής, οι Γερμα-
νοί, οι Ιταλοί και αργότερα εμφανίστηκαν και ο Βούλγαροι, υπάρχει η φοβερή πείνα, οι Γερμανοί έχουν επιτάξει τα σχολεία κι έχουν το στρατό μέσα για να μη μπορούν να τους βομβαρδίσουν οι σύμμαχοι κι εμείς στο Πειραματικό – το οποίο ήταν οκτατάξιο Γυμνάσιο μοιραζόμασταν ένα σχολικό κτίριο μαζί με 5-6 σχολεία. Το κτίριο του Πειραματικού Σχολείου το είχαν επιτάξει οι Γερμανοί κι εμείς κάναμε μάθημα στο πάνω μέρος της Θεσσαλονίκης κοντά στον Προφήτη Ηλία. Ἠ κάναμε μάθημα 3 ώρες ανά δεύτερη ημέρα. Αλλά αυτό μας έδινε την ευκαιρία να μαθαίνουμε – ραδιόφωνα δεν υπήρχαν, είχαν όλα κατασχεθεί από τις αρχές κατοχής, καθώς όποιος είχε συσκευή, ήταν καταχωρημένος στα επίσημα βιβλία του Δήμου - ορισμένοι δε κινηματογράφοι που λειτουργούσαν, έφερναν και πρόβαλαν μόνο προπαγανδιστικά γερμανικά φιλμ, οι αθλητικές και άλλες εκδηλώσεις ήταν σχεδόν ανύπαρκτες, οπότε τι κάναμε εμείς τότε κ. Πισσαλίδη; Ηταν η εποχή που καταβροχθήσαμε εκατοντάδες βιβλία, ό,τι υπήρχε από πλευράς λογοτεχνίας και ευτυχώς υπήρχαν και μεταφράσεις πολλές και πολλοί από εμάς είχαμε τη δυνατότητα να μπορούμε να διαβάσουμε και ξένη γλώσσα. Ρωσική λογοτεχνία, γαλλική λογοτεχνία, αγγλική λογοτεχνία και είχαμε κι ένα σύστημα ανταλλαγής των βιβλίων μεταξύ μας, ώστε να τα διαβάζουμε όλοι. Ηταν μια εκπαίδευση φιλολογικο-ιστορική πρώτης τάξεως αυτήν την εποχή. Φανταστείτε ότι δεν υπήρχε ηλεκτρικό φως, εδίδετο μόνο για μιαδυο ώρες, είχαμε τις λάμπες πετρελαίου, δε μπορούσε να διαβάσει κανείς, τα παράθυρα έπρεπε να έχουν πλήρη συσκότιση, να μη φαίνεται φως από έξω, όλα έπρεπε να είναι τελείως σκοτεινά, τα καλύπταμε με αυτό το μπλε χρώματος χαρτί που καλύπταμε τα βιβλία μας για να μη χαλάνε. Η Θεσσαλονίκη υπέφερε πλήθος θανάτων από την πείνα και τις εκτελέσεις, αλλά είχε και την περιφέρειά της και τη Χαλκιδική όπου πολλοί άνθρωποι κατέφυγαν και γλύτωσαν, ή έστελναν στην πόλη κάποια βασικά αγαθά. Την ημέρα που κηρύχθηκε ο πόλεμος Σεβασμιώτατε, έπαψαν να υπάρχουν αριστεροί και δεξιοί, όλοι έγιναν Ενα, οι Ελληνες ενώθηκαν με έναν ίδιο, κοινό σκοπό; Απολύτως. Απολύτως, όλοι ήταν πατριώτες. Ηταν άνθρωποι, ανάμεσά τους και εξόριστοι που δήλωναν εμείς θα πάμε ως απλοί στρατιώτες στο Μέτωπο. Ολοι αντέδρασαν και συμπεριφέρθηκαν ως πατριώτες. Και επίσης, όπως συμβαίνει και σε πολλές παρόμοιες περιπτώσεις, ήταν πολύ έντονο και το θρησκευτικό στοιχείο, οι Εκκλησίες ήταν πάντοτε γεμάτες, υπήρχαν πάντα πρόσθετες Ακολουθίες, Παρακλήσεις, Αγρυπνίες όχι πολλές, δεν μας επέτρεπαν οι Γερμανοί, υπήρχε απαγόρευση της κυκλοφορίας από πολύ νωρίς, αλλά ότι άλλο μπορούσε να γίνει νωρίτερα από τις Εκκλησίες γινόταν. Ηταν πραγματικά πολύ έντονο αυτό το στοιχείο. Η δοκιμασία ήταν πρωτοφανής, με την Πίστη μπόρεσαν κι άντεξαν οι άνθρωποι μας. Εκεί βρήκαν δεκανίκι κι ανάσα. Είχαν βρεθει σε πολλές δυσκολίες πριν, είχαν περάσει τη δίκη του Πρώτου Παγκοσμίου Πολέμου, η Θεσσαλονίκη ήταν πάντα ένα θέατρο πολεμικών επιχειρήσεων, αλλά όχι αυτού του είδους που περνούσαν τότε. Αυτό ήταν πρωτοφανές, συνδύαζε μια Κατοχή από τρεις ξένες δυνάμεις με πλήρη εξόντωση λόγω ελλείψεως τροφίμων, λόγω ελλείψεως ιατρικής περιθάλψεως, ήταν ό,τι χειρότερο μπορούσε να υπάρξει. Αλλά οπωσδήποτε ο παράγων Πίστη έπαιξε μεγάλο ρόλο. Η Θεσσαλονίκη υπήρξε επίσης ο τόπος στον οποίον κατά τη διάρκεια της Κατοχής ανέπτυξαν δράση τα κατηχητικά σχολεία, στα συσσίτια των οποίων πολλοί σήμερα ίσως και
ΟΚΤΩΒΡΙΟΣ – ΝΟΕΜΒΡΙΟΣ 2010
ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΟΣ ΠΑΡΑΤΗΡΗΤΗΣ ORTHODOX OBSERVER
Πρώτη Συνεδρίαση Νέου Αρχιεπισκοπικού Συμβουλίου ΑΡΧΙΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΙΚΗ ΕΓΚΥΚΛΙΟΣ
Ἡμέρα τοῦ ΟΧΙ 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.
Στιγμιότυπο από τις εργασίες της φθινοπωρινής Συνεδρίασης του Αρχιεπισκοπικού Συμβουλίου. (Από αριστερά) Γεώργιος Βουρβούλιας, πρόεδρος της Οικονομικής Επιτροπής, Μιχαήλ Τζαχάρης, Αντιπρόεδρος του Αρχιεπισκοπικού συμβουλίου, Εμμανουήλ Δήμος, Νομικός Σύμβουλος και Τζέρι Δημητρίου, Εκτελεστικός Διευθυντής. Επιμέλεια: ΛΕΥΤΕΡΗ ΠΙΣΣΑΛΙΔΗΣ
ΝΕΑ ΥΟΡΚΗ - Το νέο Αρχιεπισκοπικό Συμβούλιο της Ελληνικής Ορθοδόξου Αρχιεπισκοπής Αμερικής πραγματοποίησε την πρώτη συνεδρίαση της θητείας του, προεδρεύοντος του Σεβασμιωτάτου Αρχιεπισκόπου Αμερικής κ. Δημητρίου, στις 15 Οκτωβρίου στο ξενοδοχείο Marriott Marquis της Νέας Υόρκης. Τα μέλη του νέου Συμβουλίου υπηρετούν διετή θητεία που λήγει κατά την επόμενη Κληρικολαϊκή Συνέλευση το 2012.
óåë. 16 να χρωστούν τη ζωή τους. Κατά τη διάρκεια της Κατοχής, είχα συνδεθεί με το δίκτυο των κατηχητικών σχολείων, υπήρχε ο πατήρ Λεωνίδας Παρασκευόπουλος (μετέπειτα Μητροπολίτης Θεσσαλονίκης) ο οποίος είχε κάνει στο Μέτωπο κι ο οποίος πάντοτε μας έλεγε ιστορίες. Εγώ ήμουν εθελοντής σε αυτά τα συσσίτια, εγώ ήμουν ήδη έφηβος, στα 15 χρόνια μου τότε. Πολλά παιδιά, μικρότερα σε ηλικία, γλύτωσαν από την πείνα χάρις στα συσσίτια αυτά. Εμείς βοηθούσαμε σαν στελέχη, υπήρχε το κεντρικό που ήταν στην πλατεία Αγίας Σοφίας, στο ξενοδοχείο ‘Βυζάντιο’. Αναφέρεται σε αυτά κι ο Θεσσαλονικιός λογοτέχνης Γιώργος Ιωάννου συγκεκριμένα σε αυτό στην πλατεία Αγίας Σοφίας. Ναι, και καλά που τον θυμηθήκατε, ήταν κι αυτός τότε, κι αυτός εκεί ως εθελοντής. Αλλά υπήρχαν κι άλλες επτά μεγάλες εστίες στη Θεσσαλονίκη, στην Αγία Τριάδα και αλλού. Τα παιδιά έτρωγαν σε τρεις βάρδιες. Μιλούμε για χιλιάδες παιδιά σε ημερήσια βάση. Ο δε Ερυθρός Σταυρός που έδινε εν πολλοίς τα τρόφιμα, εμπιστευόταν πιο πολύ αυτά τα συσσίτια της Εκκλησίας, παρά το κράτος, που ήταν υπο κατοχήν. Κι έγινε και κάτι άλλο ενδιαφέρον μάλιστα, από τα παιδιά αυτά, στο κέντρο της πόλης, σχηματίσθηκε μια χορωδία, η λεγόμενη Χορωδία των Κατηχητικών Σχολείων. Συνόδευε δε τον π. Λεωνίδα Παρασκευόπουλο στις εκκλησίες που πήγαινε να κάνει κήρυγμα την Κυριακή. Ηταν γύρω στα 70 παιδιά, αυτό δεν είχε ξαναγίνει στη Θεσσαλονίκη, να έχετε τη χορωδία αυτή να ψέλνει και οι άνθρωποι να λένε θα πάμε να τους ακούσουμε. Κι όλα αυτά εν μέσω Κατοχής. Και να βλέπετε την Αχειροποίητο να είναι γεμάτη από κόσμο μέχρι έξω. Ετσι, ακόμα και με αυτό οι άνθρωποι μπορούσαν να ανταπεξέλθουν στη δυσκολία της πείνας, της αρρώστιας, δεν υπήρχαν φάρμακα, πενικιλλίνη και αντιβιοτικά δεν υπήρχαν ακόμη τότε, στην εποχή εκείνη, μια πνευμονία ή σκωλικοειδίτιδα σήμαινε θάνατο. Είναι χαρακτηριστικό της γενιάς σας Σε-
Το Συμβούλιο αποτελούν 125 εκλεγμένα και διορισμένα μέλη, κληρικοί και λαϊκοί από τις ΗΠΑ. Οι εργασίες του Αρχιεπισκοπικού Συμβουλίου ξεκίνησαν το πρωί της 15ης Οκτωβρίου, μετά από προπαρασκευαστικές συνεδριάσεις των επιτροπών διακονίας την προηγούμενη ημέρα. Κατά παράδοση η εναρκτήρια συνεδρίαση συγκαλείται από κοινού με τα νεοδιοριζόμενα μέλη της Εθνικής Φιλοπτώχου. Ο Σεβασμιώτατος τέλεσε
óåë. 18 βασμιώτατε το πως αντιμετωπίσατε αυτά τα δύσκολα χρόνια. Οσα μου είπατε σήμερα, με τον ίδιο τρόπο τα περιγράφει κι ο Ιωάννου στα βιβλία του, ιδιαίτερα όσα αφορούν την περίοδο της Κατοχής και των συσσιτίων. Ενα κομμάτι της ζωντανής ιστορίας του Εθνους μας. Εσάς πως σας άλλαξε ως προσωπικότητα; Ηταν πολύ μεγάλη αυτή η εποχή. Εμείς καταλήξαμε στο τέλος του πολέμου, το 19441945 στο ότι η ανθρώπινη ζωή έχει μια πολύ μεγάλη αξία. Αλλά ταυτοχρόνως έχει υποστεί τέτοιου είδους μεταχείρηση λόγω των πολέμων και της κακουχίας, έτσι που πρέπει κανείς να σκεφθεί πολύ σοβαρά τι θα κάνει με τη ζωή του και το μέλλον του. Αυτό ήταν πολύ σημαντικό, δεν μπορούσαμε να σκεφθούμε με τους συμμαθητές μου ότι θα μπορούσαμε να πάμε σε ένα επάγγελμα για να βγάλουμε χρήματα. Δεν ίσχυε ποτέ αυτό. Μετά από τον πόλεμο το μόνο που σκεφτόμασταν ήταν τι μπορούμε να κάνουμε να βοηθήσουμε τον άνθρωπο, και ίσως γιατί γίναμε μάρτυρες όλων αυτών των αναίτιων και άδικων θανάτων μέσα σε αυτά τα χρόνια. Για αυτό και στη δική μου τάξη, η πλειονότητα των συμμαθητών μου πήγε στην ιατρική για να προσφέρει. Εγώ διάλεξα τη Θεολογία για τον ίδιο λόγο. Σκέφθηκα ότι η Ιατρική είναι πολύ καλή ιδέα, αλλά ποιος θα πάει στην Εκκλησία; Ετσι, η απόφαση να προχωρήσω στη Θεολογία, έχει μεγάλη σχέση με το ιστορικό πλαίσιο στο οποίο ζήσαμε και βάση του ότι η ζωή έχει πολύ μεγάλη αξία και δε μπορείς να τη σπαταλήσεις σε δεύτερα πράγματα, κάνε ό,τι μπορείς καλύτερο για τους ανθρώπους. Αυτό ήταν πολύ ισχυρό, για αυτό και οι ιδεολογικές συγκρούσεις μας στο σχολείο ήταν συνεχείς, μεταξύ διαφόρων ιδεολογιών. Περιμέναμε να χτυπήσει το κουδούνι του διαλείμματος να κατεβούμε στο προαύλιο και να αρχίσουμε τη συζήτηση. Αυτή η εποχή ευνοούσε μια καλλιέργεια ενός έντονου ανθρωπιστικού πνεύματος, πολύ ισχυρού. Οι μέρες σε πίεζαν να βγεις από τον εαυτό σου και να δεις τι μπορούσες να κάνεις για το συνάνθρωπό σου. Ηταν ένα καθημερινό “ψωμοτύρι”, να το πω έτσι...
Ἀγαπητοί Ἀδελφοί καί Ἀδελφές ἐν Χριστῷ, Στόν ἐτήσιο ἑορτασμό τῆς Ἡμέρας τοῦ ΟΧΙ, ἑνωνόμεθα μέ τούς Ἑλληνικῆς καταγωγῆς ἀδελφούς καί ἀδελφές μας ὅλου τοῦ κόσμου, μέ φιλέλληνες καί μέ ὅλους ἐκείνους πού ἐκτιμοῦν τήν ἐλευθερία καί τήν αὐτοδιάθεση, σέ μία ἐκδήλωση μνήμης ἡ ὁποία ἀποτελεῖ μαρτυρία τῆς ἀναγκαιότητος γιά προσήλωση σέ παγκόσμιες ἀξίες καί ἐμμονή στήν πίστη. Τό πρωί τῆς 28ης Ὀκτωβρίου 1940, τό ἠχηρό «ΟΧΙ» τό ὁποῖο ἀντέταξε ἡ Ἑλλάδα στόν φασίστα ἡγέτη τῆς Ἰταλίας ὡς ἀπάντηση στήν ἀξίωσή του νά παραδοθοῦν οἱ Ἕλληνες χωρίς ἀντίσταση καί νά ἐπιτρέψουν σέ ξένη δύναμη τήν κατοχή τῆς πατρίδος τους, ἦταν μία ἀπάντηση ἡ ὁποία ἀντήχησε στούς δρόμους τῆς Ἑλλάδος ἀπό τούς πολίτες οἱ ὁποῖοι εἶδαν ἀμέσως τόν πολύ σοβαρό κίνδυνο. Διεῖδαν τήν ἀπειλή ἡ ὁποία μέ κατάχρηση ἐξουσίας καί μέ πολιτικές μηχανορραφίες εἶχε ὁδηγήσει σέ ὑποταγή ἄλλων ἐθνῶν. Ἀνεγνώρισαν μία δύναμη τυραννίας ἡ ὁποία χρησιμοποιῶντας ποικίλες μορφές ἐξαπατήσεως, ὁδήγησε πολλούς σέ συμβιβασμό τῶν ἰδανικῶν καί τῆς πίστεώς των ἤ στή δυστυχία νά εὑρεθοῦν ὑπό καθεστῶτα τά ὁποῖα ἔδιναν μεγαλύτερη ἀξία στή στρατιωτική ὑπεροχή καί τήν παγκόσμια κυριαρχία ἀπό τήν εὐημερία καί τά δικαιώματα τῶν ἀνθρώπων. Μία πηγή ἀπό τήν ὁποία ἀντλήθηκε ἡ ἀπάντηση τοῦ «ΟΧΙ» στίς δυνάμεις τοῦ κακοῦ, στό μῖσος καί στόν καταναγκασμό, ἦταν ἡ πολύ πλούσια κληρονομιά τῶν Ἑλληνικῶν ἀξιῶν. Ἐκτός ἀπό τήν ἀγάπη γιά τήν ἐλευθερία καί αὐτοδιάθεση, ἰδανικά τά ὁποῖα εἶχαν καταργηθεῖ στή διάρκεια κατοχῶν προηγουμένων αἰώνων, οἱ Ἕλληνες εἶχαν σέ μεγάλη ἐκτίμηση τίς ἔννοιες τῆς πίστεως, τῆς κοινότητος, τῆς πολιτικῆς δραστηριότητος καί τῆς δημοκρατικῆς μορφῆς διακυβερνήσεως, πού ἀποτελοῦν πτυχές τῆς ζωῆς καί τῶν σχέσεων οἱ ὁποῖες καλλιεργοῦνται σέ ἐλεύθερες κοινωνίες. Ἐάν ἐπιτρεπόταν στίς φασιστικές δυνάμεις νά προωθηθοῦν περαιτέρω μέσα στά ἔθνη τῆς Εὐρώπης καί τοῦ κόσμου, τό μεγάλο δυναμικό τῆς ἀνθρώπινης ζωῆς, τά ἐπιτεύγματα, ἡ φιλανθρωπία καί ἡ πνευματική εὐημερία ὄχι μόνον θά καταπιεζόταν περιοριστικά ἀλλά μέσῳ διαστροφῶν θά κατέληγαν νά ἐξυπηρετοῦν τά σχέδια τυράννων ἡγετῶν. Ἡ ἄλλη πηγή τῆς ἀπαντήσεως τοῦ «ΟΧΙ» στήν ἀξίωση γιά ὑποταγή καί ξένη κατοχή ὑπῆρξε ἡ παράδοση καί τό πνεῦμα τῆς Ὀρθοδοξίας, μία δυνατή παράδοση ἐγκαρτερήσεως ἡ ὁποία εἶχε στηρίξει πολλές γενιές Ἑλλήνων στή διάρκεια αἰώνων κατοχῆς καί καταπιέσεως, οἰκονομικῶν καί πολιτικῶν δυσχερειῶν, καί ἐντάσεων στή διαμόρφωση τοῦ ἔθνους καί στήν προσπάθεια ἀνακτήσεως στοιχείων πολιτισμοῦ, γλώσσης, σκέψεως καί ταυτότητος. Ὅταν δόθηκε ἡ ἀπάντηση στίς ἀπαιτήσεις τοῦ Μουσολίνι, οἱ Ἕλληνες γνώριζαν τίς προκλήσεις τίς ὁποῖες θά ἀντιμετώπιζαν. Ἡ ἀπάντηση «ΟΧΙ» φανέρωσε τήν προθυμία γιά θυσία γιά τό ἀληθινό, τό καλό καί τό δίκαιο. Ὅπως καί στό παρελθόν, ἡ ἐγκαρτέρηση τήν ὁποία ἐνέπνεε ἡ πίστη καί ἡ ὁποία βασιζόταν σ’ αὐτές τίς ἀξίες ἦταν ἡ μόνη ἀπάντηση ἡ ὁποία ἅρμοζε στά ὑψηλά ἰδανικά τοῦ Ἑλληνισμοῦ καί στήν ἀλήθεια τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου ἐν σχέσει πρός τήν ἀνθρώπινη ὕπαρξή μας καί τήν χάρη καί τό θέλημα τοῦ Θεοῦ ὅπως προσφέρεται ἀπό τήν Ὀρθόδοξη πίστη μας. Ἡ προσήλωση στίς παγκόσμιες καί αἰώνιες ἀξίες τοῦ Ἑλληνισμοῦ καί ἡ ἐμμονή στήν Ὀρθόδοξη πίστη συνδέει τόν ἑορτασμό τῆς ἡμέρας τοῦ ΟΧΙ καί τήν ἀπόδοση τιμῆς στήν κληρονομία καί τήν Ἑλληνική ταυτότητά μας μέ τήν Ὀρθόδοξη πίστη μας, τήν ἀγάπη μας γιά τόν Θεό, καί τήν δέσμευσή μας στό ἔργο τῆς οὐράνιας βασιλείας Του. Αὐτό εἶναι οὐσιῶδες γιά τή ζωή μας στό σύγχρονο κόσμο διότι εἴμεθα σέ σύγκρουση πρός τούς κοσμοκράτορας τοῦ σκότους τούτου, πρός τά πνευματικά τῆς πονηρίας (Ἐφες. 6:12). Γύρω μας εὑρίσκονται δυνάμεις οἱ ὁποῖες ἐπιζητοῦν νά καταστρέψουν τή ζωή καί τήν πίστη, ὅπως καί τήν ἐλευθερία καί τήν ἀνθρώπινη ἀξιοπρέπεια, καί πρέπει νά εἴμεθα ἄγρυπνοι καί προσεκτικοί γιά νά τίς ἀναγνωρίσουμε, νά παραμείνουμε ἀκλόνητοι, νά φωνάξουμε ἕνα ἠχηρό «ΟΧΙ», καί ὑπό οἱεσδήποτε συνθῆκες νά ἀγωνισθοῦμε γιά τήν ἀλήθεια, τήν προαγωγή καί τήν ἐνίσχυση τῶν συνθηκῶν τῆς ἐλευθερίας καί τῆς δικαιοσύνης γιά ὅλους. Καθώς ἑορτάζουμε τήν 28η Ὀκτωβρίου καί τήν Ἡμέρα τοῦ ΟΧΙ, ἄς θυμηθοῦμε τήν στάση τῶν Ἑλλήνων ἐναντίον τῶν δυνάμεων τῆς τυραννίας καί τίς θυσίες οἱ ὁποῖες ἔγιναν χάριν τῆς ἐλευθερίας. Ἄς ἀναλογισθοῦμε, ἐπίσης, τήν δύναμη τήν ὁποία μποροῦμε να βροῦμε στήν κληρονομία τῆς πίστεως καί τῆς ταυτότητός μας, ἡ ὁποία θά μᾶς ὁδηγήσει σέ ἡρωϊκές πράξεις καί μεγάλες νίκες ὑπέρ τῆς πνευματικῆς εὐημερίας καί σωτηρίας τῶν ἀνθρώπων καί τοῦ ἐρχομοῦ τῆς αἰωνίας βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦ. Με πατρική ἐν Χριστῷ ἀγάπη,
† ὁ Ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Ἀμερικῆς Δημήτριος
ΟΚΤΩΒΡΙΟΣ – ΝΟΕΜΒΡΙΟΣ 2010
ΕΓΚΑΙΝΙΑ ΤΟΥ ΚΕΝΤΡΟΥ ΒΥΖΑΝΤΙΝΗΣ ΤΕΧΝΗΣ ΚΑΙ ΠΟΛΙΤΙΣΜΟΥ «ΜΑΙΡΗ ΤΖΑΧΑΡΗ» ôïõ Óôáýñïõ Ç. Ðáðáãåñìáíïý
ΜΕΛΗ ΤΗΣ ΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΙΚΗΣ ΣΥΝΕΛΕΥΣΕΩΣ ΤΩΝ ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΩΝ ΙΕΡΑΡΧΩΝ ΑΜΕΡΙΚΗΣ ΣΤΟ ΦΑΝΑΡΙ Συνάντηση με τον Οικουμενικό Πατριάρχη Βαρθολομαίο είχαν μέλη της Επισκοπικής Συνελεύσεως των Ορθοδόξων Ιεραρχών της Αμερικής, με επικεφαλής τον Αρχιεπίσκοπο Αμερικής Δημήτριο, πρόεδρο της Συνελεύσεως. Στη συνάντηση συμμετείχαν ο αντιπρόεδρος της Συνελεύσεως, Ρώσος Αρχιεπίσκοπος Ναροφομίνσκ Ιουστινιανός, ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Ιεραπόλεως Αντώνιος των Ουκρανών της Διασποράς (ταμίας) και ο Επίσκοπος Βασίλειος των Αντιοχειανών της Αμερικής που εδρεύει στη Wichita του Kansas. Η συνέλευση των Ορθοδόξων Ιεραρχών της Αμερικής συγκροτήθηκε σε σώμα και συνήλθε για πρώτη φορά τον περασμένο Μάιο στη Νέα Υόρκη. Στην πρώτη συνέλευση συμμετείχαν πενήντα πέντε Ιεράρχες που διακονούν τους Ορθοδόξους διαφόρων εθνικοτήτων στο Νέο Κόσμο.
Πρώτη Συνεδρίαση Νέου Αρχιεπισκοπικού Συμβουλίου óåë. 17 την προσευχή και συνέχισε με την εισαγωγική ομιλία του προς το κοινό εκτελεστικό σώμα. Στην ομιλία του, ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Δημήτριος καλωσόρισε εξίσου τα νέα και παλαιά μέλη και εξέφρασε την πατρική και πατριαρχική ευλογία της Α.Θ.Π. του Οικουμενικού Πατριάρχου Βαρθολομαίου. Ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος αναφέρθηκε στα πρόσφατα γεγονότα, τα οποία όπως τόνισε είναι ενθαρρυντικά, μας προσφέρουν προκλήσεις, αλλά και την αύξηση των υποχρεώσεων της Εκκλησίας. Η πρώτη τέτοια περίπτωση, στην οποία αναφέρθηκε ο Σεβασμιώτατος ήταν η Πρώτη Συνεδρίαση των Κανονικών Ορθοδοξων Επισκόπων Βόρειας και Κεντρικής Αμερικής, που συγκλήθηκε υπό την προεδρία του τον περασμένο Μάιο στη Νέα Υόρκη με τη συμμετοχή 55 επισκόπων από όλες τις ορθόδοξες περιοχές. «Πρόκειται για ένα πολύ σημαντικό βήμα στη ζωή της Εκκλησίας», είπε ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος, ιδίως υπό το πρίσμα του ηγετικού ρόλου που κατέχει η Ελληνική Ορθόδοξη Αρχιεπισκοπή στην Αμερική. Ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Δημήτριος αναφέρθηκε επίσης στην 40η Κληρικολαϊκή Συνέλευση της Ατλάντας που συγκλήθηκε τον περασμένο Ιούλιο και τα συμπεράσματα που αντλήθηκαν από αυτήν, χαρακτηρίζοντας την ως ένα δεύτερο σημαντικό γεγονός. Μίλησε για την υλοποίηση του κεντρικού θέματος της Κληρικολαϊκής «Συναγάγετε τον Λαό Μου στον Οίκο Μου - Έρχου και Ίδε» η οποία μας οδηγεί να καλλιεργήσουμε το πνεύμα της ιεραποστολής, πέρα από τις ενορίες μας και τις κοινότητές μας. Η έναρξη της θητείας για τα νέα μέλη
του Αρχιεπισκοπικού Συμβουλίου ακολούθησε με τις υποψηφιότητες και την εκλογή της εκτελεστικής επιτροπής και των αξιωματούχων του Συμβουλίου. Τα εκλεγμένα μέλη και οι αξιωματούχοι είναι οι εξής: Μιχαήλ Τζαχάρης, αντιπρόεδρος, Νικόλαος Μπούρας, ταμίας, Catherine BouffidesWalsh, γραμματέας. Και ως μέλη ο Γιώργος Μπεχράκης, Φάνης Οικονομίδης, Πίτερ Κίκης, Αντώνιος Στεφανής, Γεώργιος Matthews και ο Γιώργος Βουρβούλιας. Ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Αμερικής κ. Δημήτριος είναι ο Πρόεδρος της εκτελεστικής επιτροπής και μόνιμα μέλη είναι οι Μητροπολίτες–μέλη της Ιεράς Επαρχιακής Συνόδου. Στην εναρκτήρια ομιλία του ο κ. Μιχαήλ Τζαχάρης, ο αντιπρόεδρος του Συμβουλίου, είπε ότι η Αρχιεπισκοπή βρίσκεται τώρα σε μια σταθερή βάση, τόσο διοικητική, όσο και οικονομική και ως εκ τούτου σε θέση να συνεχίσει τον ηγετικό της ρόλο. Μίλησε για τη δημιουργία επιτροπών για την αντιμετώπιση ειδικών θεμάτων όπως το μακροπρόθεσμο προγραμματισμό, τη νεολαία, τα εκπαιδευτικά μοναστήρια, κλπ. Ο κ. Τζαχάρης ενημέρωσε επίσης τα μέλη για τις εξελίξεις με την ανοικοδόμηση του ναού του Αγίου Νικολάου στο Ground Zero. Κατά την έναρξη της συνεδρίασης της Εθνικής Φιλοπτώχου, ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Αμερικής κ. Δημήτριος ανακοίνωσε τον διορισμό του νέου διοικητικού συμβουλίου ως ακολούθως: κ. Αφροδίτη Σκιαδά - Πρόεδρος, Αρλιν Σιαβελής - Πρώτη αντιπρόεδρος, Μαρία Σταυροπούλου - Δεύτερη Αντιπρόεδρος, Kathy Gabriel - Τρίτη Αντιπρόεδρος, Cladis Elaine - Γραμματέας, Ιωάννα Κακογιάννη - ταμίας και Μάρθα StefanidakisΒοηθός Ταμία.
Για ερωτήματα σχετικά με τον Κανονισμό για θέματα επιλήψιμης σεξουαλικής συμπεριφοράς κληρικών της Ιεράς Αρχιεπισκοπής Αμερικής ή για σχετικές καταγγελίες καλέστε χωρίς χρέωση τον ειδικό αριθμό (877) 554-3382 Όλες οι καταγγελίες θα ληφθούν σοβαρά υπ’ όψιν και θα διερευνηθούν πλήρως και με απόλυτη αμεροληψία. Μπορείτε να μιλήσετε Αγγλικά ή Ελληνικά σε εθελοντή ή εθελόντρια.
Μπρουκλάϊν, Μασαχουσέτη – Εγκαινιάστηκε επίσημα στις 2 Οκτωβρίου, στην πανεπιστημιούπολη του Ελληνικού Κολεγίου και της Θεολογικής Σχολής του Τιμίου Σταυρού της Βοστώνης από τον Σεβασμιώτατο Αρχιεπίσκοπο Αμερικής κ. Δημήτριο το Κέντρο Βυζαντινής Τέχνης και Πολιτισμού «Μαίρη Τζαχάρη». Το νέο απόκτημα του πανεπιστημιακού ιδρύματος της Ιεράς Αρχιεπισκοπής είναι αποτέλεσμα μεγάλης δωρεάς συνολικού ποσού πέντε εκατομμυρίων δολαρίων του Ιδρύματος Οικογενείας Τζαχάρη προς την Θεολογική Σχολή, η οποία είχε αναγγελθεί πριν δύο χρόνια κατά την τελετή της αποφοιτήσεως. Σύμφωνα με την επιθυμία της οικογένειας Τζαχάρη, από το συνολικό ποσό τα δύο εκατομμύρια χρησιμοποιήθηκαν για την δημιουργία και προικοδότηση μόνιμης Έδρας της Καινής Διαθήκης (endowed chair) επ’ ονόματι και προς τιμήν του Αρχιεπισκόπου Δημητρίου, και τα άλλα τρία εκατομμύρια για την δημιουργία στα πλαίσια της Σχολής του Κέντρου Βυζαντινής Τέχνης και Πολιτισμού «Μαίρη Τζαχάρη». Οι εκδηλώσεις των εγκαινίων ξεκίνησαν με την παρουσίαση εκθέσεως βυζαντινών εικόνων του Φώτη Κόντογλου με την επωνυμία «Κόντογλου: Η επιστροφή της Βυζαντινής Αγιογραφίας» την οποία οργάνωσε και επιμελήθηκε ο Πανοσ. Αρχιμανδρίτης Δρ. Ιωακείμ Κοτσώνης, σε αίθουσα της Βιβλιοθήκης Αρχιεπισκόπου Ιακώβου της Σχολής. Η κ. Μαίρη Τζαχάρη έκοψε την κορδέλα των εγκαινίων συνοδευόμενη από τον σύζυγο της και αντιπρόεδρο του Αρχιεπισκοπικού Συμβουλίου κ. Εμμανουήλ Τζαχάρη, το γιο της ιατρό Στίβεν Τζαχάρη, την σύζυγο του Ελένη και την κόρη της Αικατερίνη Τζαχάρη. Στις εκδηλώσεις παρευρέθη και ο Σεβ. Μητροπολίτης Βοστώνης κ. Μεθόδιος, πολλοί κληρικοί, καθηγητές και αξιωματούχοι της Σχολής και της Ιεράς Αρχιεπισκοπής, πολλοί προσκεκλημένοι και φίλοι της Σχολής και της Οικογένειας Τζαχάρη καθώς και οι Γενικοί Πρόξενοι της Ελλάδος στην Βοστώνη κ. Κωνσταντίνος Μπίκας και της Κύπρου στη Νέα Υόρκη κ. Κούλα Σοφιανού. Το πρόγραμμα των εγκαινίων, που πραγματοποιήθηκε στο αμφιθέατρο του Μαλιώτειου Πολιτιστικού Κέντρου, παρουσίασε η διευθύντρια του Κέντρου Βυζαντινής Τέχνης και Πολιτισμού «Μαίρη Τζαχάρη» Δρ. Μαρία Κουρουμάλη. Ο Σεβασμιώτατος Αρχιεπίσκοπος Αμερικής κ. Δημήτριος στην εναρκτήρια ομιλία του εξέφρασε την ευγνωμοσύνη της Σχολής και της Ομογένειας για την γενναιοδωρία της Οικογένειας Τζαχάρη και εξήρε το παράδειγμα και την προσφορά της κ. Μαίρης
Τζαχάρη στους τομείς της φιλανθρωπίας, των τεχνών, του Ελληνισμού και της Ορθοδοξίας. Ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος τόνισε την ιδιαίτερη σημασία της δημιουργίας αυτού του Κέντρου στα πλαίσια της Θεολογικής Σχολής της Βοστώνης, εν μέσω πολλών και παγκοσμίως γνωστών πανεπιστημιακών ιδρυμάτων και σχολών. «Η δημιουργία του Κέντρου Βυζαντινής Τέχνης και Πολιτισμού «Μαίρη Τζαχάρη» είναι ένας σπόρος που φυτεύθηκε σήμερα στον εύφορο αγρό του Ελληνικού Κολεγίου και της Θεολογικής μας Σχολής», είπε ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος και εξέφρασε την πίστη και την βεβαιότητα ότι ο σπόρος αυτός θα αυξηθεί και θα γίνει δέντρο όπως στην παραβολή του σπόρου του σιναπιού, ώστε ελθείν τα πετεινά του ουρανού και κατασκηνούν εν τοις κλάδοις αυτού». Ευγνώμονες χαιρετισμούς απηύθυναν ο πρόεδρος του Ελληνικού Κολεγίου και της Θεολογικής Σχολής π. Νικόλαος Τριανταφύλλου, ο κοσμήτορας της Σχολής π. Θωμάς Φιτζέραλντ, ο κοσμήτορας του Ελληνικού Κολεγίου Δρ. Δημήτριος Κιάτος και η καθ. Margaret Mulet διευθύντρια Βυζαντινών Σπουδών στο ινστιτούτο Dumbarton Oaks. Ακολούθησαν δύο διαλέξεις. Η Δρ. Helen Evans, έφορος των αιθουσών Πρωτοχριστιανικής και Βυζαντινής Τέχνης Εμμανουήλ και Μαίρης Τζαχάρη στο Μητροπολιτικό Μουσείο της Νέας Υόρκης μίλησε με θέμα «Βυζάντιο και Κόντογλου» και ο καθηγητής Δρ. Ryan Preston από την Βιβλιοθήκη Newberry του Σικάγο με θέμα «Φώτης Κόντογλου και η Αναγέννηση της Βυζαντινής Αγιογραφίας». Το δεύτερο μέρος του προγράμματος, που ήταν κυρίως μουσικό, άρχισε με διάλεξη για την Βυζαντινή Μουσική που παρουσίασε ο κ. Νεκτάριος Αντωνίου, απόφοιτος της Θεολογικής Σχολής του Τιμίου Σταυρού, ιδρυτής και καλλιτεχνικός διευθυντής της χορωδίας Scola Cantorum και επιστημονικός συνεργάτης του Αριστοτελείου Πανεπιστημίου Θεσσαλονίκης. Η χορωδία βυζαντινής ψαλτικής Scola Cantorum και η ομάδα Silk on the Road Ensemble παρουσίασαν μια επιλογή από την βυζαντινή εκκλησιαστική και κοσμική παράδοση αλλά και από τις μεταγενέστερες και πιο σύγχρονες εκφάνσεις τους. «Το Κέντρο Βυζαντινής Τέχνης και Πολιτισμού Μαίρη Τζαχάρη, θα προσεγγίζει τα θέματα του Βυζαντίου από την οπτική γωνία της ορθοδόξου θεολογίας, της ορθοδόξου γραμματείας και των τεχνών», δήλωσε η Δρ. Helen Evans, έφορος των αιθουσών Πρωτοχριστιανικής και Βυζαντινής Τέχνης Εμμανουήλ και Μαίρης Τζαχάρη στο Μητροπολιτικό Μουσείο της Νέας Υόρκης και πρόσθεσε: «Ο ρόλος του Κέντρου θα είναι αποφασιστικός ώστε να διαφανεί το ότι το Βυζάντιο είναι ουσιώδους σημασίας και για το σύγχρονο κόσμο».
More than 2,000 Attend N.J. Holy Cross Event ASBURY PARK, N.J. – The 63rd Anniversary of the Holy Cross Celebration in the Metropolis of New Jersey, was held at the Paramount Theatre on Sept. 19. This year’s event attracted a record number of Greek Orthodox faithful and visitors from New Jersey, New York, and the Greater Philadelphia Metropolitan area. Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey presided over the festivities, including the celebration of the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, the Elevation of the Holy Cross, the Blessing of the Waters and the subsequent Diving for the Cross. Assisting the Metropolitan at the Divine Liturgy were clergy from throughout the Holy Metropolis of New Jersey. The Paramount Theatre, which was standing room only, resonated with the sounds of Liturgical Music from the Byzantine Choir of the Holy Metropolis of New Jersey along with area members of the Eastern Federation of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians Choir. At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Evangelos expressed apprecication to Sen. Robert Menendez, a frequent attendee to the celebration over the years, for his support to the Greek American community and for his efforts on behalf of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. A Trisagion service for the late Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras was also conducted and a wreath was placed at the late Patriarch’s statue that was erected on the Asbury Park boardwalk in his honor. It was during his tenure as Archbishop of North and South America that he instituted the Holy Cross celebration and Blessing of the Waters in 1947, with the prayer that the world’s oceans, which connect all peoples of the Earth, could also become vessels that transmit the hope and triumph of Christ’s Cross. Following the Agiasmos
Dozens of young people take part in the annual cross diving event in New Jersey (top).
service held by the waterfront under perfect weather conditions, Metropolitan Evangelos approached the water and threw the cross into the ocean four times, each time being retrieved by GOYA members from the parishes represented in four categories: junior girl, junior boy, senior girl and senior boy. This year’s divers who retrieved the cross were: Georgette Galenana of St. Barbara Church in Toms River, N.J.; (junior girl); George Kavarakas of St. George Church in Asbury Park, (junior boy): Eleni Dendrinos of St. Anthony Church in Vineland, N.J.; (senior girl); and Efthimios Milos of Evangelimos Tis Theotokou Church in Philadelphia (senior boy). The day’s festivities concluded with a family barbeque, hosted by the parish of St. Barbara’s Church of Toms River. Describing the event, Metropolitan Evangelos said, “The Holy Cross celebration is a wonderful opportunity for Orthodox Christians from throughout the state of New Jersey to come together under the universal symbol of the Cross to pray for peace of the world and continued protection and blessings from God above.”
North Texas Parish Breaks Ground for New Church
Metropolitan Evangelos with U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, who attended the service.
EULESS, Texas – St. John the Baptist parish held a double celebration in September. The church observed its first 30 years and at the same time broke ground for its new Byzantine church. The church began in 1980 with services in several locations between Dallas and Fort Worth. It purchased the current site it occupies near the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, and has grown from about 50 people to a congregation of about 200 families. The groundbreaking was celebrated by Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver following Divine Liturgy on Sept. 12. Despite the torrid temperatures, parishioners from St. John’s as well as from nearby St. Demetrios
in Fort Worth and Holy Trinity in Dallas, came out to see the Metropolitan bless the ground and watch as St. John’s presiding priest, Fr. Vasile Tudora, shoveled the first clump of earth. The new church, scheduled for completion within the next few years, was designed by Presbytera Mirela Tudora. A capital campaign, headed by George Vittas, and a building committee headed by Joe Sullivan, along with help from then–parish council President Harry Karegeannes, has made the 30–year dream of building a traditional Byzantine church in the DFW area a reality. — Submitted by Harriet L. Blake
Ways of the Lord
The latest book by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America includes his Keynote Addresses from his first Clergy-Laity Congress in Philadelphia in July 2000 through his address in Washington, DC in July 2008. Also included are addresses given in Athens, Greece, Cyprus, Fordham University and Brookline, MA plus others. In compiling this book Archbishop Demetrios writes in the Prologue of Ways of the Lord, “ Sharing the Gospel with those who do not know it can be at times an uncomplicated task as we know from the long history of Christianity. Frequently, however, and especially in our days, the very same task seems to require more elaborate, methodical and sophisticated approaches. The texts presented in this book constitute an humble effort to contribute to such a task, which is the sacred but also demanding work of sharing the Gospel with the people of today; hence, the subtitle of the book ‘Perspectives on Sharing the Gospel of Christ.’” To purchase your copy of “Ways of the Lord” ($24.95 per + $6 S&H)* please call 212-774-0244, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or comple the order form below and mail it to GOTelecom, 8 East 79th Street, New York, NY 10075.
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* All proceeds to benefit “Archbishop Demetrios Benevolent Fund”.
PEOPLE A Vibrant Community Resulting from Hard Work & Dedication Hellenic Lawyers The Hellenic Lawyers Association will honor U.S. Rep. John P. Sarbanes, of Maryland’s Third Congressional District, at the Pierre Hotel in New York at its 22nd annual dinner dance Nov. 12. The HLA also will present its Attorney of the Year Award to George A. Stamboulidis, managing partner of the New York Office of Baker Hostetler LLP.
In the running Kay Brakatselos, administrative assistant at the National Philoptochos Office since 1987, will be running in the NYC Marathon on Nov.7. Kay has previously run smaller marathons but this is her first time running in this premier event of marathons. She has been training the entire year up to 20 miles at a time from her apartment on York Avenue near the East River down to Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan, up to the Bronx through Central Park and back home. Kay was never a runner before she gave birth to her daughter five years ago and got into it as a way to stay fit. The NYC Marathon is one of the largest marathons in the world, with 43,659 finishers in 2009. The race attracts professional competitors and amateurs from all over the world.
Βroadcaster honored The Association of Greek American Professional Women honored radio personality Tina Santorineou on Oct. 26 in New York for her dedication to the Greek American community. Ms. Santorineou began co-hosting “The Sound of Greece” on AM Radio in 1972 with Theodosis Athas. Over the years she became the producer, director and voice of the program. Ms. Santorineou was on the air for 22 years. Guest speakers included Alexis Christoforous, CBS News business correspondent; Joannie Danielides, president and founder, Danielides Communications Inc.; Anemona Hartocollis, New York Times health reporter and Penny Manis, CNN Anderson Cooper 360, senior producer.
Nassau honorees At the recent annual Greek American Night at Eisenhower Park in Westbury, N.Y., Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano presented certificates of merit to the following for their outstanding social and civic contributions to benefit their Long Island communities: Anjelica Mantikas, St. Demetrios Church, Merrick; Dimitrios Panagos, St Nicholas, Babylon; Nick Tembelis, Panagia Church, Island Park; Spyros Voutsinas, St Demetrios, Merrick; Gus C Kratsios, St Paul’s Cathedral, Hempstead and Athena Kallinikos, St Paul’s, Hempstead. A Special Recognition Award went to Anna Heliotis - St Paul’s Hempstead, for her activities as Miss Greek Independence 2010.
Scout scholars The Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting Scholarship Committee recently presented a $1,000 scholarship to Juliette S. Pirpiris of Chicago and a $500 award to Timothy G. Cremeens of Windsor, N.C. Juliette, a Gold Award winner, is studying industrial engineering at Northwestern University in Chicago and Timothy, an Eagle Scout, is majoring in Greek and theology at Hellenic College in Brookline. Both are Alpha Omega Religious Scout Award winners. For information and applications, contact: EOCS Scholarship Chairman, 862 Guy Lombardo Ave., Freeport, N.Y. 11520.
P A R I S H
Name: St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church Location: Savannah, Ga. Metropolis of Atlanta Size: about 320 members Founded: 1907 Clergy: Fr. Vasile Mihai (Holy Cross Seminary, M.Div. ’96; Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, D.Min. 2006) E-mail: email@example.com Web: www.stpaul.ga.goarch.org Noteworthy: the dedication of parishioners to Christ and the faith ST. PAUL’S GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH SAVANNAH, Ga. – Greek Orthodox Christians have a long well-documented presence here that stretches back to just after the Civil War. Most present-day parishioners are third and fourth generation Greek Americans, or are from one of the 10 to 15 other Orthodox groups represented in this city of about 135,000. It is the largest port between Jacksonville, Fla., and Charleston, S.C., has a diversified economic base, and is a regional education center. It also is a major tourist destination with nearly 7 million tourists visiting annually to admire Savannah’s rich British colonial and pre-Civil War heritage. (Gen. Sherman mercifully spared the city from being burned to the ground as his army swept through Georgia and the Carolinas in 1864). Most parishioners are employed by the Port of Savannah, or one of the four colleges and universities located here, in industry or health services, Fr. Mihai told the Observer. The city is the headquarters for Gulfstream Aerospace Company, which manufactures private jets, JCB, third largest maker of construction equipment in the world, and International Paper, which operates the world’s largest paper mill. A few other parishioners are in business and there are several retirees in the community. Orthodox Christians in the parish include those of Russian, Ukrainian, Byelorussian, Serbian, Romanian, Egyptian, Ethiopian and Finnish backgrounds. There are some converts. Fr. Mihai said he performs about 12 interchurch weddings and about 15 baptisms of converts annually. Sunday school has about 60 children but “there is no Greek school this year,” Fr. Mihai noted. There was Greek instruction the previous year, but no qualified Greek teachers are presently available. While most members of the parish reside in Savannah proper, parishioners also live in outlying communities, including Hilton Head, S.C., and Brunswick, which has a mission church, St. George’s Chapel. “Life is expensive in Savannah and young couples buy houses outside of the city,” Fr. Mihai said. Financially, the parish is supported through stewardship. The Greek festival, held the third weekend in October, also contributes to finances. There are other fund-raisers and the retirees of the community lend support, the priest
explained. The Philoptochos chapter holds a food and wine festival each year. Parishioners stay spiritually connected during the week with Bible classes every Wednesday throughout the year, including summer. Catechism classes for inquirers or “Orthodox who want to learn more,” notes Fr. Mihai, consist of six lessons in morning and evening sessions of 2 ½ hours each at the rate of two classes per month until they graduate before Christmas. St. Paul’s location a few blocks south of downtown Savannah enables the community to take part in a unique inter-Church event that has been part of the community for 50 years. At Christmastime, St. Paul’s and its West Anderson Street neighbors - a Baptist church and a Lutheran church - gather for a Tri-Church Festival. Fr. Mihai said the street in front of the churches is closed and choirs from all three congregations stand on the steps in front of the Baptist church and sing carols, recite poems and put on a Christmas show for the public. And, the evening before Thanksgiving, St. Paul’s parishioners take part in a service with Protestant and Roman Catholic Christians. Extensive history A highly researched and documented history by Marina Chiotellis, lists the names of virtually every individual and family to arrive in Savannah in the late 19th century. The two earliest settlers were James Brown (no, not the “godfather of soul” music) who came to the city in 1872 at age 33, and Emmanuel Mavromat. Both immigrated to the U.S. in the late 1860s. Others who were among the first in Savannah in the 1870s included John Dorol, George Kasotes, Spiro Marcopolo, Pano Pope, Thomas Stathis and Peter Sampson. Space does not permit listing all the additional immigrants’ names from the 1880s and ‘90s. Most came from the Peloponnesus, Asia Minor, Mytilini, Crete and Constantinople. Their occupations were listed as shoeshiners, bakers, confectioners, waiters, fruit vendors, grocers, tobacconists, dairy farmers and others. However, one individual who arrived in 1887 is especially interesting. George Peters (Giorgios Piperakis), while on the boat from Europe, met an Irish girl, Mary Frizelle. “Despite poor verbal communication,” the parish history notes, the two fell in love, married and had 18 children. Ten survived to adulthood. He worked as a fruit dealer and eventually became parish council president in
1907 (the year of the parish’s founding) and also was a grand benefactor. By 1930, he owned a bottling company. As was the case with Greeks throughout the nation, the mostly single males returned to Greece to fight in the Balkan Wars, married, and returned to their new home. Since the parish’s inception, the congregation has always worshipped in a church building, instead of rented halls or private homes. Under the leadership of the first priest, Fr. Thomas Papageorge, and parish council President George Christopher, the community purchased St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in 1906 for $9,500 and spent another $12,000 for renovations. They kept the name and it served the parish for 34 years. Parishioners built a school building behind the church in 1918 for Greek language and history instructions. Sunday School was established in the late 1920s and a mixed choir was organized in 1930. The first women’s organization for American-born members was established in 1927 as Delta Tau Delta. The initials stood for the Greek words signifying “Society of Single Girls.” AHEPA, GAPA and Philoptochos chapters were established in the 1930s. The parish purchased a building from the city in 1941 that became the parish’s second and present church. It was transformed into a Byzantine-style building in the 1990s. Savannah hosted the 12th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress in 1954. Archbishop Michael attended the parish’s 50th anniversary celebration in 1957. Over the years, three young men from St. Paul’s became priests – Frs. Pete Lawdis, James Carellas and John Caparisos, the first priest of the Archdiocese to attain the rank of colonel in the U.S. Air Force. John P. Rousakis became the city’s first Greek American mayor in 1970. He served until 1991. He was named as an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1987. Two other parishioners, Nick Mamalakis and Charles T. Masterpolis, a benefactor of St. Photios National Shrine and Hellenic College-Holy Cross School of Theology, also became Archons. Fr. Mihai arrived at the parish in 2005. A native of Romania, he started out as a computer scientist in Bucharest, then
to page 22
FAMILY MINISTRY: Becoming a Family–Friendly Church by Melissa Tsongranis Panayiotis Sakellariou
Every Christian family ought to be as it were a little church consecrated to Christ, and wholly influenced and governed by His rule. –St. John Chrysostom When newborns enter this world, they are totally dependent for the necessities of life. They need their parents for food, shelter, clothing, and especially to be nurtured in love. They can do nothing in isolation from their family. The family has been entrusted by God with the care and formation of the child. As a Church, our task is to support them in this most noble task and provide them with all they need to make
sure that their entire family is deeply rooted in Christ. How do we provide this support to help families root their family in Christ? It is by becoming a family-friendly church. As You Begin Learn that family is more than the traditional nuclear family we often picture. It includes everyone from the newborn baby to the yiayia and papou and all the people in between. We are all one family in Christ! Understand that the purpose of family ministry is to get families to “drive” the church home with them so that it is a part of their everyday life. Realize that family ministry can be more difficult than traditional ministries but it is well worth the challenges. Be aware that families that are the most difficult to minister to need our love and support the most. Take time
Ministering to Fellow Orthodox Christians from page 6 the GOA is a member of Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), an organization of 23 Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant mainstream churches based in Washington dedicated to bringing peace between Israel and Palestine, the only lasting solution to maintaining a Christian presence in the Holy Land. The American government, including both the executive and legislative branches, is key in facilitating that peace. I urge you to become a member of CMEP which will provide you with the background and updates to communicate to policymakers your deep concern. Consider attending CMEP’s upcoming advocacy conference in Washington, June 12-14, 2011.
As the GOA board representative to CMEP for a number of years, I can attest to its work and the importance of your being involved. The current GOA board representative is the well-known Orthodox peace advocate, Alex Patico, who can be reached via the CMEP website, www.cmep.org. As you begin planning your Christmas celebrations, please make time to learn about the dire situation of our Orthodox sisters and brother in the Holy Land, consider how you can make a difference, and above all, lovingly embrace them. Marilyn Rouvelas is on the Leadership Council of Churches for Middle East Peace and author of A Guide to Greek Traditions and Customs in America.
to address the needs of families with very young children. Connecting them to the church at this stage of family development will help lay a strong foundation for their spiritual growth for the long run. Fundamentals of a Family-Friendly Church • Encourage and support family worship at home and church. • Support activities that promote families to: • Worship together. • Witness their faith to the world. • Engage in fellowship with their immediate and church family. • Join as one family in Christ in serving others. • Educate themselves about their Orthodox faith–together. • Maintain a resource library on family issues and links families to articles, Web sites, and e-mail lists that provide resources for Orthodox Christian families. • Provide seminars on a variety of parenting issues and will include important topics for families in sermons and newsletters. • Sponsor support groups and other gatherings for parents to connect with one another. • Provide competent Christian counseling services or link parishioners to places that offer such services. When we work to support families in their ministry, we build our church. In the words of St. John Chrysostom: “Fathers who bring up their children in the proper way are builders of temples in which Christ dwells and are the guardians of heavenly athletes. If a man trains his boy correctly, and the boy trains his son correctly, and so on, the succession of good Christians will be like a golden chain.” Contact the Center for Family Care to see what resources are
available to help your parish build their ministry to families (familycare@goarch. org and/or 845-424-8175). Melissa Tsongranis is the associate director of the Center for Family Care. Melissa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Panayiotis Sakellariou is the Resource Coordinator of the Center for Family Care. Panayioti can be reached at psakellariou@ goarch.org.
PARISH PROFILE from page 21 defected at age 35 in 1987. As punishment, the Ceacescu regime detained his family. He lived in a refugee camp in Italy for a year before immigrating to Jacksonville, Fla. He worked as a senior computer programmer and attended St. John the Divine Church in Jacksonville and Holy Trinity Church in St. Augustine. After the fall of communism in Romania, he brought his family to the U.S. He became very interested in the faith and, at age 43, entered Holy Cross School of Theology in 1996, graduating three years later. Fr. Mihai was assistant priest at Dormition Church in Greensboro, N.C. for six years before coming to Savannah. “I cannot tell you how beautiful and intimate this church is now and how you feel at peace here,” he said of his parish, adding, “My ministry is very demanding in the sense that we have people with great medical needs and comfort needs; but it is also very rewarding. The people here in Savannah are extremely kind and appreciative.” — Compiled by Jim Golding
Thanksgiving Ideas from the Department of Youth Ministry It is that time of year again… Thanksgiving! It’s a wonderful time of the year where youth groups can reflect on the blessings they have been given. It’s also a very appropriate time for youth workers to plan events where teens are giving back to the community in the spirit of Thanksgiving. Are you looking for youth ministry ideas to help teach young people about answering the call of the Greatest Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40)? Here are a few simple ways to show love for God and thy neighbor! FEED THOSE IN NEED The average American spends almost $500 a year on fast food. But did you know that 1 in 6 Americans goes hungry according to www.feedingamerica.org? CHALLENGE: Cut out fast food for a year, and donate that money to your local food pantry or an organization that battles hunger, like Feeding America. Donating $1 to Feeding America helps provide 9 pounds of food and grocery products to men, women and children facing hunger in our country! BE KIND TO YOUR NEIGHBOR AND THE ENVIRONMENT Did you know that the leaves that fall in your yard during the autumn season are rich in minerals and organic matter? They can be collected to make a great compost. Unfortunately, most people just throw them away and even burn them. CHALLENGE: Contact your local
“The First Thanksgiving” by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863–1930) - ca. between 1912 and 1915 - oil on canvas, from a private collection.
recycling center or public works department for suggestions on recycling leaves. Gather your youth group together to rake and recycle the leaves of the elderly parishioners and shut-ins. This way, you are helping the environment and helping those in your community.
tions in your city that collect clothes for children, like Coats-for-Kids. As a family or youth group, commit a portion of your normal clothing budget to purchasing and donating winter coats or clothes. Here’s is the website for the organization Coats-for-Kids: http://www. coats-for-kids.org/
KEEP THEM WARM! The average teen can spend at least $500 on clothing a year. Did you know that many young people throughout the U.S. that go without something as essential as a winter coat? CHALLENGE: Contact organiza-
BE THERE FOR THOSE WHO ARE ALONE When we think of Thanksgiving, many people automatically think of large family gatherings… almost like family reunions. But in every community, there are
individuals who might spend Thanksgiving alone for a number of reasons. Some people are far away from home, others are elderly or sick and cannot leave, and some simply do not have anywhere to go. CHALLENGE: Plan a progressive dinner. Select a few homes of individuals in your community to visit. At the first home, bring appetizers and salad to enjoy with the person in their home. At the next home, enjoy the main course… Then, have dessert and coffee. This is a wonderful way for you to spend time with each person at their home and to bring Christ’s family to them! Don’t forget to clean up after every stop. Also, put together a nice gift basket of treats to leave there after you are gone. To learn more about progressive dinner parties for future events, visit this link: http://entertaining. about.com/cs/dinnerparties/a/progressivedinn.htm MORE IDEAS!!! Visit some of these websites for other ideas: Here are some suggestions from an organization in Ann Arbor, Mich. called Food Gatherers about how to organize a Food Drive and what items are helpful! http://www.foodgatherers. org/food_drive.htm The National Philoptochos Society offers a list of projects they are committed to helping. Join with your local Philoptochos group to plan a Thanksgiving event with one of these projects in mind! http://www.philoptochos.org/ outreach/projects
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National Stewardship Commission Members Address Boston Metropolis Clergy–Laity Assembly from page 5 easy to help young people stay connected to the Church. There are no guarantees any more that they will return,” he said, citing interfaith marriage as a contributing factor. But he said the Archdiocese has “done a great deal” over the last 12 years in producing materials and creating programs to address the issue. “We stand head and shoulders above what other Churches do,” he said. Dr. Mamalakis noted that the Metropolis of Boston pioneered the approach to pre-marital education about 20 years ago. He said that, as a result of the program, “99 couples in the Metropolis decided to postpone their marriage because they needed more time to better prepare themselves. “When they decide to marry, many come back to Church,” he said. Yet more couples “spend more time preparing for their wedding, than for their marriage, which we want to last a lifetime.” In discussing parish leadership, Fr. Skordallos said efforts should be placed on changing a parish council “from a business model, to a more spiritual group.” He said that parish councils need a “ministry-oriented” type of leadership. The character of Christian leaders “is living as true images of God as an authentic relationship with others and God,” said Fr. Skordallos. “You need to be a believer and an active member of the faith community and have an understanding of the Kingdom of God.”
Fr. Skordallos and Anthony Stefanis.
Anthony Stefanis, speaking on the ministry-oriented leadership of the parish council said that, “as parish leaders, you should understand the special responsibility you accept.” He described the work of the parish council as a “shared ministry between the priest and the parish.” Mr. Stefanis also briefly discussed the National Ministries and the examples at the Clergy-Laity Congress presented by several parishes on their successful programs. During the plenary session, the Assembly approved Metropolitan Methodios’ recommendations of two new nominees to serve on the Archdiocesan Council, Fr. Nicholas Krommydas, pastor of St. Demetrios Church in Weston and Peter John Condakes.
Fr. Alex Chetsas leads the social outreach ministry workshop.
ORTHODOX OBSERVER photos
A youth and young adult ministries workshop conducted by Dino Pappas and Michael Sintros.
Transitioning from the OCF to the OCMC by James Hargrave
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Involvement with the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) at the University of Florida led me to serve as a long-term Orthodox Christian missionary in Tanzania, East Africa. In the fall of 2005 I arrived in Gainesville, Fla. as a graduate student in linguistics and was welcomed warmly by fellow Orthodox Christian students. OCF was small at the time, but students were committed to one another and to Christ. Although we had few official functions we gathered frequently for informal prayer, fellowship, and book study. I found myself with a leadership role in these “unofficial” activities, and when our president graduated in 2007 I was asked to take on that post. Gainesville is just down the road from St Augustine, where the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) is headquartered. So there was frequent contact between OCMC and OCF. OCMC Executive Director Fr. Martin Ritsi’s kids were fellow Florida Gators, and our chaplain Fr. Ted Pisarchuk served on the OCMC board. So I quite naturally began to hear about possibilities for long-term missionary service. As president of OCF at the University of Florida, I began to learn about leadership. I was surrounded by prayerful officers who took their role seriously and became great friends. Together with other nearby OCFs we organized a statewide retreat for Orthodox Christian college students and young adults which has since become a yearly event. At UF we continued to pray regularly for our campus and to develop a vision for the future. We also started to bring in a regular speaker: Fr. David Rucker, who had just accepted a position as associate director of OCMC. And we received a new chaplain: Deacon James Nicholas, assistant director of OCMC’s Missionary Department. Through Fr. David and Deacon James I learned more about Orthodox Christian missionary work and began seriously considering a vocation as a long-term missionary. When our parish priest of blessed memory, Fr. Peter Kastaris, became suddenly ill at the beginning of Lent 2008, I was asked to call Fr. David to serve us during the emergency. He accepted this midnight call with grace and love as Fr. Peter suffered and died shortly before Holy Week. In the season leading up to Pascha, I saw Fr. David and the whole Rucker family doing true
missionary work in our midst - loving us first, suffering together with us, bearing our burdens, and being available. Only after establishing this relationship of love and trust did Fr. David begin to work positive change and gently correct our errors. It was thus through relationships with OCMC staff that I made the decision to apply for long-term missionary service, and those relationships were established in OCF. Now I am in Tanzania, and have been asked to assist the Holy Archdiocese of Mwanza to develop a ministry for young adults. The positive experiences I had in OCF at UF are a major guidepost in this process. I am very excited by this opportunity to share here in East Africa the great gifts I received as part of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship there in the United States. It is an extra blessing to have the prayers, encouragement, and even financial partnership of OCFs in Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, California and British Columbia. When I was on the road raising support in the fall of 2009, my favorite moments were on university campuses with young faithful Orthodox Christians. I visited OCFs not because I thought students would give money, but because I simply love being with OCF. Surprisingly, some of my most consistent and generous support has come from people I met during OCF visits. The most important tradition we established in OCF at UF was prayer. Three times weekly, a few students would gather for short midday prayers in the basement of the union building on campus. There were periods when “mid-day prayer” was the only thing OCF did, and when it might be attended by two people at most. But it was and continues to be the heart of Orthodox Christian spiritual life on the university campus. While other programs, events, etc succeeded or failed to whatever degree, the core of faithful consistent prayer is what sustained us and is what led, I firmly believe, to the tremendous growth OCF at UF experienced in the three years since my service as president. Even here in Tanzania, I know that every time I pause in the day to remember my God I am joined in this prayer by my fellow Orthodox Gators. The Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) is the official missions agency of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) dedicated to fulfilling Christ’s last command to make disciples of all nations.
Stewardship and Evangelism
Stewardship: No Magic Pills by Fr. Mark Sietsema
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Traveling as I have so much over the last three months, and being one who sleeps poorly in hotel rooms, I have seen lately more than my share of television at what I call the “Magic Pill Hour.” You might know yourself, those wee hours of the morning when you can flip channels and find infomercial after infomercial touting the miracle solution to every problem in our American life. There is a magic pill to help you stop smoking, a magic pill to help you have clearer skin, and above all, there are magic pills to make you lose weight. You don’t need prescription drugs, you don’t need will-power, you don’t need the slow, steady work of diet and exercise. You only need three easy payments of $19.95 … if you call right now, operators are standing by. Are there really that many gullible people out there? I would like to think that we as a society are a little more educated, a little more sophisticated, a little less sleep–deprived than to fall for that. But apparently I’m wrong. There’s a real market for magic pills … and not just for matters of health. We don’t want to sweat. We don’t want to strive. We don’t want to wait patiently for results. We want results in six weeks or less. Wars should last a month. Coach hasn’t won the World Series in seven years? Find a new guy who will win it this year! We are a society that is addicted to quick fixes. But quick fixes are rarely good fixes. We had a meeting recently of the youth leaders of the parish to talk about what we could do to keep our children in the church as they moved into the college years and beyond, for that is ultimately the goal of our youth ministries. I did some research on the subject: what programs work best? What style of ministry proves effective? Do you know what I learned? There is no magic pill. There are groups that have done scientific surveys on these issues. Do you know what they showed? The prescription for growing young people who are actively involved in church in their adulthood is this: you raise them in a family where the parents love each other and where the father and the mother are weekly churchgoers, all four seasons of the year. There is no program, no sports league, no summer camp, no retreat, no revival that can match this combination for making lifelong church-goers out of
our kids. Today I have been asked to speak to you about stewardship. Stewardship of our church is really one of those areas where we have indulged the fantasy of magic pills. Why do we have this community, with this building and this staff and these activities? In a word, salvation. This whole business of church - and it behooves us to use the word “business” in this discussion - this whole business of church exists for one reason and one reason only. To bring you to salvation in Christ Jesus our Lord. You are here because you understand yourself to be perishing and you seek from God the salvation that you need. Now, who should pay for your salvation? You? Or someone else? The costs associated with spiritual development: who should bear them? You? Or some non-parishioners with a taste for souvlaki and baklava? Churches have budgets: too often churches try to meet that budget in ways that involve other people’s money. We make plans to get salvation and to have someone else foot the bill. Often such plans don’t work so well. And even when the fund-raising projects succeed, they fail–because they give the parishioners a sense that the working out of their salvation falls to a third party and not utterly on themselves. There is no magic pill to replace stewardship. Only dedicated, regular, sacrificial giving of your treasures, proportional to the blessings you receive–only this in the long run serves to fund churches adequately. It’s a lot to ask. And the church wouldn’t ask it of you … except it’s the only way. Nothing else works. Like diet plans that call for no “carbs” or no meat or only salads before 3 pm, quick fixes don’t work for very long. If you want to lose weight, the only proven approach is the slow steady lifetime approach of diet and exercise, of sweat and self-discipline. If you want to have a church, a community with a building to house its worship and its activities, you have to ante up. You have to give – and give a lot. And you have to give up things you might otherwise like. You have to make your church the top priority in your charitable giving, and not number two or three on the list. There are lots of other worthy causes out there–the museum, the symphony, Doctors without Borders–but spiritual
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Denver Holds First Annual GOYA ‘X-treme Olympics’ DENVER – The Collapsing Canyon Walls of Corinth? The Athenian Aerial Attack? The GOYA Gordian Knot? Are these stories of ancient Greece? No! These were among the challenges presented to Rocky Mountain Front Range Goyans at the first annual GOYA X-treme Olympics held over Labor Day weekend. The event raised $2,500 for Orthodox charities. Parishioners of Assumption of the Theotokos Cathedral of Denver hosted the participating Goyans and their parents. Fr. Apostolos Hill, cathedral proistamenos, offered the prayer during an opening ceremony complete with lit torches, fluttering flags, and blaring trumpets. Some unique aspects of the GOYA X-treme Olympics included: Goyans competed in challenges unlike any traditional track and field competition. The challenge details were unknown to all prior to the event. To be successful in any challenge, teamwork, communication, and strategy were often more important than athletic skill. With the goal of forging new friendships, GOYA teams in the X–treme Olympics were comprised of both girls and boys, juniors and seniors, from different parishes. Competing teams were asked questions about the Orthodox faith prior to each challenge. Answering incorrectly did not eliminate anyone from the challenge but providing correct answers gave the team a competitive advantage. No team or individual awards were presented to competitors. Instead, event
organizers collected charitable donations. Winning teams were able to steer more of the donated funds toward “their” charity. The $2,500 was distributed to the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) and the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC). In the challenge “The GOYA Gordian Knot,” teams separated into two groups. Half of each team received a LEGO object. The separated members of each team had to replicate an object using only written instructions from their teammates and passed along to them by a judge. Goyans originally believed the “Hassapiko Glendi Challenge” was a Greek dancing contest. Dancers soon learned that they had to wear specially designed helmets adorned with baskets. Other team members had to toss stuffed animals into those baskets during the dance to receive points for their charity. Organizers representing the Denver Metropolis plan to make the GOYA Xtreme Olympics an annual event. Chris Xanthos, youth director at the Assumption Cathedral, stated, “With the blessing of Metropolitan Isaiah and the wonderful support and guidance from the Metropolis of Denver Youth Ministries Director Deacon Paul Zaharas, we want to increase the participation to eventually include all Goyans in the Metropolis of Denver.” Xanthos added, “From Texas to Montana, from Utah to Missouri, and all those in between…get ready Metropolis of Denver Goyans! Mark your calendars now for the 2011 Metropolis of Denver GOYA X-treme Olympic Games! Labor Day 2011 will be the time of your life!”
Brooklyn School Competing in Contest BROOKLYN, N.Y. – The Dimitrios and Georgia Kaloidis Parochial School of Holy Cross Church in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn is participating in a contest to win the Care 2’s America’s School Spirit Challenge. The school with the most votes wins $20,000. According to Potoula Stavropoulos, a member of Holy Cross, the school relies on votes from the community to win the contest. For more information, contact the school at 718.836.8096. The school website is dgkschool.com The contest ends Nov. 12. On that date, the school’s namesakes, Dimitri and George Kaloidis, will be honored at a testimonial dinner at Terrace on the Park in Flushing Meadows, Queens.
OCF Creates Endowment in Honor of Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos Stewardship: No Magic Pills
from page 3
American OCF office, which are overseen by the Administration Committee, and heard reports from various committees and staff on program, student, and chapter development. The Regional Chaplains held training sessions dealing with methods of ministering to college students and assisting them as they explore vocations. Committees of the Chaplains Network discussed chapter resources, including workshop outlines, discussion guides, and training materials for local chaplains. The chaplains also worked in conjunction with their Student Advisory Board counterparts on strategies for improved communication with OCF’s 300 local chapters. The Student Advisory Board (SAB), the voice of the student population on
campuses, concentrated on OCF programming and development of chapters within their assigned regions. The SAB members participated in sessions on personal vocation facilitated by Paul Lundberg of the Office of Vocational Ministry at Hellenic College/Holy Cross School of Theology, as well as, a continuing study on college student ministry being completed on behalf of OCF by Jennifer Nahas of Brigham Nahas Research Associates. During their stay in Jacksonville, members of the board visited the St. Photios Shrine and the headquarters of the Orthodox Christian Missions Center. Funding for the Regional Chaplains Network and Student Advisory Board meetings came from an on-going grant relationship with The Lilly Endowment and The Order of St. Ignatius.
page 26 health starts with a healthy local church. No other organization in history has been the seedbed for human compassion like the Christian Church. It is the soil in which most other humanitarian movements have sprouted. And to be a good steward you also have to balance your spending on creature comforts. You have to weigh the pleasures of life against the good of your soul. It is problematic when a Christian spends more in a year on the country club than he gives to his church, or spends more on concerts or season tickets or cable TV than he gives to his church. There is a problem there, a profound problem of spiritual wellness. Here’s the bottom line: good stewardship is hard. We fool ourselves when we fail to say that out loud. It’s really a burden to keep a church going, a burden on the families that hope to find salvation through the church. A lot of churches advertise stewardship like something fun and easy. It isn’t. It won’t be. And if it is, then whatever you’re doing isn’t really stewardship. There is no magic pill. And yet … there is. If you really do commit yourself to the hard work of good stewardship, you will find that your sacrificial giving is itself the magic pill. Faithful, sacrificial stewardship is the amoxicillin that helps clear up the infection of materialism. Faithful, sacrificial stewardship is the Motrin that relieves the pain and swelling of selfishness and hedonism. Faithful, sacrificial stewardship is the Ritalin that helps us stay focused on the life of the Kingdom of God. It is the Xanax that relieves us of the worries that we have about the fate of our children and grandchildren in our present society. Stewardship is the Valtrex that suppresses outbreaks of covetousness. It is the Celebrex that helps us breathe freely the air of joyful, grateful living. It is the Prozac that alleviates the depression of feeling like our lives aren’t making a difference in the world, because as faithful members of the church, we become part of God’s inexorable plan to redeem the entire universe. When we give up on looking for magic pills to solve our church’s financial problems, paradoxically, we discover God’s miraculous medicine for so many of our spiritual ills: namely, faithful, meaningful, generous, committed, proportional, regular sacrificial stewardship. The time has come to adjust your meds for the year to come. I come to you like Morpheus before Neo in the Matrix, with two pills. What will you choose? The magic pill of wishful thinking? Or the miraculous medicine of giving back to God according to the measure with which He has blessed you? May our one true God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, enlighten you as you declare your commitment to the Lord in your act of stewardship. Fr. Mark Sietsema serves as pastor of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity in Lansing, Mich.
Thinking Long–Term: The Goals of Parenting by Dr. Philip Mamalakis
The following article is an excerpt from the author’s forthcoming Orthodox parenting book by Conciliar Press. Recently, as we were finishing dinner, sitting and talking peacefully, my 7–year–old Markos appeared with a toy car and sat quietly playing. “That’s my car!” exclaimed George, our 5–year– old. “I found it and no one was using it!” retorted Markos as he continued to play. As any parent of more than one child might guess, George had recently received the car as a present and it was the new ‘toy of choice’ for both of them. “Give me it!” protested George. “It’s mine!” The fragile peace at the dinner table was unraveling and I knew I had to intervene. I also knew that I had several ways I could respond. I could choose a side, “It’s George’s toy; give it up, Markos,” or the equally valid, “You’re not using it George; let him play with it.” I could take the toy away, reminding them of the house rule that I had let slide: “No playing with toys at the table, Markos, get rid of it.” I could also invoke the “no fighting at the dinner table” rule, just to hang on to the last strands of peace. I could send them out to play somewhere else, “Guys, go play in the other room,” which would allow me to avoid having to get into the middle of that sibling squabble. Doing nothing is always an option, but I suspected that if I left those two unattended, the situation was likely to escalate. What is the best way to respond? In each parenting situation, the best choice depends on what our long-term goals are as parents. Sometimes our own short-term goals can distract us from our long–term goals. If my goal is to sit longer and enjoy some quiet time with my wife, sending them out of the room makes the most sense. If my goal is to make sure my sons don’t fight with each other, I should just buy two of every toy. If my goal is to teach my children how to work together to resolve their own disputes and live together in peace, I should intervene in a way that
Family Connections helps them develop those skills. That is my goal. Long–term goals Consider what our long-term goals are as parents. Do we want our kids never to misbehave or to teach our children how to live godly, righteous lives? Is our goal to have a quiet house or to teach our children how to live together in harmony? Is our goal to get our kids to go to Church or to nurture a deep, abiding love for God in our children? God’s desire for our children, we learn from Scripture and Church Tradition, is that all our children “be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.” (I Timothy 2:4) God’s long–term goals for our kids are that they know Him, live in His love, and walk in His way as they prepare to live eternally with Him. He tells us that if we seek Him first, everything else will be taken care of. “Seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) God’s desire is that our children grow up to be adults who live in this world according to God’s ways–as citizens of heaven according to the values and the virtues of the kingdom of heaven. Just a few examples give us an indication of these values: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, selfcontrol. Against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23) “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth ...” (I Corinthians 13:4-6) “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.” (Romans 12:10) Guiding children Parenting is not about getting children to behave, but about guiding them to internalize these values and virtues. It is a process of shaping and guiding
the persons and souls of our children toward that which is good. Daily interactions are the context for teaching our children about life and love, what to value, and how to live. It is through the daily interactions that we raise up children to live godly lives in a world that disregards God. We are teaching our children how to engage in the spiritual struggles of living in the world according to God’s commandments and His virtues and values. However, in the midst of the daily activities and struggles of family life– the fighting over toys at the dinner table, cooking, cleaning, homework, bedtime, etc., it is easy to forget that we are doing the delicate work of guiding the structures that will shape our children’s hearts, minds, and souls. While there are no “techniques” or simple strategies that we can do with our kids to make this happen, there are many things we can do as parents to work toward these long–term goals. The first thing is to think long-term in the daily interactions of family life. We do not teach these things to our children by lecturing them as they are about to head off to college. Rather, we teach in each and every interaction we have throughout our daily lives. We teach by modeling these values, by relating to our children out of Christ–like love in our parenting, and by living our home lives closely connected to the Sacramental life of the Church. Prayer Prayer is always the first step in parenting. It reminds us of the purpose of parenting, calms us down in the moment, and opens our hearts to God’s presence in our home and in our parenting. Prayer and keeping our long-term goals in mind are fundamental in every interaction we have with our children as parents. Knowing that Markos and George’s fight over the car was not just about the car but about how they are learning to
be patient, kind, and loving, I chose how to intervene. I said a quiet prayer and asked Markos to hand the car to me. I then told them that if they would like to play with it, they would need to come up with a plan, together, for how they would share. I wish I could say they smiled and calmly came up with a mutual agreement. But they are 7– and 5–year–old boys who are learning. They sighed, protested mildly, and went off to work something out. In a few minutes, Markos returned in tears claiming that George was not working with him. I handed him the toy, a reward for his efforts, and sat George on my lap. They were both content. In this instance, the dinner did end happily ever after. Dr. Philip Mamalakis is the assistant professor of pastoral care at Holy Cross School of Theology where he directs the field education program and teaches classes on pastoral care and topics related to pastoral counseling. He has recently completed a marriage preparation program with Fr. Charles Joanides for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and is working on an Orthodox parenting book.
Resources for Families Let Us Attend! Prepare the hearts of your children by listening to the Sunday’s Gospel. The Gospel is paraphrased for younger children and read in its entirety for older children, followed by engaging questions to help them think about what they’ve heard. Go to: www. ancientfaith.com/podcasts/letusattend. You can download an illustrated copy of each week’s Gospel at http://www. antiochian.org/christianeducation/letusattend. Let Us Attend! is a production of the Antiochian Orthodox Department of Christian Education, in partnership with Ancient Faith Radio. Unfading Rose CD. Dismissal hymns (Apolytikia) of the Great Feasts recorded by children, for the entire family. Unfading Rose, a Byzantine Youth Choir, has completed their first recording of Church hymns in Greek and in English. As you and your children learn the hymns in your home, you will feel more at home in Church. Order this CD online at: www.unfadingrose.com
A Prayer and a Quote for Parents Raise my children to love Thee and Thy Son not only with their minds but also with their hearts. Raise my children to be enlightened by Thy Son, that in His light they may see light and direct their steps toward Him. Raise my children to be the light of the world that their light may shine before men, and that seeing their good deeds, men will glorify their Father in Heaven. Raise my children (names), O Lady, to be made worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven and make them heirs of eternal blessings. – Adapted from the Akathist to the Mother of God, Nurturer of Children by St. Paisius Orthodox Monastery. “What saves and makes for good children is the life of the parents in the home. The parents need to devote themselves to the love of God. They need to become saints in the relation to their children. And the joy that will come to them, the holiness that will visit them, will shower grace on their children.” – Elder Porphyrios, Wounded by Love
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Bullycide: A Fatal New Reality? by Eva Kokinos
“The Lord said, ‘And as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.’” (Luke 6:31) You might hear someone daily make rude and hurtful comments about the new student who is overweight. In your news feed on Facebook, you saw a few girls from school launch a Facebook smear campaign against the girl who is dating the head cheerleader’s ex-boyfriend. You might even know of someone who found their sexting photo posted all over the web by her boyfriend’s friends, even though her boyfriend said “no one will ever see it.” Bullying is happening to young people all over the U.S. and is showing up more frequently on the news. Bullying happens for many different reasons: race, sexuality, gender, appearance, disabilities, etc. A report by U.S. News and World Report stated that “more than 62 percent of American students are being bullied because of the way the look or the way they speak.” Unfortunately, bullying is not a new issue. Whether through technology (cyber-bullying) or bullies picking on people at school or in the neighborhood, it is happening on a daily basis and is going unreported. More importantly, bullying has taken a dark and fatal turn. Recently, bullying has become more closely attributed or related to the suicides of teens and young adults throughout the U.S. This rising trend of bullying-related suicides is commonly being referred to as “bullycide.” Earlier this year, Massachusetts teen Phoebe Prince committed suicide after
months of being relentlessly harassed by fellow students. College freshman, Tyler Clementi, committed suicide after discovering his sexual encounter was secretly taped and posted on the Internet. His suicide at the end of September immediately brought bullying back into the spotlight. So what is a teen to do? You might witness your friends bullying another person, but you don’t want to call them out and lose your friendships. Or you might be the victim of bullying, but you are too scared to tell someone and make things worse. You might even BE the bully, picking on people without thinking
FYI: For Your Inspiration Demi Lovato is best known by tweens and young teenagers as a singing sensation and one of the stars of the “Camp Rocks” movies. But this 18-year old is doing more than making a mark in the music/ movie industry. She is standing up for other young people who have fallen victim to bullying. Lovato is a Christian young woman, praying with her band before performances. In school, Lovato was a popular girl and not a likely target of bullying. But she was bullied excessively in the seventh grade. In an interview, Lovato admitted the bullying was so bad she left school and started homeschooling. Instead of giving up, Lovato reacted in a positive and constructive way so that other young people might not have to deal with the heartache of bullying. For the last few years, she has
taken every opportunity to speak out against bullying. She was recently on America’s Next Top Model and CNN. She is also the spokesperson for the PACER National Center for Bullying Prevention. In the July 3, 2010 issue of the New York Post, Lovato says, “Bullying is a very serious thing to me, I’ve witnessed it first hand – I was bullied myself when I was 12…I want to be able to help other girls around her (Lovato’s 8–year–old sister) age come into their own with a strong confidence in their skin, their size, who they are and everything about themselves.” To learn more about Demi Lovato’s role in the fight against bullying, visit http://www.pacer. org/bullying/mhs/demi.asp. Maybe her example can inspire other teens to step up and stop this terrible trend.
of their feelings or how it might affect them. It is not the easiest road, but Jesus Christ teaches us very clearly about how we are to treat one another. In Luke 6:31, Jesus tells us “And as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.” This line from the Holy Scriptures is the basis for the Golden Rule that we all learn from a very early age. It is not a foreign idea to Christians and is an ethical stand that carries through many cultures and religious traditions. Our Lord gives us many more reasons why bullying is unacceptable as a true follower of Christ. For example, the Greatest Commandment (Matthew 22:37-
39) calls all to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. Bullying contradicts this great teaching of Christ because the goal of bullying is usually selfish, mean, and degrading. Every life is precious, having been created in the image of God and given His breath. Christians are called to live a life in Christ, but to also honor and care for the life of one’s neighbor. So take a stand against bullying to prevent future lives from being senselessly lost. Take a stand against bullying by… 1) Taking the Golden Rule to heart… Treat others the way you would like to be treated. 2) Reporting bullying to teachers or trusted adults. Stop it before it gets worse! 3) Asking for help from parents, teachers, priests, youth workers, and other trusted adults if you or someone you know is being bullied. You don’t have to deal with it alone! 4) Calling out your friends if they are being bullies. Your positive influence can help make a change among your friends and how they treat others. 5) Remembering that each person is created in the image of God. It might make you think twice about your words and actions against others. 6) Talk about bullying with your youth group, be there for each other, and see if there are ways your group can raise awareness. Eva Kokinos is a 2003 graduate of Holy Cross School of Theology, received a Masters in Theological Studies. She currently serves as the director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Detroit.
New Resource! The Orthodox Christian Teen Survival Guide The Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries announces its newest resource, the Orthodox Christian Teen Survival Guide. In an effort to provide resources for both youth workers and young people, the department felt it was imperative to produce this series on challenging topics for teenagers. Each brochure offers facts and statistics, the church’s response, a Q&A section, and additional resources to help teenagers navigate through tough issues. These one-page handouts are great for starting discussions, GOYA meetings and gatherings, Sunday School, or even your church bookstore. Available topics include Managing
Stress, Peer Pressure, Pornography, Drug and Alcohol Abuse, and Sexual Purity. Additional brochures are currently in development and will be publicized online once they are completed. Brochures are available for purchase from the Department of Religious Education (800-566-1088) or online at the Orthodox Marketplace (www.orthodoxmarketplace.com ). They are also available for free download on our website at www.youth.goarch. org. Contact: Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries 646.519.6180 firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR PARENTS AND YOUTH WORKERS • Check out the podcast about bullying by Fr. Mark Leondis, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Archdiocese. Visit http://www.myocn.net/index. php/Come-Receive-the-Light/ to hear it! • For more resources about bullying, check out the Oct. 7 issue of the Youth Worker Pulse. The Pulse is the official ListServ of the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries. • Don’t forget to promote the Young Adult Ministries “10 in 10” Service Initiative. There are young adult service projects schedules for the rest of the month. Visit http:// www.goarch.org/archdiocese/departments/youth/youngadultministry/10in10 for details.
Dartmouth, Mass. Church Observes 100-Year Milestone by Jim Golding
DARTMOUTH, Mass. – The presence of St. George Church is new to this southeast Massachusetts city about 50 miles south of Boston, but it is the oldest Greek Orthodox church in the area. Hundreds of parishioners and invited guests gathered here Oct. 3 to celebrate the community’s centennial. The church relocated here in June 2009 after a 75-year presence in neighboring New Bedford. They were joined by Archbishop Demetrios and Metropolitan Methodios of Boston. Following the Archierarchal Divine Liturgy, the two hierarchs addressed the faithful in the congregation’s new building that was completed in early June 2009. Metropolitan Methodios reminded the faithful that the building would serve as a chapel until they built “a beautiful Byzantine church.” He continued, “This will be a beautiful community center one day, standing next to a beautiful Byzantine church.” Following up on the theme introduced by Archbishop Demetrios at the last two clergy-laity congresses, ”Gather my people to My Home…Come and See,” the Metropolitan reminded the congregation that a number of Greek Orthodox Christians in the area are not active parishioners. He urged them to “reach out and bring these people back home,” and that they should take the next step and “Reach out to those not born into the faith.” Most of the first immigrants who settled in the area arrived from villages in the Peloponnesus. Some came from Asia Minor. The Metropolitan noted an article in a local newspaper that appeared in early February 1910 that commented on “the extensive presence of Greek immigrants in New Bedford,” They began arriving around 1885 when New Bedford was the world’s most famous whaling port and the nation’s number one fishing port or, as Archbishop Demetrios termed it, “the home of Moby Dick.”
The Byzantine church at 87 Ashley Blvd. near downtown New Bedford served the parish for 75 years. It now serves as a Hispanic Evangelical church.
The Greeks eventually bought land in Fairhaven, a small community bordering New Bedford to the east and built a small wooden church. Fr. Ambrosias Paraskos served as the first priest. The parish received its state charter in 1912. According to the Greek Orthodox Churches of New England, a historical album recently published by the Metropolis of Boston, the community grew quickly and in 1917, purchased two houses in New Bedford, one of which served as a church until 1935 when it was demolished and a Byzantine-style church was built that served the parish for 75 years until the move to Dartmouth, which borders New Bedford on the southwest. Fr. Constantine Bebis, the community’s 16th priest, arrived in 1953 and has served the parish since. Archbishop Demetrios cited the 57 years of service of Fr. Bebis, referring to him as “an indefatigable, non-aging priest” and presented him with a sterling silver censer. The Archbishop also noted his friendship of 50 years with Fr. Bebis’ twin brother, Dr. George Bebis, a professor at Holy Cross School of Theology, who also attended the centennial event. At a reception held under a tent following the service, the celebration included a proclamation presented by New Bedford Mayor Scott W. Lang. The mayor praised the accomplishments of Greeks in the community, including the Xifaras family and John Xifaras, chairman of the centennial celebration, and Fr. Bebis. Mr. Xifaras called Fr. Bebis a “citizen-activist” who was highly visible in the community and at one time served as chairman of the library board of trustees. Another community leader attending the event, Rev. John Douhan, former executive director of the 44– congregation Interchurch Council of Greater New Bedford, called Fr. Bebis “the pastor of New Bedford.” Rev. Douhan, a Baptist minister, referred to the Orthodox faith as “a precious gift to the larger Christian community of New Bedford and the region.” Parish Council President Dennis Maniatis, reflecting on the 270-member community’s 100-year event, stated, “We have to look forward and preserve what they (the immigrant founders) made.”
(Top) Members of St. George parish gather in front of their house of worship with Archbishop Demetrios and Metropolitan Methodios.
St. George parishioners fill the church during the Divine Liturgy.
Archbishop Demetrios, Metropolitan Methodios and Fr. Bebis commemorate the founders of the parish and the parishioners over the past century. Also shown are Archdeacon Panteleimon Papadopoulos and Deacon Vassilios Louros of the Archdiocese and Fr. Ted Barbas, chancellor of the Boston Metropolis.
The St. George Church choir members sing the responses.