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DECEMBER 2010 • Vol. 75 • No. 1261

Archons Hold 1st Religious Freedom Conference

Archbishop, NCCC Leaders Meet with President WASHINGTON – Archbishop Demetrios and 16 other leaders of major religious groups representing the National Council of Churches of Christ (NCCC) met with President Barack Obama on Nov. 1 for a substantive 45-minute meeting to discuss a wide range of issues. The meeting was arranged through the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, with which the Archdiocese of America maintains an ongoing relationship, and the National Council of Churches of Christ USA. The Archdiocese has been an NCCC member since its founding in 1950. As senior church leader, Archbishop Demetrios opened the meeting after the introductions by NCCC President Peg Chamberlain and NCCC General Secretary Michael Kinnamon. Speaking on behalf of the Church leaders, the Archbishop stated, “... it is not only an honor to be with you here today, Mr. President; it is a joy.” His Eminence cited the Scriptural passage from Acts 10:38 in the original Greek

by Stavros H. Papagermanos

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Rebuilding St. Nicholas at Ground Zero NEW YORK – Between 700 and 1,000 faithful attended a special St. Nicholas Vespers service Dec. 5 near the Ground Zero site of the church destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Archbishop Demetrios conducted the service and afterwards addressed the large congregation in attendance. In his remarks to the faithful, His Eminence stated unequivocally, “The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the parish of St. Nicholas remain firmly committed to the rebuilding of the church at Ground Zero, honoring the long-standing agreement with the LMDC (Lower Manhattan Development Corp.) and the Port Authority. On this most solemn occasion, we once again affirm our commitment to rebuild here, in this sacred place, the Church of St. Nicholas, which will have a greater scope and outreach that a simple parish house of worship. The rebuilding of St. Nicholas on this site will be an appropriate memorial in New York city to the 3,000 innocent people of all Faiths who lost their lives that

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The Nativity of Christ Come, O Faithful, and Let Us See Where Christ Is Born! (Orthros Hymn of the Feast)

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 glorious Feast of the Nativity of Christ we celebrate a truly wondrous event in which God, in His infinite and marvelous grace, became man bringing us enduring hope, newness of life, and eternal salvation. The holy birth in Bethlehem of our Savior occurred at a specific time, but His Incarnation and its significance for our redemption are timeless. The Son of God, the Lord of Glory and King of kings who upholds the

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BRUSSELS – The Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate once again opened new avenues and expanded into new horizons in their incessant fight in defense of the rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate by organizing the first international conference about religious freedom in Turkey. This two-day conference titled “Religious Freedom: Turkey’s Bridge to the European Union,” demonstrated that the full recognition and respect for the religious freedom of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and for the other religious minorities in Turkey could form a bridge for Turkey to the European Union, in which Turkey fervently seeks membership. The Archons International Religious Freedom Conference held in Brussels Nov. 16 and 17 brought together 200 participants, many scholars, religious freedom and human rights advocates, journalists, diplomats, parliamentarians, religious leaders, representatives of the government of Turkey, lawyers and members of minority communities who presented complex, diverse and contrasting viewpoints and perspectives on the status of religious freedom in Turkey. All the presentations and reports outlined the need for Turkey to take quick and decisive steps towards the provision of full religious freedom for all its religious minorities. The Conference began in the morning of Nov. 16 in the large conference room of the fifth floor in the European Parliament. Dr. Anthony Limberakis, national commander of the Order of St. Andrew welcomed the participants and Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, director of the Liaison Office of the Orthodox Church to the European Union, read the Patriarchal Greeting. In his written exhortation, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew reaffirmed the commitment of the Ecumenical Patriarchate “to the cause of religious freedom for all peoples around the world, without exception and without prejudice. For if the freedom to express one’s faith in the Divine, even as respect for differing views is abrogated in any way, then we must assert that we are not truly free.” Archbishop Demetrios of America, who led the contingent of Archons from the United States, in his opening keynote address, stated that “Freedom is not an abstract isolated word and concept. Freedom is integrally connected with two basic concepts and realities: truth and love. There is no way to develop any real and genuine freedom without a parallel effort to be truth-

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Archbishop Attends NCCC Centennial NEW ORLEANS – Archbishop Demetrios was one of more than 400 religious leaders and people of faith who gathered at the Marriott on Nov. 9 to celebrate the Centennial of the National Council of Churches in Christ and a century of ecumenical engagement and to discuss how the churches might live and work together in an uncertain future. His Eminence led a Bible study during the three-day event. The Centennial Gathering of the National Council of Churches and Church World Service also marked the 100 th anniversary of the 1910 World Mission Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, an event many church historians regard as the beginning of the modern ecumenical movement. The theme for the Centennial Gathering is “Witnesses of These Things: Ecumenical Engagement in a New Era.” The theme is taken from Luke 24:48 which is the scriptural theme text for the 2010 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity – an additional reminder that there is one, multi-faceted ecumenical movement.



Rebuilding St. Nicholas   from page 1


Cardinal McCarrick receives the Athenagoras Award from Archbishop Demetrios and Dr. Anthony Limberakis. Looking on are Archons James Fountas and John Hillocky Jr. (Full coverage page 4).

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Ground Zero Service

Archbishop Demetrios speaks to a gathering of more than 700 at a special Dec. 5 Vespers near the site of St. Nickolas church that was destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2002 terrorist attacks. The event drew extensive media coverage. EDITOR IN CHIEF Jim Golding (Chryssoulis) GREEK SECTION EDITOR Eleftherios Pissalidis

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day and also serve as a center of peace and reconciliation.” Meanwhile, as the Observer was going to press, the Archdiocese and St. Nicholas Church have served notice on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PA), the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the Empire State Development Corporation and associated individuals of their intention to sue the agencies over their actions that have prevented the church from being rebuilt. For more up-to-date information on this and other developing stories please go to

Meeting with the President   from page 1 and then in translation, in which St. Peter declares that Jesus Christ passed his earthly life doing good and healing. The Archbishop stated that the purposes of the religious bodies of the NCCC were precisely “to do good and to bring healing,” and he thanked President Obama for his own efforts in doing the same. The meeting was decidedly low-key, with no public statements or photos released by the White House. Throughout the meeting, issues of social concern, justice, education, religious liberty and care for “the least among us” were discussed. The delegation raised pressing issues centering around Middle East peace the plight of the dwindling Christian population there, and the U.S.’s relationship with Cuba, urging the President to lift the travel ban from the U.S. to Cuba so that American-based organizations like Church World Service can support churches and communities there. Other issues discussed included energy and climate, and immigration reform. The meeting came after the leaders had invited President Obama to their Nov. 9-11 meeting in New Orleans to mark the 100th anniversary of the modern ecumenical movement. He was on a tour of Asia and was unable to attend. In addition to Archbishop Demetrios, the delegation included the Rev. John McCullough, executive director and CEO of Church World Service, Bishop Johncy Itty of Church World Service, Bishop Mark Hanson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Bishop John R. Bryant of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, the Rev. Sharon Watkins of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Bishop Thomas L. Hoyt Jr. of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Mr. Stanley J. Noffsinger of the Church of the Brethren, Archbishop Khajag S. Barsamian of the Armenian Church of America, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the Episcopal Church, the Rev. Gradye Parsons of the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Rev. Dr. Betsy Miller of the Moravian Church, Thomas Swain of the Religious Society of Friends, the Rev. Wesley S. Granberg-Michaelson of the Reformed Church in America, Bishop Sharon Zimmerman Rader of The United Methodist Church, Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America, the Rev. Geoffrey Black of the United Church of Christ, and Dr. Walter L. Parrish III of the Progressive National Baptist Convention.


Deadline for submitting information, articles and photos for consideration for the next issue: Thursday, December 30, 2010 Photos should be sent as a large format jpg attachment (300 dpi or greater). E-mail to: Regular mail: Editor, Orthodox Observer, 8 E. 79th St., New York, NY 10075.






Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew displays the newly acquired deed to the former orphanage building on Prinkipos island during a visit by Archon Fanis Economides and Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco in conjunction with the Feast Day of St. Andrew.

generations of church leaders, including Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, until it was closed by Turkey in 1971. The official argument for the seminary’s closure is that a religious institution without government oversight is not compatible with the secular institutions of Turkey, a country where all Muslim clerics are trained and paid by the government. TheEcumenical Patriarchate says Ankara refuses to open the seminary because it wants to prevent the church

from raising new leaders. The church’s leader has to be a Turkish citizen, which makes it difficult for the dwindling Greek community of several thousand to produce any candidates. But in a move to address that problem, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government recently granted Turkish citizenship to 12 senior clerics at the Ecumenical Patriarchate, so that they could succeed the 70-year-old Bartholomew.

CLERGY UPDATE Ordinations to the Diaconate

John (Hayden) Haby, by Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver at St. Demetrios Church, Fort Worth, Texas 08/10/10 Demetrios (Walter) Belsito – Bishop Andonios of Phasiane at Holy Trinity Church, Waterbury, Conn. 09/03/10 Dimitrios Lee – Bishop Savas of Troas – St. Spyridon Church, Sheboygan, Wis. 10/24/10 Chrysostom (Gregory) Panos – Bishop Andonios of Phasiane – St. Paraskevi Church, Greenlawn, N.Y. 11/13/10 Assignments

Fr. John Verginis – St. George Church, Massilon, Ohio 08/08/10 Fr. Philemon Patitsas – Holy Trinity Cathedral, Charlotte, N.C. 10/15/10 Fr. George P. Savas – Annunciation Church, Ft. Myers, Fla. 10/31/10 Offikia

Fr. Nicholas Louh – Office of Confessor, bestowed by Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta 10/04/10 Fr. James Katinas – Office of Protopresbyter, bestowed by Archbishop Demetrios 10/24/10 Fr. Paul Pappas – Office of Economos, bestowed by Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey 10/24/10 Fr. Konstantinos Kalogridis – Office of Economos, bestowed by Archbishop Demetrios 10/25/10 Fr. Demetrios Tonias – Office of Economos, bestowed by Metropolitan Methodios of Boston 11/08/10

The Nativity of Christ   from page 1

Turkey Returns Orphanage ISTANBUL - Turkey complied with a European Court of Human Rights ruling on Nov. 29 and returned a 19thcentury orphanage to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul, the center of Orthodox Christianity around the world, the Associated Press reported. The move is likely to appease the European Union which also calls on the Turkish government to reopen a Greek Orthodox seminary and return dozens of other properties such as school buildings and churches seized from Jewish and Christian foundations decades ago. “It is an important development to show respect for law, democracy and minorities,” said Cem Murat Sofuoglu, an attorney for the patriarchate, after receiving the title deed. “A right has been taken back.” Turkey took control of the 19thcentury building in 1997, many years after it was abandoned, on the grounds that it belonged to another foundation and had fallen into disuse. The Ecumenical Patriarchate, however, said the government had refused to issue the necessary permits for the maintenance and repair of the structure, one of the largest wooden buildings in the world. The European court ruled in June that the land was registered to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, giving it de facto legal status to the building. Turkey is also under pressure to reopen a theology school on Prinkipos island outside Istanbul that trained


At Ukrainian gathering

Photo by Elizabeth Symonenko

Archbishop Demetrios offers a prayer at the Oct. 28 19th regular Sobor (clergy-laity council) of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA in South Bound Brook, N.J., where he also offered the greetings of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Also shown are Archbishop Antony (left), Archdeacon Panteleimon and Metropolitan Constantine.

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universe by His word of power, became man so that we human beings might be redeemed, renewed, united with Him, and become fellow citizens with the Saints and members of God’s household. The magnitude and the depth of the event of the Nativity of Christ are impossible to grasp, but yet its message is clear and true. It is a message of grace, hope, and salvation to all humanity and all of the created order. It is a message which we both celebrate and share on this sacred day, an invitation to “come and see” what our loving Creator and God has done for us. On the night of the Nativity, the angels appeared in the glory of God and announced the birth of Christ to the shepherds. In response the shepards said, “Let us go…and see this thing that has happened.” Accepting the invitation to participate in this glorious event, they came and saw the newborn Christ, and becoming amazed by what God had done for our salvation, went away glorifying and praising Him for all that they had seen and heard (Luke 2:8-20). Following the Nativity, wise men in the East saw a mysterious star and following it came seeking the King who was born in Judea. Upon learning of the place of the birth of the Lord, they came and saw the Christ child, offered Him gifts, and worshipped Him. Responding to the invitation presented to them in the sign of the star, they came and encountered the One who would be a great ruler of His people as foretold by the prophets (Matthew 2:1-12). As the shepherds and wise men received the invitation to “come and see” the superb miracle of the Incarnation of God, so too we are invited on this great feast to come and encounter Christ, and to see the great and marvelous work He has done for us and our salvation. On this day we come and see the brilliant light of truth and life shining through the darkness and despair of our world. We hear a message of hope and grace that causes us to cease all other thoughts and activities and direct our hearts and minds to the One who has come to bring us peace and assurance. We come to Christ and encounter justice, holiness, and love and realize the necessity of these for true and abundant life. We are also called to share our joy in Christ and to offer this invitation to everyone. We are the bearers of the good news of what God has done for us in defeating sin and death. We are the messengers shouting to the world as did the angels, “Glory to God in the highest!” We are, as the star of the East did to the Magi, to lead all who are searching to come and see Christ, to come and see the One who brings life and hope, peace and joy into every heart that receives Him. We are the people who are called to gather all God’s people to His home, to an encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ. On this blessed Christmas Feast of joy and love, I offer to you and your families my wishes for a beautiful day of worship and fellowship filled with the peace and the presence of God. May we offer together our gratitude to our Lord for what He has done for us through His glorious Incarnation. May we also offer the invitation to all to come and see the glory of the newborn Lord. With paternal love in Christ,

† Archbishop DEMETRIOS of America




Archons Bestow Athenagoras Award, Induct 42 New Members by Jim Golding

NEW YORK – The Order of St. Andrew-Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate bestowed their Patriarch Athenagoras Human Rights Award upon Theodore Cardinal McCarrick and inducted 42 new members at their annual meetings and banquet Oct. 30-31. Cardinal McCarrick, former Archbishop of Newark, N.J., and Archbishop Emeritus of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, was honored for his years of strong support for the Ecumenical Patriarchate and also for his interfaith leadership. The Cardinal helped lay the groundwork for the 1994 Bosporus Conference in Istanbul that declared “A crime committed in the name of religion is a crime against religion.” He was named a member of the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom in 1999 after previous service on the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad. Archbishop Demetrios noted at the Archons banquet on Oct. 30, that Cardinal McCarrick’s career has been “a ministry of consistency with a powerful insistence on values.” His Eminence recalled hearings held in Washington relating to religious freedom at which the cardinal testified under adverse conditions. “With a broken arm he came to Congress to testify on behalf of religious freedom for the Patriarchate,” he said. Another speaker, Greece’s ambassador to the United States, Vassilis Kaskarelis, noted the cardinal’s strong support for the re-opening of the Halki theological school. Fr. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham University, Cardinal McCarrick’s alma mater, recalled the visit of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to Fordham in November 2009 and the establishment of the Center for Orthodox Studies through the efforts of two of the faculty members who were being inducted as Archons, Associate Professors of Theology Drs. George Demacopoulos and Aristotle Papanikolaou. Archons National Commander Anthony Limberakis introduced Cardinal McCarrick for the award presentation through a GOTelecom video presentation on the cardinal’s life and accomplishments. Dr. Limberakis also discussed the Order of St. Andrew’s current efforts to promote the religious freedom of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He said the Archons are “singularly focused on the well-being and defense of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and will be relentless in the pursuit of religious freedom for the Patriarchate at all times and at all places.” He added that “progress is being made in Turkey,” especially with the recent return of ownership of the Patriarchal orphanage on the island of Prinkipios but that “serious, lifethreatening issues remain unresolved.” In accepting the award that he called “an extraordinary honor,” the Cardinal noted that he had read the works of Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras and said “he really was the man who introduced ecumenism to the world.” The Cardinal also praised “the courage displayed by Patriarch Athenagoras in his meeting with Pope Paul VI in 1966 when the two leaders lifted the mutual excommunications from 1054.

“It was a courageous statement,” said Cardinal McCarrick. “Raising the excommunications was not easy. They put love over theology.” He called it a “pure celebration of the mystery of God.” New Archons The next day, after the Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Archdiocesan Cathedral, the new Archons assembled on the solea to receive the oath of office from Archbishop Demetrios. The following were inducted: William John Antholis, St. Sophia Cathedral, Washington; Peter Theodore Arbes, Holy Trinity, Westfield, N.J.; Charles Leonard Beck Jr., MD, Prophet Elias, Holladay, Utah; John Joseph Bilanin, Holy Ghost, Phoenixville, Pa.; Ronald Emanuel Canarakis, Annunciation Cathedral, Atlanta. Nicholas John Chakos, Holy Cross, Pittsburgh; Paul G. Chilgris, Annunciation, Decatur, Ill.; Elias Daminakis, Sts. Raphael, Nicholas and Irene, Palm Harbor, Fla.; Jimmy Daskalos, St. George, Albuquerque, N.M; George Demacopoulos, PhD., St. Paraskevi, Greenlawn, N.Y.; Andre C. Dimitriadis, PhD., St. Sophia Cathedral, Los Angeles. John P. Eliopoulos, MD, St. George, Lynn, Mass./St. Katherine, Naples, Fla.; David P. Gdovin, St. Michael, Binghamton, N.Y.; Thomas G. Jordan, Assumption, St. Claire, Mich.; George James Kallins, MD; St. George, Downey, Calif.; Michael Kapeluck, Sts. Peter and Paul, Carnegie, Pa.; Michael A. Karloutsos, St. George, Philadelphia/St. Luke, Broomall, Pa.; Emanuel G. Katsoulis, Archangel Michael, Port Washington, N.Y.; Arthur Labros, Annunciation, Milwaukee/Sts. Constantine and Helen, Wauwatosa, Wis.; Demetreos Anthony Limberakis, St. Vasilios, Peabody, Mass. Andrew Nicholas Liveris, St. Dimitrios, Saginaw, Mich./Kimisis, Southampton, N.Y.; Paul Micevych, PhD., St. Andrew, Los Angeles/Sts. Volodymr and Olga, St. Paul, Minn.; Frank Mihalopoulos, Holy Trinity, Dallas; Basil Nicholas Mossaidis, St. Catherine, Falls Church, Va.; Nicholas Nichols, St. Barbara,

Fordham University President Fr. Joseph McShane addresses the Archon Banquet. Looking on are Master of Ceremonies Mike Emanuel, National Commander Dr. Limberakis and Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos.

Toms River, N.J.; Dimitrios S. Panagos, Holy Trinity, Hicksville. Aristotle Papanikolaou, PhD., Sts. Constantine and Helen, Andover, Mass.; Peter J. Pappas Jr., Holy Resurrection, Brookville, N.Y.; James Pedas, St. Sophia, Washington; John Psaras, Holy Cross, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Anargyros P. Sakellaris, St. Catherine, Braintree, Mass.; Emil Skoicypec, St. Andrew, South Bound Brook, N.J.; Spiridon Spireas, PhD., St. George, Trenton, N.J.; William S. Stavropoulos, St. Demetrios, Saginaw, Mich./St. Katherine, Naples, Fla.; John Tangalos, St. John the Baptist, Sterling Heights, Mich. James Tasios, Annunciation, WinstonSalem, N.C.; Anthony Thomopoulos, St. Sophia, Los Angeles; Demosthenes Vasiliou, St. Demetrios, Upper Darby, Pa./St. Luke, Broomall, Pa.; James B. Zafiros, Holy Trinity, New Rochelle, N.Y.; Leonard Zangas, Archangel Michael, Port Washington, N.Y.

Dr. Anthony Limberakis.



Archons Organize First International Religious Freedom Conference   from page 1 ful and to speak the truth.” His Eminence also spoke about how this conference can constitute an ‘open door’ for Turkey and offered the example of St. Paul who at crucial times of his ministry was presented by God with an open door, explaining that “An open door is a new opportunity for entering into unknown areas of human experience, for discovering new possibilities for enhancing human relationships, for learning new ways of co-existence among religiously, culturally, and ethnically diversified people. An open door is an entryway into a new era of understanding and mutual respect between the religious minorities and the state in which they live. An open door can also be viewed as a new opportunity for eliminating the unacceptable limitations of religious freedom unfairly imposed upon the religious minorities in Turkey and specifically on the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Under this perspective, the present International Conference so carefully and methodically organized by the Archons of our Ecumenical Patriarchate constitutes the open door for Turkey to demonstrate her willingness to build the bridge of connection with the European Union.” (see full text: A series of speakers on a variety of topics relating to religious freedom and human rights ensued. Rabbi Arthur Schneier, president of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation spoke about religious freedom as a fundamental human right and stated that “the litmus test of democracy is how the majority treats the minority.” Several speakers presented an overview of the issues and concerns of the religious minorities in Turkey. A panel discussion that followed, featured representatives of the religious minorities of Alevi Muslims, Armenians, Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Jewish, Protestants and Syriacs (Aramaeans) in Turkey. Other topics included the Turkish legal system as it pertains to the rights of religious minorities, the obligations of Turkey under treaties and conventions, the U.S. policy visa-vis religious freedom and a second panel discussion offering legal and humanitarian perspectives on the issues. Among the speakers was Egemen Bagis, minister for European Union Affairs and chief negotiator of the Republic of Turkey. The Archons, commending him for his efforts on behalf of religious minorities in Turkey, presented him with a commemorative plaque. The first day concluded with a reception honoring the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, hosted by U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Howard W. Gutman and his wife, at the Ambassador’s residence. Day two of the conference entitled “Crossing Over,” was held at the Conrad Brussels hotel and included views from the Turkish side, from the European Parliamentarian’s side and from the side of the European Court of Human Rights. It explored issues of interfaith understanding and of compatibility of religious freedom and the secular Turkish state. A final panel discussed all the questions previously raised and attempted to propose answers and a framework for the dialogue going forward. “It was an extraordinary event of lasting significance… a civil, respectful and spiritual discourse,” said Dr. Limberakis in his closing remarks, noting the diversity of the religious communities included in the conference. The many contributions of speakers and participants were sincere and enlightening and the conference formally concluded in an upbeat and hopeful at-


Archbishop Demetrios addresses the international conference on religious freedom held at the European Union Parliament building.

mosphere, the evening of Nov. 17, with a farewell banquet. Archon George C. Rockas, a lawyer from Boston, chaired the organizing committee and the conference with the assistance of Archon John Zavitsanos, a lawyer from Texas. The Order of St. Andrew, its Board of Directors, officers and members under the invaluable guidance of their spiritual advisor Fr. Alexander Karloutsos, undertook and completed with success a monumental task. The Archon delegation from the U.S. consisted of 85 people including Metropolitans Alexios of Atlanta and Evangelos of New Jersey. The First Archon International Conference on Religious Freedom was sponsored by the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in America and the Pammakaristos Brotherhood of Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Europe, represented by its President Odysseus F. Sassayiannis. Significant was the role of the Patriarchal Liaison Office of the Orthodox Church to the European Union, headed by Metropolitan Emmanuel of France. Side Activities The Archon’s delegation upon arrival in Brussels on November 14, attended the Archieratical Divine Liturgy presided by Metropolitan of Belgium Panteleimon, at the Cathedral of Archangels Michael and Gabriel. The Cathedral was formally celebrating the feast day of the Archangels (Nov. 8) with hundreds of Orthodox faithful of Brussels attending. Metropolitan Panteleimon welcomed the Archons from America and following the Liturgy hosted them in a festive program with the participation of representative groups from the Omogeneia. On Nov. 15, the Archons visited the Monastery of Chevetogne, which was founded in 1925, devoted to Christian unity between Rome and the Orthodox Christian world. In the Monastery, there is a Byzantine church, dedicated to the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. That evening an opening reception and dinner was held at the Conrad. Archbishop Demetrios formally welcomed all participants and praised the vision and the hard work of the Order of St. Andrew in realizing this international conference. The day after the conclusion of the conference, Nov. 18, the Archons and other participants, led by Metropolitan Alexios, visited Ghent and Bruges, two historic cities dating back to the middle ages, which are protected and recognized by UNESCO as places of significant cultural and natural heritage and value for the World. Bishop

Among the U.S. delegation were (second row from left) Metropolitans Evangelos of New Jersey, Avgoustinos of Germany, Panteleimon of Belgium, Polycarp of Spain and Alexios of Atlanta. Also shown are Rabbi Arthur Schneier, head of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation (far right) and Dr. Limberakis.

At the U.S. Embassy in Brussels, His Eminence met with the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Howard Gutman (to right of Archbishop) and a group of native Christian Aramaeans, who still speak Aramaic, the common language of the Jews at the time of Christ, and come from southeast Turkey. Though they now reside in many locations around the world, including the U.S. and Europe, the group is fighting for recognition of their rights within Turkey, which denies their existence, and where a sizable minority continues to reside.

Athenagoras of Sinopi, who has life long ties with the area, guided the group with great care and hospitality. In Ghent, Europe’s second largest city in the Middle Ages, the group began its visit with a stop at the Orthodox Church of Apostle Andrew. In Bruges, of particular interest was the visit to the Holy Blood Chapel, a Ro-

man Catholic Church, originally built in the 12th century, known as the repository of a venerated phial said to contain a cloth with the blood of Jesus Christ that was collected by Joseph of Arimathea and brought from the Holy Land by crusaders of the Second Crusade. The trip concluded with a visit to the Orthodox Church of Sts. Constantine and Helen in Bruges.



HC/HC NEWS School President Reflects on 10-Year Ministry at HC-HC by Jim Golding

BROOKLINE, Mass. – For Fr. Nicholas Triantafilou, his service to the Church has been a kind of odyssey, but not one that has taken him throughout the Mediterranean, just over much of the continental U.S. A native of Woburn, Mass., Fr. Triantafilou, who has just completed his 10th year at the helm of Hellenic College-Holy Cross School of Theology, attended Holy Cross after a stint in the Marine Corps, and graduated in 1963. He then began three years of service as assistant priest at St. Vasillios Church in Peabody, Mass., under Fr. Stanley Harakas. From there he went on to Annunciation Cathedral in Houston as assistant under Fr. George Kalpaxis for six months before becoming the proistamenos in 1966 and later cathedral dean. In 1970 Fr. Nick and Presbytera Diane established the Annunciation Orthodox School, which went on to become one of the top-ranked private elementary schools in the city of Houston. Archbishop Iakovos tapped him as Archdiocesan Vicar General in 1987. He was called upon to serve in many locations. While still at Annunciation, Fr. Nick restarted St. Nicholas Church in El Paso and established Transfiguration Church in Austin. He was called to Archdiocese headquarters in 1992 where he served as executive director of the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund. He next served for three years at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Charlotte, N.C. from 1996 to 1999 and, for the past 28 years, has been the Archdiocese liaison with Annunciation Church in Nassau, Bahamas. Following his service as Vicar General, he was named director of the Boston Metropolis Camp and Retreat Center at Contoocook, N.H. by Metropolitan Methodios of Boston in 1999. Fr. Nick came full circle in 2000, returning to Boston upon being named president of HC-HC by Archbishop Demetrios on Aug. 1. To mark his 10-year milestone, the Observer asked Fr. Triantafilou to reflect on the institution’s progress with a look to the future. (The following interview was conducted via e-mail). Orthodox Observer: Fr, Triantafilou, how would you assess your first

Archbishop Demetrios and Fr. Triantafilou at a recent ceremony where His Eminence bestowed a pectoral Cross in honor of his 10 years of service to the school.

10 years as president? Fr. Triantafilou: I consider this a most privileged election/assignment. The entire HC/HC family, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, the members of the Eparchial Synod, the auxiliary bishops, trustees, deans, faculties, staff and students, as well as the alumni board have been most cooperative and supportive. It is a privilege, also, to represent our beloved School across the parishes of our Archdiocese at the meetings and conferences of our accrediting agencies, the Boston Theological Institute (BTI) and other venues, conferences and educational institutions in the United States and Greece. By God’s grace, all the aforementioned people have joined in a common effort for the well–being and progress of our School. We can identify definitive steps that have advanced the life and mission of our School. O.O: – What goals did you set forth? Have they been attained? Fr. T: Amongst the goals which really fall under the category of the Calling to Stewardship of our beloved School were an increase of students, both in Hellenic College and Holy Cross – which has been attained. We have doubled the number of undergraduates which now is a bit shorter than 100 and the graduate school has approximately 136 students. A second goal was to procure more financial support for our academic programs. Again, by the

Photos: D. PANAGOS

Second–year Seminarians of Holy Cross School of Theology with Archbishop Demetrios and Fr. Triantafilou.

benevolence of God, this goal has been realized to a respectful degree. For example: • Kallinikeion Greek Studies Institute • The Mary Jaharis Institute for Byzantine Arts and Culture • Institutes and Lectures • Cantonis Chair of Greek Studies (Activated) • Archbishop Demetrios Chair of New Testament Studies • Stephen & Catherine Pappas Patristic Institute • Achilleas and Anastasia Thomas Styliades Pastoral Theology Chair • Missions Institute • Pontian Lectures • Diaconate Studies – 2010 (Program of our Eparchial Synod hosted by HCHC) • Office of Vocation Ministry • Lilly Endowment Grant – 2003: • Programs for the Theological Exploration of Vocation • CrossRoad – A program for rising Orthodox high school seniors funded by OVM Another goal was to address immediately infrastructure needs of replacement and improvement. Over $3,000,000 have been procured and expended to address these issues. Our campus has been almost totally renewed, and we welcome any and all visitors of our Church membership to visit their school. O.O: – What is the current enrollment of Holy Cross and Hellenic College? Fr. T: Holy Cross – 134; Hellenic College – 81 O.O: – What is a realistic projection of enrollment over the next five years? Fr. T: An 8-10 percent enrollment increase each year. O.O: – What is the approach to recruiting new students? What challenges do you face in attracting students to the school? Fr. T: We have increased our staff size by one full-time person and one half-time person in order to cover more territory, make more presentations, and respond more efficiently to increase for potential students across all Orthodox bodies in the United States. We are in the discussion process of how we may be able to address the greater international market. One of the central challenges continues to be that we are looked at and

thought to be a seminary only. We must become more successful in evangelizing the reality of our undergraduate college as a liberal arts college in itself and our graduate school as, yes, preparing young men for the priesthood, yet also a theological school preparing young women and men for service to our Church at large and for the general academic world. O.O: – What do you look for in potential students? Fr. T: Women and men who are pilgrims of faith, committed to bettering our society at large with academic potential and the ability to live in community within an undergraduate and graduate campus. We also look for people who have a definite or potential calling to service in our churches and to the holy priesthood. O.O: – Which Metropolises provide the largest number of students? Fr. T: These numbers appear in our annual report and fluctuate from year to year. O.O: – Have the requirements for becoming a priest changed over the past 10 years? Fr. T: In essence, no. We live in a society that is consistently becoming more and more multicultural with an interweaving of these cultures. Our future priests must be able to learn the process of maintaining and celebrating the pristine tenets and integrity of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. O.O: – Has the number of Greek ethnic background students decreased over the years? What would you attribute this to? Fr. T: Our School reflects the same multi-ethnicity that our parishes do across the country. O.O: – Has the average age of seminarians risen over the past 10 years? Fr. T: Yes. We belong to the Association of Theological Schools of the United States and Canada, which awards us accreditation. The average of the person attending these 264 schools is approximately 34 to 40. Our average in the graduate school is approximately 30 to 32. O.O: – How many seminarians have worked in another career field before entering Holy Cross? Fr. T: Each year differs. The average is somewhere between 35 and 50 percent. O.O: – How much traveling do you do in the course of a year for the school? Is this mostly for fund-raising? Fr. T: I travel approximately 30 to 40 percent during the school year. The reasons are, first, to project the vision and mission of both Hellenic College and Holy Cross and their place in the life of our Church and Orthodoxy in America. Secondly, for fund-raising. This fund-raising addresses the annual budget, sponsoring of academic chairs and the possible procurement of funds for new required buildings. O.O: – What is the financial outlook for the school in the foreseeable future? Fr. T: We are optimistic that our Board of Trustees, who have increased their annual giving substantially, our Hierarchs, clergy, national organizations, and, of course, our staff will increase their efforts to be stalwart heralds of our School’s mission and that our faithful across the country will continue to respond faithfully

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The Voice of Philoptochos


Christmas 2010 To the National Board, Chapter Presidents and Members of the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, “Today the Most Rich One became poor for our sake; let the rich man invite the poor to his table! Today we received a gift which we did not ask for; let us bestow alms to those who cry out to us and beg.” ( St. Ephraim the Syrian on the Eve of the Nativity) The most sacred birth of the most Holy Child transformed the world for all ages to come. He was given the precious name of Jesus, “The name that is above every name” (Philippians 2:9) and only by His mercy we continue to live each and every day. He was born in a manger more than two thousand years ago on that miraculous night in Bethlehem and by His humble entry into the world, thus began the salvation of humankind. Through His example we are given the gift of everlasting life by emulating our Lord through our relationship with Him, with one another and with nature on earth. We commemorate and celebrate the most important event in history as The Nativity provides reason and hope for our existence. It is the love of God our Father that pierced the darkness of hopelessness that sacred night. It is our Philoptochos ministry that pierces the despair of the infirmed and suffering by offering agape and compassion. The Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society lives the message of this holy season as we seek to treat ill children, aid the fragile elderly, assist students, offer friendship to the lonely and forgotten, support our men and women in uniform overseas and provide kindness to many more. The faithful stewards of Philoptochos express their love and dedication by practicing the beautiful lessons of our Lord. In thanksgiving, being mindful of God’s many blessings, the women of our great Society wholeheartedly resolve with deeper promise and renewed spirit to aid and embrace those in need utilizing their collective resources. Let us be spiritually cognizant and embrace the gift of life and our environment and multiply our efforts to serve our brothers and sisters in Christ. Especially at this glorious time of year, let us beseech Him in our prayers to guide us to wise choices, to live our lives appropriately, to assume responsibility on behalf of those in need and as stewards of this Earth, to preserve our globe. “Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices! O night divine, the night when Christ was Born; O night, O Holy Night, O night divine!” (Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure) May you and your families receive the blessings of the Lord and His bountiful gifts as we commemorate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and may you continue to glorify Christmas as meaningful throughout your year and always. With love and admiration in the Newborn King, Aphrodite Skeadas


Toronto Philoptochos members in front of Archdiocese headquarters with Archbishop Demetrios, Bishop Andonios, Mrs. Skeadas and other Philoptochos members and clergy.

Toronto Philoptochos Members Visit Archdiocese Headquarters Approximately 50 members of the Philoptochos chapter in Toronto visited the Archdiocese on Nov. 12 as part of their trip to New York where they were received by Archbishop Demetrios, and welcomed National Philoptochos President Aphrodite Skeadas, Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, chancellor and spiritual advisor to the Philoptochos and other clergy and Philoptochos board members. Below is President Skeadas’ welcome message to the group. Archbishop Demetrios of America is the Chairman of the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society comprised of 27,500 stewards from 485 chapters in the United States. As our beloved and respected Spiritual Father, His Eminence offers his blessings while inspiring and enlightening the women of Philoptochos and all the faithful. His Grace Bishop Andonios of Phasiane is the Spiritual Advisor of the Ladies Philoptochos Society. His Grace, most loved and esteemed, is recognized as a pillar of Philoptochos offering his time and support endlessly. On behalf of the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, I greet you and welcome you. We are honored that you visit us in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese

of America from your hometown Toronto. Toronto and New York City are uniquely similar. Neither is the capital of their respective countries, although some may argue that New York City is the capital of the world. Both Toronto and New York are the most populous cities of their respective countries and both are considered to be the cultural, economic and financial capitals of their countries, rich, diverse, cosmopolitan, international and historically embedded as the destination for immigrants. Those heralding from Toronto are referred to as Torontonians; however, we’re just called New Yorkers. Within the boundless diversities of our two distant cities--yet two neighboring countries--the Philoptochos Societies stand united in our mission, our faith and our Orthodoxia. Our common goals--of both Societies--offer a springboard to develop stronger idea generation and exchange. Let this be the beginning of many dialogues as we meet today at the Holy Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America where, in 1931, the Ladies Philoptochos Society was founded by then Archbishop Athenagoras of blessed memory. I was privileged this past year, when at the home of a Philoptochos member in

Palm Beach, Fla., to be in the presence of His Eminence Metropolitan Archbishop Sotirios of Canada where he shared many interesting experiences and anecdotes. Please convey our deep respect to His Eminence, Metropolitan Archbishop Sotirios and express to His Eminence that we eagerly await his return to the United States. As Philoptochos women of North America, TOGETHER we offer hope to the disadvantaged while evoking the Hellenic ethos. As volunteers of this great continent, TOGETHER we provide assistance while empowering the less privileged. As a collage of Philoptochos sisters, TOGETHER we compose a tapestry intricately and durably woven with similar values. The various threads intertwined with rainbow hues reflect the principles, traditions and heritage boldly imbued with our strong and abiding faith. On behalf of the National Philoptochos Society, we offer to each of our Canadian Philoptochos sisters a small remembrance of your visit to the Archdiocese of America, a memento of stationery with the United States Philoptochos logo which was adopted at our 2006 National Philoptochos Biennial Convention in Nashville, Tenn.

Social Worker Rejoins National Philoptochos Staff by Christine Karavites

Paulette Geanacopoulos, LMSW, former lead social worker of the National Philoptochos Social Service Department, has rejoined the staff of the National Philoptochos as the social worker. Ms. Geanacopoulos is a Licensed Social Worker with extensive professional experience with social work programs and other leadership roles in related non profit organizations. She served as the executive director of the New York Citizen’s Committee on Aging that is responsible for advancing policies to improve the wellbeing of older adults and as the executive director of the Women’s City Club. She currently holds a position as adjunct professor in social welfare policy and services

for Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Work. Ms. Geanacopoulos previously worked for seven years in the National Philoptochos Social Services Department. In this capacity she supervised the development of multicultural, multi-issue social work services that addressed the needs of a broad base of clients as well as issues of family services, health, mental health, substance abuse, and eldercare. She established a National Domestic Violence Program through government grant resources and published The Domestic Violence Awareness Manual. The program is targeted to women who are unable to access mainstream services due to cultural and/or language barriers. She developed public/private partnerships to expand service options

and provided training to clergy, local and national affiliates to assess and respond to local social service needs. Paulette received her BA from City College of New York and her MSW from Hunter College School of Social Work. Paulette welcomes the opportunity to enhance the critical mission of social services for the National Philoptochos and the constituents whom we serve. Her expertise and extensive work experience will serve as a great asset to National Philoptochos as the organization initiates its drive for the new Philoptochos Center of Philanthropy which will expand programs and services for the Chapters and those needing services. Contact information: social services@



Let’s Ask the Priest Editor’s note: This new feature presents questions to randomly selected clergy. Readers are welcome to submit questions to the Orthodox Observer about faith topics and contemporary moral issues. Questions should be a maximum of 25-35 words in length. Questions may be e-mailed (type Ask Priest in the subject line) or sent as typed submissions by regular mail. (See page 2 for contact information). The entries used in each issue will be determined by space limitations and appropriateness of the topic. Anyone submitting questions should include their name and city of residence. As it is the first-time publication of this feature, the questions below were either provided by the priest answering the question based on his experience, or submitted to the priest by the Observer. Q: How do you encourage kids to go to church without forcing them? A: In the Orthodox Faith, we baptize infants for a reason – so that they may be full participants in worship as early as possible. The earlier children become accustomed to worship services, the easier it is for everyone involved. Baptizing children after five months generally makes it more difficult for them to become comfortable in new situations such as worship services. Start early and worship may just become a way of life. Be on time. If you are chronically late, you are sending your children the message that worship services are not really that important. Being on time shows respect, and this will not be lost on your children. Be peaceful. Being angry and yelling undermines the very act of worship. Children will not want to participate in something that is presented with negativity. Parents need to let their children know that going to church is something that the family does, and should let them know this with a matter-of-fact smile and a gentle voice. They should also know that after worship they will have time to do other things, and that when they are independent they will be making these decisions on their own. If you are just now committing your family to regular worship, be honest with your children so that they may take you seriously and not consider you a hypocrite. Confess to them that you wish to establish new habits, and that you are calling upon them to step up along with you. Worshipping together is not likely regretted after the fact, and always leaves you better than before. Be an example of faith before, during and after our sacred worship services. Fr. Angelo Artemas Sts. Peter & Paul Church Glenview, Ill. Q: How do you get occasional worshippers to come to church all year? A: This must be the question of questions! Over the years all priests meet with dozens and hundreds of (Orthodox Christians), both parishioners and non parishioners who just never developed an ongoing spiritual life, which includes worship. A number of points is important to remember in doing outreach to all and especially this “group” of people. All of us want kindness and not criticism. So they must be treated as any other person we meet in our everyday life. Unless we are “clairvoyant” and we know what is inside their hearts, we have to be kind to them. Another point is sincere interest in who they are. The same way we would stop and listen if a neighbor was experiencing difficulties in their life, we have to accept

to listen to their story if they begin to tell us about it. If they indicate they are open to any additional connection with us, whether it is to talk again, to visit, to ask for a prayer, etc., we must offer it as we would to any other person. We must not put in any way, any expectations/obligation on them, as a kind of “payment” for being or talking or spending time with them. We have to use the passage of the Judgment (Mt 25:31-46) as how we are to be and behave, the rest is in God’s hands. Fr. Basil Arabatsis St. Demetrios Church Saco, Maine Q: What can you do to encourage those who attend church once or twice a year to come to more often? A: I strongly believe that this is one of the most important parts of our ministry. I, and we all, must make sure they are welcomed the proper and professional way; services to be conducted in a most impeccable way; the sermon to touch their everyday life; the choir performing well; to offer programs in the ministry so they can participate; to ask them to get involved; to personally follow up with them and engage them in a positive manner; to teach those in the ministry to be mindful of their presence in our midst; to invite them to join us at the Sunday fellowship hour and have them sit with those we know will affect them in a positive way. The priest should make sure he calls and visits them to show we care and we want to see them with us. The Church is ALL of us together. The Church is here to proclaim the gospel of love and joy and exhibit the positive in our daily life. Fr. Demetrios Recachinas Holy Cross Church Bridgeport, Conn. Q: “I come from a fairly large parish, and know we have lots of children but do not see them regularly attend church services. This seems especially true of our young adults. How do we keep our youth in the Church? What can our Church do? A: From the earliest days of Christianity, entire households were taught the faith, baptized and brought into the Church (Acts 16:15) In addition, we have our infants formally brought to the Church on the 40th day and “churched.” This churching on the 40th day and our practice of infant baptism point to the fact that we expect our children to be in church, praying, worshipping and participating in the sacramental life with their parents from their earliest days. By receiving the grace of God through the sacraments and soaking up the various sights and sounds and other sensorial stimuli that characterize our Orthodox worship, our young children have the opportunity to be immersed in heavenly worship. If we combine this liturgical experience with consistent age-appropriate teaching by parents and a home life also consistent with what is taught and valued at church, our children see and experience all around them a Christ–centered life. It should not be surprising that children more often than not adopt the values and interests of their parents. Also, the parish youth ministries are meant to partner with our parents and complement what is being taught and modeled home. We parents need to take seriously our role in the Christian formation of our children. Our goal and expectation should be that our children “convert” to

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Members of the Annunciation Cathedral organizing committee for the St. John Chrysostom National Oratorical Festival.

Houston Cathedral to Host 2011 National Oratorical Festival by Presbytera Margaret Orfanakos

The 2011 Archdiocese St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival will take place at the Annunciation Cathedral, in Houston on June 3-5. Co-chairs of the host committee are the Fr. Michael Lambakis, Irene Cassis and Maria Georgeton. Presbytera Margaret Orfanakos, Archdiocese co-chair of the Oratorical Festival, recently met with the host committee to discuss the events for the weekend. Soon to celebrate its 28th year, the Oratorical Festival continues to challenge and inspire Greek Orthodox youth to research a topic, to write about it and to deliver their homily to the congregation. Time and time again, past participants share experiences about their participation, especially if they advanced to the National Festival. Michael Goodfriend, a 1984 Oratorical Festival participant, who took first place honors in the Junior Division in the very first Oratorical Festival, talked about how, “…it is impossible to quantify the impact the festival has had on my life. I see the festival’s manifestation in virtually everything I do.” The 2011 Oratorical Festival topics are posted on the web-site of the Department of Religious Education and once again, offer a vast array of themes. One

of the five topics in the Junior Division is: “In St. John’s Gospel, Philip invites Nathanael to ‘Come and see’ (John 1:46). What would you want someone to experience in his or her first visit to an Orthodox Christian parish?” One of the Senior Division topics poses the question, “St. Paul encourage the Christians in Ephesus to ‘grow up’ (Ephesians 4:13-15). What is Christian maturity, and how does one become a mature Christian?” Although, the Archdiocese Oratorical Festival weekend is months away, the challenge before us now is for each metropolis to select district and metropolis chairpersons and the dates of each event. Once this information is finalized, it will be posted on the web-site of the Department of Religious Education. The next step is to encourage more parishes to include the Oratorical Festival in their ministries so that future participants can also say, “I see the festival’s manifestation in virtually everything I do.” Houston committee members are Maria Georgeton, Cynthia Kostas, Irene Cassis, Diamantis Cassis, Presbytera Margaret Orfanakos, Kathy Pappas, Karen Weimmer, Frank N. Demeris, Susan Enterline, Joni Zavitsanos, Maria Mitchell, Poppy Padley, Marie Halvatzis, Fr. Daniel Payne, Mark Enterline, Evlalia Hurley and Dr. Constance Michalos.

New dome finds a home southeast of Nome

Photo by Fr. Leo Schefe

Members of Holy Transfiguration Church in Anchorage, Alaska made good use of their 6 hours and 5 minutes of daylight available to them on Dec. 1 to place the dome atop their new church currently being constructed. The televised event took place at 10:30 a.m. The temperature was 5 degrees above zero.



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Chicago Metropolis Honors Metropolitan Iakovos, Holds Benefit for Retreat Center CHICAGO – More than 800 faithful of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago gathered on Oct. 28 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Metropolitan Iakovos as a hierarch and his 30 years of archpastoral service to the Metropolis. The annual dinner celebrates the feast day of St. Iakovos (James) and was presented by the Metropolis Clergy Syndesmos. It also served as a fund–raiser for the Metropolis youth camp. Fr. James Dokos served as the master of ceremonies for the event. Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos introduced Metropolitan Iakovos at the benefit fund-raiser. The bishop noted, “When I first met then Bishop Iakovos of Chicago, not only was he already a bishop for 10 years -- enthroned as the bishop of the re-constituted Diocese of Chicago in May 1979, becoming the spiritual father of us many thousands of faithful -- but he also became my spiritual father, inspiration, model and guide. Now thirty years later, I am privileged to stand before you to share a vision of the future that has determined a beautiful history.” Metropolitan Iakovos began life in Athens, born into a family that had recently come to mainland Greece from Alatsata of Asia Minor, forced to evacuate with thousands of others at the advance of Turkish troops in 1922. He left his native Greece for America, serving as a parish priest and then as a bishop of the Church, going on to serve as president and professor of liturgics at Holy Cross School of Theology. Fanari Youth Camp For nearly 36 years, the Fanari Camp ministry has served the youth of the Metropolis at various rented sites. The Metropolis has endeavored to establish a permanent retreat center for Camp Fanari, a goal that is becoming a reality. Bill Vranas, president of the St. Iakovos Retreat Center Board, announced that, through contributions of church members in the Metropolis and other parts of the U.S., a $2.3 million property in Wisconsin was purchased and the mortgage was paid in just over a year and a half. According to Metropolitan Iakovos, “The acquisition of this property presents to us a fulfillment of a dream shared by myself and thousands of our faithful.” The 137–acre St. Iakovos Retreat Center is located northeast of Lake Geneva, Wis., about an hour from Chicago and Milwaukee. The property offers rolling hills, tree-lined paths, an apple orchard, streams, an aerated pond and a private eight–acre lake. The property also contains numerous buildings including a main house; a meeting facility and various outdoor athletic arenas. The Retreat Center will host many functions and ministries especially the summer and winter camp sessions. All Metropolis stewards own this property. The largest gifts were donated by the following major donors: Chris Tomaras, $1 million; Chicago Metropolis Clergy Syndesmos, $250,000; Nicholas Bouras, (N.J.), $200,000; Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Athens, $100,000; Mr. and Mrs. Kosmas Pablecas, $100,000; Mr. and Mrs. Steve Regopoulos; $100,000 and a $100,000 anonymous donation. The Metropolis Philoptochos has pledged over $100,000 and counting. As Joanne Stavrakas, Metropolis Philoptochos president has stated “the continued support


of the Metropolis Philoptochos and parish chapters will ensure that the St. Iakovos Retreat Center will be a place of spiritual renewal and fellowship. Since its purchase, the Retreat Center has hosted more than 1,500 people from the six states of the Metropolis, with 80 percent of the guests using it for day events and the remained for overnight stays. Fund-raising has begun to develop Phase One of the center. Improvements to the property have included the transformation of an existing structure into the interim Chapel of Zoodochos Peghe, where the Metropolis chancellor, Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos recently celebrated the first Divine Liturgy. Also renovated is a log cabin with sweeping views of the property. The 2,000 square–foot building includes 22 beds and meets the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards. Mr. Vranas noted the following donations of $100,000 that will make possible a year-round retreat center. Donors included Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Labros; The Novak Foundation; the Constantine S. Siavelis Family; Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Glenview, Ill.; Dr. Jeff and Stella Winternheimer; and an additional anonymous gift from a couple that experienced Camp Fanari in their youth. Nick Kasmeotes, retreat center development consultant, spoke of the many ways to donate to the retreat center. “We can all do something: a donation of any amount will bring the center closer and closer to begin Phase I of the development. John Balourdos, a founding retreat center board member, said the next phase of development includes a hotel–style building, a residence lodge with 35 rooms each with a small kitchenette and private bathroom. The new structure will be able to accommodate 70 adults or 140 youth for overnight stays. This residence lodge, consisting of three 8,000–square–feet floors totaling 24,000–square–feet, will house residents for overnight stays on the upper two floors. The lower level will accommodate meetings or breakout room usage. Future plans include reconfiguring the log cabin dormitory into a commercial kitchen capable of serving 100 guests. The dining area in the cabin will also be used as breakout rooms for smaller groups. In addition to the existing chapel, a Byzantine–style chapel is planned that can accommodate about 125 faithful.




photos by Kostas Lymperopoulos

Metropolitan Evangelos places the holy relics into the altar table. Priests assisting were Deacon Panayiotis Hanley, Fr. James Moulketis and Fr. Paul Pappas.

New Jersey Church Event Held Oct. 24 TOMS RIVER, N.J. – Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey consecrated St. Barbara Church on Oct. 24. Assisting in the Consecration were parish priest Fr. Paul (Apostolos) Pappas, and other clergy from the area. The parish was founded in 1972, and celebrated the first Liturgy on Jan. 7, 1973. The Thyranoixia, (opening of the doors) of the church took place on Nov. 29, 1992, officiated by Metropolitan Bishop Silas of New Jersey. Presently,

the parish consists of 700 families. An athletic center/classroom building is under construction and near completion. Fr. Pappas, who has led the parish since 2006, was honored on consecration day by being granted the office of “Economos” by Metropolitan Evangelos. A banquet followed the ceremonies. Among those attending was Consul General of Greece Ambassador Aghi Balta.

Among the faithful following in the procession around St. Barbara Church were several Archons and Consul General of Cyprus Koula Sofianou (center).

Pennsylvania Church Consecrated Nov. 14 YORK, Pa. – Annunciation Church was consecrated Nov, 14 with Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh officiating. “Our house of worship and prayer was finally dedicated to God and transformed into sacred space after 30 years since its construction,” explained Fr. Andrew Tsikitas, parish priest, who presides over more than 175 member–families. “The church itself is set aside from the rest of the complex, differentiating it from the classrooms, offices, and the Hellenic Cultural Center, where the Greek food festivals and other social/cultural events are held,” Fr. Tsikitas said. While the consecration encompasses the whole church, the ceremony centers on the holy altar and its table. Beginning Saturday evening with Great Vespers, the altar was cleared and holy relics from saints were prepared. It continued Sun-

day morning with a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, featuring the placement of these relics into the new holy altar table, the dressing of the table with new vestments, and the anointment of the altar with Holy Myrrh. The holy icons inside the church, as well as its doors and windows, were also anointed. Once a building has been consecrated as a church it may not be used again for a secular purpose. Metropolitan Maximos also installed a new sub-deacon for the parish, Joseph Baxter of Mechanicsburg, Pa. Members of the consecration committee include parish council President Bill Skouras, Chairman Dorothy Livaditis, Georgia and Bud Anstine, Alex Daoularis, Helen Lewis, Sophia and Gus Livaditis, Andreanna Papayannis, and Presbytera Katherine Tsikitas.




Baltimore Cathedral Offers Vital Ministry to Senior Citizens by Melody Simmons

HUNT VALLEY, Md. – The bright yellow walls of the activities room at the St. John the Baptist Orthodox Adult Center here help to create a sense of comfort and belonging. On a recent autumn day, a group of seniors gathered to play a fast-paced game of trivia. “What is the capital of Texas?” asked Laura Timberlake, a worker at the center. “In what state is Wrigley Field located?” The day center is believed to be the first gathering place for seniors started by a Greek Orthodox parish in the U.S. Leaders of Annunciation Cathedral in downtown Baltimore began planning its model in 2007. They obtained a Maryland adult medical day care license last year and opened the doors this past June 7. “It was started because of the volume of phone calls from parishioners saying they had elderly parents and grandparents who had a need for a safe place to go and for somebody to stay with them,” said the Very Rev. Constantine (Dean) Moralis, dean of the Cathedral. “There were a lot of people in need of companionship.” Most of the seniors that gather here on weekdays have known each other for decades. They have worshipped together in the Cathedral’s grand and ornate sanctuary, raised their families together, socialized over the years and even worked as volunteers at countless Baltimore Greek festivals.

“It is just good to see everyone,” said Joanne Deitz, a volunteer and member of the Annunciation parish. “One of the women here who we have all known for years recently lost her husband. She just wanted to sit in her house, she was so devastated. When she started coming to the center, she came alive again. Now she is the life of the party. She sings and she plays games.” The center is located in a quiet business park, not far from the headquarters of McCormick & Co. Inc., the giant spice manufacturer whose daily mixing of goods sends the scent of nutmeg, cinnamon and garlic wafting through the outdoor air. Inside, comfortable chairs, a sofa and an extra–large dining table greet the seniors. The home-like setting has helped many to settle in and adjust to the change of leaving home and being in a different location. “Our program starts with breakfast of koulourakia, muffins and coffee at 9 a.m. and then we begin activities like word games, trivia and Wii bowling,” said Pat Bartsocas, program coordinator at the center, and a member of the Cathedral parish. “They reconnect with their lives here. They get a purpose and they become independent. They are not sitting home waiting for their children to return from work. They go and do something on their own.” The center also has a key medical component. Program director and registered nurse Linda West is a full-time


Χρόνια Πολλά!

Seniors at the center visit with their grandchildren.

employee who monitors each senior’s needs and administers medication when needed. West works for El Shaddai Healthcare, a Baltimore-based private elder care company that is a partner in the center’s operations. “We want them to feel like they are at home,” West said. “And they love seeing each other. Our families tell us they see big changes in their loved ones at home after they return from the center. We’re all social beings and this allows them to be social.” The center has a capacity of 60. Often, there are nearly a dozen seniors there each day as word of the center has begun to spread in the Baltimore community where there are several Greek, Russian and Serbian Orthodox churches. Seniors are transported to and from the location in buses and vans owned by the center. The cost is $72 per day, which includes round–trip transportation, two full meals and snacks, activities and day trips around Baltimore. One such trip included an impromptu tour of the Cathedral, located about 25 miles away. “A lady said she had not been to church in years and so we all climbed in the bus and went to the Cathedral where we had a tour and lunch,” Bartsocas said. Meals are all prepared fresh in a full kitchen, and include homemade spanokopita, pastitsio, avgolemono soup, stuffed zucchini and shrimp with pilafi. Recently, a batch of sweet loukoumades were created to help celebrate a birthday. Visitors include children, grandchildren, clergy and volunteers. Whenever there is no school, many local teenagers from the Annunciation


GOYA visit to help out, sing and even dance around the spacious floor. Fr. Dean visits frequently and holds Liturgy at least twice a month. “We start every day with a prayer, each meal with a prayer and we have a constant parade of visitors throughout the week,” said Fr. Dean. “When the liturgy is celebrated, they are chanting the hymns and the responses along with me. The liturgy is committed to memory. Some things are never forgotten.” Melody Simmons is the regional correspondent for the Observer in the Baltimore area. She is a member of Annunciation Cathedral in Baltimore, its Philoptochos board and the Women’s Guild of the parish. Ms. Simmons worked as a reporter for 20 years at the Baltimore Sun, Maryland’s largest daily newspaper, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1996 and has won numerous regional and national journalism awards. She currently writes for The Daily Record, a weekday business journal in Baltimore, covering real estate. Ms Simmons has also worked as a correspondent for People magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Baltimore Magazine, National Public Radio and presently writes for the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine biannual newsletter and its monthly newspaper. After graduating from the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communication, she worked briefly for the Birmingham (Ala.) News. A native of Jacksonville, Fla., she grew up in the parish of St. John the Divine.

Dr. Gregory & Stellee Papadeas, Venetia, Ioanna, Nicolia & George Assumption of the Theotokos Cathedral–Denver, Colorado

Annunciation Cathedral Goyans perform a dance for the audience.


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The delegation of pilgrims from Massachusetts with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic Group Visits Ecumenical Patriarchate BOSTON – A delegation of Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic pilgrims from the Worcester area headed by Metropolitan Methodios of Boston and Bishop McManus of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester recently traveled to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Vatican where they met with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Benedict XVI. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew told local Catholic and Orthodox pilgrims their presence at the Ecumenical Patriarchate was critical for Christian unity. He, and Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican, both noted the trip coincided with an important Orthodox-Roman Catholic dialogue taking place in Vienna. The Sept. 15-26 pilgrimage to the spiritual centers of the two Churches was a first for the Worcester Roman Catholic Diocese, although Metropolitan Methodios led such pilgrimages with Boston archbishops in 1996 and 2007. This pilgrimage to Turkey and Italy sprung from joint vespers at St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Worcester in 2009. After the Orthodox Divine Liturgy Sept. 19, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Metropolitan Methodios and Bishop McManus spoke at St. George Church and at the Patriarch’s residence. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew personally gave each pilgrim a cross and a book. He later attended the pilgrims’ dinner and sat with them. Metropolitan Methodios briefed the Ecumenical Patriarch on their pilgrimage, a first with the Worcester Diocese, where official Greek Orthodox-Roman Catholic dialogue in America is thought to have begun on Sept. 9, 1965 at St. Spyridon Cathedral. After visiting the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Ephesus and other sites in

Pope Benedict XVI welcomes Metropolitan Methodios and his group of pilgrims to the Vatican.

Viewing the Metropolis of Boston history book with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

Turkey, the pilgrims headed to Rome for the pope’s Wednesday audience and visits to holy places there and in Assisi. Metropolitan Methodios greeted the Pope on behalf of the Ecumenical Patriarch. Pope Benedict said he was pleased to meet the Metropolitan and that this pilgrimage was happening, and mentioned the dialog Catholic and Greek Orthodox theologians were having in Vienna about the role of the bishop of Rome in Christianity’s first thousand years, before the Catholic and Orthodox Churches split in 1054. “The pilgrimage afforded all of us the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Sts. Peter, Paul, and Andrew and be inspired to pattern our lives after these pillars of our Christian faith,” Metropolitan Methodios said in comments about the pilgrimage e-mailed to The Catholic Free Press. “It was most inspiring to see how all the pilgrims bonded together and recommitted themselves to work for the progress of our two Churches. We had many opportunities to discuss the various issues that keep us divided while we prayed for the international dialogue participants who were meeting in Vienna. It was indeed a blessing to attend the Divine Liturgy at the Phanar and to sit at dinner with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. The Papal audience in Rome left a great impression on the pilgrims. May the Lord hasten the day that we share the cup of Communion.” – Information provided by Tanya Connor of The Catholic Free Press.


Hellenic College, Inc. invites applications and nominations for the position of Dean of Hellenic College. The application and nomination deadline is December 17, 2010. The selection process is expected to be completed by April 30, 2011. The Dean is expected to assume office on July 1, 2011. Overview Founded in 1937 and located in Brookline, Massachusetts on 59 scenic acres overlooking Boston, Hellenic College is the only full-fledged Orthodox Christian institution of higher learning in the United States. Under the auspices of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, Hellenic College, Inc. is comprised of an undergraduate liberal arts and selected professional college, known as Hellenic College, and Holy Cross Graduate School of Theology. Hellenic College offers the degree of Bachelor of Arts (BA) with concentrations in Classics, Elementary Education, Human Development, Management & Leadership, Literature and History, and Religious Studies. The Graduate School of Theology grants the degrees of Master of Divinity (M.Div.), Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) and Master of Theology (Th.M.). The institution holds accreditation with New England Association of Schools and Colleges and the Association of Theological Schools of the United States and Canada. Responsibilities The Dean of Hellenic College reports to the President. The Dean helps define the character and direction of the College; leads, advocates, and plans new educational initiatives; and serves to sustain the commitment to innovation and excellence in undergraduate teaching and curricular development. The Dean supervises the Faculty of Hellenic College, including personnel procedures, and maintains the College’s academic standards in teaching, research, and service. The Dean provides academic and educational leadership through the exercise of honesty, integrity, flexibility, sensitivity, and decisiveness. The Dean serves as the College’s advocate and liaison to its internal and external constituencies. The Dean serves on the Presidential Executive Caucus and is an ex-officio member of the Board of Trustees. Qualifications include an earned doctorate degree from an accredited university; an outstanding record of teaching effectiveness and scholarship sufficient to hold the rank of full professor; fluency in written and spoken Modern Greek; excellent communicative and interpersonal skills; a deeply held commitment to the development of students, faculty, and staff; and an appreciation for, an understanding of and commitment to the faith and learning mission of the College within the context of Orthodox Christianity and its contribution to the life of our nation. Application Those interested in candidacy are urged to visit the Hellenic College Web site prior to submitting an application. Applicants should submit a letter of interest detailing relevant experience, accomplishments, philosophy of higher education, curriculum vitae, and a list of at least five professional references with E-mail addresses and telephone numbers. All nominations, inquiries and applications will be confidential until a limited number of finalists are identified for campus interviews, at which point only the names and résumés of finalists will become public. Nominations and applications must be submitted in Microsoft Word or PDF format to: “”



Photos: D. PANAGOS

Archbishop addresses Greek school teachers at St. Demetrios High School.

Hundreds Attend Greek Teachers Seminar in Astoria ASTORIA – The 20th annual Staff Development Seminar on Nov. 2 sponsored by the Direct Archdiocesan District Office of Education drew more than 300 Greek parochial and day school teachers from communities in upstate New York, Westchester County, all parts of Long Island, Connecticut and New Jersey. The seminar took place St. Demetrios High School in Astoria and consisted of English and Greek programs. Separate workshops were held for principals and for grades K-12. Archbishop Demetrios attended a number of the workshops and was the featured speaker at the luncheon. Maria Makedon, director of the Direct Archdiocesan District Office of Education, and her staff organized the entire event in collaboration with the New York City day school principals and the professors of St. John’s University/School of Literacy, of the Manhattanville College/Early Childhood Education and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki/Institute of Modern Greek Studies. “This year’s teacher seminar was one of the most successful ones we’ve organized. The Archbishop and I visited the classrooms when the morning workshops were in session,” said Mrs. Makedon. “His Eminence was very pleased to hear from the presenters positive comments about our teachers’ involvement and participation in their respective workshops. This showed how dedicated the teachers of our parochial schools are. We are grateful for their dedication and indebted to our community schools for providing the best Greek Orthodox education.” Presenters included Dr. Patricia Vardin, chair of Early Childhood Education at Manhattanville College; Laura Woodson, adjunct professor, Manhattanville College; Dr. Smita Guha, Dr. Aliya Holmes, Dr. Athena Lentini, and Dr. Joanne M. Robertson,

Maria Makedon.

assistant professors at St. John’s University School of Education; Workshop topics included: multiple intelligences in early childhood; working with children and families from multi-cultural backgrounds, teaching children about health and nutrition, integrating webquests in the classroom, recognizing cyber bullying, using assessments effectively to guide instruction, teaching literacy through literature and the visual, performing and communicative arts and smart board training. Archbishop Demetrios discussed the progress of Greek education as it related to the influence of Christianity and specifically, Orthodoxy in its development. He also noted that, at the White House meeting of National Council of Churches in Christ leaders with President Obama, the discussion included how education can help individuals climb out of their condition of poverty and the contribution of faithrelated schools to the American education system. He added that the drop out rate for faith-based schools is insignificant when compared to the public schools. His Eminence noted that the Archdiocese schools in particular “have the additional wealth of culture … in addition to language.” — by Jim Golding



Technology 101

How the Archdiocese Ministers to the Faithful Digitally by Jim Golding

For those of you about to change the ribbon on your 1950s-vintage Royal manual typewriter, or if you eat and sleep with or are otherwise super-glued to your BlackBerry, feel free to skip this page. This is basic information for anyone wishing to become acquainted with the Archdiocese’s world wide web site and its offerings. Since the early 1990s, the Archdiocese has strived to keep pace with rapid technological advances in the world of the Internet and to maintain a relevant presence in cyberspace. In 1994, with a grant from the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund, a website was established as a means of reaching out to young adults who made heavy use of the Internet, which was becoming an increasingly popular form of communications. The result was the Orthodox Access Ministry, developed by then Archdiocesan Youth Ministry Director Fr. Angelo Artemas, Boston Diocese Youth Ministry Director Deacon Theodore Barbas, and a first-year seminarian at Holy Cross School of Theology, Theodore (Theo) Nikolakis of Peabody, Mass. At that time, all one needed to gain access was either a Macintosh computer with 3 megabytes of free space on the hard drive, or an IBM compatible personal computer with Windows 3.1 and 4 megabytes of storage. As the technology quickly advanced along with the need to expand its presence on the Internet, the ministry grew to become the Department of Internet Ministries of the Archdiocese with Theo Nikolakis as director following his graduation with an M.Div. in 1996 (He later earned a masters in management and systems from New York University). The technological and operational demands of the Church’s Internet Ministry spawned the Archdiocese Department of Information Technologies in 1999, of which he also serves as director. The Internet Ministries staff of three operates from offices at Hellenic College–Holy Cross School of Theology in Brookline. The Information Technologies Department is at Archdiocese headquarters in New York. Mr. Nikolakis divides his time between the two locations. The most–visited online presence of the Internet Ministries, www., immediately offers the visitor a wealth of information and links to other sites and programs: news and events, Archdiocese information, public speeches and messages of Archbishop Demetrios, spiritual informa-

Terminology of Selected Electronic Gadgets and Websites For the many of us non-technically savvy individuals, the terms listed below all have something in common as they relate to the Church. They are a digital means of gaining access via the Internet to the Archdiocese website and other Orthodox faithrelated websites. (Adapted from Wikipedia). – iPod: a portable media player designed and marketed by Apple. As with many other digital music players, iPods can also serve as external data storage devices. Storage capacity varies by model. Several open source alternatives are available for the iPod. iTunes and its alternatives may also transfer photos, videos, games, contact information, e–mail settings, Web bookmarks, and calendars to iPod models supporting those features. The iPod branding is also used for the media player applications (apps) included with the iPhone and iPad;

the iPhone version is essentially a combination of the music and videos apps on the iPod Touch. – iPad: a tablet computer also designed and developed by Apple. It is particularly marketed as a platform for audio and visual media such as books, periodicals, movies, music, and games, as well as web content. At about 25 ounces, its size and weight are between those of most contemporary smartphones and laptop computers. Like iPhone and iPod Touch, the iPad is controlled by a multi-touch display–a break from most previous tablet computers, which used a pressure–triggered stylus. The iPad uses a Wi–Fi data connection to browse the Internet, load and stream media, and install software.

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Theo Nicolakis views the Archdiocese website on his flat screen, ipad and iphone.

tion through the Online Chapel, Our Faith, Ministry Outreach, Multimedia Programs and Ministry Resources. Daily Bible readings and sites to purchase books and other materials are also provided. “We view this as a direct way of ministering to our faithful and those interested in the Orthodox faith and life, “ said Mr. Nikolakis. “The Apostles used the Roman road system to carry the message of the gospel. Following that example, we’re using the roadway of the Internet to proclaim the gospel.” He spoke in more detail about the function of the Internet Ministries and its current projects in the following brief interview.

  continued on iPad below

OBSERVER – What is the role of the Department of Internet Ministries? Theo Nikolakis – Internet Ministries is responsible for the technology ministry of the Archdiocese to the metropolises, the parishes, members of the Church and those seeking the Orthodox faith. The department executes the Archdiocese’s Internet and digital efforts, including the web, social networking and mobile technology. OBSERVER – How do you prepare new programs for the Internet? TN – The majority of the services are developed in-house. Right now we have two full-time programmers working on the programs. It takes anywhere from 12 weeks to a year to program a new application. We also have to maintain and support existing services and help the parishes and metropolises with their sites.

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Some Helpful Spiritual Guides & Resources for the Christmas Season Orthodox Christians began preparation for the birth of our Lord on Nov. 15 with the Christmas fast. In this holy season, this fasting period provide a time to quiet our hearts to prepare for the arrival of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Here are some prayers and resources to guide your family through this period. Prayer for the Nativity Fast “Lord Jesus, You have come so many times to us and found no resting place, forgive us for our overcrowded lives, our vain haste and our preoccupation with self. Come again, O Lord, and though our hearts are a jumble of voices, and our minds overlaid with many fears, find a place however humble, where You can begin to work Your wonder as you create peace and joy within us. “If in some hidden corner, in some out-of the-way spot, we can clear away the clutter, and shut out the noise and darkness, come be born again in us, and we shall kneel in perfect peace with the wisest and humblest of men. “Help us to enter into this Christmas Fast with humility, yet with joy. And finally Lord, give us Christmas from within, that we may share it from without, on all sides, all around us, wherever there is need. God help us, every one, to share the blessing of Jesus, in whose name we keep Christmas holy. Amen.” – Taken from Daily Meditations and Prayer for the Christmas Advent Fast and Epiphany by Presbytera Emily Harakas and Fr. Anthony Coniaris. Prayer for the Nativity Fast For Families with Younger Children “Lord, Our God as You entered into the world as a newborn baby enter also into our hearts so that we may prepare for Your glorious coming.

“Help us to be still so we can hear the angels announce Your Nativity. “Help us to keep our eyes clear so we may follow the star to Your Son’s birth. “Help us to turn our minds, hearts, and whole bodies toward You so that we may realize that the best gifts come from above. “As You so loved the world that You gave us Your only begotten son, help us to share this love with family, friends, enemies, and everyone we meet. “We ask this in Your holy name Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.” – Taken from For to Us a Child is Born Parent Companion by the Center for Family Care. Books on the Nativity for All Ages “Jesus is Born” by Sergia Clare Anatolios – For very young children under age three and slightly older. This is a very simple book that builds the Nativity icon starting with the cave and ending with Jesus. It includes an introduction for parents explaining how to use the book. Published by St. Nectarios Press. “An Icon for Christmas” by Theofani Katris Gonis – For preschool children and older. This book tells a wonderful

story about giving that children will enjoy. Pages in the book are meant to be colored by children. Published by Light and Life Publishing. “The Littlest Angel” by Charles Tazwell – A classic for elementary school aged children and older—even adults will enjoy this beautiful story about giving a gift to the Christ child. Published by Ideals Children’s Books. “The Coin” by Karen Papandrew – A chapter book for preteen children. This adventure story sends three friends traveling back in time to learn about the birth of Christ first hand. Published by Drew Publishing Company. “Daily Meditations and Prayers for the Christmas Advent Fast and Epiphany” by Presbytera Emily Harakas and Fr. Anthony Coniaris – Excellent for use daily by both teenagers and adults. Could also be used as a daily family devotional tool. Provides scripture readings for each day along with the words of select hymns from the Orthros (Matins), Vespers, the Hours of the Nativity, etc. with a brief Scripture verse, a prayer and an inspiring meditation. Published by Light and Life. “The Winter Pascha” by Thomas

Hopko – Another daily meditation book for the fast—best for adult reading level. The author draws on the biblical readings and the liturgical hymns of Christmas and Epiphany, as well as from the writings of saints and Church Fathers, to produce a wonderful book of meditations for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. Published by St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press. “For to Us a Child is Born and Parent Companion.” This full–color magazine resource helps young people learn more about the Nativity Season. The ‘Zine is available for ordering from the Department of Religious Education ( and the parent companion with family activities for all ages is available for downloading or printing on the website of the Center for Family Care at www.goarch. org/archdiocese/departments/family/addresources/christmasguide. Websites with Resources and Activities for the Nativity Fast Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (www. – A wealth of information on the different feasts surrounding the Nativity. While on this site, visit pages for the Center for Family Care, the Department of Outreach and Evangelism, and the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for additional resources for families. Orthodox Family Life ( – This out-of-print publication has many articles and tips for parents and families raising their children in the Orthodox Christian Church. Submitted by the Department of Youth Ministry-Youth Worker Pulse. To subscribe, visit youth_listserv



PEOPLE Church Offers Important Outreach to the Greater Community

35,937th place

Kay Brakatselos, administrative assistant at the National Philoptochos Office, completed the Nov. 7 New York Marathon in 5 hours, 7 minutes, 51 seconds, finishing 35,937th among the 45,344 participants. As reported in the previous issue of the Observer, Kay, 43, has been training over the entire year. The day after the marathon, she was described as having “rubbery legs.”

”Classic” runner Speaking of marathons, Victoria Koutris, a member of Annunciation Cathedral in Boston, ran the Athens Classic Marathon on Oct. 31 as this year marked the 2,500th anniversary of the Battle of Marathon. She raised approximately $6,000 for the AHEPA Cooley’s Anemia Foundation. Victoria, a member of the Cathedral youth group, is the daughter of Pavlos and Sophia Koutris of Westwood, Mass. She was one of 12,500 runners completing the original race from Marathon to Athens. As planned, her father joined her at the 25km mark, yet she was surprised when many of her cousins joined them with 200 meters to go. Victoria said, “Entering the Panathinaiko Stadium and finishing the original marathon with my family by my side was incredible and a moment I will cherish forever.”

Earns doctorate Karen Psaros Kain, daughter of Donna and John Psaros of Traverse City, Mich., earned a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Western Michigan University on Nov. 8. Along with her PhD, she also received a specialty certificate in Total Quality Management from Ferris State University. Karen is the parish council president for Archangel Gabriel Church in Traverse City, led by Fr. Iakovos Olechnowicz. Karen and her parents are originally from Munster, Ind., where they attended St. Demetrios Church in Hammond.

Leaders honored St. Demetrios Church in Upper Darby, Pa., recently honored 21 former parish council presidents of the community. They were: Nickolas Birbilis, Konstantinos Mellonas, Thedoros Koukos, Charles Mangos, Emanuel Leventelis, Vicky Adkinson, Jerry Kahrilas, Konstantinos Sioutis, George Koudelis, Meletios Ioannou, Theofilos Konstantinidis, Theofanis Nikopoulos, Prodromos Boukidis, Philip Nicolaides, Demosthenes Vasiliou, Anestis Baridis, Sotirios Maniatis, Dr Nikolaos Tsirakoglou, Stavros Liapis, George Agatsiotis and Michael Vousdoukas.

UW Hellenic Studies The University of Washington Hellenic Studies Program held a celebration dinner at St. Demetrios Church Community Center as the program continues toward its goal of funding a full-time position. Participants included John T. John, president of the Hellenes of the Northwest and a program co-founder; Seattle natives Emanuel and Marilyn Rouvelas, UW graduates established an endowment in his parents’ honor; Dr. Angelos Pangratis, deputy head of the European Union delegation to the United States; and Dr. Theodore Kaltsounis, UW Professor Emeritus and also a program co-founder. The 12–year old program currently has more than 400 students taking a variety of courses.



Name: Assumption Greek Orthodox Church Location: Madison, Wis. Metropolis of Chicago Size: about 190 families Founded: 1951 Clergy: Fr. Richard Michael Vanderhoef (M.Div. Holy Cross 2002; bachelor’s degree in music, U. of Wisconsin ‘96; master’s in library and information sciences, U. of Wisconsin. ‘98) E-mail: Web: Noteworthy: Priest serves parish where he grew up ASSUMPTION GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH MADISON, Wis. – Back in the 1960s, the capital of the Badger State acquired the nickname of “The People’s Republic of Madison,” because of the University of Wisconsin’s reputation as a center of intense protest against the Vietnam War by the radical left element of its student body. Nowadays, the university, the largest employer in the city along with the state government, is known for its champion football team, sharing the NCAA Big Ten college football title with Ohio State and Michigan State universities, and as a major regional medical center. The football team ranks fourth nationally according to the AP poll and will play TCU in the Rose Bowl. There also is an Orthodox Christian Fellowship group at the school that is ministered to by Fr. Vanderhoef. The Greek Orthodox community in Madison also has changed over the years. During the early to mid-1900s the city was home to as many as a dozen Greek restaurants and confectionary shops owned by Greek immigrants, according to a parish history. Now there are only three Greek-owned restaurant’s in the city. Other Greeks owned cleaners and florist shops. The second and third-generation parishioners are more likely to be employed as professors and staff at the university, or work in state government or in health services, among other professions. There are not many immigrants now and the parish has a pan–Orthodox character, including members of Russian, Ukrainian and Serbian descent. Fr. Vanderhoef himself is of Russian and Ukrainian background. He grew up in the parish as it was the only Orthodox Christian church in Madison. “I grew up in the Greek culture and bonded with the culture,” he said. He did so to the point where he decided to become a priest after completing his studies at the University of Wisconsin. For several years he put his undergraduate music education to use as assistant choir director and chanter at the parish. He enrolled at Holy Cross School of Theology in 1998 and later entered the priesthood. He has never really left the school or his library training and music background. In addition to his pastoring Assumption Church, Fr. Vanderhoef

serves as the systems librarian for the Archbishop Iakovos Library and Learning Resources Center at HC/HC, in which he oversees the library catalog and electronic data bases. It’s a job he can perform from Madison by “telecommuting.” He also lectures and conducts workshops on Byzantine liturgical music, promoting the proper usage of Byzantine chant in Orthodox churches. He also served as adjunct professor at the seminary from 2002-06. Early years The parish history notes that the first Greek to have come to Madison was Louis Russos, a native of Pylos, who arrived in 1902. He and his wife operated a soda fountain, and made “home-made chocolates, ribbon candy and candy canes.” A year later, another Greek, Fost Choles arrived. After working for Russos, he opened a theater in a small city outside of Madison. By the 1920s, a number of Greek Orthodox families had moved from the city of Fond du Lac, a small city about 70 miles northeast of Madison at the south end of Lake Winnebago. But they continued to be active at Holy Trinity Church in Fond du Lac, going back for Christmas, Easter and other religious holidays and events. Priests from that parish also would travel to Madison and conduct services at a local Episcopal church. World War II brought major changes. Madison became a training center for Army radio operators, including troops of several Orthodox ethnic backgrounds. The Army arranged for Orthodox services to be held. Following the war, the Madison Greeks wanted to establish their own church, but the Fond du Lac parish was opposed to that idea, fearing a loss of members, and pressured Bishop Ezekiel of Chicago not to authorize a new parish. The Madison Greeks were fearful that some of their young people were joining the Episcopal Church and marrying outside the church, the parish history noted. As succinctly described in the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” the history stated that “…a Greek girl was rarely allowed to date a non-Greek. It just wasn’t done. They were expected to find a Greek husband and to raise their children in a home where Greek was spoken and the food was Greek and the family religion would be Greek Orthodox.” However, in 1951, Bishop Ezekiel did authorize the establishment of the Hellenic Orthodox Community of Madison. Dues

were 50 cents a month. At first the community shared space at a Methodist church, which was going to build a new building. The Greek community soon acquired it, purchased icons from Greece and transformed the former Methodist building into an Orthodox church. Priests from Milwaukee and Chicago served the community until a permanent priest, Fr. Nicholas Katinas, was assigned. The second priest, Fr. Anthony Gergiannakis, a native of Crete and a Halki graduate, arrived in 1968. He built up the campus community and developed programs for the Assumption youth. Fr. Anthony left after five years, went to Toronto, and eventually became Bishop Anthony, first of Denver, then of San Francisco, then Metropolitan Anthony of the Dardanelles. In 1975, with parish membership growing to the point of needing more space, the parish, under Fr. George Dounelis, decided to double the size of the existing church, rather than to buy land and build an entirely new building, with the help of a Romanian Orthodox architect who fled Communist Romania, and who made the proposal to modify the church. It was transformed into the Orthodox cross-shaped church with a dome still in use today. Current status Over the years, Orthodox Christians from Ethiopia, Bulgaria, Albania, Romania, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and other nations have become members of the parish. The priest described his parish ministry as “inclusive to all Orthodox backgrounds” and strives to make the Orthodox of other backgrounds “feel at home as much as possible.” The community is still growing and Fr. Vanderhoef, who was assigned to the parish following his ordination on Palm Sunday, 2008, said members hope to expand their building in the future. The church currently has a Sunday School with 45 students, but there presently is no Greek school. The parish has an outreach ministry for the city of Madison and holds special events to collect clothes and school supplies for needy individuals and a book drive with a local elementary school,

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Technology 101

The Archdiocese’s Digital Ministry   from page 15 OBSERVER – How do you determine what to offer on the website? TN – We use our theological training and practical ministry background, along with our technical knowledge and expertise. We asked ourselves “How can we make the message of the Gospel real in people’s lives through technology. All of us have over 10 years experience in youth ministry and leadership roles in Sunday School, youth camps, GOYA and other youth programs. We use all these elements to come up with new products. We see what the potential need is and develop a solution to meet that need. OBSERVER – How do you obtain the information for the website? TN - We all work as a team and have partners that include narthex press, Holy Transfiguration Monastery and various publishers who have given us permission to use their materials. We also take material the Archdiocese has produced over the years, repackage it and present it in some meaningful way. OBSERVER – Which site has the most visits? TN - There is the Iconograms service which offers electronic icon greeting cards for free. There are more than 1,000 different card themes for name days, feast days, etc. More than 200,000 cards have been sent out since 2003. The program started in 1998 in partnership with Blue Mountain Greeting Cards. Since then we have built our own system. Over the past 12 years, more than 1 million cards have been sent. OBSERVER – How many visits

do you receive on the Archdiocese website? TN – We get close to 200,000 visitors a month, according to Google. We have reached every conceivable place around the world. The countries with the highest number of visits are the U.S., Canada, the UK, Greece and Germany. OBSERVER – What products are you currently developing. TN – Right now we’re launching the Orthodox Youth Bible. It contains the Old and New Testaments and contains material specifically aimed at the youth and young adults. It was a collaborative effort with the Departments of Youth and Young Adult Ministries and Religious Education. One of its special features is a reading plan that covers the 100 most important stories of the Bible. It gives readers the ability to track their reading plan. The Youth Bible edition has been made possible by grants from FAITH Endowment and Leadership 100.We are also developing the Interactive Children’s Bible. OBSERVER – What other benefits are derived from the Archdiocese website? TN – It’s important to note that, through these products and services, people have found out about Orthodoxy and used it as part of the process to become Orthodox, or become Orthodox as a result of the material on the website. For those who already are Orthodox, it is an opportunity to engage the faith on a daily basis. It gives people the opportunity to become exposed to the rich faith and life of Orthodoxy. It is a ministry tool. This is a digital ministry that helps to advance the message of the Gospel and the Church.

Selected Gadget and Website Terms   from page 15




– iPhone: a line of Internet and multimedia-enabled “smartphones” also designed and marketed by Apple Inc. An iPhone functions as a camera phone, including text messaging and visual voicemail, a portable media player, and an Internet client, with e-mail, web browsing, and Wi-Fi connectivity. The user interface is built around the device’s multi-touch screen, including a virtual keyboard rather than a physical one. – BlackBerry: a line of mobile e-mail and smartphone devices developed and designed by Canadian company Research In Motion (RIM). It functions as a personal digital assistant with address book, calendar and to-do list capabilities. It also functions as a portable media player with support for music and video playback and camera picture and video capabilities. BlackBerry is primarily known for its ability to send and receive (push) Internet e-mail wherever mobile network service coverage is present, or through Wi-Fi connectivity. It is mainly a messaging phone with the largest array of messaging features in a smartphone today, including auto-text, auto-correct, text prediction, support for many languages, keyboard shortcuts, text emoticons, push email, push Facebook and Myspace notifications, push Ebay notifications, push instant messaging with BlackBerry Messenger, Google Messenger, ICQ, Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo Messenger and threaded text messaging. – Blog (a blend of the term web log): a type of website or part of a

website. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. Blog can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog. Most blogs are interactive, allowing visitors to leave comments and even message each other via widgets on the blogs and it is this interactivity that distinguishes them from other static websites. Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. Bishop Savas of Troas is in the process of developing an official Archdiocese blog. – Facebook: a social network service and website launched in February 2004 that is operated and privately owned by Facebook Inc. As of July, Facebook has more than 500 million active users, which is about one person for every 14 in the world. Users may create a personal profile, add other users as friends and exchange messages, including automatic notifications when they update their profile. Additionally, users may join common interest user groups, organized by workplace, school, or college, or other characteristics. Facebook allows anyone who declares themselves to be at least 13 years old to become a registered user of the website. – Twitter: a website that offers a social networking and microblogging service,

  to page 28


ΕΤΟΣ 75 • ΑΡΙΘΜΟΣ 1261

Οικουµενικός Πατριάρχης: «Το Πατριαρχείο µας έχει και επισήµως νοµική προσωπικότητα»

Συνάντηση Αρχιεπισκόπου Αµερικής ∆ηµητρίου και θρησκευτικών Αρχηγών µε Πρόεδρο Οµπάµα στο Λευκό Οίκο ôïõ Óôáýñïõ Ç. Ðáðáãåñìáíïý

ΝΕΑ ΥΟΡΚΗ – Ο Σεβασµιώτατος Αρχιεπίσκοπος Αµερικής κ. ∆ηµήτριος, την 1η Νοεµβρίου 2010, συµµετείχε µαζί µε άλλους θρησκευτικούς αρχηγούς των εκκλησιών µελών του Εθνικού Συµβουλίου Χριστιανικών Εκκλησιών (NCCC – Η.Π.Α.) σε µια ουσιαστική συνάντηση µε τον Πρόεδρο Οµπάµα, διαρκείας 45 λεπτών που πραγµατοποιήθηκε στην αίθουσα Roosevelt του Λευκού Οίκου. Μετά τις εισαγωγικές προσφωνήσεις της προέδρου του Εθνικού Συµβουλίου Χριστιανικών Εκκλησιών Peg Chamberlain και του γενικού γραµµατέως Michael Kinnamon, ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος ∆ηµήτριος ως ο έχων τα πρεσβεία θρησκευτικός αρχηγός και εκ µέρους όλων προσφώνησε τον Πρόεδρο τονίζοντας ότι «....το γεγονός της συναντήσεως µαζί σας σήµερα δεν αποτελεί µόνο τιµή αλλά και ιδιαίτερη χαρά για όλους µας». Ο Σεβασµιώτατος αναφέρθηκε στο βιβλικό χωρίο των Πράξεων των Αποστόλων (10:38) από το πρωτότυπο στα Ελληνικά και ακολούθως σε µετάφραση στα Αγγλικά στο οποίο ο Απόστολος Πέτρος δηλώνει ότι ο Ιησούς Χριστός κατά την επίγεια παρουσία Του ...διήλθεν ευεργετών και ιώµενος. Στη συνέχεια ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος εξήγησε στον Πρόεδρο ότι οι δραστηριότητες των θρησκευτικών οντοτήτων του NCCC εξυπηρετούν αυτόν ακριβώς το σκοπό όπως εκφράζεται από το παράδειγµα του Χριστού δηλ. «να ευεργετούν και θεραπεύουν». Παράλληλα δε ευχαρίστησε τον Πρόεδρο Οµπάµα για τις δικές του προσπάθειες προς αυτή την κατεύθυνση. Κατά τη διάρκεια της συναντήσεως αντηλλάγησαν απόψεις για θέµατα κοινωνικής προνοίας, δικαιοσύνης, εκπαίδευσης, θρησκευτικών ελευθεριών και φροντίδος για τους αναξιοπαθούντες συνανθρώπους µας. Η συνάντηση πραγµατοποιήθηκε διά µέσου του ειδικού γραφείου του Λευκού Οίκου για θέµατα πίστεως (White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships) µε το οποίο η Ιερά Αρχιεπισκοπή Αµερικής διατηρεί συνεχή επαφή και συνεργασία και µε τη συµβολή του Εθνικού Συµβουλίου Χριστιανικών Εκκλησιών Η.Π.Α., του οποίου η Αρχιεπισκοπή είναι ιδρυτικό µέλος από το 1950. Εκτός του Σεβασµιωτάτου Αρχιεπισκόπου Αµερικής κ. ∆ηµητρίου η αντιπροσωπεία των θρησκευτικών αρχηγών περιελάµβανε τους εξής: Rev. John McCullough, executive director and CEO of Church World Service, Bishop Johncy Itty of Church World Service, Bishop Mark Hanson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Bishop John R. Bryant of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, Rev. Sharon Watkins of the Σελίδα 21

ôïõ Íéêüëáïõ Ìáããßíá

ΑΡΧΙΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΙΚΗ ΕΓΚΥΚΛΙΟΣ ΤΩΝ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥΓΕΝΝΩΝ ∆εῦτε ἴδωµεν πιστοί, ποῦ ἐγεννήθη ὁ Χριστός (Ὕµνος Ὄρθρου Χριστουγέννων) 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 Φιλοπτώ-χους Ἀδελφότητες, τήν Νεολαία, τίς Ἑλληνορθόδοξες Ὀργανώσεις καί ὁλόκληρο τό Χριστεπώνυµον πλήρωµα τῆς Ἱερᾶς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς Ἀµερικῆς. Προσφιλεῖς Ἀδελφοί καί Ἀδελφές ἐν Χριστῷ, Στή λαµπρή Ἑορτή τῶν Χριστουγέννων ἑορτάζουµε ἕνα ἀληθινά θαυµαστό γεγονός κατά τό ὁποῖο ὁ Θεός, ἐν τῇ ἀπείρῳ καί θαυµαστῇ χάριτι Αὐτοῦ ἔγινε ἄνθρωπος καί µᾶς χάρισε διαρκῆ ἐλπίδα, νέα ζωή καί αἰώνια σωτηρία. Ἡ ἁγία γέννηση τοῦ Σωτῆρος µας στή Βηθλεέµ ἔγινε σέ συγκεκριµένο χρόνο, ἀλλά ἡ Σάρκωσή Του καί ἡ σηµασία της γιά τή λύτρωσή µας εἶναι διαχρονική. Ὁ Υἱός τοῦ Θεοῦ, ὁ Κύριος τῆς ∆όξης καί ὁ Βασιλεύς τῶν βασιλέων ὁ ὁποῖος διακρατεῖ τό σύµπαν µέ τόν λόγο τῆς δυνάµεώς Του, ἔγινε ἄνθρωπος οὕτως ὥστε ἐµεῖς οἱ ἄνθρωποι νά λυτρωθοῦµε, νά ἀνακαινισθοῦµε, νά ἑνωθοῦµε µέ Αὐτόν, καί νά καταστοῦµε συµπολίτες τῶν Ἁγίων καί µέλη τῆς οἰκογενείας τοῦ Θεοῦ. Τό µέγεθος καί τό βάθος τοῦ γεγονότος τῆς Γεννήσεως τοῦ Χριστοῦ εἶναι ἀδύνατον νά κατανοηθῇ ἀλλά τό µήνυµά της εἶναι σαφέστατο καί ἀληθινό. Πρόκειται περί µηνύµατος χάριτος, ἐλπίδος καί σωτηρίας γιά ὁλόκληρη τήν ἀνθρωπότητα καί τόν δηµιουργηθέντα κόσµο. Εἶναι µήνυµα γιά τό ὁποῖο πανηγυρίζουµε ἐνῶ συγχρόνως τό µοιραζόµεθα αὐτή τήν

Σελίδα 21

Εµφανώς συγκινηµένος ο Οικουµενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολοµαίος παρέλαβε αργά το µεσηµέρι της ∆ευτέρας 29ης Νοεµβρίου από τους δικηγόρους του Πατριαρχείου κ.κ. Τζεµ Σοφούογλου και Γιάννη Κτιστάκι, λέκτορα στο ∆ηµοκρίτειο Πανεπιστήµιο Θράκης, το “ταπού”, τον κτηµατολογικό τίτλο ιδιοκτησίας του Ορφανοτροφείου της Πριγκήπου µετά την επανεγγραφή του στην κυριότητα του Οικουµενικού Πατριαρχείου.. Νωρίτερα το έγγραφο είχε επιδοθεί στου δύο νοµικούς εκπροσώπους του Πατριαρχείου από τους αρµοδίους του Κτηµατολογικού Γραφείου της Πριγκήπου. Έτσι ολοκληρώνεται µια δικαστική περιπέτεια που έφτασε στο Ευρωπαϊκό ∆ικαστήριο ∆ικαιωµάτων του Ανθρώπου το οποίο και δικαίωσε το Οικουµενικό Πατριαρχείο. Σε δηλώσεις τους οι δικηγόροι του Πατριαρχείου αναφέρθηκαν σε αυτή τη διαδικασία ενώ σηµείωσαν ότι η επανεγγραφή στο όνοµα του Πατριαρχείου σηµαίνει και έµµεση αναγνώριση της Νοµικής Προσωπικότητας που οι κρατικές Αρχές της Τουρκίας επισήµως αρνούνται να του αναγνωρίσουν. Το ίδιο βράδυ, κατά τη διάρκεια της δεξιώσεως µε την ευκαιρία της θρονικής εορτής της Εκκλησίας της Κωνσταντινουπόλεως για την 30 ήν Νοεµβρίου, ο Οικουµενικός Πατριάρχης αναφέρθηκε στην ιστορική αυτή εξέλιξη σηµειώνοντας ότι αποτελεί ένα «δώρο» του Αποστόλου Ανδρέα του Πρωτοκλήτου. Είπε, µεταξύ άλλων, ο Πατριάρχης: «Θα ήταν παράλειψη από µέρους µου εάν δεν ανέφερα εις την αγάπη σας κατ’ αυτήν την εύσηµον ηµέρα και ώρα, ένα µεγάλο γεγονός το οποίον συνέβη σήµερον εις την ζωήν και στην ιστορία της Μητρός Εκκλησίας και της περί αυτής ενταύθα οµογενείας. Αντιλαµβάνεστε ότι εννοώ την έκδοση και την επίδοση εις ηµάς του τίτλου ιδιοκτησίας επ’ ονόµατι του Πατριαρχείου µας, διά το ακίνητον του Ορφανοτροφείου της Πριγκήπου µας το οποίο, και µαζί µε αυτό το Πατριαρχείο µας και η οµογένεια, πέρασαν τόσο δύσκολα χρόνια, διότι δεν µπορούσαµε να ανεχθούµε την αδικία που µας είχε γίνει τόσα χρόνια αγωνίας αλλά και αγώνων διά την επαναπόκτησιν του µεγαλοπρεπούς αυτού κτηρίου των πατέρων µας, το οποίο µας ανήκει εξ ολοκλήρου και ασυζητητί.  óåë. 22


 óåë. 20




Ευρωπαϊκό Κοινοβούλιο: Πρώτη διεθνής διάσκεψη Αρχόντων για θρησκευτικές ελευθερίες Στηρίζουν και υπερασπίζουν τα δικαιώματα και τα δίκαια του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου ôïõ Óôáýñïõ Ç. Ðáðáãåñìáíïý

ΒΡΥΞΕΛΛΕΣ – Το Τάγμα του Αγίου Ανδρέου των Αρχόντων του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου στις Η.Π.Α άνοιξε για μια ακόμη φορά νέους δρόμους και νέους ορίζοντες στον αδιάκοπο αγώνα που διεξάγει για την υπεράσπιση των δικαίων του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου, διοργανώνοντας στο Ευρωπαϊκό Κοινοβούλιο, την πρώτη Διεθνή Διάσκεψη για τις θρησκευτικές ελευθερίες στην Τουρκία. Η διάσκεψη με την επωνυμία «Θρησκευτικές Ελευθερίες: Η Γέφυρα της Τουρκίας προς την Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση» κατέδειξε ότι η πλήρης αναγνώριση και ο σεβασμός των θρησκευτικών ελευθεριών του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου και των άλλων θρησκευτικών μειονοτήτων στην Τουρκία θα μπορούσε να αποτελέσει γέφυρα προς την Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση, στην οποία η Τουρκία επιθυμεί διακαώς να ενταχθεί. Στη διάσκεψη η οποία πραγματοποιήθηκε 16 και 17 Νοεμβρίου στις Βρυξέλλες συμμετείχαν 200 περίπου λόγιοι, υποστηρικτές των θρησκευτικών ελευθεριών και των ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων, δημοσιογράφοι, διπλωμάτες, κοινοβουλευτικοί εκπρόσωποι, θρησκευτικοί αρχηγοί, εκπρόσωποι της Τουρκικής κυβερνήσεως, δικηγόροι και εκπρόσωποι των μειονοτήτων οι οποίοι επικέντρωσαν τις παρουσιάσεις τους στο θέμα των θρησκευτικών ελευθεριών γενικά και ανέλυσαν τα προβλήματα θρησκευτικής ελευθερίας που αντιμετωπίζουν οι θρησκευτικές μειονότητες της Τουρκίας. Παρουσιάστηκαν σύνθετες, διαφορετικές και πολλές φορές αντικρουόμενες απόψεις και εκτιμήσεις που αντανακλούσαν την διαφορετικότητα των ομιλητών. Όμως, κοινό συμπέρασμα και επαναλαμβανόμενη επωδός των εισηγητών υπήρξε η αδιαμφισβήτητη ανάγκη για αποφασιστικά και γρήγορα βήματα της Τουρκίας για την παροχή πλήρους θρησκευτικής ελευθερίας και αναγνώρισης για όλες τις θρησκευτικές μειονότητες. Η διάσκεψη ξεκίνησε το πρωί της 16ης Νοεμβρίου στην αμφιθεατρική αίθουσα συνεδριάσεων του πέμπτου ορόφου του Ευρωπαϊκού Κοινοβουλίου. Ο Δρ. Αντώνιος Λυμπεράκης, διοικητής του Τάγματος, καλωσόρισε τους συμμετέχοντες και ο Σεβ. Μητροπολίτης Γαλλίας κ. Εμμανουήλ ο οποίος είναι ο διευθυντής του Γραφείου της Ορθοδόξου Εκκλησίας στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση, μετέφερε τον Πατριαρχικό Xαιρετισμό. Στο γραπτό μήνυμά του ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης κ. Βαρθολομαίος τόνισε την προσήλωση του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου στη θρησκευτική ελευθερία όλων των ανθρώπων χωρίς εξαιρέσεις και χωρίς προκαταλήψεις. Ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Αμερικής Δημήτριος, ο οποίος ηγείτο των Αρχόντων εξ Αμερικής, στην εναρκτήρια ομιλία του σημείωσε ότι «η λέξη Ελευθερία δεν είναι μια έννοια απομονωμένη και αφηρημένη, αλλά είναι αναπόσπαστα συνδεδεμένη με δύο άλλες βασικές έννοιες και πραγματικότητες: την αλήθεια και την αγάπη. Δεν είναι δυνατόν να αναπτύξει κανείς αληθινή και γνήσια ελευθερία χωρίς παράλληλα να είναι αληθινός και να λέει την αλήθεια», είπε χαρακτηριστικά. Θύρα ανεωγμένη Ο Σεβασμιώτατος Αρχιεπίσκοπος Αμερικής κ. Δημήτριος αναφέρθηκε στη δυνατότητα που παρέχει η διάσκεψη αυτή ως μια ανοιχτή πόρτα για την Τουρκία και έφερε ως παράδειγμα τον Απόστολο Παύλο, προς τον οποίο ο Θεός παρουσίαζε σε κρίσιμες

Φωτογραφίες: ΔΗΜ. ΠΑΝΑΓΟΣ

Το Τάγμα του Αγίου Ανδρέου των Αρχόντων του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου στις Η.Π.Α. διοργάνωσε την πρώτη Διεθνή Διάσκεψη για τις θρησκευτικές ελευθερίες στην Τουρκία, στην έδρα του Ευρωπαϊκού κοινοβουλίου, στις Βρυξέλλες.

στιγμές της ζωής του ευκαιρίες υπό μορφή θύρας ανεωγμένης. Ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος εξήγησε ότι «μια ανοιχτή πόρτα είναι μια νέα ευκαιρία εισόδου σε περιοχές άγνωστες για την ανθρώπινη εμπειρία, μια ευκαιρία για την ανακάλυψη νέων δυνατοτήτων καλλιέργειας των ανθρωπίνων σχέσεων αλλά και για την εκμάθηση νέων τρόπων συνύπαρξης μεταξύ ανθρώπων πολύ διαφορετικών από πλευράς θρησκευτικής, πολιτιστικής και εθνικής. Μια θύρα ανεωγμένη είναι σημείο εισόδου σε μια νέα εποχή κατανόησης και αλληλοσεβασμού μεταξύ θρησκευτικών μειονοτήτων και του κράτους στο οποίο διαβιούν. Μια ανοιχτή πόρτα μπορεί επίσης να θεωρηθεί ως νέα ευκαιρία για την απάλειψη των απαράδεκτων περιορισμών της θρησκευτικής ελευθερίας που αδίκως έχουν επιβληθεί επί των θρησκευτικών μειονοτήτων στην Τουρκία και ειδικά επί του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου. Υπό αυτήν την διάσταση, η παρούσα Διεθνής Διάσκεψη, η οποία τόσο προσεκτικά και μεθοδικά έχει οργανωθεί από τους Άρχοντες του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου, αποτελεί μια ανοιχτή πόρτα για την Τουρκία ώστε ν’ αποδείξει την προθυμία της να κτίσει γέφυρα συνδέσεως με την Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση». (πλήρες κείμενο της ομιλίας βλ. head-brussels-address-11-17-2010) Την ομιλία του Αρχιεπισκόπου ακολούθησε μια σειρά ομιλητών σε θέματα σχετικά με τις θρησκευτικές ελευθερίες και τα ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα. Ο ραβίνος Arthur Schneier από την Νέα Υόρκη, ο οποίος είναι και πρόεδρος του Ιδρύματος «Έκκληση Συνειδήσεως» (Appeal of Conscience Foundation) τόνισε ότι η θρησκευτική ελευθερία είναι βασικό ανθρώπινο δικαίωμα σημειώνοντας ότι το κριτήριο που χαρακτηρίζει μια δημοκρατία είναι ο τρόπος με τον οποίο η πλειονότητα συμπεριφέρεται προς την μειονότητα. Οι αξιόλογοι ομιλητές παρουσίασαν μια γενική επισκόπηση των θεμάτων και των προβλημάτων των θρησκευτικών μειονοτήτων στην Τουρκία και ο δημόσιος διάλογος που ακολούθησε περιελάμβανε εκπροσώπους των θρησκευτικών μειονοτήτων της Τουρκίας, δηλ. εκπροσώπους των Αλεβί Μουσουλμάνων, των Αρμενίων, Καθολικών, Ελληνορθόδοξων, Εβραίων, Προτεσταντών και Συροϊακωβιτών Ορθοδόξων. Άλλες εισηγήσεις αφορούσαν στο τουρκικό νομικό σύστημα και τις διατάξεις του για τα δικαιώματα των θρησκευτικών μειονοτήτων, στις υποχρεώσεις της Τουρκίας σύμφωνα με τις διεθνείς συνθήκες και στην εξωτερική πολιτική των Ηνωμένων Πολιτειών για τις θρησκευτικές ελευθερίες. Τέλος υπήρξε και μια δεύτερη ανοιχτή συ-

ζήτηση στην οποία παρουσιάστηκαν νομικές και ανθρωπιστικές απόψεις για το θέμα. Μεταξύ των ομιλητών ήταν και ο Εγκεμέν Μπαγκίς, υπουργός Ευρωπαϊκών Υποθέσεων και κύριος διαπραγματευτής της Τουρκίας με την Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση, στον οποίο οι Άρχοντες του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου επέδωσαν αναμνηστική πλάκα για τις ενέργειές του στα θέματα των θρησκευτικών μειονοτήτων στην Τουρκία. Το βράδυ της πρώτης ημέρας των εργασιών της διασκέψεως ο πρέσβης των Η.Π.Α στο Βέλγιο κ. Howard Gutman και η σύζυγος του παρέθεσαν στην πρεσβευτική κατοικία δεξίωση προς τιμήν του Αρχιεπισκόπου Δημητρίου, των Αρχόντων του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου και όλων των συμμετεχόντων. Οι εργασίες της δεύτερης ημέρας της διασκέψεως πραγματοποιήθηκαν στο Ξενοδοχείο Conrad των Βρυξελλών και συμπεριέλαβαν απόψεις από την τουρκική πλευρά, την πλευρά ευρωβουλευτών του Ευρωπαϊκού Κοινοβουλίου και αυτήν του Ευρωπαϊκού Δικαστηρίου Ανθρωπίνων Δικαιωμάτων. Οι εισηγητές παρουσίασαν θέματα διαθρησκειακής κατανόησης και ερεύνησαν το ερώτημα της συμβατότητος του κοσμικού κράτους της Τουρκίας με τις θρησκευτικές ελευθερίες. Τέλος, ομάδα εισηγητών έκανε ανασκόπηση όλων των θεμάτων που συζητήθηκαν με την μορφή ανοιχτού διαλόγου που σκοπό είχε να προτείνει λύσεις και να θέσει το πλαίσιο προώθησης των θρησκευτικών ελευθεριών στη Τουρκία. «Ήταν ένα εντυπωσιακό γεγονός με μεγάλη βαρύτητα», είπε ο Δρ. Λυμπεράκης στον επίλογο της διήμερους διάσκεψης και σημείωσε ότι επρόκειτο για «ανταλλαγή

απόψεων την οποία χαρακτήρισε μια ατμόσφαιρα πολιτισμού, σεβασμού και πνευματικότητος» και σημείωσε την ποικιλομορφία και διαφορετικότητα όσων συμμετείχαν στην διάσκεψη. Ο κ. Γεώργιος Ρόκας, δικηγόρος και άρχοντας από τη Βοστώνη, πρωτοστάτησε στη διοργάνωση της διάσκεψης και προήδρευσε των εργασιών της με τη βοήθεια και συνδρομή του άρχοντα και δικηγόρου από το Τέξας Ιωάννη Ζαβιτσιάνου. Στην αποστολή των Αρχόντων του Τάγματος του Αγίου Ανδρέου συμμετείχαν 85 άτομα εξ Αμερικής συμπεριλαμβανομένων των Σεβ. Μητροπολιτών Άτλαντας κ. Αλεξίου και Νέας Ιερσέης κ. Ευαγγέλου. Καθοριστικός ήταν ο ρόλος και η συμβολή του π. Αλεξάνδρου Καρλούτσου, συμβούλου και υπευθύνου του Τάγματος του Αγίου Ανδρέα. Η διεθνής διάσκεψη συνδιοργανώθηκε από το Τάγμα των Αρχόντων του Αγίου Ανδρέα του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου και την Αδελφότητα των Οφφικιάλων του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου στην Ευρώπη «Παναγία η Παμμακάριστος» την οποία αντιπροσώπευσε ο πρόεδρός της Οδυσσέας Σασσαγιάννης. Σημαντική για τη διοργάνωση και έκβαση της διάσκεψης ήταν και η συμβολή του Γραφείου του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση, του οποίου ηγείται ο Μητροπολίτης Γαλλίας κ. Εμμανουήλ. Άλλες δραστηριότητες Η αποστολή των Αρχόντων αμέσως μετά την άφιξη της στις Βρυξέλλες στις 14 Νοεμβρίου εκκλησιάστηκε στον πανηγυρίζοντα Μητροπολιτικό Ναό των Αρχαγγέλων Μιχαήλ και Γαβριήλ. Στη Θεία Λειτουργία προεξήρχε ο Σεβ. Μητροπολίτης Βελγίου κ. Παντελεήμων, ο οποίος και καλωσόρισε τους Άρχοντες και στη συνέχεια τους φιλοξένησε σ’ ένα εορταστικό ομογενειακό πρόγραμμα σε παρακείμενη αίθουσα εκδηλώσεων. Την επομένη ημέρα 15 Νοεμβρίου, η ομάδα των Αρχόντων περιηγήθηκε την ιστορική μονή Chevetogne, η ο οποία ιδρύθηκε το 1925. Στη μονή αυτή υπάρχει βυζαντινός ναός αφιερωμένος στης Ύψωση του Τιμίου Σταυρού. Το ίδιο βράδυ πραγματοποιήθηκε εναρκτήριο δείπνο στο ξενοδοχείο Conrad παρουσία του Αρχιεπισκόπου Δημητρίου ο οποίος ανεφέρθη με επαινετικά λόγια στους Άρχοντες για την πρωτοβουλία της διοργάνωσης διεθνούς διασκέψεως. Εξ άλλου μετά το πέρας των εργασιών της διάσκεψης, εως στις 18 Νοεμβρίου, οι Άρχοντες περιηγήθηκαν σε δυο ιστορικές πόλεις του Βελγίου με ιδιαίτερη σημασία, οι οποίες χαίρουν της αναγνώρισης και προστασίας της UNESCO ως μνημεία πολιτιστικής κληρονομιάς για όλο τον κόσμο. Την ομάδα, υπό την ηγεσία του Σεβ. Μητροπολίτου Άτλαντας κ. Αλεξίου, ξενάγησε με ιδιαίτερη φροντίδα και φιλοξενία ο Θεοφ. Επίσκοπος Σινώπης κ. Αθηναγόρας. Στην πόλη Ghent, μεταξύ των πολλών μνημείων επισκέφθηκαν και την ορθόδοξη εκκλησία του Αποστόλου Ανδρέα. Στη πόλη Bruges, μεγάλο ενδιαφέρον είχε η επίσκεψη στο μικρό ρωμαιοκαθολικό ναό του Παναγίου Αίματος όπου φυλάσσεται φιαλίδιο που όπως λέγεται, περιέχει κομμάτι υφάσματος με το αίμα του Χριστού το οποίο διέσωσε ο Ιωσήφ ο από Αριμαθαίας και μετέφεραν από τους Αγίους Τόπους οι σταυροφόροι της 2ας Σταυροφορίας. Τέλος η διαδρομή κατέληξε στον ελληνορθόδοξο ναό των Αγίων Κωνσταντίνου και Ελένης της πόλης Bruges.





Αρχιερατικός Εσπερινός στο Σημείο Μηδέν

Φωτογραφίες: JOHN MINDALA

Ο Σεβασµιώτατος Αρχιεπίσκοπος Αµερικής ∆ηµήτριος την Κυριακή 5 ∆εκεµβρίου, παραµονή της εορτής του Αγίου Νικολάου, τέλεσε ειδικό αρχιερατικό εσπερινό στο σηµείο όπου βρισκόταν η οµώνυµη εκκλησία του Αγίου στο “Σηµείο Μηδέν” στο κάτω Μανχάταν, παρουσία περισσότερων των 700 πιστών, οι οποίοι αψηφώντας το τσουχτερό κρύο έδωσαν βροντερό παρών, συνεισφέροντας στις προσπάθειες ανοικοδόµησης του Ορθόδοξου Ναού, ο οποίος καταστράφηκε κατά τις τροµοκρατικές επιθέσεις της 11ης Σεπτεµβρίου. Την τελετή κάλυψαν πολλά τοπικά αµερικανικά Μέσα Μαζικής Ενηµέρωσης, καθώς και οµογενειακά-ελληνικά.

ἁγία ἡµέρα, εἶναι µήνυµα-πρόσκληση στούς συνανθρώπους µας νά ἔλθουν καί νά ἴδουν αὐτό τό ὁποῖο ὁ ∆ηµιουργός καί Θεός µας ἔχει κάµει γιά µᾶς. Τήν νύχτα τῶν Χριστουγέννων, οἱ ἄγγελοι ἐµφανίσθηκαν µέσα στήν δόξα τοῦ Θεοῦ καί ἀνήγγειλαν τήν γέννηση τοῦ Χριστοῦ στούς ποιµένες. Ἀπαντῶντας οἱ ποιµένες εἶπαν: ∆ιέλθωµεν δή ἕως Βηθλεέµ καί ἴδωµεν τό ρῆµα τοῦτο τό γεγονός (Λουκ. 2:15). Ἀποδεχόµενοι τήν πρόσκληση νά συµµετάσχουν σ’ αὐτό τό ἔνδοξο γεγονός, ἦλθαν καί εἶδαν τόν νεογέννητο Χριστό, καί ἔκθαµβοι ἀπ’ αὐτά τά ὁποῖα ὁ Θεός εἶχε κάµει γιά τή σωτηρία µας, ἔφυγαν δοξάζοντες καί αἰνοῦντες τόν Θεόν ἐπί πᾶσιν οἷς ἤκουσαν καί εἶδον (Λουκ. 2:20). Ἀµέσως µετά τήν Γέννηση τοῦ Σωτῆρος, σοφοί ἄνδρες, Μάγοι ἐξ Ἀνατολῶν, εἶδαν ἕνα µυστηριῶδες ἄστρο καί ἀκολουθῶντας το ἦλθαν ἀναζητῶντας τόν Βασιλέα ὁ Ὁποῖος γεννήθηκε στήν Ἰουδαία. Μαθαίνοντας περί τοῦ τόπου γεννήσεως τοῦ Κυρίου, ἦλθαν καί εἶδαν τό βρέφος Ἰησοῦν, Τοῦ προσέφεραν δῶρα καί Τόν προσκύνησαν. Ἀνταποκρινόµενοι στήν πρόσκληση πού ἔγινε σ’ αὐτούς διά τοῦ σηµείου τοῦ ἄστρου, ἦλθαν καί συνάντησαν Ἐκεῖνον ὁ Ὁποῖος θά ἐγένετο µεγάλος ἡγέτης τοῦ λαοῦ Του ὅπως προεῖπαν οἱ προφῆτες (Ματθ. 2:1-12). Ὅπως οἱ ποιµένες τῆς Βηθλεέµ καί οἱ ἐξ Ἀνατολῶν Μάγοι δέχθηκαν τήν πρόσκληση νά ἔλθουν καί νά ἴδουν τό ὑπέροχο θαῦµα τῆς Σαρκώσεως τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἔτσι καί ἐµεῖς προσκαλούµεθα σ’ αὐτή τήν µεγάλη Ἑορτή νά ἔλθουµε καί νά συναντήσουµε τόν Χριστό καί νά δοῦµε τό µεγάλο καί θαυµάσιο ἔργο τό ὁποῖο ἔκαµε Ἐκεῖνος γιά µᾶς καί γιά τή σωτηρία µας. Τήν ἡµέρα αὐτή ἐρχόµεθα καί βλέπουµε τό λαµπρό φῶς τῆς ἀληθείας καί τῆς φεγγοβόλου ζωῆς πού διαπερνοῦν τό σκοτάδι καί τήν ἀπελπισία τοῦ κόσµου µας. Ἀκοῦµε µήνυµα ἐλπίδος καί χάριτος τό ὁποῖο κατασιγάζει ὅλες τίς ἄλλες σκέψεις καί δραστηριότητες καί κατευθύνει τίς καρδιές καί τίς διάνοιές µας σ’ Ἐκεῖνον ὁ Ὁποῖος ἔχει ἔλθει γιά νά φέρῃ εἰρήνη καί ἀσφάλεια. Ἐρχόµεθα στόν Χριστό καί συναντοῦµε δικαιοσύνη, ἁγιότητα καί ἀγάπη καί διαπιστώνουµε πόσο αὐτά εἶναι ἀπαραίτητα γιά νά ἔχουµε ἀλήθεια καί περίσσεια ζωῆς. Καλούµεθα, ἐπίσης, νά µοιρασθοῦµε τήν χαρά µας ἐν Χριστῷ καί νά προσφέρουµε αὐτή τήν πρόσκληση σέ ὅλους. Εἴµεθα οἱ φορεῖς τῆς καλῆς εἰδήσεως αὐτῶν πού ἔκαµε ὁ Θεός γιά µᾶς ὑπερνικώντας τήν ἁµαρτία καί τόν θάνατο. Εἴµεθα οἱ ἀγγελιαφόροι πού ἐπαναλαµβάνουν στόν κόσµο τήν δοξολογία τῶν ἀγγέλων κατά τήν νύκτα τῆς Γεννήσεως τοῦ Κυρίου ∆όξα ἐν Ὑψίστοις Θεῷ! (Λουκ. 2:14). Εἴµεθα αὐτοί πού ὅπως τό ἄστρο τῆς Ἀνατολῆς ὁδήγησε τούς Μάγους, καλούµεθα νά ὁδηγήσουµε ὅλους ἐκείνους οἱ ὁποῖοι ἀποζητοῦν νά ἔλθουν καί νά δοῦν τόν Χριστό νά ἔλθουν καί νά δοῦν Ἐκεῖνον ὁ Ὁποῖος φέρει ζωή καί ἐλπίδα, εἰρήνη καί χαρά στήν κάθε καρδιά ἡ ὁποία Τόν δέχεται. Εἴµεθα αὐτοί οἱ ὁποῖοι καλούµεθα νά συγκεντρώσουµε ὅλο τόν λαό τοῦ Θεοῦ στόν οἶκο Του, γιά νά συναντήσῃ τόν Κύριό µας Ἰησοῦ Χριστό. Σέ αὐτή τήν εὐλογηµένη Ἑορτή τῶν Χριστουγέννων, Ἑορτή τῆς χαρᾶς καί τῆς ἀγάπης, ἀπευθύνω σέ σᾶς καί τίς οἰκογένειές σας τίς θερµότατες εὐχές µου γιά µία ὑπέροχη ἡµέρα λατρείας καί ἀδελφοσύνης γεµάτη µέ τήν εἰρήνη καί τήν παρουσία τοῦ Θεοῦ. Ἄς προσφέρουµε µαζί τήν εὐγνωµοσύνη µας στόν Κύριό µας γιά ὅ,τι ἔκαµε γιά µᾶς µέσῳ τῆς ἐνδόξου Σαρκώσεώς Του. Ἄς ἀπευθύνουµε ἐπίσης τήν πρόσκληση σέ ὅλους νά ἔλθουν καί νά δοῦν τήν δόξα τοῦ γεννηθέντος Κυρίου. Με πατρική ἐν Χριστῷ ἀγάπη,

Θρονική Εορτή της Πρωτόθρονης Εκκλησίας Φωτογραφία: Ν. ΜΑΓΓΙΝΑΣ

ΚΩΝΣΤΑΝΤΙΝΟΥΠΟΛΗ .– Ο Πρωτόκλητος Μαθητής του Χριστού, ο Άγιος Απόστολος Ανδρέας, είναι ο ιδρυτής της Εκκλησίας της Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, γι’ αυτό και την περασµένη Τρίτη, 30 Νοεµβρίου στο Φανάρι, µε πανεπίσηµη Πατριαρχική Λειτουργία τιµήθηκε η Θρονική Εορτή της Πρωτόθρονης Εκκλησίας, του Οικουµενικού Πατριαρχείου. Το πρωί, στις 9, εισόδευσε στον Πατριαρχικό Ναό του Αγίου Γεωργίου ο Πατριάρχης του Γένους κ.κ. Βαρθολοµαίος και χοροστάτησε των Καταβασιών. Ακολούθησε η Ευχαριστιακή Σύναξη. Ελαβαν µέρος Αρχιερείς από διάφορα µέρη της Ορθόδοξης Οικουµένης, συλλειτούργησαν δε τα µέλη της Αγίας και Ιεράς Συνόδου του Οικουµενικού Πατριαρχείου, ο Σεβασµιώτατος Μητροπολίτης Ζακύνθου κ. Χρυσόστοµος, ο Μητροπολίτης Περγάµου Ιωάννης και ο Μητροπολίτης Κωνσταντίας–Αµµοχώστου Βασίλειος, εκπρόσωπος της Εκκλησίας της Κύπρου. Παρέστησαν εκπρόσωποι άλλων Εκκλησιών και Οµολογιών, µε κυριότερη πολυµελή Ρωµαιοκαθολική Αντιπροσωπεία υπό την ηγεσία του Καρδιναλίου Kurt Koch, νέου Προέδρου του Ποντιφηκού Συµβουλίου για την προώθηση της ενότητος των Χριστιανών.

Συνάντηση Αρχιεπισκόπου Αµερικής ∆ηµητρίου και θρησκευτικών Αρχηγών µε Πρόεδρο Οµπάµα  óåë. 19 Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Bishop Thomas L. Hoyt Jr. of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Mr Stanley J. Noffsinger of the Church of the Brethren, Archbishop Khajag S. Barsamian of the Armenian Church of America, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the Episcopal Church, Rev. Gradye Parsons of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Rev. Dr. Betsy

Miller of the Moravian Church, Thomas Swain of the Religious Society of Friends, Rev. Wesley S. Granberg-Michaelson of the Reformed Church in America, Bishop Sharon Zimmerman Rader of The United Methodist Church, Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America, Rev. Geoffrey Black of the United Church of Christ, and Dr. Walter L. Parrish III of the Progressive National Baptist Convention.

† ὁ Ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Ἀµερικῆς ∆ηµήτριος

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Οικουµενικός Πατριάρχης: «Το Πατριαρχείο µας έχει και επισήµως νοµική προσωπικότητα»  óåë. 19 Εχάσαμε όλες τις δίκες εδώ ως γνωστόν, και στο τέλος αναγκασθήκαμε να προσφύγουμε εις το Ευρωπαϊκό Δικαστήριο Δικαιωμάτων του ανθρώπου, όπου και εδικαιώθημεν. Η Τουρκική Κυβέρνησις, εν συνεχεία, δεν ήσκησε το δικαίωμα που είχε διά την αναψηλάφιση της δίκης, αλλ’ απεδέχθη την απόφαση του Στρασβούργου και ξεκίνησε, εν συνεχεία, όλες τις απαιτούμενες διαδικασίες, οι οποίες και εστέφθησαν σήμερα από την επιτυχία αυτήν, του να έχουμε εις τας χείρας μας από της μεσημβρίας της σήμερον, δια χειρών των νομικών συμβούλων μας και εκπροσώπων μας τον περιπόθητο τίτλο ιδιοκτησίας. Επαναλαμβάνω και υπογραμμίζω επ’ ονόματι του Πατριαρχείου μας, που σημαίνει όχι απλώς ότι επαναποκτούμε το ακίνητό μας, αλλά σημαίνει ότι πλέον το Πατριαρχείο μας έχει και επισήμως νομική προσωπικότητα και έχει δικαίωμα να έχει ακίνητο περιουσία και εαν δεν είχε νομική προσωπικότητα δεν θα ημπορούσε να έχει σήμερα εις τα χέρια του τον τίτλο ιδιοκτησίας του Ορφανοτροφείου της Πριγκήπου. Είναι μία ευοίωνος εξέλιξις. Θα ευχόμασταν να μην είχαν οδηγηθεί τα πράγματα εδώ που οδηγήθησαν, διότι ύστερα από τόσα χρόνια αγώνων και αγωνίας καταλήξαμε στον ίδιο παρονομαστή που λέμε. Καταλήξαμε στο να έχουμε και πάλι τον τίτλο ιδιοκτησίας που είχαμε στα χέρια μας και από την περίοδο της Οθωμανικης Αυτοκρατορίας και από την περίοδο της Τουρκικής Δημοκρατίας. Έχουμε τίτλο ιδιοκτησίας από το 1929 και αδίκως και κακώς αι εφ’ ημάς τεταγμέναι αρχαί και ιδιαιτέρως η Γενική Διεύθυνση Βακουφίων ημφισβήτησε αυτόν τον τίτλο ιδιοκτησίας, που το ίδιο Τουρκικό κρατος μας είχε δώσει και οδηγήθημεν στα δικαστήρια, ηδικήθημεν, το δεχτήκαμε, και καταλήξαμε και πάλι, επαναλαμβάνω, εκεί απ’ όπου ξεκινήσαμε, αδίκως και ματαίως ... Τέλος καλό όλα καλά, όπως λέμε. Δόξα τω Θεώ πάντων ένεκεν. Ας είναι ένα μάθημα και μία υπόμνηση για όλους μας ότι ποτέ δεν πρέπει να απογοητευόμεθα, ποτέ δεν πρέπει να απαισιοδοξούμε, ποτέ δεν πρέπει να καταθέτουμε τα πνευματικά όπλα, αλλά να εξακολουθήσουμε ως ομογένεια και ως Μεγάλη του Χριστού Εκκλησία, να αγωνιζόμεθα και να έχουμε το ίδιο αγωνιστικό φρόνημα και να υπολογίζουμε εις την Πρόνοια του Θεού, η οποία Πρόνοια του Θεού ξεπερνά όλα τα ανθρώπινα εμπόδια, όλες τις ανθρώπινες δυσκολίες, και μας εξάγει εκάστοτε εις αναψυχήν. Ο Θεός γνωρίζει τους τρόπους, του δρόμους, και τα μονοπάτια, τα οποία δεν μπορούμε εμείς να φανταστούμε. Και ιδού το αποτέλεσμα για μας που δεν επαύσαμε ουδέ επί στιγμή να ελπίζουμε στην αγάπη και την φιλανθρωπία του Θεού, μέχρι την τελική μας δικαίωση”. Συνεχής και ανένδοτος ο αγώνας για τη Χάλκη Λίγες ημέρες νωρίτερα, ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος εμφανίστηκε αποφασισμένος να συνεχισθεί ο αγώνας για τα δίκαια της Ρωμηοσύνης, τα οποία καταστρατηγούνται, όπως ανέφερε σε ομιλία του στον Ιερό Ναό των Παμμεγίστων

Ταξιαρχών Σωσθενίου (Στένης) του Βοσπόρου όπου και χοροστάτησε με την ευκαιρία της εορτής της Σύναξης των Αγίων Αρχαγγέλων. “Εμείς δεν είμαστε από τους ανθρώπους που απογοητευόμεθα και καταθέτουμε τα πνευματικά όπλα”, είπε ο Πατριάρχης ο οποίος έκανε ιδιαίτερη αναφορά στα 23 κατειλημμένα -από τη Γενική Διεύθυνση Βακουφίων- ιδρύματα της Ομογένειας, ένα από τα οποία είναι και ο Ναός των Παμμεγίστων Ταξιαρχών Στένης. “Έχουμε χρέος, έχουμε ηθική υποχρέωση προς την μνήμη των Πατέρων μας οι οποίοι μας τα εκληροδότησαν όλα αυτά, να τα προστατεύσουμε, να τα διαφυλάξουμε και να τα παραδώσουμε στις γενεές που θα μας ακολουθήσουν”, τόνισε ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης, ενώ αναφερόμενος στην Θεολογική Σχολή της Χάλκης τόνισε ότι ο αγώνας για την επαναλειτουργία της “θα είναι συνεχής και ανένδοτος”. «Ήρθαμε εδώ για να ενισχύσουμε με την παρουσία μας, με την ευλογία της Μητρός Εκκλησίας, να ενισχύσουμε ηθικώς την ταλαιπωρημένη αυτή Κοινότητα που ο ναός της είναι κατειλημμένος (mazbut). Ενθυμούμαι την πρώτη χοροστασία που έκανα ως Πατριάρχης το 1991, και σε κάποια άλλη χοροστασία μου εδώ, σας το υπενθύμισα πολύ λίγες ημέρες μετά την ενθρονισή μου ότι έδωσα λόγο ότι θά αγωνιστώ, ότι θα προσπαθήσω και αυτή την εκκλησία και τις άλλες εκκλησίες και τα άλλα ιδρύματά μας που είναι κατειλημμένα αδίκως και παρανόμως να τα επαναφέρουμε, εις την νομιμότητα, εις την κανονικότητα, εις την ομαλή ζωή με το να επιτραπεί και σε αυτά τα ιδρύματά μας και σε αυτές τις κοινότητές μας να διεξάγονται εκλογές και να διοικούνται από αιρετά στελέχη, από ανθρώπους που θα τους εκλέγει εκ των κόλπων της η Ομογένειά μας. Μετά παρέλευσιν 19 ετών από τότε που το είπα αυτό, δεν κατορθώθη να επιτευχθή. Ούτε ο νέος βακουφικός νόμος 2008 αποκατέστησε τα κατειλημμένα βακούφιά μας. Όμως αυτό δεν σημαίνει ότι ο αγώνας θα σταματήσει. Εμείς δεν είμαστε από τους ανθρώπους που απογοητευόμεθα

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.

Φωτογραφίες: Ν. ΜΑΓΓΙΝΑΣ

Οι δικηγόροι του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου κ.κ. Σοφούογλου και Γιάννης Κτιστάκις, κρατούν τον κτηματολογικό τίτλο ιδιοκτησίας του Ορφανοτροφείου της Πριγκήπου (επάνω φωτογραφία) μετά την επανεγγραφή του στην κυριότητα του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου. και καταθέτουμε τα πνευματικά όπλα. Το αγωνιστικό φρόνημα μας το χαρίζει ο Θεός και οι Πατέρες μας και είμαστε αποφασισμένοι να διεκδικήσουμε μέχρι τέλους και τα mazbut και τις εκκλησίες του Γαλατά και ό,τι άλλο παρανόμως μας αφαιρέθηκε» είπε ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης. «Είχε η Μεγάλη του Γένους Σχολή τη δικαίωσή της από το Ευρωπαϊκό Δικαστήριο Δικαιωμάτων του ανθρώπου, είχε το Πατριαρχείο μας τη μεγάλη δικαίωσή του για το Ορφανοτροφείο. Εγγράφεται και πάλι το Ορφανοτροφείο επ΄ονόματι του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου και διερωτώμεθα γιατί όλη αυτή η περιπέτεια, ο δικαστικός αγώνας, τα έξοδα, αφού είχαμε τίτλο ιδιοκτησίας για το Ορφανοτροφείο επ΄ ονόματι του Πατριαρχείου, ότι ο ιδιοκτήτης ήταν το Πατριαρχείο. Γιατί αυτό να αμφισβητηθεί; Λοιπόν ο αγώνας μας είναι δίκαιος. Δεν ζητούμε τίποτε περισσότερον από αυτά που μας ανήκουν. Έχουμε χρέος, έχουμε ηθική υποχρέωση προς την μνήμη των Πατέρων μας οι οποίοι μας τα εκληροδότησαν όλα αυτά, να τα προστατεύσουμε, να τα διαφυλάξουμε και να τα παραδώσουμε στις γενεές που θα μας ακολουθήσουν και εν τούτω έγκειται ο αγώνας μας και εδώ και στην Ευρώπη και όπου έχουμε τις δυνατότητες και με καθ΄οιονδήποτε τρόπο να διεκδικήσουμε τα δικαιώματά μας. Λοιπόν ο αγώνας συνεχίζεται. Ελπίζουμε ότι και το συντονιστικόν όργανον για τα πράγματα της Ομογενείας το οποίον απεφασίσθη να συγκροτηθεί μόλις

χθες, πολύ σωστά και πολύ δίκαια, και αυτό θα βοηθήσει στις επί μέρους Κοινότητες, στα επί μέρους Ιδρύματά μας να συντονιστούν και να αγωνιστούν το ένα δίπλα στο άλλο με αλληλεγγύη, με ομόνοια, με αγάπη κάτω από τη σκέπη της Μητρός Εκκλησίας για να καταλήξουμε σε δίκαιες λύσεις», πρόσθεσε. Ο Πατριάρχης πριν ολοκληρώσει τους λόγους του δεν παρέλειψε να αναφερθεί και στο ζήτημα της άδειας επαναλειτουργίας της Θεολογικής Σχολής της Χάλκης από το Κράτος και τόνισε: «Να δώσει την άδεια επαναλειτουργίας της Χάλκης του χρόνου που συμπληρώνονται 40 χρόνια από το κλείσιμό της. Και εκεί ο αγώνας μας μέχρι της επαναλειτουργίας της Σχολής μας θα είναι συνεχής και ανένδοτος διότι το αίτημά μας είναι δίκαιο, διότι αυτό που έγινε πριν 40 χρόνια ήταν άδικο». Η εφημερίδα “Ζαμάν” έγραψε μεταξύ άλλων την Πέμπτη 2 Δεκεμβρίου πως “δεδομένου ότι η επιστροφή του Ορφανοτροφείου της Πριγκήπου για το Ελληνικό Ορθόδοξο Πατριαρχείο ολοκληρώθηκε αυτήν την εβδομάδα, οι δικηγόροι του Πατριαρχείου έχουν ξεκινήσει μια παρόμοια διαδικασία για την επιστροφή των άλλων κτιρίων που ανήκουν σε ιδρύματα της ελληνικής μειονότητας της Τουρκίας...Η απόφαση της Γενικής Διεύθυνσης Ιδρυμάτων για να επιστρέψει το ορφανοτροφείο στο Πατριαρχείο σηματοδοτεί την πρώτη φορά που η τουρκική κυβέρνηση έχει επιστρέψει κατασχεθέν περιουσιακό στοιχείω σε μια μειονοτική ομάδα”.





Boston Cathedral Honors Veterans BOSTON – A large contingent of past and present veterans at Annunciation Cathedral of New England participated in a moving Veterans Day Program at the Cathedral dedicated in their honor on Nov. 14. The memorable event was attended by an overflow crowd of veteran family members, relatives, Cathedral stewards and friends. Recognized were the 850 veterans who served in the U.S. military from WWI to the present. The program began with a memorial service for more than 500 deceased veterans from the Cathedral conducted by the V. Rev. Dr. Cleopas Strongylis, dean. Participating in the ceremony were a contingent of flag bearers and members of the Hanscom Field Cadet Color Guard from each military service branch, the George K. Menichios Post No. 324 American Legion and Evzones from the New England Hellenic American Association. The program

included a wreath placement, flag folding and description, “taps,” an inspirational Veteran’s Day message by John “Jake” Comer, former National Commander of the American Legion, the presence of Greek American WWII Hero, John Katsaros and patriotic musical selections by the Cathedral choir and Carillon System. The Cathedral Philoptochos hosted a festive reception in the upper hall, which included a display of photos and other war memorabilia. The Cathedral Veterans Committee includes Dr. Christopher G. Gussis, chair; Damon Bakos, Chet Block, Nicholas Chigaris, Chris Dracopoulos, Charles Georgennes, Harris P. Jameson, Christos and George Kotros, James P. Lemonias, Alex Mavradis, Arthur Papas, Paul Stamatos, John C. Yanakis, Nicholas Zevitas and (posthumously) John C. Dimitrakis, George H. Gennis, Harry Triantos and Theodore P. Vallas.









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Jerusalem pilgrimage A group of parishioners from Annunciation Church in Winston-Salem, N.C. had an audience with Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem during their recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Their pastor, Fr. Demetri Kangelaris, led the pilgrimage.

Community Milestones 60–Year Celebration

NEW YORK – More than 500 persons gathered at St. Gerasimos Church on Manhattan’s Upper West Side on Oct. 24 to mark the parish’s feast day and 60th anniversary. The parish council president, Spiros Vikatos, welcomed and thanked the hundreds of guests, family and friends, who were present to venerate St. Gerasimos and share in Christian fellowship. At the social hour after the Divine Liturgy, those in attendance gathered to meet and greet family members and friends.

50–Year Gala

GLENVIEW, Ill. -- More than 900 parishioners and guests celebrated the 50th anniversary of the founding of Sts. Peter and Paul Church at a dinner dance on Oct. 10. “We were overwhelmed by the phenomenal turnout. It was magical to be surrounded by so many people who were all in such a festive mood,” stated Suzanne Santos, who co-chaired the dinner dance with her husband, Jim, the parish council president. The event was underwritten by several donors including, Andrew Athens, the Peter G. Colis family, Mark and Karen Koulogeorge, Pat Kuchuris, the Elaine Pappas estate and Glenview State Bank. Planning Committee members in-

cluded Lisa Georgouses, Beth LaMotte, Georgia Ryerson, Georgene Shanley, Eleni Soukoulis, Katy Sutter and Didi Tatooles, for their efforts, which contributed to the event’s success. These 50th anniversary activities have been coordinated by a general committee, chaired by Jim Smirles. Other members include Jim and Suzanne Santos, Chris Atsaves, Elaine Buscaglia, Christy Gouletas, Mary Ann Langas, Lee Poteracki and Jim Soukoulis. Fr. Angelo Artemas, pastor, served as advisor. “Saints Peter and Paul Church was first envisioned by a handful of determined young couples who wanted to establish a Greek Orthodox church in the north shore suburbs where they had moved,” explained Smirles, a charter member who also developed the first Sunday school program for parish youth. “That perseverance and resourcefulness resulted in a beautiful church building and community center, as well as a thriving church community, here in Glenview.” “We are grateful to the founders and our first pastors – Fr. Dennis Latto and Fr. George Scoulas – for their inspiring leadership and their gift of faith,” Fr. Artemas noted. “We owe it to them to continue their legacy and pass on our traditions, faith and worship to the next generation.”






Denver OCF Members Help Local Charities DENVER -- Imagine one day focused entirely on serving our neighbor. One day where Orthodox Christians, young and old, Greek, Romanian, Antiochian, Russian, and converts alike take time to use their own hands to work for the benefit of local nonprofit organizations. Several of the Orthodox Christian parishes in Denver did just this on ‘Saturday of Service’ (SoS) on Oct. 2. The idea originated as a way for Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) students as well as the women of Philoptochos to work on a project together. It quickly and naturally, however, became an all inclusive event for clergy and laity of all ages and from all area Orthodox churches. Over 150 pan-Orthodox volunteers from several area parishes participated in a most gratifying hands-on labor of love. Twelve local charities, which are perpetually in need, received that assistance in a grand way. The ‘Denver Rescue Mission’ saw many OCF members serving at two different soup kitchens. ‘Champa House,’ the local shelter for battered women and their children, involved Fr. Lou Christopulos and Presbytera Marsha from St. Catherine’s in Greenwood Village scraping, sanding, and taping the common areas in preparation for painting by professional painters. Others assisted with ‘Connections,’ a therapeutic riding center for highly sensitive children, including children with autism. These volunteers painted hen houses, whitewashed the inside of stables, and fixed leaky roofs. ‘Synergy Residential Treatment Center’ for young men at risk will be the recipient of a brand new basketball court because of a generous anonymous donation. Other volunteers helped refugees with assimilation to American culture and teaching English as a Second Language at a resettlement center. The list goes on…children volunteered at a local clothing bank, ‘A Precious Child.’ Volunteers of all ages delivered almost 50 meals to the homes of people struggling with lifethreatening illnesses through ‘Project Angel Heart.’ Outdoor yard work and painting was performed at ‘Our Center.’ Local youth sorted clothing and food at ‘Sister Carmen.’ Volunteers helped paint 12 rooms at ‘Families First,’ using paint and assistance generously donated by Lowe’s. In all, more than $16,000 in donations were collected from parishioners and AHEPA to fund these projects, and over 600 man hours were volunteered on Saturday of Service. Later that afternoon, about 50 volunteers met at the Metropolis Center of Denver for a Vespers service, followed by a barbecue. A representative volunteer from each charity then gave a mini–report about their group’s experience.

Metropolitan Isaiah and young adults from Orthodox Christian Fellowship chapters at the Texas cemetery.

Young Adults Restore Moslem Cemetery in Texas KENDALIA, Texas – Young adults from three parishes and several Orthodox Christian Fellowship chapters restored a Moslem cemetery on the grounds of the Holy Archangels Monastery, near San Antonio, Oct. 30. The Metropolis of Denver-sponsored the service project, conducted by Metropolis Youth Director Deacon Paul Zaharas and Fr. Nicholas Hadzellis of Houston’s Annunciation Cathedral. The Moslem cemetery exists on the grounds of the Holy Archangels Monastery, which was established on the site of a former Moslem religious school. Since acquiring the property the Fathers of the Monastery have removed or altered nearly all of the facilities to suit their monastic work, but have allowed the cemetery, which contains some 25 graves, to remain undisturbed. While no formal agreement was made in the transfer of property regarding the upkeep of the cemetery, the abbot, Father Dositheos, and Metropolitan Isaiah consider it important to show proper respect for the dead, without bias toward other cultural or religious backgrounds. The Metropolis Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries drew college students from Houston, Austin, and San Antonio to participate in the project. The young adults assisted the Fathers of the Monastery in the cemetery beautification landscaping around the graves, setting stone monuments upright, completely clearing the grounds of rubble, and painting the fence around the cemetery. The project, which had been planned

for several months, has taken on new meaning with recent news in the United States and Europe. Continuing debate regarding the building of a Moslem center near Ground Zero in New York City is drawing issues of religious tolerance to the forefront. As well, just two days prior to the Holy Archangels effort, and in stark contrast to the restoration work done there, an Or-

thodox cemetery on the Turkish island of Imvros, the childhood home of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, was vandalized. On Oct. 28 more than 75 graves were desecrated by unknown perpetrators. The cemetery service project proved to be a positive experience and provided a valuable lesson in religious tolerance and understanding for all participants.



Marriage and Family Consequences and Challenges When Orthodox Marry Non-Christians by Fr. Charles Joanides, Ph.D., LMFT

I recently got engaged to a non-Christian man with a Moslem background, and I went to my priest to discuss marriage. He informed me that he could not perform a wedding for an Orthodox Christian and non-Christian. He also informed me that if I married my fiancee, I would lose my sacramental privileges….I was so upset by this news that I left without asking some other important questions. I was hoping you might be able to answer them. First, if I marry outside of the Greek Orthodox Church, how do I get back into good standing? Second, if I lose my sacramental privileges, can I baptize my future children in the Church? Third, I am a godparent and I am wondering how my decision to marry outside of the Church may affect my status as a godparent? Fourth, do you think my non-Christian partner will feel welcomed in my Church? E- mail Respondent I receive e-mails like this regularly. Like this respondent’s message, the preponderance of this e-mail includes a number of difficult, unsettling questions. This article will provide short answers to the above questions. Other questions which are more particular to specific couples and their families will not be addressed here. It is my hope that the following information will help educate more of our faithful with regard to the challenging realities that Orthodox encounter when they consider marriage to a non-Christian. Consult Your Priest and Hierarch In my efforts to address questions and concerns, I always preface my comments by urging respondents to validate any and all guidance I give with their parish priest. I suggest this protocol because their parish priest can help respondents understand their hierarch’s specific positions related to the questions they ask me. With that stated, after reviewing what follows, if you have additional questions or concerns, I urge you to e-mail me and/or consult your priest for clarification. Question 1: How do I get back into good standing? If an Orthodox Christian chooses to marry a non-Christian outside of the Orthodox Church he/she falls out of good standing and can no longer participate in the sacramental life of the Church. For example, sacraments like Holy Communion and Holy Unction are not available to him/her. In an effort to get back into good standing, the Orthodox partner must receive the Sacrament of Marriage in the Orthodox Church. While this guideline appears to provide an easy fix for Orthodox who marry non-Christians, in reality it is a very complex because the non-Christian partner must convert to the Christian faith in order for the couple to receive the Sacrament of Marriage. In most cases, this is not a viable option, since such a step requires the non-Christian partner to reject their non-Christian background. To compound the difficulty, most Orthodox partners are either ambivalent or unwilling to make such a request of their partner. The following short statement from an e-mail I received the other day from another respondent begins to explain why. “I could never convert to my partner’s religious tradition, and I

would never ask my future spouse to do something I wouldn’t be willing to do.” In short, these couple dynamics - along with others that I have not elaborated upon in this short article - make it extremely difficult to impossible for Orthodox to get back into good standing when they marry non-Christians. Question 2: If I lose my sacramental privileges, can I baptize my future children? It is especially challenging for Orthodox spouses who have fallen out of good standing with their faith background to raise and nurture their children in the Orthodox Church. However, despite the numerous challenges, if intermarried couples/parents can help the priest understand how they intend to raise and nurture their children in the Orthodox Church when neither parent is in good standing, most priests will baptize their child(ren). Question 3: How will my decision to marry outside of the Church affect my status as a godparent? Greek Orthodox Christians are blessed with godparents who are expected to assist parents in helping their children form a religious identity. To accomplish this task, godparents provide a much needed role model that their godchild can emulate when maturing in the faith. However, godparents who fall out of good standing are seriously impaired and at a distinct disadvantage in their efforts to perform their role as completely as the Church prescribes. Question 4: Will my non-Christian partner feel welcomed at our Church? Based on my research, I have found that most non-Orthodox partners find our congregation open and welcoming. This is not to suggest that there are no exceptions, because I am certain that there are instances when non-Orthodox partners and outsiders have been treated inhospitably. Yet, I believe these instances are exceptions and not the rule. As such, I believe that your spouse would feel welcomed in our churches. I would nonetheless urge you to make an appointment with your local pastor to obtain his opinion and counsel. Such an appointment could also address any questions you may have, as well as further educate you with regard to the level of participation and involvement you and your partner can have in the life the Church community you attend. A Few Concluding Thoughts In our pluralistic, multi-religious, multicultural society, the probability that some Orthodox will meet, date and fall in love with a non-Christian is reasonably high. For this reason, I believe it is increasingly more important that we educate our young people with regard to the pastoral guidelines the church follows with regard to Orthodox who marry (a) non-Orthodox Christians, and (b) non-Christians. (Orthodox who marry non-Orthodox Christians who believe in the Trinity can marry in the Church and retain their sacramental privileges). All too often I have encountered Orthodox who dated and are engaged with a non-Christian who were unaware of these pastoral guidelines and emotionally devastated when they discovered the Orthodox Church’s position regarding Orthodox

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Let’s Ask the Priest   page 8 the Orthodox faith before they leave home. By convert, I mean that we help them make the Orthodox faith their own, that they learn to engage their own will in regular prayer, fasting, participating in the services through singing, serving in the altar, greeting, ushering, and reading, going to confession, and taking on active leadership roles in the various youth ministries. Our children today have many choices. They are constantly tempted to

replace God and His Church with other priorities. If we want to keep our youth in the Church, we need to look at ourselves as parents and make sure that God and His Church are number one on our priority list and that our values, activities and our own witness reflect this to our children. They will most likely stay in the Church if they see it is the most important part of our lives. Fr. Theodore Dorrance St. John the Baptist Church Beaverton, Oregon

Marriage and Family   from page 26 who marry non-Christians. When this occurs, the Orthodox partner is forced into making some very difficult decisions. In many cases, these decisions compel the Orthodox partner to leave his/her faith tradition. To increase awareness among our faithful, the Interfaith Marriage Web site ( has a downloadable, readable brochure that can easily be reproduced and shared with adolescents and young adults



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  from page 18 enabling its users to send and read other users’ messages called tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the user’s profile page. Tweets are publicly visible by default, however senders can restrict message delivery to their friends’ list. Users may subscribe to other author tweets–this is known as following and subscribers are known as followers. All users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter website, compatible external applications



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Fr. Charles is a faculty member at Nyack College in the Department of Counseling. He serves St. Nicholas Church in Newburgh, N.Y, and is the Archdiocese’s resource person to intermarried couples and their families.

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which is entitled: Pastoral Guidelines for Intermarriage. There is also a considerable amount of useful information on the sidebar of this Website under the subsection, “When Orthodox Marry Non-Christians.” This information is available to educate, ameliorate and prevent as many future pastoral problems as possible that result when Orthodox marry non-Christians.

Fr. Vanderhoef told the Observer and that some parishioners help build houses for Habitat for Humanity. “The Philoptochos chapter raises a lot of funds for our outreach ministries and for charity work to help families that are struggling,” he said. For services, Greek and English are used

(such as for smartphones), or by Short Message Service (SMS) available in certain countries. While the service is free, accessing it through SMS may incur phone service provider fees. Since its creation in 2006, Twitter has more than 100 million users. – YouTube: a video–sharing website where users can upload, share, and view videos. It uses Adobe Flash Video technology to display a wide variety of usergenerated video content, including movie clips, TV clips, and music videos, as well as amateur content such as video blogging and short original videos. equally. There is no organ and the church has a four-part a-cappella choir. Stewardship is the main revenue source. The church has a large Greek festival in late July that is one of 20 festivals recognized by the city of Madison as an official summer festival. “It’s big for us,” said Fr. Vanderhoef. Greek festival funds are used solely for capital improvements and maintenance expenses. — Compiled by Jim Golding






Youth Meetings Held TROY, Mich. – Members of the Archdiocese Youth and Young Adult Ministry Team gathered from around the country for their bi-annual Youth Ministry Team meetings, which took place Oct. 19-21 in Troy. The Youth Ministry Team was hosted by Metropolitan Nicholas and the Metropolis of Detroit, and includes each Metropolis Youth Director and the Ionian Village director. Meetings included worship, teambuilding exercises, discussion on the challenges of ministering to young people, the role of social networking in ministry, and a review of new and existing parish resources provided by the National Department. The next day included a discussion with the legal committee about the Policies and Procedures for Screening and Selecting Youth Workers (Youth Protection Manual) and its implementation throughout all Metropolis Camps and Retreats. Updates were also given about the successes of Young Adult Ministry parish visits, the Find Them, Greet Them, Love Them campaign, and 10 in 10, which highlighted 10 service projects in 2010, one in each Metropolis. Summer camping programs were also reviewed, including future dates for camp director training in Dallas at the 2011 Orthodox Camp and Youth Worker Conference.


Goyan’s of St. Paraskevi Church in Greenlawn, NY, and their parent chaperons recently visited Archdiocese Headquarters where they were received by Archbishop Demetrios. The group also toured other sites and attractions in Manhattan.


Participants in the Direct Archdiocesan District Religious Education Seminar with Dr. Vrame, Bishop Andonios and Fr. Nikiforos Fakinos, pastor.

Religious Education Seminar Emphasizes Teaching with Enthusiasm Litsa Kapsalis with her quilt project that raised $570 for Saint Basil Academy.

7–Year–Old Raises Funds for Academy LAKE FOREST, Ill. – “Would you like to donate to help the children of Saint Basil Academy?” was the cry that was heard from 7-year-old Litsa Kapsalis as she stood in front of her booth during the Hellenic American Academy’s (affiliated with Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church of Chicago) Greek Fest in Deerfield, Ill. Litsa, along with Madeleine, her 5-year-old sister, and Konstantine, her 3-year-old brother, spent two days during the Labor Day weekend selling squares made of fabric to festival guests for $2. The guests, in turn, wrote messages and drew pictures on the squares for the children of Saint Basil Academy; the squares were later sewn into a quilt by Litsa and her yiayia and sent to the Academy. Litsa and her siblings raised a total of $570 during the fest and also received a $25 gift card as a donation from Staples. All of the monies that were raised along with the Staples gift card were donated to Saint Basil Academy to buy school supplies for their resident children. Litsa’s philanthropy began this past summer when she started her own nonprofit organization called, “Over the Rainbow Children’s Charities” because

she wanted to help the children of Haiti who were struck by the devastation of the terrible hurricane earlier this year. As a result, she sold lemonade and seashells and sent the proceeds (through the IOCC) to benefit the orphans of Haiti. Among her other campaigns, Litsa collected and donated $630 worth of toys and donated them to Maryville Academy in Des Plaines, Ill., a home for children in need. Some of her upcoming projects include collecting clothing, diapers and other necessities to send to an Orthodox orphanage in Belarus and assisting girls at an orphanage in Crete. Locally, Litsa is currently asking for donations of blankets for homeless children in the Chicago area. When asked by Greek radio personality, Sotiris Rekoumis, what message would she like to send to people to inspire them to help others, Litsa replied, “I would like to tell everyone not to worry, that Christouli is with you.” If you would like to contribute to Litsa’s philanthropic endeavors, please send donations to: Over the Rainbow Children’s Charities, PO Box 785, Lake Forest, IL 60045, or contact her at:

MERRICK, N.Y. – A recent Direct Archdiocesan District Religious Education Seminar at St. Demetrios Church featured a presentation by Dr. Anton Vrame, director of the Archdiocesan Department of Religious Education, who spoke on the topic “Enthusiastic Religious Education.” “It’s important that we do this ministry with joy and enthusiasm,” Dr. Vrame told the gathering of about 40 participants. “It’s a great privilege to be a Sunday School teacher. You have to think about the ministry in biblical terms, with conviction and in confronting challenges.” Dr. Vrame said at the Oct. 30 seminar that students should see the enthusiasm for living Orthodox life in the actions and attitude of their teachers. He also said that one of biggest problems that exists as a Church is young people feel that “once

you finished Sunday School you can stop learning, and that the challenge facing the Church is, :”How do we engage adults involved in learning the faith so that learning becomes lifelong.” He continued, “We’re not offering enough at most of our parishes for the grown ups. We have to think beyond graduation. Don’t give them the message that ‘now it’s done.’” Also in attendance was Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, chancellor of the Archdiocese, who spoke briefly. He noted that, in contemporary parish culture, “there is a lack of appreciation for religious education. “All too often you’re viewed as babysitters. Don’t be disheartened by that. He continued, “God has chosen us to serve; and we are obligated to serve to the best of our abilities.”

Washington State Greek–American Museum Incorporated SEATTLE– The Greek-American Historical Museum of Washington State has completed its incorporation and received approval for a 501(c)3 tax exemption from the Federal Internal Revenue Service. The museum can now receive donations, bequests, and gifts, both financial and of historical materials relating to the Greeks in Washington state. Two initial contributions, one from the John P. Angel Foundation and the other from the St. Demetrios Church of Seattle 75th Anniversary Committee, are providing funds for some basic archiving and recording equipment.The

officers of the Museum Board are John T. John, president; Taso Lagos, vice president; Mary Dallas-Smith, secretary; and John Nicon, treasurer. Other directors are Thalia Denos, Helen Georges, Joann Nicon, and Straton Spyropoulos. For more information or to offer potential items of historical significance relating to Greeks in Washington state, contact by e-mail, 206.325.8554 by phone, or write to the museum c/o 1515 East Olin Place, Seattle, WA 98112.



The core mission of Faith is to promote Hellenism and an understanding of the Greek Orthodox faith through a series of high quality innovative educational programs and cultural initiatives through an endowment to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Faith works to support the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America in creating the ministries and educational programs that promote an understanding of our Greek Christian Orthodox faith, Hellenic culture, and the relationship of the two to each other and to America’s multicultural landscape. The primary focus of Faith is to support the existing educational programs as well as to promote new programs and opportunities that will incorporate new technologies, resources and that partner with secular, educational, and cultural institutions for young, adult and elderly audiences.

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What Shall We Offer?


Family Connections

by Melissa K. Tsongranis

Christmas morning is here. Your little ones awaken at the crack of dawn—if not earlier—and eagerly run through the house screaming “Let’s open our presents!” Still in bed, you try to buy some extra shuteye, but it’s no use. Your children are now in bed with you, jumping up and down. They chant things which have little to do with “peace on earth and goodwill to all” and more with the advertising campaigns launched well before the beginning of the holiday season. You reluctantly roll over and get up, realizing that if you don’t, it is only a matter of time until one of your little cherubs lands on your stomach. Does this sound familiar? Trust me; you’re not alone. Big business partnered with media has done a tremendous job of teaching our children what they want Christmas to be about—presents and lots of them! But let’s look at this a different way— whose birthday is it anyway? What have we done to teach our children the true meaning of Christmas? Would we send our child to a friend’s birthday party with a present for themselves? While I’m not advocating doing away with traditional Christmas gift-giving, we should aim to gain some perspective amidst the scads of boxes and rolls of wrapping paper. Each Christmas we need to ask ourselves and our families what we should get Christ. It is His birthday after all. The Gift of the Magi In the second chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, we read that the Magi (also known as wise men) followed the star to the Christ child. When they arrived they worshiped Him and presented Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These three gifts were of great monetary value, but their treasure lay in the significance of each present. The gold was a gift for a king, the frankincense was a gift for God, and the Myrrh was a gift for someone who was to die. The Magi’s offering honored who Christ is and what He came to do for mankind. They presented these treasures out of respect for the King of Heaven and Earth. In the book The Year of Grace of the Lord, we read: Like the Magi, we offer our treasures and we offer the little child the most precious things we have. In spirit we offer gold, the sign of Jesus’ sovereignty over all riches and all created things, a sign also of our own detachment from earthly goods. In spirit we offer incense, the sign of adoration, for Jesus is not only the King of the universe, he is our God. We offer in spirit myrrh, the

spice with which we honor in advance the death and burial of Jesus and through which too, is represented our own renunciation of bodily pleasures. Lord Jesus, accept my offering. There is a fictional story told about a fourth wise man named Artaban. He was to meet up with the other three Magi and journey to see the newborn Christ. With him, Artaban had three valuable jewels to give the newborn baby. Along the way, he came across an injured man who needed assistance. In order to help, he needed to sell one of the jewels he had and, because of this, he was delayed and he did not make it to Nazareth to worship Him. But he did not give up, and he set off to follow the Holy Family to Egypt where they fled with the Christ child. On his way, he assisted a woman whose baby boy was about to be slain because of Herod’s order and bought his freedom with the second jewel and never found Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. Artaban wandered for 33 years searching for the Christ to give Him the last jewel. Finally, he heard that Jesus was to be crucified in Jerusalem. He rushed there with plans to use the jewel as a ransom for Christ’s life. On his road, he stopped to help a young girl who was being beaten by two soldiers, and consequently, used the final gift he had intended to give Christ. A little while later, when Jesus was dying on the Cross, Artaban realized that he could neither free Him nor pay tribute to Him, as he did not have any jewels left. He collapsed from sorrow. But when he was lying face down, he heard a voice, saying: “I was

hungry and thirsty and you gave me food and drink; I was naked and sick and you clothed me and visited me.” (Adapted from Lovely Little Stories for People of All Ages by Metropolitan Germanos Polizoides) Our Offering What do we get our King for His birthday? We offer to Him lives that witness to His love. Here are some practical suggestions to get your family started this Christmas. You don’t need to do them all–start simple, adapt and add to them to work for you family, and above all else get your whole family involved. Remember the Reason for the Season– this may be a cliche, but the fact that we are celebrating Christ’s Nativity needs to become the primary focus of our family’s Christmas. The exchange of gifts should be secondary. Make sure to attend services for the Nativity as a family. Teach everyone how to chant the Apolytikion. You can find this information by searching for “nativity” at www.goarch. org. Make sure you have a copy of the icon placed prominently where your family often gathers in the home. If you don’t have one, consider ordering one at Give a Gift of your Time–yes, it is a busy time of year, but carve out time to spend preparing for the arrival of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Find time every day to be quiet, read the Bible, and pray. Also, consider other ways you can give of your time. Talk to your parish priest and see if

there are any shut-ins that could use visitors. If you prefer, perhaps there are some tasks around the church like cleaning or organizing that could use your help. Give a Gift of Your Talent—each of us has been created by God with different gifts and talents. The greatest present we can give our Lord is to fulfill our abilities through a life of obedient faith. God has given us everything and we should actively seek ways to give glory to Him. Everyone has some way they can offer themselves to others. Consider activities that you enjoy or things you are good at and how you can share those blessings and talents with others. Be as creative as possible and always look for opportunities to reflect Christian love. Give a Gift of Your Treasure—Christmas can be an expensive time of year, but if we are making Christ’s Nativity the primary focus, it only makes sense that we should allow some of our Christmas spending to go towards helping the less fortunate. Talk to your parish priest or local Philoptochos chapter for ideas on how to help out. Each of us should give within our means. But we should try to be as generous as we can, and we need to teach our children to do the same. Practice Random Acts of Kindness— this can be a lot of fun for your family to try to do. Try to do little things for others daily and try not to get caught doing them. Shovel the snow your neighbor’s sidewalk while they are away. Pay the toll for the car behind you. Anonymously leave cookies on your co-workers’ desks. The possibilities are limitless. In Conclusion It is never too late to offer a gift to Christ. Even if you are just getting around to reading this in January or even March, don’t wait until next Christmas to get started. To really honor the birth of Christ, our gifts will not be confined to the period of Christmas but, rather, it will become a part of our life. Actually, life is the gift and we should thank God for the blessing of it and offer back to Him every single day. In closing, take some time to reflect on the following prayer from the Vespers of the Nativity. Pray it as a family. May the joy of our Lord’s Nativity guide you throughout this blessed season. What shall we offer You, O Christ, who for our sake has appeared on the earth as a man? Every creature which You have made offers you thanks. The angels offer You a song. The heavens, their star. The wise men, their gifts. The shepherds, their wonder. The earth, its cave. The wilderness, the manger. And we offer You a Virgin Mother. O Pre-eternal God, have mercy on us! Melissa Tsongranis is the associate director of the Center for Family Care.





National Ministries

Ionian Village Offers Teens a Spiritual Summer wax icon portrayed by Luke the Evangelist. It survived a fire but has been blackened.

by Jim Golding

Ionian Village provides a spiritual, social and cultural summer camp experience every year for hundreds of Greek Orthodox teen-agers. For three weeks, it provides an escape from a culture wired to the Internet, to TV and to other electronic devices that seem to dominate their daily existence, especially during the summer. This issue’s article will focus on the spiritual aspects of the Ionian Village experience. The facility lies along a beachfront of the western Peloponnesus facing the Ionian Sea. The closest “civilization” is the nearby village of Bartholomio, population about 3,200. The camp director is Fr. Jason Roll, a 2009 graduate of Holy Cross School of Theology who had been named director while still completing his last year at the seminary. Before becoming a priest, Fr. Jason had a career for 10 years in pharmaceutical sales as a territorial representative in the Sacramento, Calif., area for the Eli Lilly company. A native of Portland, Oregon, Fr. Jason majored in business at Oregon State University. He was drawn to serve the church and strongly influenced by his parish priest, Fr. Theodore Dorrance. Ionian Village Program The program consists of two threeweek sessions. The first session runs from June 29 to July 18 and the second session takes place from July 25 to Aug. 13. (See ad on opposite page). As director of Ionian Village, Fr. Jason oversees a volunteer staff at each session of three priests and 30 counselors. There is also a doctor on the staff. Counselors must be 21 years of age or older and have first-aid proficiency. The camp itself occupies about 130 acres. There are cabins to house the students and staff, a kitchen, restrooms and offices. The camp underwent extensive renovations earlier this year financed by anonymous donations arranged by the Archdiocese. Director of Administration Jerry Dimitriou. The process for prospective campers begins with online registration, which begins Dec. 15 and continues through the end of April. (Visit Campers from around the country assemble at Kennedy Airport in New York the day prior to the beginning of the session for the flight to Athens. A lengthy bus ride to the camp follows. Once there, campers must turn in their cell

Cephalonia A neighboring island of Zakynthos, it contains the preserved body of St. Gerasimos. Campers can crawl into his hut in an underground cave where he lived in seclusion for months. Patras Campers visit the Cathedral of St. Andrew, located where the “first-called” disciple of Christ was crucified on an Xshaped cross. The cross is displayed in an airtight glass case.

Fr. Jason Roll officiates at a Saturday evening “Night with God” liturgy.

phones and any other electronic devices (don’t even think of bringing a laptop) where they are safely stored until the end of the camp. They may call home during free time with a phone card at the office, and families may call the camp. Campers are asked to bring a Bible. Daily Routine Upon arriving, campers are organized according to cabins, with 12 to 15 kids assigned to each building. Three counselors also live in each cabin as supervisors. Their day begins with prayers and breakfast followed by a rotational schedule of four activities: arts and crafts, music and Greek culture, Orthodox Life (OL) and athletics. During OL, campers gather in an amphitheater among a cluster of pine trees on the camp property where wide-ranging discussions about the Faith take place led by a priest, a deacon or a seminarian. At night after dinner, talks and sermonettes are given in the amphitheater. Saturday nights a “Night with God” Divine Liturgy by candlelight is celebrated. During each three–week camp, day trips are conducted to sites of religious significance at the following locations: Zakynthos One day, campers travel by boat to the large island of Zakynthos, just off the coast, to view the body of St. Dionysious, considered the patron saint of the camp. Fr. Jason told the Observer that “a lot of campers in the past have reported that the

saint appeared in their dreams.” Mega Spilleon This “great cave” outside of Kalavryta in the central Peloponnesus features a church and monastery built into the side of a cliff. It is significant as the site of the Icon of the Virgin Mary “Directress” a three-dimensional

Aegina One of the most-visited religious sites, this island off the coast of Athens, it contains the monastery established by St. Nektarios and his tomb. Visitors who put their ear to the tomb report occasional knocking or scratching from within. Ossios Loucas Located near Delphi in Central Greece, the Church of Ossios Loucas is built into a hill and contains the relics of the saint and iconography that is painted into the rock wall. Ionian Village’s cultural and social aspects of their experience will be the subject of a subsequent article in the Observer.

Campers gather in prayer at the amphitheater in the pine woods.

(Left) At the lunch table. (Right) Lights of Christ – Campers arrive for a church service.




Hoosier State Faithful Celebrate Indianapolis’ 100

Members of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra perform several selections on stage beneath the horseshoe symbol of the Indianapolis Colts.

Clergy and hosts – With Archbishop Demetrios and Metropolitan Nicholas are (left) Fr. Soterios Rousakis, (center) Presbytera Maria and Fr. Anastasios Gounaris and Dr. Dennis Dickos.

INDIANAPOLIS – Holy Trinity Church celebrated its Centennial Sept. 17-19, with Archbishop Demetrios and Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit at the home stadium of the NFL’s Colts football team. The weekend began on Friday evening with an informal clergy dinner at a local country club hosted by event chairman Dr. Dennis Dickos, Parish Council President Gail Zeheralis and the other council members. More than 650 parishioners and guests attended the Centennial Gala at Lucas Oil Stadium the following day. Highlights included performances by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and opera soprano Stella Zambalis. Audience members also viewed a video retrospective titled “A Century of Witness to Two Millennia of Faith” and performances by Holy Trinity’s choir and youth dance troupes. Guests also enjoyed a view of the Indianapolis skyline that was unveiled when the stadium’s massive wall of windows (six stories high, the second largest in the world) were opened. During dinner, guests reminisced via multi-screen digital displays of photographs dating back to the parish’s beginnings. Both hierarchs moved the assembled crowd with their heartfelt words of recognition and encouragement. Archbishop Demetrios made particular note of the appropriateness of the unique surroundings, calling the decision to host the event at the sports arena “inspired” and likening the “constant motion” of sport to our goal of fulfilling Christ’s teachings. A $20,000 donation was presented to Archbishop Demetrios to benefit Holy Cross School of Theology and made in honor of Fr. Anastasios and Presbytera Maria Gounaris. Since Fr. Anastasios was assigned to Indianapolis by the late Bishop Timothy in 1991, Fr. and Presbytera have served

the parish with love and dedication. Holy Trinity presented a gift of $5,000 to Metropolitan Nicholas in support of the “Friends of the Metropolis” program. Holy Trinity was honored to host two former Holy Trinity pastors – Frs. Chris Hadgigeorge (retired) of Toledo, Ohio and James Rousakis of Clearwater, Fla. Fr. Nicholas Samaras of West Nyack, N.Y., son of the late Bishop Kallistos – another influential former Holy Trinity pastor – honored his father’s memory with his presence. Frs. Soterios Rousakis of San Jose, Calif., and Mark Lichtenstein of Camp Hill, Pa. also took part. Fr. Soterios, son of Fr. James, grew up at Holy Trinity and Fr. Mark came to Orthodoxy via the parish in 1990. A number of other clergy representing central Indiana Orthodox parishes were also in attendance. Past presidents of Philoptochos and the parish council were recognized. On Sunday both hierarchs celebrated the Archierarchical Liturgy assisted by the assembled clergy. Holy Trinity’s choir, directed by William Christoff, and Chanter Constantine Maniakas provided their glorious accompaniment. A special guest, former parish chanter Dr. Jessica Suchy-Pilalis, led a group that provided an outstanding presentation of the day’s Orthros. Immediately following the liturgy, Their Eminences surprised and honored Dr. Dennis Dickos by bestowing upon him the Medal of St. Paul for his many years of devotion to Christ’s Church. Philoptochos offered an elegant brunch after Liturgy before Archbishop Demetrios’ departure for Chicago to take a flight to Istanbul for a meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. “ Holy Trinity looks forward to its next century of service to both God and man – and as the leader of the Orthodox community of central Indiana,” Fr. Gounaris said.

Members of the Greek dance troupe perform before hundreds of celebrants at the Lukas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Metropolitan Nicholas greets parishioners following the Liturgy at Holy Trinity Church.




Tribute to President Truman Part of Kansas City Church Celebration by Marina N. Maib

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Annunciation Church celebrated its 100th anniversary the weekend of Oct. 22-24 with guest-of-honor Archbishop Demetrios and Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver presiding over the festivities under the theme “Serving Christ, Serving People.” A highlight of the weekend was a tribute held at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, Mo., on Oct. 22. Archbishop Demetrios, along with Metropolitan Isaiah, and more than 175 Annunciation parishioners honored President Truman for his support of Greece during the difficult period of the late 1940s, and his special relationship with Archbishop Athenagoras. Archbishop Demetrios reflected on Truman’s dedication to Greece, its culture, its continuation as a democratic society and his leadership within the Greek community and the United States. The Archbishop spoke about the friendship between President Truman and Archbishop Athenagoras (subsequently Patriarch Athenagoras) and illustrated the impact their close personal relationship had on shaping world policy. Also at the library event, he laid a memorial wreath at the gravesite of President and Mrs. Truman. “Our event at the Truman Presidential Museum and Library was informative and inspirational in that – largely through the outstanding lecture given by Archbishop Demetrios – it celebrated the unique historic and friendly relationship between President Truman and our parish as well as Patriarch Athenagoras and Greece,” said Fr. James Katinas, Annunciation’s pastor. The evening concluded with a presentation of two gifts from Archbishop Demetrios to the director of the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum, Dr. Michael Devine. They were a letter from President Truman to Archbishop Athenagoras in April 1945 and a Western Union telegram from the Archbishop to the president congratulating him on winning the 1948 election. On Oct. 23, a Divine Liturgy took place at the church. Archbishop Demetrios, Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver, Annunciation’s pastor Fr. James Katinas, Archimandrite Neophytos Kongai of Kenya, Fr. Charles Sarelis, and Fr. Mark Curtright all participated in the church’s centennial. The banquet later that day included a video slide presentation by Nicholas Katinas, son of Fr. Katinas, and a speech commentary written by this writer and narrated by master of ceremonies Kiki Vale. The slide show was created in memory of the first Greek immigrants to Kansas City in 1903. After the presentation, both Archbishop Demetrios and Metropolitan Isaiah addressed the audience. “On behalf of our Metropolitans from all over the country, I congratulate this parish,” said Archbishop Demetrios. “This community was created in 1910 and within the 100 years so much has happened in the world that has made it what it is today.” Metropolitan Isaiah said it left him speechless and reminded him of his parents and their difficult journeys from Greece to America. The Metropolitan stated, “I am filled with a little bit of emotion at this moment because I reflect back to my parents who came to this country as immigrants around the First World War. “As a first–generation American–born, I do feel the beauty of the power of the Holy Spirit who guarantees that our holy faith will continue until the second glorious coming

of our Lord.” He continued, “Our culture is the vehicle that has brought our ancient faith to this great country of America. This is why I will always be grateful to God that my parents came here so many years ago and they made a life for themselves and had children and directed their children in the ways of our holy apostolic faith.” A church building committee and parish psalti who immigrated to Kansas City from Greece commented, “When I came here, I didn’t know anything. I had to learn the language and the customs. The community was like a family to me and they provided the support that I needed to become a true American and to adopt myself to this new way of life. “The good thing about now is that we have different people with different backgrounds. Many of the people that attend our church today have chosen to become Orthodox versus the ones who immigrated from Greece that didn’t choose, instead, they were born into that,” Mr. Vrentas said. “The celebration of our 100th anniversary was truly a momentous event that will continue to have a positive pastoral and communal impact for many years to come,” Fr. Katinas said. “For me, the liturgical services were the highlight of the weekend’s celebrations. Having Archbishop Demetrios and Metropolitan Isaiah leading us in praising and thanking God for His greatness and abundant blessings was truly a foretaste of His Kingdom.” Reflections Through coming together on this historical evening, the Annunciation parishioners reflected on the sacramental life of the Annunciation parish in Kansas City. In celebrating births, baptisms, chrismations, marriages, liturgical services, and ordinations over the last 100 years, the parish not only reflected on the past, but also looked forward to the future of their church and the endless possibilities God has provided. The future of the parish is in the hands of the growing youth population in the church. As a community, the Annunciation parish has provided their youth with an environment within the Orthodox Church for them to develop and expand their understanding of our faith. From the friendships they have formed through Greek dancing and GOYA, to the endless learning opportunities they have experienced through Catechism school, Ionian Village, and the OCF at the University of Kansas, they represent great promise for the future of the Annunciation parish. As the Annunciation parish came together for this historical weekend to look back at five generations since those first young Greek men came to Kansas City to fulfill the American dream, pride filled their hearts with their families and where they came from as well as where they are today. As community members celebrate the past 100 years, they now stand ready with the grace of God–who is the same yesterday today and forever–to strengthen us and guide us every step of the way. Marina N. Maib is special correspondent for the Observer in the Kansas City area. Marina is in her senior year at the University of Kansas where she is a journalism major. She is the daughter of Archdiocesan Council member Keith and Elaine Maib, who served as co–chairs of the Centennial celebration weekend. Marina was a counselor at Ionian Village last summer and is a member of OCF at the university.

Archbishop Demetrios speaks at the Tribute to President Truman at the Truman Library.

At the Divine Liturgy celebrating the parish’s centennial, the Archbishop and Metropolitan are assisted by past and present clergy.

Members of the GOYA chapter with Archbishop Demetrios and Metropolitan Isaiah.

Archbishop Demetrios and Centennial Chairman Keith Maib display the letter from Truman to Archbishop Athenagoras dated April 1945 and a Western Union telegram from the Archbishop to the president congratulating him on winning the 1948 election.


Church Marks 100th Year in North Texas FORT WORTH, Texas – St. Demetrios Church celebrated its centennial the weekend of November 5-7. Highlights included Greek Comedy Night featuring the comedy of Basile’s, “Growing Up Greek in America” that kicked off the weekend events. A “Cowtown BBQ - A Walk Down Memory Lane” event took place Nov. 6 with Greek and American music and friends getting together to talk about loved ones and memories of many great days past, which were recorded in a 178-page “Memory Album” and a display of old and new photographs around the community center On Nov. 7, a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy and memorial service followed by a formal dinner concluded the weekend commemoration. Metropolitan Isaiah officiated, along with Fr. Michael Stearns, pastor, Deacon Paul, and newly ordained Deacon John (Haydn Haby) Guests included the first Orthodox priest ordained at St. Demetrios in 1948, Fr. Photios Pentikes of Seattle, along with Fr. and Presbytera Grimmaka, former members of St. Demetrios from Maine, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Houston, Waco, Dallas, and Euless, Texas and friends from California and Athens, Greece. Also among the 200 people in attendance were two members who were



OCF 2011 OCF Real Break

OCF Real Break is a popular alternative to the traditional spring break. Each spring, over 100 students attend various trips in the United States and countries around the world. Log onto realbreak for a list of 2011 trip descriptions, which include: New York: Emmaus House, Project Mexico, Constantinople, Romania, Guatemala 1, Guatemala 2, Buenos Aires and Toronto, Canada. St. Demetrios parishioners andf friends, and Metropolitan Isaiah on the solea.

Connie Laverty, first to be baptized, and Dr. Patras, first woman parish council president.

the first to be baptized at St. Demetrios, Connie Laverty and Mary Dieb, and the first woman to be elected parish council president in early seventies, Dr. Dorothy Patras. A proclamation from the city was

read declaring Nov. 7 as Greek Orthodox Day in Fort Worth, Texas Our prayers are that our dear St. Demetrios continues to grow and bring enlightenment of the Orthodox faith to our great city.

2010 College Conference

FISHERS, Ind. – Orthodox Christian Fellowship will hold its 2010 College Conference at several locations and is accepting registrations at programs. This year’s conference focuses on the theme of “Behold, I make all things new,” (Rev. 21:5) and will take place in four locations; Chicago, Salem, S.C., Bolivar, Pa., and Dunlap, Calif. Hundreds of college students from throughout North America gather each year at the college conference to learn and grow in Orthodox Christian faith. The event displays pan-Orthodox coordination and unity. Students participate in workshops with clergy and lay leaders which address topics relevant to college-aged students. A limited number of scholarships are available and offered on a first come-first served basis. For more information and to register online visit:

Conference sites College Conference Mid-West

New Gracanica Monastery- Third Lake, Ill.; Dec. 29 – Jan. 1, 2011; Keynote speaker: Metropolitan Jonah.

College Conference South

Diakonia Center - Salem, S.C., Dec. 28 – Jan. 1, 2011; Keynote speaker: Fr. John Parker.

College Conference East

Antiochian Village - Bolivar, Pa., Dec. 28-31; Keynote speaker: Dr. Gayle Woloschak.

College Conference West

St. Nicholas Ranch - Dunlap, Calif.; Dec. 27-30; Keynote speaker to be announced. For more information, contact: Presbytera Shyla Hadzellis, development director, OCF;;

OCF Opening at U. of Oregon

Metropolitan Isaiah , Rev. Stearns, Deacon Paul and Deacon John and altar boys at the Divine Liturgy. Rev. Photios Pentikes, the only ordained priest from St. Demetrios (1948)

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EUGENE, Oregon – St. George Church in Eugene recently opened St. Nectarios House to serve the needs of the Orthodox ministry at the University of Oregon. Fr. Jerry Markopoulos and the parish council had identified a need for an expanded ministry there. Eugene is home to more than 40,000 college students. The parish made an effort to connect with both Orthodox students and students interested in finding out more about the Orthodox faith. The parish rented a house within four blocks of the university as a location for the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) to meet and where students to gather in fellowship. Five young women reside in the house, along with the house director. The director, Ann Campbell, is a St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary graduate and has experience with residential life. Among the programs offered are a monthly community service project, a regular patristics reading group, readers’ services, and social events such as movie nights.



President Reflects on 10-Year Ministry

Briefly Noted Philoptochos gift The National Philoptochos Society has donated $23,000 to HC-HC for the purchase of a walk–in freezer urgently needed in the school’s kitchen. This is in addition to $60,000 given by the Society this year that was used to carpet all the rooms in the Polemanakos Dormitory. The Society has given $716,000 to HC-HC since 2003 for capital improvements, in addition to over one million dollars for scholarships.

  from page 6 and generously as they have in the past. We are most grateful that the 2010 ClergyLaity Congress, the Archdiocesan allocation to our School has been increased. The Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment and National Philoptochos have been enormously generous in their financial support each year to our School and students. They have set historic benchmarks of financial aid. O.O: – What are the most difficult problems you face on a daily basis? Fr. T: I prefer to consider issues as opportunities and challenges, rather than problems. St. Paul says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 Our Lord told us “In the world, you will have affliction, but be of good courage, I have conquered the world.” St. John 16:33. With this assurance of our Lord Jesus and with the example of St. Paul, the challenges we face are patiently addressed: meeting the needs of our wonderful single students and marvelous married couples as they attempt to respond to the callings God has granted them is our blessed privilege. Our opportunities are abundant as we receive the support, the encouragement and the counsel of our many supporters who share the ministries of our School. We have opportunities to offer our stewardship to each and every student, faculty member and


Seniors of Holy Cross School of Theology with Archbishop Demetrios, and Fr. Triantafilou.

staff. Particular enumeration of these challenges and opportunities cannot be developed in a general article. O.O: – Has the number of faculty members remained constant, or have they increased over the past 10 years. Fr. T: Basically, the number of faculty members has remained steady. We have increased slightly in the number of full-time faculty as well as the number of adjunct faculty. O.O: –Which programs have been most successful? Fr. T: We are thankful to God for the grace He has bestowed upon our historic programs in the disciplines of Theology, while we are grateful for our renewed programs in Pastoral Theology, Patristics, Field Education, Management and Leadership, Social Ministry and Office of Vocation Ministry. Again, the confines of

a general article such as this prohibits us from discussing responsibly other renewed and new programs. Another writing and article on our School could feature programs in general. O.O: – What changes, if any, do you feel you need to make in the school’s operation? In the curriculum? In other areas? Fr. T: I would prefer these issues to remain part of our in-house discussions at this time. I encourage our faithful across the Archdiocese to support our Archdiocesan Ministries, Metropolises, National Philoptochos, Leadership 100, Faith Endowment, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, St. Basil’s Academy and our beloved Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. O.O: – Thank you Father.

CrossRoad 2010 Applications Available for Summer 2011 BROOKLINE, Mass. –The CrossRoad Summer Institute at Hellenic College provides a refreshing opportunity for Orthodox youth to focus on being in the world but not of the world with its materialism, consumerism and self-focus. CrossRoad’s goal is to help students discern how their faith in Christ can inform their life calling to match their God-given gifts with the needs of the world. Due to overwhelming interest since 2004, CrossRoad has expanded to two sessions and just celebrated its seventh year. The CrossRoad summer institute, directed by Mary Long with Daniel Belonick as assistant director, combines faculty instruction, a staff of seminary students, a campus

overlooking Boston, and Boston itself. This summer, students visited historic Faneuil Hall, experienced the New England shore, and saw Boston via a “Duck Tour.” Participants placed the most value on the unique elements of the program: daily classes with theological faculty, Vespers at seven area Orthodox parishes, and participating in service activities during the last stage of the program. Described by many as a “life-changing experience,” CrossRoad provides a strong foundation for the future leaders of the Church. Through its three stages, Wrestling with Vocation, Vocation and Christ, and Vocation and the Neighbor, CrossRoad fulfills its mission by helping the youth see that the

road of the cross involves following Christ and encountering Him in their neighbor. The CrossRoad summer institute is now accepting applications for summer 2011. CrossRoad leaders look forward to providing high school students with an excellent opportunity for vocational exploration, which will benefit participants both now and in the years to come. Applicants must be in their junior or senior year of high school. Applications can be downloaded from the CrossRoad website at CrossRoad is funded by a grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc., the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund, and through the philanthropy of several donors.

25th Annual Missions Lecture Held at HC/HC by John Papson

BROOKLINE. Mass. – The new Missions Institute of Orthodox Christianity at HC-HC hosted the 25th annual Endowment Fund for Orthodox Missions (EFOM) Lecture on Nov. 5, featuring a noted missiologist, Dr. Athanasios Papathanasiou. Dr. Papathanasiou, editor-in-chief of the theological journal Synaxis, author of “Essays on Church Mission in an Age of Globalization,” and a participant of short term mission trips to Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and South Korea, spoke on the topic “Journey to the Center of Gravity:


Christian Missions One Center After Edinburgh 1910.” This year’s annual lecture was held in conjunction with the Boston Theological Institute’s (BTI) 2010 Conference, “The Changing Contours of World Mission and Christianity.” This four-day conference took place at a different BTI school campus each day. The others were Harvard, Boston College and Boston University. Nearly 200 people attended the lecture at HC-HC. “It was a wonderful opportunity for our 25th annual lecture to coincide with the BTI’s international conference,” com-

mented Fr. Luke Veronis, the Missions Institute director. “Not only did we expose our HC/HC students to a serious thinker like Dr. Papathanasiou, but we also introduced many non-Orthodox mission leaders and thinkers to Holy Cross and the reality that our Church is intimately involved in the worldwide missionary endeavor.” Among those attending were Dr. R. Peterson, BTI executive director; the Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Clapsis, the Archbishop Iakovos Professor of Orthodox Theology; the Rev. Dr. Thomas FitzGerald, dean of Holy Cross; Helen Nicozisis and Fr. Alexander Veronis, EFOM founders.

Language program Dr. Stamatia Dova, associate professor of Classics and Modern Greek Studies and director of the Kallinikeion Institute at Hellenic College, has announced that the Kallinikeion Foundation will fund the Institute, once again, in summer 2011, its 10th year. This is an intensive, full-immersion modern Greek language program for Hellenic College and Holy Cross fulltime students. There have been 222 graduates since the program’s inception. Students accepted College Year in Athens has accepted Hellenic College senior Christopher Zaferes of California and junior Christian Siskos of New York for its study abroad program that is focused on the history and civilization of Greece and the East Mediterranean. Its mission is to offer each student an academically rigorous program of studies combined with the vibrant experience of day to day contact with the people, monuments and landscape of Greece. Scholarship recipients Ten freshman students entering Hellenic College this year were awarded Chrysostom Scholarships. Any winner on the parish level of the St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Contest (sponsored by the Archdiocese Department of Religious Education) is eligible for the scholarship provided they meet entrance requirements and maintain a 3.0 GPA. The award is for 100 percent of tuition the first year and 80 percent the following three years. This year’s recipients, from eight states, are: Alexis Campbell, Irene Drackley, Anna Efthimiadis, Sophia Hailer, Erin Hunt, Melissa Likiadopoulos, Emmanuel Maginas, Sebastian Mot, Theodosios Palis and Jessica Tindle. BTI conference Holy Cross, a member of the Boston Theological Institute, hosted a part of the BTI’s mission conference, Boston2010, the fourth international mission conference held this year, the others being held in Tokyo, Edinburgh and Cape Town. Close to 200 participants visited Holy Cross for Vespers in Holy Cross Chapel and the 25th annual missions lecture sponsored by the Endowment for Orthodox Missions. Scholarship established The Alfred G. Vonetes “Theosis Scholarship Fund” has been established at Holy Cross in memory of Mr. Vonetes, who devoted many years of his life serving the Church on a local, regional and national level. The fund was established by Michele Bongiovanni, Mr. Vonetes’ granddaughter, and other family members.




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The True Spirit of Christmas “Christ is Born! Glorify Him! Christ comes from heaven; meet Him. Christ is on earth; exalt Him. O you earth, sing to the Lord. O you nations, Praise Him in joy for He has been glorified.” (Katavasia of the Nativity) “Black Friday” … Sounds menacing, right? But this is the name attributed to the day after Thanksgiving, which is considered to be the biggest shopping day of the year. People prepare weeks in advance for Black Friday every year. Many people wait hours outside in anticipation of Black Friday. In fact, some people have even lost their lives trying to take advantage of what is available on Black Friday. The term Black Friday may have originated in Philadelphia, where it was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving (see origin of the name Black Friday below). More recently, merchants and the media have used it instead to refer to the begin-

ning of the period in which retailers go from being in the red (i.e., posting a loss on the books) to being in the black (i.e., turning a profit). It is unfathomable the things people will do to get the best deal on the X Box 360 or the latest product by Apple. But how many people do you know who wait for hours in anticipation of hearing the Holy Gospel? Do you spend days or even weeks preparing for a major feast day or to receive the Holy Sacrament or the Eucharist? It seems as if we have become swept away in the lights and glamour of “Christmas” the retail phenomenon and the Nativity of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But how can we turn the focus away from Black Friday ads and back to the Advent Season and the Nativity of Jesus Christ and the true spirit of Christmas? REJECT MATERIALISM There is nothing wrong with buying

Merry Christmas All Over the World There are Christians all over the world. So naturally, many countries have different traditions and customs. Have you ever wondered how people greet each other at Christmas in France, Russia, or even Japan? Here are a few translations for the common greeting “Merry Christmas.” Visit Holiday_greetings for more Christmas greetings in other languages. Arabic: Milad Majid Chinese (Cantonese): Gun Tso Sun Tan’Gung Haw Sun Chinese (Mandarin): Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan French: Joyeux Noel Gaelic: Nollaig chridheil agus. Bliadhna mhath ùr! German: Froehliche Weihnachten Greek: Kala Christouyenna! Hawaiian: Mele Kalikimaka Hebrew: Mo’adim Lesimkha. Chena tova. Italian: Buone Feste Natalizie Japanese: Shinnen omedeto. Kurisumasu Omedeto Spanish: Feliz Navidad Romania: Cracuin Fericit Russian: Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva is Novim Godom

2010 Annual OCF College Conference

The 2010 College Conference is just around the corner. This year’s conference focuses on the theme of “Behold, I make all things new,” (Rev.

21:5) and is being held in four locations, Chicago-area, Salem, S.C., Bolivar, Pa., and Dunlap, Calif.. “Hundreds of college students from throughout North America gather each year at College Conference in order to learn and grow with one another in their Orthodox Christian faith. With student organizers and participants coming from all jurisdictions, the event is an exemplary display of pan-Orthodox coordination and unity. During the conference students participate in workshops facilitated by clergy and lay leaders which address topics relevant to college–age students. As well, shared witness and Christian fellowship are woven into the time together making the event a truly edifying and transformative experience.” For more information and to register online, please visit:

certain things. However, do not buy-in to the hype. Buying the latest technology or clothing or shoes will not make you the coolest. It might make you pretty popular, for a little while. But only the fruit of the Spirit (like peace, love, kindness, and gentleness) will bring you true joy and deep friendships, rather than temporary happiness and superficial relationships. GIVE TO TRULY LIVE In Matthew 16:24-27, we read the following: “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.’”

In this Christmas season, we must remember that it is truly the season of giving. We will naturally give to our family and friend. But make a special effort to give to those in need (donate clothing, volunteer your time, make a donation to a philanthropic organization). COMMIT YOUR LIFE TO CHRIST The blessed Nativity of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is the greatest gift we could ever receive. God made a commitment to us … offering His Only-Begotten Son so that we might inherit eternal life. We can return that gift by offering of ourselves to Christ. Christmas is a beautiful time to evaluate your personal commitment to prayer life, sacramental life, and participation in the liturgical life of your church. Also, talk to your parish priest about starting a teen Bible study to deepen your knowledge and understanding about the Holy Scriptures.

ST. NICHOLAS THE WONDERWORKER - DECEMBER 6 “O father and Bishop Nicholas, the holiness of your life has set you before your flock as a rule of faith, an example of meekness, and a teacher of temperance. Therefore, you acquired greatness through humility and spiritual wealth through poverty. Pray to Christ God that He may save our souls.” (Apolytikion of St. Nicholas) From his youth, St. Nicholas was an example of piety, virtue, and service to Christ’s Church and the faithful. St. Nicholas made a commitment to the Church very early in his life, studying theology and being ordained by his uncle, Archbishop Nicholas. He was later elected bishop of Myra. St. Nicholas is known as the “Wonderworker” because of his countless acts of giving, as well as many miracles attributed to him. He never wanted recognition or attention for his good deeds. For example, he secretly left gold enough for the marriage portions of three maidens whose fathers were plagued by debt. Even when he was discovered, St. Nicholas made the man promise never to reveal his good deeds. And this simply scratches the surface of his generosity. He gave all his inheritance to those in need… the poor, the ill, the abandoned, and those who have been treated unfairly. For this and many other reasons, St. Nicholas is one of the most beloved and honored saints in the Orthodox Christian tradition.

DISCUSS 1) How can the life of St. Nicholas inspire us and guide us on the path to salvation? 2) What makes it difficult for us to be humble? 3) Do we expect something in return when we give something? Why or why not? 4) How does it make you feel when you are given something? 5) How does it make you feel to give to someone in need?

Why We Look Forward to Christmas The decorations, the music…it is impossible not to get excited about Christmas. It is one of those special times when families and friend gather in a spirit of love and joy. We have to admit… It is fun getting gifts. But it is even more fun to see the smile on people’s faces when you get THEM something! Our churches are filled

with beautiful decorations and with hymns of joy and celebration marking the coming of our Lord and Savior. Most of all, Christmas is a time of peace and joy… We take this special time of year to truly give thanks to God for sending us the most precious and awesome gift of His Son.



May the joy and peace of the Infant Christ Child dwell in your hearts now and evermore!

 

Constantine G. Caras, Chairman Charles H. Cotros, Vice Chairman George S. Tsandikos, Treasurer Kassandra L. Romas, Secretary Paulette Poulos, Acting Executive Director

Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund, Incorporated Advancing Orthodoxy and Hellenism in America

Orthodox Observer - December 2010 - Issue 1261  

The Orthodox Observer is the official news publication of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America