SEPTEMBER 2011 • Vol. 76 • No. 1268
Heads of Patriarchates Invited to Attend Feast of Indiction At the invitation of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who also presided over deliberations, the Synaxis of Heads of the ancient Patriarchates and the Autocephalous Church of Cyprus convened at the Phanar from Sept. 1-2. The Synaxis was personally attended by Their Beatitudes, Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria, Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem, and Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus. Patriarch Ignatius of Antioch was unable to participate, although he was the first among all invited Patriarchs to accept the invitation to attend the Synaxis, he was represented by Bishop Isaac of Apameia. Their Beatitudes the Patriarchs, the Archbishop of Cyprus and his hierarchal entourage, and the representative of the Patriarch of Antioch concelebrated with His All-Holiness and the hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne during the Divine Liturgy on Thursday, Sept. 1, on the occasion of the Feast of the Indiction. They also signed the relevant act prepared for the beginning of the new ecclesiastical year. The sessions of the Synaxis began the evening of Sept.1 at the Patriarchal Church of the Phanar and focused on the present state of the Orthodox Churches in the Middle East, and on Orthodox issues in general, including the efforts under way toward convening the Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church. From the Office of the Chief Secretary
Ecumenical Patriarch, Archbishop Lead Worship at Panagia Soumela by Stavros H. Papagermanos
NEW YORK – Monday, Aug. 15, the Feast of the Dormition of the Holy Theotokos, was a very special and spiritually uplifting day for Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Archbishop Demetrios and the thousands of people, clergy and laity from all over the world who participated in the Patriarchal Divine Liturgy in the historic monastery of Panagia Soumela near Trapezounta, Turkey. It was the second time for such a liturgy, since only last year on the same day and after 88 years of liturgical silence in Panagia Soumela, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew presided at the first historic liturgy following the permission given to the Ecumenical Patriarchate by the Turkish au-
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Universal Exaltation of the Holy Cross Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, The annual commemoration of this great Feast of the Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross is a blessed occasion to affirm our offering of continued prayers and solid support for our beloved Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and for those who serve and study there. Our support for Holy Cross is essential to the spiritual well being of our Church and faithful in America and beyond. Our School of Theology is a place where the leaders of our parishes and ministries are guided and shaped through worship, service, and the engagement with
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Impending Doom One of the last photos taken of St. Nicholas Church shortly after one of the hijacked airliners crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center shortly after 9 a.m. on September 11, 2001. Within an hour, only a tall mound of burning debris would remain. The Archdiocese, including the hierarchs of the various Metropolises, commemorated the event with special services. The Observer marks the 10th anniversary of 9/11 with an encyclical by Archbishop Demetrios and articles by Gregory Pappas, Clifford T. Argue and Dr. Anton Vrame on pages 6, 8-9 and 11. Eric O’Connell Archival Photo
Metropolitan Maximos Retires for Health Reasons NEW YORK – The Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, at their meeting of Aug. 29-30, accepted the resignation of Metropolitan Maximos from his position as Metropolitan of Pittsburgh and the See of the Metropolis of Pittsburgh became vacant. Metropolitan Maximos submitted his resignation for Aug. 3 for health reasons to Archbishop Demetrios, as president of the Holy Eparchial Synod and Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and asked that it be forwarded to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. The Archbishop communicated the decision of the Metropolitan to the members of the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Archdiocese of America, and with a heavy heart forwarded the letter of resignation to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. In conveying the decision of Metropolitan Maximos to His All Holiness, Archbishop Demetrios noted: “For over 32 years, Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh shepherded with apostolic zeal, and with fatherly love and exemplary pastoral care the faithful people of this Metropolis of the Holy Archdiocese. “Beyond this, he ceaselessly offered most valued services to the Holy Archdiocese of America in general, to the Holy Cross Theological School and especially to the ongoing theological discussions between the Orthodox and members of other Christian Churches. “Moreover, Metropolitan Maximos
Archbishop Demetrios and Metropolitan Maximos at the Metropolis of Pittsburgh chapel on Sept. 2.
actively and productively participated in the meetings of the Holy Eparchial Synod, offering his theological and linguistic abilities to the formulation of significant texts for the Archdiocese. “Without a doubt, he was the unwavering voice of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in our midst, representing the spirit, the ethos and the tradition of the Mother Church. His resignation, which I am obligated to submit, is a great loss to us and leaves a void which
will be difficult to fill.” Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit has been named locum tenens of the Metropolis of Pittsburgh until a new metropolitan is elected for the See. As per the provisions and directives of the Charter and regulations of the Archdiocese, the Chief Secretariat, on behalf of the Holy Eparchial Synod, will immediately commence the procedure leading, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to the election of a new metropolitan of Pittsburgh.
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Notre Dame Establishes Archbishop Demetrios Chair SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame has established an endowed chair, the Archbishop Demetrios Professorship in Byzantine Theology as part of the school’s efforts to expand the scope of its Medieval Institute, the first of its kind in the United States. The position will focus on the theology of the Greek-speaking Church of Medieval times. The Archbishop, who received an
honorary doctorate from the university in 2010, said at the recent ceremony: “The university’s decision constitutes a great honor for me. I am truly humbled by this announcement and deeply grateful for such a development.” The Archbishop Demetrios Chair represents one goal within a larger National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant of $800,000 issued to Notre Dame in 2007. The university has been raising
additional revenue for library collections, graduate fellowships, professorships and educational programs to build its Byzantine Studies program. “We are pleased to honor Archbishop Demetrios with the naming of this chair, as we are extremely thankful for his integral role in strengthening relations between Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians around the world,” said Notre Dame’s president, the Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
Leadership 100 Supports National Clergy Retreat by George Schirra
The Leadership 100 Endowment Fund Executive Committee has unanimously agreed to underwrite the Archdiocesan Presbyters Council National Clergy Retreat in the amount of $45,000. According to Constantine G. Caras, Leadership 100 chairman, this award is intended “to continue support of our clergy whose ministries are essential to our spiritual growth and that of our families. This has been an integral part of Leadership 100 grants since our founding.” The organization has provided more than $17 million in grants for various programs relating to
Photo Credit CorreCtion Photo credit to photographer Demetra Stamus, whose photo of the author, His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, appears on the inside jacket of his book, Encountering the Mystery: Understanding Orthodox Christianity Today. The 1st edition was incorrectly credited. For more info email email@example.com.
Greek Orthodox clergy over that period. The National Retreat theme: “Refresh, Renew and Recharge” emphasizes “preserving the ‘wellness’ of the Archdiocesan clergy while also offering them an opportunity to gather and learn new and innovative programs within the Church, attend theological and administrative seminars, and work on self-improvement of skills,” according to Fr. Nicholas Anctil, Archdiocesan Presbyters Council president. The funding allows the Presbyters Council to maintain a manageable cost of $300 per clergyman. The retreat, to take place in Phoenix, Nov. 2-4, is held on off-years of the biennial Clergy-Laity
St. Photios to Hold Essay Contest ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The St Photios Foundation will hold its sixth annual essay contest for Greek Orthodox high school students. The 2011 contest is sponsored by Archon Constantine M. and Constance Rizopoulos of Flagler Beach, Fla., in memory of their grandson, Michael Anthony Rizopoulos (July 1, 1983-Nov. 6, 2010). Essay theme is “An Immigrant’s Story.” Essays should compare and contrast the immigration story of the Greeks who came to America in 1768 with that of a family member, friend or other acquaintance. Writers should share what impressed them about their stories. All essays will be independently judged and ranked and participants will receive. certificates of participation. The top three–ranked essayists will receive the following prizes: first place–an Apple IPAD2; second place–an Apple IPOD and third place–an Apple IPOD Nano.
© Demetra S. Stamus, 2007
In the St. Basil Academy article in the July-August issue, Board President Evelyn Tsiadis, not Maria Skiadas, was shown in the photo. In the Parish Profile, Fr. Sarantidis arrived in Portland in 1988, not 1998. He does not hold a Ph.D.
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There is no entry fee. Deadline for submitting essays, which should be 1,000 words in length, is Nov. 4. Writers are asked to submit their essays with a separate cover page listing the author’s name, address, phone number and e-mail address. It is recommended that a one paragraph autobiographical statement and photo be submitted for possible publication. The Essay Contest Committee consists of Chairwoman Katherine Bacalis of St. John the Divine (Jacksonville, Fla.), Renee Gahagan of St. Demetrios (Daytona Beach, Fla.) and Kathy Mendez of Holy Trinity (St. Augustine). Dr Constantine Santas, an advisory council member for the Center for Greek Studies at the University of Florida, and former professor at Milwaukee–Downer College and the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle, serves as the professional consultant.
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EDITOR IN CHIEF Jim Golding (Chryssoulis) GREEK SECTION EDITOR Eleftherios Pissalidis
Congress and is designed and scheduled to accommodate all 700 clergymen of the Archdiocese. Leadership 100 has distributed $17,369,567 in grants to a wide variety of programs in support of clergy since its founding in 1984, representing more than half of all Leadership 100 grants, which total $31,257,836 through 2011. This includes $13,403,617 in scholarships for seminarians at Holy Cross, $885,000 for the elimination of student loans of active clergy, $872,000 to increase retired clergy pensions, $175,000 for the Archdiocese Center for Clergy Family Critical Care, and $44,250 for the Presbyters Council Benevolent Fund.
PRODUCTION & ADVERTISING Eleftherios Pissalidis GRAPHIC ARTIST Abel Montoya ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT Soula Podaras BUSINESS MANAGER Marissa P. Costidis
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OrthodoxJobs Web Site Updated, Redesigned BOSTON – The Department of Internet Ministries of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and the Office of Vocation & Ministry of Hellenic College has redesigned and updated their web site www.OrthodoxJobs. com. Developed to serve Christian and service-oriented industries, especially Orthodox agencies, schools, and ministries, the improved site is now enhanced with resume and job search features. All job posting services for employers and job searching services for job seekers are free. With this major update, employers can create instant online applications and prescreening questionnaires, manage potential applicants and job posting statistics, and utilize other enhanced tools. Job seekers can post resumes, which are fully searchable by employers, and can be instantly updated online. A new classifieds feature of the site provides networking capabilities with business to business directory-style advertising of products and services. For just $99 per year, independent contractors to general businesses can advertise their specific products and services on the site. OrthodoxJobs.com provides any business–photographer, iconographer, graphic designer, chanter, etc.–with a searchable and targeted advertising opportunity on a local, regional, and national level. Also new in this major update is a comprehensive “Employment Resources” section. These resources include resume and cover letter writing, hiring and interview question tips, and real life stories from Orthodox Christians living their vocation–as their unique and ongoing response to Christ’s call to love God and neighbor–in a variety of professions. In addition there are sample job descriptions for positions such as “Parish Youth Worker” to help churches enhance their parish ministry. OrthodoxJobs.com has been servicing the Orthodox Christian community since 2005 with a forum for posting job opportunities in lay ministry positions in churches and Orthodox organizations. The Department of Internet Ministries is dedicated to helping Greek Orthodox parishes in the United States use technology for the proclamation of the Good News of the Gospel and for the advancement of Orthodox Christian ministry. More information about the programs and services offered by the Department is available at www. internet.goarch.org. The Office of Vocation & Ministry (OVM) at Hellenic College provides opportunities for college students, high school students and those who serve them for growth in Orthodox Christian vocation and leadership through theological inquiry, ongoing reflection, and service. More information about the programs and services offered by the OVM is available at http://vocation.hchc.edu/ OrthodoxJobs.com is available at: www.orthodoxjobs.com, or contact Jamil Samara at (617) 850-1350 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deadline for submitting information, articles and photos for consideration for the October 2011 issue: Mon., Oct.. 3. Photos should be sent as a large format-jpg attachment (300 dpi or greater). E-mail to: email@example.com Regular mail: Editor, Orthodox Observer, 8 E. 79th St., New York, NY 10075.
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Archdiocese Commemorates 9/11 by Jim Golding
Under unprecedented security amid a possible threat of terrorist activity, New York commemorated the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks with a nearly six-hour observance at Ground Zero that began at 8:30 a.m., which included the participation of President Barack Obama, former President George Bush, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other leaders and government officials. There were no religious observances at the event, however, moments of silence were held at the times when the airliners struck the Twin Towers, and when the skyscrapers collapsed. Meanwhile, at Holy Trinity Archdiocesan Cathedral at 10 a.m., Archbishop Demetrios presided at a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy that was followed by a memorial service and special prayers for the families of the victims and for the rebuilding of St. Nicholas Church. Concelebrating with His Eminence were Bishop Savas of Troas and Bishop Andonios of Phasiane. At 2 p.m., about an hour after the official observance at Ground Zero ended, Archbishop Demetrios presided over a Trisagion memorial service near the site of St. Nicholas Church attended by parish members and other faithful. The Archbishop reassured those in attendance that the church would be rebuilt and would serve as a place for those of all faiths to offer prayers and light candles to honor the memory of the victims. At the invitation of President Obama, His Eminence that evening attended a “Concert for Hope” at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall in Washington to conclude the day’s 9/11 observances. Over the past decade, the Archdiocese has pursued efforts to rebuild the church, the only house of worship destroyed in the collapse of the Twin Towers, as Church officials have sought to overcome bureaucratic barriers that have been slowing progress. In the days leading up to the 9/11 observance, Archdiocese officials, including Archbishop Demetrios and Ecumenical Officer Fr. Mark Arey, have conducted several interviews with representatives of national and international news media organizations, including FOX-News, the New York Daily News online, New England Cable News, Ger-
Status of the September 11th Fund The following list from the Office of the Chancellor of the Archdiocese presents the total disbursement amounts and balances of funds contributed to the Archdiocese September 11 Fund for the benefit the family members of the terrorist attack victims, as of Aug. 25. Total Collected + Interest Total Collected – $2,139,159 Interest Income – $ 24,141 Total Available for Distribution $2,163,300 Photos by Dimitrios Panagos
Archbishop Demetrios officiates at the memorial service at the Ground Zero site of St. Nicholas Church on Sept. 11. (Below) In the background behind Archbishop Demetrios is the new Freedom Tower that will replace the Twin Towers and rise to a height of 1,776 feet.
man television, and Greek media including Antenna and the National Greek TV program. The Archbishop also was interviewed by GOTelecom Senior Producer/Director Nicholas J. Furris and Archdiocese Press Officer Stavros Papagermanos for the special “September 11 Memorial” website now online. For the complete interviews in Greek and English, visit the “September 11 Memorial” website at: www.goarch.org/ special/september11. The site includes the encyclical of the Archbishop, a special video message, a photo gallery and other pertinent material. A sampling of issues His Eminence touched upon: On his immediate role during his visit to Ground Zero site after the attacks. The Archbishop said there were many reasons, including praying for the departed and to be with the people working there. “People working there asked for special prayers,” he said, such as crane operators who, unlike the situation they faced at a normal construction site, knew they would probably be touching human bodies when clearing away rubble. He also wanted to be in touch with families of the victims, and attended many of the funerals and memorial services. On Rebuilding St. Nicholas Church His Eminence said it was “unthink-
Distributions Christmas 2001 Grants to Orthodox Families – $120,000 Grants for Education to Children of Greek Orthodox Victims (2002-2003) – $1,335,000 Grants to Businesses of Greek Orthodox that were either destroyed or severely impacted (2001-2002) – $75,000 Grants to assist Non-Orthodox Children of Victims (2002) Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund – $150,000 Port Authority Police Fund – $100,000 Assistance to Widows and other Family Members (2002) – $285,000 Grants to Unmet Needs Roundtable (2003) – $50,000 Grant to STAR Program of Church World Service (2003) – $20,000 Miscellaneous Items (Expenses & Bank Charges) – $ 2,397 Total Distributed $2,137,397
able” that the church would not be rebuilt at the site and noted the outpouring of offers of financial support and material aid from such diverse sources as the city of Bari Italy, residents of a Connecticut town who lived on St. Nicholas Street, donations of services and materials from the International Brotherhood of Plumbers, the Greek
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Balance Total Collected (plus Interest) less Total Distributed $ 25,903 Balance transferred to the Fund to Rebuild St. Nicholas – $25,903 Amount remaining in September 11th Fund as of 8/25/2011 – $ 0 Total Collected, plus interest – $2,139,159
Ecumenical Patriarch, Archbishop at Panagia Soumela from first page thorities. This year, His All Holiness invited Archbishop Demetrios and two clergymen of Pontian ancestry from the Archdiocese: the Chancellor, Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, and Archdeacon Panteleimon Papadopoulos, to take part in the pilgrimage. According to tradition, Panagia Soumela was established, in 386 A.D. by the Athenian monks Barnabas and Sofronios on the steep cliffs of Mount Melas, south of the city of Trapezounta (Trabzon) and has been for 16 centuries the symbol of the Hellenism of Pontos. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew concelebrated the Divine Liturgy with Archbishop Demetrios of America and Metropolitan Barnabas of Neapolis and Stavropolis from the Thessaloniki area. Archdeacon Panteleimon Papadopoulos also took part in the liturgy. Others present at the Liturgy were Metropolitans Ignatius of Dimitriados, Pavlos of Drama, Archbishop Panteleimon of Yaroslavl and Rostov, who led the Rus-
sian delegation and Bishop Andonios of Phasiane from the United States. Hundreds of pilgrims from Russia, Greece, Cyprus, Georgia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Australia and America attended the liturgy inside the monastery and many more were able to follow the liturgy on a giant screen outside the monastery compound. The liturgy was broadcast live through the Greek television channel ET-3 and worldwide via satellite through ERT-World. It was covered widely by Turkish and international media. His All Holiness, answering questions for the Turkish network NTV and, referring to properties of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, expressed his hope that “those properties that were taken illegally will be returned as soon as possible to their rightful owners,” and he said that if that does not happen “we will turn to the European Court.” Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew also expressed sadness because the Theological School of Halki has not yet been allowed to re-open. “Halki has been closed for 40 years.
D. Panagos photo
More than 500 pilgrims from several nations attend the Patriarchal Divine Liturgy at the Panagia Soumela Monastery on Aug. 15.
Even though the Turkish government has given us hope, unfortunately it still remains closed,” said the Patriarch. The next day, Aug. 16, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, accompanied by Archbishop Demetrios and the other clergy, visited the monastery of St. John the Baptist, (now in ruins) which is the oldest in Pontos.
It is known as the Vazelon Monastery, and is located in the village of Matsouka, 40 kilometers south of Trabzon and was built in 270 A.D. His All Holiness also visited the nearby monastery of St. George, which dates back to 752 A.D. (photos of the pilgrimage can be viewed at: www.flickr.com/photos/orthodoxnews/)
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Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh Retires Metropolitan Maximos retires after more than 30 years of quiet dedication as head of the Metropolis of Pittsburgh and from the half century of fruitful ministry he has offered to the entire Church. His efforts have been clearly visible at many levels – theological, administrative, academic, ecumenical and pan-Orthodox. “For his flock in Pittsburgh, His Eminence Metropolitan Maximos served as an exemplary ‘rule of faith’ and ‘icon of gentleness’, combining so well in his arch-pastoral ministry a deep theological acumen with a sincere humility and pastoral sensitivity, said the Rev. Dr. Stelyios S. Muksuris, administrator of the Metropolis of Pittsburgh. “Having worked alongside him during the past four years, I was blessed to witness a man of deep faith and prayer who possessed unparalleled dedication to the Church and her people, a hierarch who taught by the example of his life, his genuine smile, and his always positive attitude during seemingly insurmountable difficulties. We love him very much and he will always be our beloved spiritual father.” At the ecumenical level, Metropolitan Maximos participated in various National Council of Churches in Christ (NCCC) missions, including the factfinding mission of a Blue Ribbon panel to the Middle-East (February-March 1980), a courtesy visit of an NCCC special delegation to the People’s Republic of China (November 1981), a similar visit of an NCCC delegation to the USSR (October 1984), a World Council of Churches (WCC) mission to Lebanon at the time of the Israeli invasion (July 1982), and a peace conference in Karlovy Vary, Czechoslovakia (December 1984). The Metropolitan also joined the Patriarchal delegation to the Sixth General Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Vancouver, Canada (July-August 1983), and served on its nominating committee. In April-May, 1992, the Metropolitan took part in a WCC fact-finding mission to Belarus and the Ukraine to study the problem of Uniatism and to report his findings to the WCC. He represented the Ecumenical Patriarchate as an observer-delegate to the third and fourth sessions of the Vatican Council II. Metropolitan Maximos has been
Archdiocese Archival Photo
At his elevation as a bishop at the Holy Trinity Archdiocesan Cathedral in 1978 with Archbishop Iakovos.
a very active participant of the Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania, serving as a member of the Council, the Executive Committee, and the Theological Advisory Committee. During his administration, the Metropolis of Pittsburgh has been a member of the Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia Councils of Churches, and the Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania. He took part in the 12th National Conference of Christians and Jews in Chicago (November 1990), and served as a member of the organizing committee of the 13th National Conference of Christians and Jews, held in Pittsburgh in November 1992. In October 1992, Metropolitan Maximos represented the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the 4th Conference of the Roman Catholic Latin American Bishops (CELAM) in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic. Highlights of his pan-Orthodox activities include serving as co-chairman of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation for 33 years. He also served as advisor to the organization Orthodox People Together (OPT), and to the organizing committee of the Pan-Orthodox Conference on Mission and Evangelism. In June 1988, Metropolitan Maximos went to the Ukraine (then part of the USSR) and Czechoslovakia for the celebration of the Christian Millennium
Photo - D.Panagos
in the land of Kievan Rus. Over the course of his ministry, the Metropolitan placed special emphasis on youth ministry, religious education, monasticism and spiritual life and renewal. The Metropolis (when it was still a diocese) sponsored the first Orthodox Christian Mission to Indonesia. The St. Gregory Palamas Monastery, a men’s monastery, was founded in 1981. Two monasteries for women were also established: The Holy Nativity of the Theotokos Convent, with the St. Elias Retreat Center, in 1989; and The Holy Protection of the Theotokos Convent in 1994. With a strong theological and academic background acquired at the Theological School in Halki, and the University of Louvain, Belgium, and pastoral experience serving parishes in Rome and Belgium, the Very Rev. Maximos Aghiorgoussis came to the United States in 1966 to teach at Holy Cross School of Theology. He was professor of dogmatics from 1966-1978 and also taught homiletics. He served as dean of Holy Cross in 1969-70, vice president of HC-HC from 1973-76, and president of the Academic Senate in 1977. His academic pursuits included publishing numerous scholarly papers in ecumenical journals, religious periodicals and newspapers, not only in English, but also in Greek, French and Italian. Met-
ropolitan Maximos’ books include In the Image of God: Studies in Scripture, Theology, and Community. He is currently at work translating into English his doctoral dissertation, titled La Dialectique de l’Image de Dieu d’ apres Saint Basile le Grand (The Dialectic of the Image of God according to Saint Basil the Great), to be published as a book in the near future. Elected titular Bishop of Diokleia in April 1978, he was assigned by Archbishop Iakovos as an auxiliary bishop to what was then the Sixth Archdiocesan District of Pittsburgh, which was later designated a diocese and, in 1998, a metropolis. Metropolitan Maximos served as locum tenens of the Diocese of Detroit from 1998-1999, up until the election and enthronement of Metropolitan Nicholas, who served as chancellor of the Metropolis of Pittsburgh under Metropolitan Maximos from 19911995. He served on the Patriarchal Synod in Constantinople for one year, from March 2007 until February 2008, and also led a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the Holy Land in September of 2008. As a major contributor to the book The Pontificate of Benedict XVI: Its Premises and Promises, the Metropolitan participated in an important international symposium in Rome with his fellow authors and ecumenists in April 2009, when the critically acclaimed book was formally presented to the Pope.
Archdiocese Archival Photo
As a young archimandrite in 1972.
Courtesy Metropolis of Pittsburgh
(Left) With other metropolitans of the Archdiocese and from the Ecumenical Patriarchate during a visit of Patriarch Bartholomew at Holy Cross School of Theology. (Right) Giving out antidoron at a Divine Liturgy.
Remembering 9/11 For America’s Sake, Do the Right Thing
by Gregory Pappas
John Katsimatides would often seek refuge from the noise, chaos and stress of working in the mecca of the world’s financial center by visiting the tiny church of St. Nicholas, located literally a stone’s throw from the front doors of Tower A of the World Trade Center in New York City. To anyone visiting Lower Manhattan for the first time, the tiny church – a structure occupying a total area the size of a few dozen parking spots – 1,200–square feet to be exact -- stuck out like a weed in a manicured rose garden. Picture it for yourself – a tiny, whitewashed structure built–in the 19th century plopped right smack in the middle of modern, shiny skyscrapers in the busiest, most bustling neighborhood of one of the world’s largest cities. St. Nicholas Church was founded by Greek immigrants in 1916 and served generations of families and their spiritual needs. Countless weddings, baptisms and funerals were conducted in the tiny parish over the years as the neighborhood evolved from a Greek and Middle Eastern ghetto filled with row after row of tenement houses to its current status as the world’s financial epicenter. To John – and countless other visitors from all walks of life who periodically sought the peace and tranquility of St. Nicholas – the rose garden was actually the church. Eighty–five years after its founding, the church was destroyed by the falling Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. Just like that, almost nine decades as a place of tranquility and love to tens of thousands of people who visited, the “rose garden” was uprooted by the crushing weight of rage and hatred. Discussions began for the rebuilding of the church soon after the dust of the disaster had settled and the city had begun to heal. St. Nicholas was an important stakeholder in the dialogue – legally, as a property owner in the immediate vicinity of the disaster area known as Ground Zero – and symbolically, as the only house of worship destroyed in the terror attacks. Almost immediately, the tiny church became a David amongst a field of Goliaths including the states of New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, their governors and local officials, several local New York agencies, hundreds of corporations, and of course (and most importantly) the victims’ families. As early as July 2002 – less than a year after the attacks, the Port Authority issued a statement that affirmed it was looking at six different options for the reconstruction of the World Trade Center site. All six proposals that were set forth included “a rebuilt St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church,” according to the official press release. In July of 2008, the Port Authority and the representatives of the church ultimately agreed that the church’s existing land would be swapped for a larger parcel less than a hundred yards away. In exchange for the original church land, the Port Authority agreed to donate $20 million toward construction since the new St. Nicholas church would be built on a platform above a bomb screening center – not an ideal location for a house of worship that would ultimately become a gathering place of people from throughout the world, as well as the new home to the original St. Nicholas congregation. Then, abruptly in March of 2009, the
Port Authority sent a curt email to the representatives of the church stating that negotiations would be “terminated,” ultimately reneging on its previous agreements with the church officials that were well documented and publicly noted by officials. Shortly thereafter the Port Authority illegally moved in on the Church’s property, put up a fence and began excavating on it – without even notifying the owners – claiming that they needed to begin construction on the screening center underground. There has hardly been any media coverage of these incidents surrounding tiny St. Nicholas. Only a brief blip – when the controversy erupted over the building of the mosque that was dubbed the Ground Zero Mosque by the media, politicians and those who fanned the flames of controversy. Ironically they were way off base when they named it the Ground Zero Mosque since the proposed site of the Islamic center was nowhere near Ground Zero – not within earshot nor even in view of Ground Zero, but down a street and around several corners, tucked away on a nondescript street with storefronts, a strip joint and Chinese take-out restaurants. On the contrary, St. Nicholas is the Ground Zero Church. It was destroyed on September 11th – the only house of worship to be destroyed in the attacks – and was located right smack in the middle of what is today called “Ground Zero.” Yet the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is standing in the way of the rebuilding of the Ground Zero Church. On this solemn anniversary, 10 years since that day that changed American history forever, the void remains in the hearts of so many people who lost someone. This will never change. John Katsimatides’ family will never have him – and others who perished in the attacks – back, ever again. For what it’s worth – although this can never be enough to console the survivors – the names of those who perished will be remembered on a fitting memorial that will be built to honor them. The office buildings will be rebuilt – bigger, and stronger than before – sending a message of American defiance to terror. But the tiny Ground Zero Church where John Katsimatides and so many others sought tranquility in a turbulent world – the final piece in the Ground Zero puzzle remains elusive. When I contacted the Greek Orthodox Church for a comment on the matter, I received an email from Fr. Mark Arey, the Archdiocesan spokesperson for the St. Nicholas matter. He said: “At a time when the message of tolerance, mutual respect and interfaith understanding is needed now more than ever, shouldn’t every American advocate for the re–building of St. Nicholas? In the center of the Plaza at Ground Zero, there is a single Callery pear tree, brought back to life after the attacks of September 11th rendered it a charred, pitiful stump. This tree was brought back for a reason, the very same reason that St. Nicholas must be brought back, the same reason that St. Nicholas will be brought back.” Fr. Mark is right. For America’s sake St. Nicholas must be rebuilt. Gregory Pappas is a member of the Archdiocesan Council Communications Committee. This article also appeared in the Huffington Post. He is president of The Pappas Group, publisher of Greek America magazine and founder of the Greek America Foundation.
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Save the Date July 1 - 5, 2012
The Process of Electing a New Metropolitan In view of the recent resignation of his Eminence Metropolitan Maximos from his position as Metropolitan of Pittsburgh and the pending election of a new metropolitan, we provide the process for the election of a new metropolitan as outlined in the Regulations of the Archdiocese. According to Article 14 of the Regulations, the Eparchial Synod in consultation with the Archdiocesan Council reviews and modifies, through additions and deletions, the list of those eligible for the office of metropolitan. The auxiliary bishops are automatically included in this list by virtue of their office. The Eparchial Synod submits the list so completed to the Ecumenical Patriarchate for its approval. The list becomes definitive after its ratification by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and is then officially published by the Archdiocese. (The current list was published on the January–February 2010 issue of the Orthodox Observer – www.goarch.org/ news/observer). Immediately following a vacancy in the See of a Metropolis, but no later than forty (40) days thereafter, the Archbishop convenes the Eparchial Synod in a timely
fashion, for the purpose of nominating, after soliciting the opinion of the members of the Archdiocesan Council, three persons, out of whom one shall be elected to fill the vacancy of the Metropolis. The nominees are taken from the above mentioned list of those eligible, pursuant to the procedure provided for by the Regulations of the Eparchial Synod. The list of three nominees thus established is submitted to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. According to the existing practice, the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate elects one of the three as the new Metropolitan. A nominee for the office of Metropolitan shall be a person of deep faith and ethos, a Greek Orthodox Christian, a graduate of an academically recognized and accredited Orthodox school of theology of the highest level, have a fluent knowledge of spoken and written English and Greek, and have proven ability in administration and pastoral work. In addition, the nominee must have all the pertinent qualifications defined by the Canons, shall not be less than thirty–five (35) years of age, and shall have had a period of sufficient service in the Archdiocese.
CLERGY UPDATE Ordinations to the Diaconate
08/15/11 Fr. Dionysios Listerman-Vierling – Prophet Elias Church, Santa Cruz, Calif. 9/01/11 Fr. Nicholas Rafael II – Holy Trinity Church, Wilmington, Del. 09/01/11 Fr. Jason Roll – St. Nicholas Church, Northridge, Calif. 09/01/11 Fr. Anthony Stratis – St. George Church, Knoxville, Tenn. 09/01/11 Fr. William Bartz – Chancellor of the Metropolis of Detroit, by Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit 08/01/11
Ordinations to the Priesthood
Fr. Vasile Mihai – Office of Protopresbyter, bestowed by Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta 06/26/11 Fr. Bogue Elias Stevens – Office of Confessor, bestowed by Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta 07/03/11 Fr. Paul Christy – Office of Protopresbyter, bestowed by Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta 07/17/11 Fr. Kenneth Anthony – Office of Protopresbyter, bestowed by Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta 07/31/11
Jason Dickey – Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos – Sts. Constantine & Helen Church, Merrillville, Ind. 07/17/11 Demetrios Kazakis – Archbishop Demetrios – Kimisis Tis Theotokou Church, Brooklyn, NY 7/30/11 James Foreso – Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver – St. Catherine Church, Greenwood Village, Colo. 08/06/11 Andrew (Gregory) Kearns – Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver – St. Catherine Church, Greenwood Village 08/14/11 Dn. Allan Gabriel Boyd – Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco – St. Sophia Cathedral, Los Angeles 07/17/11 Dn. Michael Marcantoni – Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta – Holy Trinity Church, Raleigh, NC 07/17/11 Dn. John Afendoulis – Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit – Holy Trinity Church, Grand Rapids, Mich. 08/07/11 Dn. Nikolaos Hristos Bekris – Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco – Annunciation Cathedral, San Francisco 08/15/11 Assignments
Phoenix Desert riDge
PHOENIX, A Z More information to come in future issues of the Orthodox Observer!
Fr. Anastasios Kousoulas – St. Anna Church, Flemington, NJ 07/01/11 Dn. Michael Marcantoni – Holy Trinity Church, Raleigh, NC 07/05/11 Fr. James S. Katinas – Department of Institutional Advancement, Holy Cross School of Theology, Brookline. 07/15/11 Dn. Jason Dickey – Sts. Constantine & Helen Church, Merrillville, Ind. 07/17/11 Fr. Vasilios Hillhouse – Holy Transfiguration Church, Anchorage, Alaska 08/01/11 Dn. Demetrios Kazakis – Kimisis Tis Theotokou Church, Brooklyn, NY 08/01/11 Fr. Constantine Sinos – Annunciation Church, Kansas City, Mo. 08/08/11 Dn. Haralambos Spaliatsos – Holy Trinity Church, Dallas 08/08/11 Fr. Kakhaber Kurtanidze – St. Luke Church, Broomall, Pa. 08/12/11 Fr. John Afendoulis – St. John the Baptist Church, Salinas, Calif. 08/15/11 Dn. Andrew Kearns – St. Catherine Church, Greenwood Village, Colo.
Retired Priests Fr. Ignatios Apostolopoulos 08/31/11 Fr. Constantine Efstathiu 08/31/11 Fr. John Chakos 09/30/11 Please Note: the correct listing for the following clergy previously listed in the July-August issue is Retired Clergy: Fr. Constantine Mathews 07/01/11 Fr. John Karabatsos 07/31/11 Receptions Fr. Kakhaber Kurtanidze - June 29, 2011 (from the Patriarchate of Georgia) Releases Fr. Stephanos Shagoury - July 5, 2011 (to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia) Priests on Loan Fr. Konstantinos Nevrokoplis - June 10, 2011 (returned to the Church of Greece) Clergy Deaths Fr. Anthony Moschonas - August 13, 2011
The Voice of Philoptochos
A New Year of Philanthropy by Aphrodite Skeadas
New officers and board members with Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey.
N.J. Metropolis Announces New Board, Benefit Luncheon Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey offered the oath of office to the Metropolis Philoptochos Board for 2011–13 that includes Anne Michals, president; Alexis Limberakis, first vice president; Eleni Constantinides, second vice president; Stella Wacker, treasurer; Harriet Nikolaidis, assistant treasurer; Fotini Baba-Floudas, secretary; Theadora Portelos, corresponding secretary and Theano Chatzopoulos, advisor. Additional board members are: Eleni Andronikou, Maria Antonakas, Tessie Baker, Dolly Demetris, Bessie Drogaris, Pat Kallelis, Effie Kambourakis,
‘Open the Doors’ of Center of Philanthropy National Philoptochos President Aphrodite Skeadas has announced the new Philoptochos Center of Philanthropy campaign for the new Ecclesiastical Year that will feature a brochure, video and a targeted nationwide drive. “We need everyone’s help to ‘Open the Doors’ to the Center of Philanthropy,” said Mrs. Skeadas. Campaign Strategy Phase I generated $1.3 million toward the $4 million goal needed to purchase a permanent headquarters in New York. Funds were received from major donors, individuals, friends, the Metropolis of Chicago and the Metropolis of Detroit fund-raisers, members and chapters. The Center is critical for Philoptochos to expand its outreach and offer important services to the underprivileged, to enhance Social Services, to offer more activities to benefit the chapters and membership and as a permanent home of the Philoptochos archives. Members are urged to help Philoptochos preserve its legacy and plan for the future by supporting its Campaign Strategy II to raise $1.7 million. National Board members will be in touch with Church leaders, each metropolis and Philoptochos chapter to help engage the Greek Orthodox community in this major philanthropic undertaking. For more information, and to download a donation form, visit philosny@aol. com or www.philoptochos.org.
Stella Katcheves, Marshia Maestas, Aspasia Melis, Pat Sotos, Josephine Tsarnas, Evellyn Tsiadis and honorary Board Member Billie Angelos. The officers represent New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The board will assist the chapters within the metropolis to expand programs in philanthropy, community outreach, spiritual enrichment and youth ministry, including the Metropolis’ Camp Good Shepherd and a new prison ministry initiative. The Metropolis Philoptochos, under
the spiritual leadership of Metropolitan Evangelos, will hold a major benefit luncheon on Feb. 4 at the Pines Manor in Edison, N.J., to support the Philoptochos Center of Philanthropy. Luncheon Chairwoman Evellyn Tsiadis, Co–Chairwoman Bessie Drogaris and President Anne Michals invite national participation and sponsorship of this major fundraiser. The Metropolis Philoptochos will also honor all ’50–Year’ members as part of the celebration of the Philoptochos’ “Eighty Years of Philanthropy.”
National Philoptochos a First Responder in Donating $20,000 to Aid Somalia Families NEW YORK – National Philoptochos President Aphrodite Skeadas announced the donation of $20,000 to the International Orthodox Christian Charities to assist IOCC as it provides food, water and medical care to the severely malnourished famine victims in Ethiopia. This immediate response to aid families fleeing Somalia for Ethiopia is made possible by the generous donations of the 485 Philoptochos chapters nationwide. IOCC reports that families walk for days to reach the Dollo Ado refugee camps in Ethiopia. “As many as 1,000 people every day cross from Somalia into Ethiopia fleeing famine, which has now been declared
in five areas in southern Somalia and is expected to spread across all regions of the south in the coming four to six weeks. IOCC is in Ethiopia assisting local relief partners with efforts to bring food, water and medical care to the severely malnourished famine victims, most of which are women and young children.” The National Philoptochos continues to offer immediate response in times of crisis nationally and internationally and extends gratitude to the chapters for their ongoing financial support that demonstrates their compassion and love for mankind. For more information, contact Christine Karavites – 508.982.4276
13th Children’s Medical Fund Luncheon on Dec. 3 The National Philoptochos 13th Biennial Children’s Medical Fund Luncheon committees are finalizing preparations for this important benefit that supports area pediatric hospitals, research universities and families with critically ill children. Help make this a special day, bring your family, your friends and join our 500 supporters to make this an inspirational, philanthropic afternoon at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich, Old Greenwich, Conn. The 2011 Children’s Medical Fund
Luncheon is held under the high patronage of Archbishop Demetrios and with the blessings of Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, the National Philoptochos Board’s spiritual advisor. President Skeadas is the Luncheon general chairwoman, with Maria Skiadis, the Direct Archdiocesan District Philoptochos president, as luncheon chair. Co-chairwomen are Stella Fiorentino, Efthalia Katos and Stella Pantelidis. For more details visit www.philoptochos.org.
Dear Members of the National Board, Chapter presidents and members of the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, we have entered the new ecclesiastical year and, on behalf of the National Board, I offer heartfelt greetings to our dear sisters and brothers of the Philoptochos and express gratitude for your sincere service. We have said goodbye to summertime, when many of us enjoyed the warming rays of the sun, the restorative powers of the sea and the natural beauty of the longer days, and now Philoptochos continues the work of the Lord as we serve those in need during all seasons. The committees and all National Board members address seamlessly and quietly the Philoptochos mission into the new ecclesiastical year. Three examples of progressing committee efforts through the summer are the new philanthropic initiatives: Environmental Responsibility and Social Services. Collaboration is essential and throughout the summer, numerous National Philoptochos committee teams analyzed options and assessed programs investing in the strength of the Philoptochos infrastructure that will measurably improve operations and communications. I congratulate the following leaders who have been first–time appointed or reappointed to serve as presidents of the Direct Archdiocesan District and Metropolis boards: Maria Skiadas–Direct Archdiocesan District; Laura Nixon–Metropolis of Atlanta; Marian Catechis–Metropolis of Denver; and Anastasia Michals–Metropolis of New Jersey. The staff at our National Philoptochos Office diligently works to respond to the never–ending calls for assistance by those in need. These services are maintained while addressing the day to day duties of our national Orthodox faith–based organization. In tribute to all our outstanding Philoptochos women across this country, I highlight two chapters. These chapters are representative of the diversity of love and multitudinous virtue they offer. These chapters are representative of the diversity of love and multitudinous virtue they offer. Enormous energy and immense time are necessary to fulfill any of these precious examples of Philoptochos’ good works. Please share with us your charitable activities. This year the St. Helen Women’s Philoptochos of Sts. Constantine and Helen Church in Palos Hills, Ill., recommended by Angeliki Pitsis and led by Philoptochos President Janet Koliopoulos, presented 50 beautifully crafted quilts created by Philoptochos women to Mrs. Jeannie Ranglas, Metropolis of San Francisco Philoptochos Board president. These quilts were lovingly distributed to children afflicted with cancer at the Kids ‘n’ Cancer camps. In 2009, Lorraine Theodorou, then Philoptochos president of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Rochester, N.Y., enlisted the Sunday School children of the community to begin “Smiles for Christmas,” which provides presents for underprivileged children. This Philoptochos expects a banner year 2011, offering Christmas presents to youngsters who might be forgotten were it not for the combined mighty Philoptochos forces with the determined and delightful Sunday School children. These chapters are representative of the di-
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A RCHDIOCESE N E WS
Remembering September 11, 2001 Archbishop’s Encyclical The Holy Eparchial Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America 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 Sunday, the 10th anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, we address you in the faith, love and hope that we share in our Lord Jesus Christ. As we gather in our places of worship on this day, we cannot help but call to mind the dreadful acts of terrorism and the tremendous destruction that shocked the entire world and burdened every heart with pain and sorrow. As we now pause on this solemn anniversary to remember the nearly three thousand innocent lives lost that day, among whom were many Orthodox brothers and sisters, let us also remember the great acts of self-sacrifice, heroism, and compassion that can never be forgotten, as so many offered their lives for the safety and well being of others. And let us remember our church of St. Nicholas, the only house of worship destroyed on that day of hatred, and for which we lovingly and unceasingly work to rebuild at Ground Zero. We ask all of the parishes of the Holy Archdiocese of America to conduct a memorial service at the end of the Divine Liturgy today, and to join with others throughout this nation and the world in recognizing this as a solemn day of remembrance, as we offer prayers for the eternal memory and repose of the innocent victims of the barbaric attacks and for those who heroically fell in the line of duty attempting to help others and save lives. We shall continue to offer prayers for and ministry to the families who lost loved ones on that day. In the years that have followed the tragic events of September 11, 2001, so many of you have given generously to meet the needs of these families. We give thanks to God for this outpouring of compassion that is a genuine expression of faith in Him and an offering of consolation and assistance to so many. On this 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001, as we remember with faith and love the fallen and those who lost so much, we also affirm our hope for the future, enshrining this hope in the rebuilding of St. Nicholas Church. While we cannot bring back except in memory those who perished that day, we can bring back our Church as a visible sign that hatred can never conquer love, and evil can never defeat good. I call upon all of you to offer fervent prayers for the victims – both dead and living, and prayers that our efforts to rebuild St. Nicholas will soon come to fruition. From the smoldering ruins of that horrific day, may the Lord give us glory instead of ashes (Isaiah 61:3) so that all people may find solace, peace and recollection in the new St. Nicholas edifice that will rise at Ground Zero, and know the peace of God which surpasses all understanding (Philip. 4:7) which comes only from our Lord Jesus Christ. With paternal love in Christ,
† Archbishop DEMETRIOS of America
What had been a vibrant part of Manhattan was transformed into a surreal scene of utter devastation following the attacks. Archbishop Demetrios paid the first of many visits to Ground Zero the day after the catastrophe, holding a prayer service where St. Nicholas Church once stood, blessing the workers sifting through the rubble and soldiers assigned to security detail. At lower left, he is accompanied by Bishop Savas of Troas, then chancellor of the Archdiocese. The heroic firefighters from nearby fire stations who helped save thousands of lives on Sept. 11, continued to extinguish fires for many weeks after the Twin Towers’ collapse. (Bottom right) St. Nicholas Church as it once stood before the calamity that changed everyone’s lives.
Observer Archival Photos-D.Panagos
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Routes of the four airliners that hijackers had diverted on 9/11 to attack New York and Washington.
An Airline Executive’s Recollection
Editor’s note: While the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks has focused primarily on Ground Zero in New York and the nearly 3,000 victims of the Twin Towers’ collapse and their families, the catastrophe has had a profound and ongoing direct impact of hundreds of millions of people in this country and around the world. Every time someone arrives at an airport to travel by air, the consequences of 9/11 become evident on a personal level as air travelers are subjected to stringent screenings. On Sept. 11, 2001, Archdiocesan Council member Clifford Argue was a vice president at Alaska Airlines. His personal recollections of the day and the impact on his airline are in many ways typical of the impact of the attacks on the airline industry and air travelers in general. by Clifford T. Argue
In my usual morning routine when I was working at Alaska Airlines in Seattle, I would wake up about 5 a.m., get ready for work, then turn on my computer to check for e-mail and any news from overnight. I followed this same pattern on September 11, 2001, and as I opened the browser a little before 6 a.m. (Pacific Time) I saw a “Breaking News” item that an aircraft had crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center in New York. Coincidently, I had recently read a book on the 1940’s event when an Army Air Force bomber had crashed into the Empire State Building, so I thought that this was a similar accident. A few minutes later, I had a call from an Alaska operations supervisor at SeattleTacoma Airport, asking for help in getting the airport to turn off the TV screens in the departure areas throughout the terminal because scenes of the crash were upsetting to passengers waiting for flights which I did. Part of my role with the company was as a main point of contact with airport management. Just then, the second hijacked plane hit the other WTC tower. Clearly something unusual was going on. Other phone calls followed advising that the company’s Command Center was being activated, and all officers should report there immediately. When I arrived, everyone was focused on the large overhead TV screens with feeds from the news networks. While thankfully none of our airplanes was involved, we all stood transfixed by drama unfolding nearly 3,000 miles away. As it became apparent that the crashes were a coordinated terrorist attack on the country, the Federal Aviation Administration ordered first an immediate “ground stop” for planes at every airport, meaning no takeoffs, followed by the unprecedented order that all aircraft in flight immediately land. Every aircraft operator, com-
mercial and private, began a shutdown of the entire U.S. air transportation system. In Alaska’s case, given its concentration on the West Coast, many flights either had not yet departed or returned to originating airports. One flight, however, on the new route between Washington, D.C. and Seattle had to land at Madison, Wis., where it would stay for three days until U.S. airspace was reopened. Yet another plane crashed into the Pentagon and one into a field in Pennsylvania. Then the unthinkable happened-the WTC towers collapsed. While feeling deeply for what undoubtedly would be a huge loss of life in New York, as well as at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania, I was also struck by a personal realization that St. Nicholas Church adjacent to the WTC was likely a casualty of this terrible destruction. Some years before, I had gone to New York to meet with officials of the Port Authority in the WTC regarding some airport issues. The meeting happened to be at mid-morning on Holy Thursday. I was feeling bad being away from my own parish and home at this special time and having missed the Holy Unction services the day before since I was flying in to New York from the West Coast – an eight-hour trip including the time difference. I arrived early at the WTC and was so surprised and pleased to see the sign for St. Nicholas that I skipped breakfast to go into the church right at the end of the Liturgy. I was warmly greeted by some of the parishioners and stayed for a while until my meeting began on one of the upper floors of the WTC. September 11 was one of the longest days I can remember as we worked nonstop to account for and accommodate our aircraft, flight crews, and passengers. The closure was especially difficult in the state of Alaska where for many communities, aviation is the only means of transportation in and out since there are no roads, railroads, or water routes. Despite the intense atmosphere and stunned reaction as more details on the attacks became known, in my mind I still kept thinking of the fate of St. Nicholas Church as well as individuals I knew in New York. Very late in the day, I was finally able to reach my friend Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos who confirmed that the church had been destroyed in the collapse of the towers, but that as far as he knew, no one had been in the building, and further everyone at the Archdiocese was okay. After several days, the air transportation system slowly came back into operation but only as individual airports were certified as having adequate security
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Hellenic College–Holy Cross Begins 75 Anniversary Observances th
by Nayla Daly
BROOKLINE, Mass. – Hellenic College-Holy Cross School of Theology, the oldest and largest Christian Orthodox institution for higher learning in North America, will begin celebrating its 75 years of service to the Church and society. Activities will begin Oct. 16 with an inaugural dinner cruise in Boston harbor. Several additional events are being planned to mark the 75th over the next two years, recognizing the hierarchs, theologians, professors, students, administrators, alumni, donors and all those who have contributed to what is the most important academic institution for the Church in America. The anniversary celebration will culminate at the May 2013 commencement. Over the years, Hellenic College–Holy Cross has grown into one academic community comprised of two distinct schools that have evolved together. Hellenic College is the only accredited four-year undergraduate program in the United States that is based on Orthodox Christian principles. Holy Cross, the theological school of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and member of the Boston Theological Institute, is the oldest and largest Orthodox Christian school of theology in America, offering three higher education degrees; Master of Divinity (M.Div.), Master of Theological Studies (MTS) and Master of Theology (Th.M.). More that 80 percent of the priests currently serving in the Archdiocese are Holy Cross-Hellenic College graduates.
Aerial view of the HC-HC campus in Brookline with the Boston skyline in the background.
Holy Cross has alumni in more than 20 countries around the world. While Hellenic College–Holy Cross continues to fulfill its original charge of educating men for priestly service in the Archdiocese, it has blossomed as a small and vibrant Orthodox Christian college
and graduate school of theology offering nine different majors for both women and men. Holy Cross Orthodox Press has published more than 300 books (with eight more in the works), which have advanced Orthodox Christian theology, provided liturgical resources for parishes and edified people throughout the world. HC-HC also has become an international center for Orthodox Christian education, has prominent graduates in more than 20 countries throughout the world, and its enrollment is growing steadily in terms of both the quantity and the aptitude of its students. “Together, Hellenic College-Holy Cross now provides programs that include elementary education, professional studies, religious studies and liberal arts,” said Fr. Nicholas Triantafilou, HC–HC president. “Integrating faith, learning and service, HC-HC has left a substantial and positive imprint in Orthodox churches and societies in America and
Peggy Giovane Photo
around the world.” About Hellenic College–Holy Cross Hellenic College Holy Cross was originally founded as Holy Cross Theological School in 1937 in Pomfret, Conn. In 1946 the school was moved to Brookline, Mass., where the students and faculty could take advantage of the educational and cultural opportunities of Greater Boston. In 1968, Holy Cross expanded its collegiate division to a four-year professional studies and liberal arts program. Hellenic College is a small but vibrant Orthodox Christian college offering six different majors for both women and men. Today the faculties and students of the undergraduate and graduate schools continue to form one academic community, engaged in the education and formation of the future leaders of our Church and society. Nayla Daly does marketing and public relations work for HC-HC.
2011 CrossRoad Program participants gather in front of the Holy Cross Chapel. CrossRoad is one of several activities taking place at the HC/HC Campus during the year. Established in 2004, the program draws high school-age students from throughout the United States. (Story on page 26)
Zine to Debut for New School Year by Jim Golding
Dr Anton Vrame, Archdiocese Religious Education director; Rev. Dn. Professor Risto Aikonen, University of Eastern Finland; and Dr. Vasiliki Mitropoulou Mourka, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, each presented an apple from their homelands to the “First Teacher in the Faith,” Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, after the conclusion of an international meeting of Orthodox Christian Religious Educators at the Phanar.
International Religious Educators Meet at Ecumenical Patriarchate BROOKLINE, Mass. – The Orthodox Christian Religious Education Association, a recently formed international organization of scholars in the field of religious education, met June 14-17 at the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Scholars, representing Greece, Finland and the United States exchanged papers on the topic “Orthodox Religious Education in a Multicultural World.” They also met with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who expressed his support for the work of the group and encouraged them to locate other Orthodox scholars in the field of Christian education. Conference attendees presented several papers. Anton C. Vrame (director, Archdiocese Department of Religious Education, adjunct associate professor, Holy Cross School of Theology, Brookline, Mass.) gave the opening presentation: “Orthodox Christian Religious Education for a Pluralistic World.” He discussed multicultural education and pluralism from the Orthodox education perspective, and how both could be used in the Church. Risto Aikonen (senior lecturer, University of Eastern Finland, School of Applied Educational Science and Teacher Education) made the second presentation: “What is Religious Education for in the Finnish Context?” He discussed the history of religious education in Finland and the challenges currently facing the Finnish educational system on teaching religion in the schools. Kyriakos Stavrianos (assistant professor, University of Crete) presented “The Parable of the Good Samaritan in Patristic Literature.” He discussed how the patristic interpretation of the parable opened the possibility for relating to persons of other religions in our contemporary situation. Vasiliki Mitropoulou (assistant professor, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Faculty of Theology) presented “Intercultural Education through the Monuments of the ‘Other,’” relating to the historical monuments of Thessaloniki’s non-Greek community. She presented them as a case study in intercultural education. Athanasios Mpotas (doctoral candidate, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Faculty of Theology) presented “The Or-
thodox Ecological View and the Care of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for ‘Green’ Development.” He noted current thinking on environmental education and its connections to Ecumenical Patriarch’s writings and works on the environment. Georgios Krapis (doctoral candidate, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Faculty of Theology) made the final presentation on “Patriarchal Speeches for Christmas and Easter of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.” He examined the extent and diversity of biblical source material in patriarchal speeches. The group discussed its future progress, especially identifying other scholars in the field of religious education at Orthodox theological schools and pedagogical academies. The group also toured the Theological School at Halki. The Orthodox Christian Religious Education Association was first conceived during a conference in 2006 at the New Valaam Monastery in Finland. The meeting in Istanbul was the second gathering of the group. They plan to meet again in 2012.
BROOKLINE, Mass. – The Archdiocese Department of Religious Education will introduce a new “zine” for 9th and 10th grade Sunday school classes this year as part of its ongoing innovations to enhance the teaching of the Faith. Dr. Anton Vrame, the department director, said in an interview with the Observer in late July that the zine First Among Equals, will present the history and function of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Patriarch. The zine is due to be printed soon. Dr. Vrame said that zines (term for a certain type of magazine) are new innovations in school curriculums. “Zines are steadily replacing textbooks and there is a need for new resources for junior high (middle school) and high school kids. Learning with kids has changed and we needed to develop a new format and new style.” A typical Department of Religious Education zine contains about 20 pages. He said that zines usually have five lessons with numerous pictures and text of shorter length. “It’s something they can interact with. Each page is like a web page in print.” Also being considered for the future is a zine about the sacraments, and revamping the curriculum, including the revision of elementary–level text books beginning with the fifth grade. “They have served us well,” Dr. Vrame said of the textbooks in current use. “But things have changed. The world is different and it’s time to redo them; probably with the same titles, but in a new format with updated information reflecting the times.” He continued, “Kids learn interactively. We have to think of the way kids learn and go to school and use the same dynamic; having them look up a Bible story instead of presenting it in textbook form.” The zines provide the same basic content as a textbook and cost about $15,000 for 6,000 to 8,000 copies printed for each zine. The new publication about the Ecumenical Patriarchate was written by the Religious Education Department staff and some outside contributors, including input from the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Teacher training Along with curriculum improvements, the Department of Religious Education is cooperating with its counterparts in the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, the OCA and the Orthodox Christian Education Commission (OCEC), of which Dr. Vrame serves as vice-chairman, to develop a single Orthodox Institute for training religious educators through workshops and seminars, such as the upcoming “Understanding the Bible” seminar on Nov. 3-6 at the Antiochian Village in Pennsylvania. In the past, the department has sponsored a summer institute for teachers that drew 50 to 60, but Dr. Vrame said he hopes to enlarge the program by joining forces in a pan–Orthodox effort “to bring more teachers together to get the latest ideas about education.” In his position as OCEC vice chairman, Dr. Vrame heads the organization’s day–to–day operations and is hoping to develop teacher training through the Assembly of Bishops that would include a certification program “to bring these things together for everybody.” Dr. Vrame also has been active at the international level to bring together religious educators from various national Churches to discuss their efforts and ideas. (See article on this page) Parish participation Dr. Vrame noted that getting participation by most parishes in adapting to new changes can be a problem. “Roughly 100 parishes will begin to use something new right away, but the question is how can we help more parishes adopt more resources from the department that are new.” He sees it as a communications challenge and his department has various approaches to getting out its message. Among these is a Facebook page for religious educators, which enables then to post questions, and share articles and pictures. “We try to help teachers to connect with other teachers to discuss these issues,” Dr. Vrame said. The department has an Internet presence with the Listserve and e–bulletin features and publishes the Praxis magazine, with each issue devoted to a specific theme. The director also sees the importance of continuing religious education for adults. “We can’t assume Sunday school is enough” he said.
September 11 – Ten years later. Is there still something to learn? by Dr. Anton Vrame
Ten years pass quickly. But I’m sure you remember where you were when you heard the news of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon, and the flight in Pennsylvania. If you were already watching television, you may have thought you had suddenly caught an old alien invasion film. If you weren’t already watching, you probably ran to a television and remained glued there for hours, dealing with the unthinkable. The loss of nearly 3,000 lives is unfathomable. Women and men from all walks of life, of different religious faiths, and different races and colors were killed on what was otherwise an ordinary day. We remember all of them. We remember the bravery and heroism of firefighters, police, rescue workers, and others who risked or lost their lives trying to save others. We should also remember the workers who cleared and repaired the sites, as well
as those who now work to rebuild there, especially in New York. The destruction to buildings and property was too great to imagine. Seeing an old television show or film with the World Trade Center in the background revives the memory of the loss. Today we call the place “Ground Zero” because it was the center of the attack. “Zero,” though, refers to an absence. Our memories of the persons, the places, and the events remind us of whom and what we have lost. But, remembering is re-joining, reconnecting with them so that they are not absent any longer. They are present; they are with us still. We build and hold memorials so that we will not forget, but so that others, future generations will not forget either. “Memory eternal” is a statement in the Orthodox Church that these persons mattered to all of us, past, present, and future. Ten years later, is there still something to learn?
• The terrorists were Muslims. Certainly our impressions of Islam and Muslims have been strongly influenced by the events of September 11, 2001. Our educational challenge has been to learn honestly about Islam and our Muslim neighbors, and not be swayed by extremists or emotions that might fuel unwarranted fear and anger. Interfaith dialogue is an important dimension of religious education. High school students and adults can compare their lives of faith, their spiritual disciplines, and their moral and ethical stances with people of other faiths, not just from a book but alongside another person, “the other.” In the dialogue, we can wrestle with the many differences, but we may be surprised when similarities are found. As we read in the First Epistle of Peter, “Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness
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Film & Television An Orthodox Perspective on Film and TV Editor’s Note: Prior to graduating from Holy Cross School of Theology and becoming a priest, Fr. Gary Kyriacou, pastor of St. Demetrios Church in Camarillo, Calif., spent a few years as a screenwriter in the motion picture and television industries. Beginning with this introductory article, Fr. Kyriacou will offer occasional Orthodox insights into contemporary entertainment programming and films. by Fr. Gary Kyriacou
As Orthodox Christians it is imperative that we profess our Faith not only in words, but especially in our actions. The most efficient way to discuss pop culture, the media and film is with a solid foundation of scripture. The parable of the sower and the seeds in Luke 8:5-15 reminds us that we must properly invest in the development of our soil (the way we receive the Word) so that the fruit may be produced a hundred fold. In our discussions on film and television programs it will be my objective to point out themes and ideas that promote the Orthodox Ethos. In future articles criticisms, evaluations, praise and review will be based on Orthodox theology and ideas. It is never acceptable to praise God only on Sundays and then to dismiss the notion of our Faith when witnessing Orthodoxy to the world. Therefore, when watching movies or television, or anything related to pop culture and media, we must be discerning and perceptive Orthodox Christians. All insights should come from the understanding that our goal in this life is to love God with all our mind, heart and soul and to love our neighbor as we would ourselves.
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An introduction to film Screenwriters and directors have all sorts of tricks and tools to influence our emotions. Jim Carrey’s character in “The Truman Show” is just that, a TRUE MAN. Nia Vardalos in her Academy Award nominated screenplay, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” names her family Portocalos (which means orange in Greek). Later, her movie father uses the meaning of their name and the root of her new husband’s name (Miller=Milo=apple) to compare the two families. In all the obvious ways, the families are totally different, like apples and oranges. But in the end, they are both fruit, and that’s what really counts. There are a number of reasons we may find ourselves standing in front of a movie box office. We might need a laugh, or want to escape reality for a while. We may love the actor in the lead role or be breathlessly anticipating the latest installment of our favorite book-and-movie franchise. People have more time to see movies in the summer and theaters are a great way to beat the heat; it’s no accident that studios save their biggest blockbusters for summer vacation. Thinking about all the tricks of the trade can enhance our theater experience and make us more aware of the way that media can be manipulated to influence our perceptions. Awareness of these techniques allows us to understand the insights of the industry. The director’s role Film is a medium that has the dis-
tinct power to influence us – our emotions, our minds, even our bodies are affected by the new 3D environments that have us literally jumping out of our seats. The director of a film is the architect of our movie-going experience. He decides what we see and hear and uses particular techniques to stimulate emotions, provoke our thoughts and even ignite our passions. Learning about the range of filmmaking techniques directors use to influence their audience can be eye opening and will help make us active participants in the movie-going experience. Although we willingly pay $12.50 to sit in a darkened theater, we are obligated to watch the images chosen for us by the director. When seated in a darkened theater, we are giving ourselves over to an experience created for us by a large group of people: screenwriters, actors, cinematographers, etc. but the overall experience is controlled by the director. The director has a hand in every aspect of the moviemaking experience, guiding the actors and crew to turning the screenwriters’ words into vibrant visuals we see in the theater. The director breaks down a completed script into a sequence of shots bringing the story off the page and making it come alive by using camera angles, music, lighting and sound effects to add substantial meaning to the written screenplay. He or she places the camera in various positions to establish point of view, moves the camera to create desired effects, and uses breaks in the film (edits) to advance construction of the story. Directing techniques are easiest to spot in films we have watched multiple times. We’re familiar with the story line and characters and less affected by overwhelming emotion; though traces of our original feelings still accompany us from scene to scene. Consider the times you may have watched “Titanic” or “The Matrix.” As the Titanic sinks (which we all know is going to happen before the movie even starts) we are filled with anxiety as Rose decides to go back for Jack. Whenever I rerun “The Matrix,” I find myself begging Neo to take the blue pill when Morpheus presents him with the choice; “You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” Fr. Gary studied film at California State University, Northridge and received a BA in film production with an emphasis on screenwriting. He worked in the entertainment industry on several television shows and films. After graduating in 1995, his work included Dreamworks Animation on the movie “Shrek,” “McHale’s Navy” with Tom Arnold for “The Bubble Factory,” a TV Disney movie, “Safety Patrol” with Leslie Nielson and Weird Al, and wrote for a few episodes of “Unhappily Ever After.” In between these productions he was an entertainment supervisor at Universal Studios Hollywood entertainment department, working with actors on live action shows; scheduling show times and dealing with other issues. His deep love and commitment to the Church prompted him to enroll at Holy Cross School of Theology. He graduated in 2001.
Marriage and Family
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Recovering from Infidelity by Fr. Charles Joanides, Ph.D., LMFT
Dear Father Charles, I recently found out that my husband has been cheating on me for a few months. When I confronted him, he denied everything and got really angry. After we argued, he promised not to have any further contact with her. Since he made that promise, he continues to talk with her. I think I have also found more evidence of some cheating…. I have mixed feelings about my marriage, and I don’t know what to do. We have three young children. I would like to try to save the marriage for their sake. I am too embarrassed to consult my priest. I wonder if God is punishing me. I hope you can provide some direction. E-mail Respondent I am sorry your life is filled with heartache and turmoil. Please know that your faith in God can be helpful to you during this very difficult time and that God is not punishing you. As long as there are no other serious forms of destructive behavior present in your marriage such as physical abuse, alcohol abuse, or chronic gambling, I support your efforts to save your marriage. Here are a few suggestions I pray will help in your efforts to address the unsetting issues you’ve written about. As you struggle to try and reclaim your marriage, remember that many couples manage to survive infidelity. Admittedly, it is not an easy process, since trust between spouses has been seriously breached. Despite this, many couples who commit to a recovery process not only survive infidelity, but also state that their efforts strengthened their marital bond and cultivated increased oneness. It is also important for you to find a good reason to justify the effort. This is a vital first step because the recovery process may be one of the hardest tasks you and your spouse will accomplish. Identifying a good reason can give you the needed staying power to “hang-inthere” when circumstances look bleak and you are second-guessing yourself. In your case, it appears you are considering trying to save your marriage for the sake of your three young children. Based on what our Holy Tradition teaches regarding children’s well–being, together with what research states, this can be a compelling and an admirable reason that I would endorse. You will also need some help. I encourage you to consider consulting a marriage–friendly therapist in your area who has experience working with marital conflict and infidelity. The following web sites should prove helpful to you in your efforts to find the professional help you will need: www.marriagefriendlytherapists.com and www.aamft.org. Each site has a therapist locator to help you identify skilled therapists in your area. Review the profiles carefully and make a list of qualified professionals whose profiles appeal to you. Once you’ve identified a few therapists that appear to possess the experience and skills you need, find an opportune time to respectfully broach this subject with your husband to obtain his buy-in. WARNING: Do not confront, criticize or attack. Simply approach him with a dispassionate, thoughtful, serious, prayerful
demeanor and tell him that you believe you both have problems that require some professional help. Then ask him if he would be willing to get some professional help with you. At first, he might dismiss your suggestion. If he does, avoid becoming reactive. Simply repeat yourself and give him the space necessary to consider what you’ve suggested. If he consents to getting some help, show him the names of the therapists you have found and suggest that he review their profiles. You might also volunteer to arrange the initial consultation, with the understanding that he agrees with this. As you attempt to reach some agreement, avoid slipping into an argument, which would create more emotional distance between you and only exacerbate the issues and problems that exist. If he refuses to seek outside help, I suggest you make an appointment and go on your own. In your efforts to obtain the help you need, he may have a change–of–heart. So, keep the door open by periodically inviting him to attend therapy with you. Depending on the circumstances, you might concurrently seek legal counsel. This initiative is intended to simply provide you with a better understanding of the family laws in your state pertaining to legal separation and divorce. When the time is right, preferably sooner rather than later, you should also consult your priest. I realize this suggestion may evoke some discomfort and embarrassment. However, remember that priests are not in the habit of judging us and their invaluable counsel and support from a religious and spiritual perspective can prove to be an invaluable resource to you as you heal from the emotional and spiritual effects of this breach. You might also consider reviewing a resource like Shirley Glass’ book, Not Just Friends. This book and others like it are available on www.Amazon.com. I have often suggested such resources to spouses and couples who were trying to recover from infidelity. Keep in mind that the process of recovery will, at times, seem like a rollercoaster ride that feels as though it will never end. Regardless of how difficult the journey, in the bleakest of times remember that the alternative is not any more attractive, i.e., divorce. Divorce may seem as an alternative to the pain and emotional distress you experience as you seek to recover. However, the pain and distress pales in comparison to the emotional scars that divorce leaves on all family members. Concluding Thoughts Infidelity does not simply affect two spouses. Its debilitating effects extend far beyond the couple to the children, their extended families, friends, the couple’s church family and many other social networks. These effects are well documented and are particularly difficult on children’s general well–being. Committing yourselves to the emotionally arduous process of recovery is a good and righteous effort that can potentially have a long–lasting positive effect on all concerned: to God’s glory and your salvation. If you have any questions, write me back. You shall remain in my humble prayers.
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14 Many, many people have told me of their burning desire to serve the Lord and His Church, but they just don’t know what to do. If you want to see God truly work in your life and in the lives of others, you must at some point be willing to leave your comfort zone and step out in faith. by Fr. Stephen Powley
If I had not been willing to leave my comfort zone and walk into a prison, I would have never had the privilege of seeing the great miracles that God did in the lives of so many men. After almost 26 years of being a prison chaplain, I have indeed seen the love of God reach out to the “unlovable” of our society in miraculous ways. Here is one of those times: Great Lent was only a few weeks away and two of the Orthodox men were talking with each other about what they intended to do during this wonderful time of fasting and drawing closer to God. They decided that they would read through the New Testament once a week and had written out their schedule. They planned to pray all the daily prayers of the Church every day… from 6 a.m. through the midnight service. And then there was the actual fast from food and from sin. They were so very excited about fasting as they had experienced so much of God’s unexplainable Grace during previous fasts. They spoke to each other about past fasts and all that had happened to them. Their voices were filled with the excitement of a child looking forward to Christmas. Unknown to them, another man was eavesdropping on their conversation. Their excitement touched his heart and he began a deep desire to do this “fasting” thing too. This man knew absolutely nothing about Orthodoxy or how Orthodox fast. As Great Lent began, he quit eating all foods. In the middle of the third night of his fast, he awakened to see “a beautiful lady, shining brilliant white, holding a baby in her
Prison Ministry Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone arms. She stretched out her arms and said, ‘Take my baby!’” It scared him so much that he hid his head under the covers. When he peeked out, she was gone. The next night, at the same time, he awakened to see “a beautiful lady, shining brilliant white, holding a baby in her arms. She stretched out her arms and said, ‘Take my baby!’” Again, he was overcome by fear and hid his head. On the next night, for the third time in a row, he awakened to see “a beautiful lady, shining brilliant white, holding a baby in her arms. She stretched out her arms and said, ‘Take my baby!’” The next day, as I made my rounds visiting the men, the two Orthodox men told me I needed to see this man immediately. When I talked with him, he related the entire story to me and asked me what it meant. I told him that I was not an interpreter of dreams or visions, but that it seemed that the Mother of our Lord had appeared to him and was asking him to commit his whole life to her Son, Jesus Christ. Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver came to visit the prison the next day. When he arrived I told him what had happened and we went to see the man. After listening intently, he turned to me and told me that this man should be baptized as soon as possible. I explained to him that the man was not even a catechumen yet. Metropolitan Isaiah said, “God has spoken. Baptize him and then catechize him!” It was indeed the Most Holy Theotokos inviting this man to become Orthodox. He was soon baptized and then his catechism
began (one of his first lessons was about fasting). I know that had I never been willing to leave my own comfort zone and step out in faith, I would not have had the great privilege of witnessing such a wonder. We have to be willing to step out in faith if we are to see the wondrous works of God. Perhaps you are one of those folks with that burning desire to serve the Lord and His Church, wanting to be involved in life-changing events and doing something that might just matter in eternity. Some of you may be saying that you have no great gifts or abilities that could be used by God for His Glory. You are exactly the person that God wants to step out in faith. He is not looking for people who already have it all together, who see themselves as already mighty men or women of God. It does seem to get God’s attention when someone says, “This looks impossible for me Lord, but here I go!!” Our God is the God of the impossible and when someone does step out in faith, He is right there with you. Consider Abram, who would later become Abraham, in Genesis 12. He was living in his comfort zone in Ur of the Chaldeans when God called him to simply get up and leave. God didn’t even tell him where to go, but said He would give him directions as he traveled. Abram stepped out in faith and became the great Patriarch of our faith (Hebrews 11:8-12) and he is listed first in the genealogy of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:1-2). That would have never taken place if Abram had remained in his comfort zone. Our comfort zone includes how we
like to spend our time. Video games are so very entertaining; lots of fun to play. But, I haven’t seen any miracles done while people are playing video games…unless one feels that playing for 12 straight hours qualifies as miraculous. Nor have I seen any miracles take place as one watches the same movie for the seventh time. I have personally tested both of these without any miraculous happenings. Such things are fun, but they are not life-changing events. They are not things that matter for eternity. Keep in mind that old adage: You cannot steer a parked car. In our spiritual lives, you should not be expecting God to do something if you are sitting in your comfort zone and you are unwilling to get out of it. We are called to work in cooperation with God. He expects us to take a step in His direction. When we do that, He will be there to guide and direct us. God has a way of showing us a door that He desires us to step through. That step could be anything that looks impossible. It could be prison ministry, feeding the poor, helping the homeless, a short-term mission trip to help those in another country, sharing the love of Christ with your neighbor… the list is really endless. What stirs in your heart that seems beyond your abilities? I pray that God will put a door before you and then challenge you to walk through it. It will be so very exciting. For more information on Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry or to schedule a retreat speaker at your church with many more stories of the miracles of God in prisons, visit www.OCPM-Scoba. org or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org Fr. Stephen is assistant director of Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry and the proistamenos at St. John the Baptist Church in Pueblo, Colo.
TALES FROM L.A. The Hollywood Virus by Fr. John S. Bakas
L.A. is a great big freeway Put a hundred down and buy a car In a week maybe two they’ll make you a star. Weeks turn into years, how quick they pass. And all the stars that never were Are parking cars and pumping gas. (from “Do You Know the Way to San Jose,” sung by Dionne Warwick, lyrics by Burt Bacharach).
A week doesn’t pass by where I don’t receive a call or visit from a young and impressionable Greek American asking me for help in connecting them to someone in Hollywood who can help them with their career. They come from all over the country to break into the film industry and, as I am perceived as one who has an “in” with the “stars,” they come to see me to implore me to help them. With passion in their voices they position themselves in my office as though they were auditioning for a part. “I want to be an actor,” they’ll announce and then they ask me to introduce them to director so and so, or to producer so and so. They truly believe I’ll just pick up the phone at that moment and make an appointment for them. Some of these hopeful actors even come to the Sunday Divine Liturgy at St. Sophia with the hopes of meeting a film star who is known to be a part of our community. Some of these well-meaning, often naive and definitely star–struck young men and women even come to church with scripts, demo videos of their work and complete head shot portfolios in the hopes of an encounter with a star, major Hollywood agent or personality. They will do anything to get their “big break.” My heart aches for them as I try to tell them the reality I see here in an industry which is the cauldron of narcissism. The Screen Actors Guild, (SAG), has over 100,000 members. Perhaps 1 to 2 percent of them can make a genuine living in the movie business. I have had young people from Greece travel to L.A. with tourist visas hoping to get work in Hollywood and perhaps become the next modern Melina Mercouri or Ireni Pappas. When I tell them that it is impossible to even get a legitimate job of any kind especially within the studios without a proper work permit and visa, they are crushed by my answer. It’s as though I have cut out their heart. More toxic than the proverbial “Potomac Fever” for politicians is the “Hollywood Virus.” Once it gets into your psyche it doesn’t let go. For many it is the desire for glamour, fame and glory that they think movie notoriety will bring them. And how can they not think this when we are inundated with it constantly by the media? We get a blow–by–blow description of the lives of film stars and Reality TV personalities through the media, whether printed in magazines we read as we wait in line at the grocery store, or on the TV gossip shows such as “Entertainment Tonight” and “Access Hollywood.” And their lives are all over the Internet…marriages, divorces, babies and general escapades of the rich and famous. So for these young people, it is more than just getting a good job or establishing a career in Hollywood. It is the desire to be famous and live the lives they see advertised. They can’t help but feel like they know these
A RCHDIOCESE N E WS
people and if they can make it, why can’t they? Some will pay any price to grab for that magic golden ring and twinkling fairy dust. Greek Orthodox young people from Athens, Greece to Athens, Georgia come to L.A. seeking to become the next Tom Hanks, Nia Vardalos or Melina Kanakarides. Many have come with their life savings, hoping to stick it out for that big break to Hollywood stardom. Renting inexpensive motel rooms or efficiency apartments, they go from casting calls to the known hang outs of the stars in the hopes of being discovered or even getting that mythical call back. My advice is to cautiously encourage when I can. I give them the biblical advice that they should be as “innocent as doves, but as cunning as serpents” in their dealings with the power players. I emphasize to them that they should be ready for the heartbreak of rejection and industry callousness as these are known facts. A few have even told me that if I help them get into the movies, they would donate a percentage of their earnings to the church. The virus is so strong that it has affected their hearing. They hear only what they want to hear, living day to day with great expectations of movie stardom. As their funds run out and mom and dad back home can’t help with the rent, they often look for nighttime work as servers in restaurants and bartenders in places where they hope they will meet that agent, director, stagehand or make-up artist who will open a door for them. Unfortunately many of these wannabe actors in their vulnerability meet unsavory characters who end up either exploiting their dreams or who put them in morally compromising situations. Rejection after rejection (all part of the game) is hard to take for the best of us in any circumstances. But rejection is one of the “demons in Hollywood.” Even the most talented and camera seducing actors have experienced rejection in one form or another. With the cycle of rejection comes the spiritual and emotional pain of depression, anxiety and self-doubt. The newcomers to Hollywood don’t often have the experience and maturity to handle these feelings. Of course there is always some smooth false friend who can provide temporary relief in the form of elixirs which promise to prop up the desperate and fallen. That elixir can be an illegal drug or pain medication, a white powder in the nose or a draw from a crack pipe. Some drown their pains in the arms of liquid amber or white gold, concoctions shaken or stirred, on the rocks or straight up, that gently numb the senses and ease their pain. These elixirs of all sorts are agents of catastrophe for the weak and the gullible and those suffering self–doubt and struggling with fear of failure. These are strong and perhaps overly dramatic words but they really are describing what a number of star–struck Greek American youngsters have experienced. And I know this from watching it first hand. At St. Sophia Cathedral we do our best to help aspiring actors, musicians and screen writers network with one another and find healthy, well-meaning mentors in the industry. We have established a ministry organization made up of several hundred, called “Greek Americans in Hollywood.” We hold informative seminars with celebrity speakers who help advise participants how to navigate the complex and often impenetrable world of the entertainment
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God Sustains Creation
Beginning of the Ecclesiastical New Year Day for the Protection of our Natural Environment In wisdom You have wrought all things and have established proper times and seasons for our lives. (Hymn of the Orthros service) Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, On September 1, we begin this new ecclesiastical year in the blessed anticipation of the saving and wondrous works that will be accomplished by God in the days and months before us. Each new annual cycle of worship and ministry in our Orthodox Faith offers opportunities for our spiritual growth, for transformation in the lives of those who find faith and hope, for fellowship with one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, and for compassionate service offered to those in need. This day marks the passing of the times and seasons of our lives in relation to our commemorations and observances in the Holy Church of Christ. It is a reminder to us that the days and years are not meaningless units of time through which we wander without purpose or hope. It is a day that affirms the interrelationship of chronological and sacred time, of the physical world and the spiritual realm, of the temporal and the eternal, of the earthly and the heavenly. On this day we proclaim the great wisdom of God for bringing all things into existence. In His wisdom God has also established the times and seasons of our lives, and this day, marking the beginning of a new ecclesiastical year, guides us in understanding the significance of this. In the natural cycle of the seasons of the year, we see the great wisdom of God as Provider and Sustainer of creation. In the annual commemorations of our Orthodox Faith, we are connected to events and revelations in time and history that offer truth and meaning to our lives. Each day we have the opportunity to reflect on our past, contemplate the present, and move forward into the future in faith and hope toward the restoration of all of the created order and the fulfillment of life in eternal communion with God. As we begin a new ecclesiastical year, we also observe September 1 as the Day for the Protection of our Natural Environment. As guided by our Ecumenical Patriarchate, this observance helps us to be witnesses of God’s wisdom through our love and care for the created order and through our intense activities related to basic elements of our physical world: earth, water, air, plants and animals. On this day and each and every day may we consider and know that our lives are created and sustained in the wisdom of God and will be fulfilled through His love for us. May we also be faithful to share this with others so that they find the meaning of the times and seasons of their lives in communion with God. He offers to all of us an abundant life today, tomorrow, and for eternity. With paternal love in Christ, † Archbishop DEMETRIOS of America
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ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΟ ΑΠΟΓΕΥΜΑΤΙΝΟ ΣΧΟΛΕΙΟ “ΣΤΕΦΑΝΟΣ & ΑΡΕΤΗ ΤΣΕΡΠΕΛΗ” ΑΓΙΟΥ ΝΙΚΟΛΑΟΥ, ΦΛΑΣΙΝΓΚ Ηλίας Γερμανάκος, Παναγιώτα Γιαννάκου, Χριστίνα Γκλέκα, Ελενα Ευαγγέλου, Ντανιέλα Καζίλα, Γιώργος Κίτσιος, Μανώλης Κουλιανίδης, Παναγιώτης Κούμας, Αλέξανδρος Μπούκης, Γεώργιος Κούρτης, Δημήτρης Κυργιάννης, Ιωάννης Χολέβας, Καλλιόπη Κωστοπούλου, Γιάννης Μαριόλης, Κυριάκος-Ευάγγελος Μιχαηλίδης, Δημήτρης Μιχαλάκης, Μαρία Μπατιστάτου, Ειρήνη Μπελίτση, Καλλιόπη Μπελίτση, Αλέξης Νανάς, Βασιλική Παντελάτου, Ευστράτιος Παπαζαχαρίου, Αναστασία Παυλίδου, Στέφανος Σπυράτος, Αριάνα Στεργίου, Χρήστος Τεπελίδης, Λάζαρος Τόσης, Χριστίνα Ψωμοπούλου
Η σύζυγός μου και εγώ είμαστε υπερήφανοι που ανήκουμε στη Μεγαλώνυμο αυτή Κοινότητα του Αγίου Νικολάου, Flushing. Υπερήφανοι για τον Ιερατικώς Προϊστάμενό μας, π. Παύλο Παλαιστίδη και όλους τους ιερείς μας. Υπερήφανοι για τα Σχολεία μας και όλους τους διδάσκοντες εις αυτά. Υπερήφανοι για τον Διευθυντή του Απογευματινού Σχολείου κ. Γεώργιο Κανελλόπουλο. Υπερήφανοι που και οι τέσσερις κόρες μας απεφοίτησαν από το Σχολείο αυτό. Υπερήφανοι που οι εγγονές μας Μαρία και Αριάνα-Αρετή φοίτησαν στο Ημερήσιο Σχολείο μας.
Ευχαριστούμε τον Πανάγαθο Θεό και την Κοινότητα του Αγίου Νικολάου που ευλογηθήκαμε να δώσουμε το όνομά μας στο καλύτερο σχολείο της Διασποράς του Ελληνισμού. Στους αποφοίτους της 8ης τάξης 2011, ευχόμαστε να συνεχίσουν να είναι οι αγωνιστές της Ελληνικής κληρονομιάς μας, της Ελληνορθόδοξης πίστης μας και του σεβασμού στις πανανθρώπινες αξίες.
ΣΤΕΦΑΝΟΣ & ΑΡΕΤΗ ΤΣΕΡΠΕΛΗ
Είμαστε υπερήφανοι για όλους σας!
ΕΤΟΣ 76 • ΑΡΙΘΜΟΣ 1268
«Την 11η Σεπτεμβρίου βιώσαμε μια τρομοκρατική έκρηξη μίσους, αλλά ταυτόχρονα και μια πρωτοφανή έκρηξη αγάπης και συμπαραστάσεως» ôïõ ΛΕΥΤΕΡΗ Π. ΠΙΣΣΑΛΙΔΗ
S ET AR
Σε αποκλειστική συνέντευξή του στην εφημερίδα «Ορθόδοξος Παρατηρητής», ο Σεβασμιώτατος Αρχιεπίσκοπος Αμερικής Δημήτριος αναφέρθηκε στα γεγονότα της 11ης Σεπτεμβρίου του 2001, ως «τη πικρή μνήμη σε μια μελανή σελίδα της ανθρώπινης Ιστορίας». Ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος ήταν από τους πρώτους εκκλησιαστικούς ηγέτες που είχε άμεση επαφή με τον τότε πρόεδρο των ΗΠΑ και ο πρώτος επικεφαλής εκκλησίας ο οποίος επισκέφθηκε το «Σημείο Μηδέν» λίγες ώρες μετά την κατάρρευση των διδύμων πύργων του Παγκοσμίου Κέντρου Εμπορίου και της ολοκληρωτικής καταστροφής του Ορθόδοξου Ιερού Ναού του Αγίου Νικολάου. «Εκείνο που μπορούμε να πούμε είναι ότι, καλόν είναι η μνήμη να λειτουργεί ως μνήμη, πέρα συγκεκριμένων ημερομηνιών, δηλαδή αυτό που συνέβη να αποτελέσει ένα μεγάλο μάθημα το οποίο στέλνει ένα πολύ ισχυρό μήνυμα: αυτό που είπαν «Ποτέ Ξανά», ποτέ ξανά στρατόπεδα
συγκεντρώσεως τύπου Αουσβιτς και Νταχάου, ποτέ ξανά να μη συμβεί κάτι παρόμοιο, όλοι να εργαστούμε μαζί, κι όχι να αναμένουμε παθητικά να μας προλάβουν τα γεγονότα, αλλά ενεργητικά ώστε να δημιουργήσουμε τις συνθήκες εκείνες που θα αποτρέπουν καταστάσεις όπως αυτήν που βιώσαμε την 11η Σεπτεμβρίου 2001», τόνισε ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Δημήτριος. - Φέρνοντας στο νου τα γεγονότα της μέρας εκείνης Σεβασμιώτατε, τι θυμάστε περισσότερο απ’όλα; - Η ημέρα εκείνη όντως ήταν πολύ δύσκολη διότι δεν είμεθα στη Νέα Υόρκη, είμεθα εις την Βοστώνη καθ’οδόν προς το αεροδρόμιον και προτού φτάσουμε εκεί μας πληροφόρησαν ότι τα πάντα είχαν κλείσει διότι έγινε η επίθεση και καταστράφηκαν οι δίδυμοι πύργοι του παγκόσμιου κέντρου εμπορίου. Οπότε αλλάζουμε σχέδια και πορεία και ξεκινούμε οδικώς για τη Νέα Υόρκη, στην οποία όμως δε μπορούμε να εισέλθουμε. Δε μας επιτρέπουν την είσοδο και μένουμε όλη την ημέρα στο Κονέκτικατ, παρακολουθώντας τη συνεχή μετάδοση των ειδήσεων, προσπαθώντας ταυτόχρονα να συλλάβου-
11η Σεπτεμβρίου 2001
Ἡ Ἱερά Ἐπαρχιακή Σύνοδος τῆς Ἑλληνικῆς Ὀρθοδόξου Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς Ἀμερικῆς
Πρός τούς Σεβασμιωτάτους καί Θεοφιλεστάτους Ἀρχιερεῖς, τούς Εὐλαβεστάτους Ἱερεῖς καί Διακόνους, τούς Μοναχούς καί Μοναχές, τούς Προέδρους καί Μέλη τῶν Κοινοτικῶν Συμβουλίων, τά Ἡμερήσια καί Ἀπογευματινά Σχολεῖα, τίς Φιλοπτώχους Ἀδελφότητες, τήν Νεολαία, τίς Ἑλληνορθόδοξες Ὀργανώσεις καί ὁλόκληρο τό Χριστεπώνυμον πλήρωμα τῆς Ἱερᾶς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς Ἀμερικῆς. Προσφιλεῖς Ἀδελφοί καί Ἀδελφές ἐν Χριστῷ, Τήν Κυριακή αὐτή, δεκάτη ἐπέτειο τῶν τραγικῶν γεγονότων τῆς 11ης Σεπτεμβρίου 2001, ἐπικοινωνοῦμε μαζί σας μέ τήν πίστη, τήν ἀγάπη καί τήν ἐλπίδα πού μοιραζόμεθα ἐν τῷ Κυρίῳ Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ. Καθώς συγκεντρωνόμεθα στούς οἴκους
λατρείας τήν ἡμέρα αὐτή, δέν μποροῦμε παρά νά ἀνακαλέσουμε στή μνήμη μας τίς φοβερές τρομοκρατικές ἐνέργειες καί τήν τεράστια καταστροφή ἡ ὁποία συγκλόνισε ὁλόκληρο τόν κόσμο καί γέμισε κάθε καρδιά με πόνο καί ὀδύνη. Καθώς στεκόμαστε ἐν σιγῇ στήν ἐπίσημη αὐτή ἐπέτειο γιά νά τιμήσουμε τά τρεῖς περίπου χιλιάδες ἀθῶα θύματα πού χάθηκαν τήν ἡμέρα αὐτή, μεταξύ τῶν ὁποίων ἦσαν καί πολλοί Ὀρθόδοξοι ἀδελφοί καί ἀδελφές, ἄς ἀναλογισθοῦμε, ἐπίσης, καί τίς μεγάλες πράξεις αὐτοθυσίας, ἡρωισμοῦ καί εὐσπλαγχνίας οἱ ὁποῖες δέν μποροῦν νά σβησθοῦν ἀπό τή μνήμη, καθώς τόσοι πολλοί ἄνθρωποι ἔδωσαν τήν ἴδια τους τή ζωή γιά νά γλυτώσουν ἄλλοι. Ἄς θυμηθοῦμε, ἐπίσης, τήν ἐκκλησία μας τοῦ Ἁγίου Νικολάου, τόν μοναδικό οἶκο λατρείας που κατεστράφη τήν
με το μέγεθος της τραγωδίας. Εκείνο που θυμάμαι είναι η ζωηρή και βαθύτατη έκπληξη, το απίστευτο του γεγονότος και ο φόβος ότι ‘εδώ έχει γίνει μια τρομακτική καταστροφή η οποία αποδεικνύεται ανυπολόγιστη,’ χωρίς όμως να γνωρίζουμε ακριβώς ούτε τα αίτιά της, αλλά ακόμη ούτε το απόλυτο αποτέλεσμά της. Την άλλη μέρα το πρωί, μετά από ειδική συνεννόηση με την αστυνομία της Νέας Υόρκης, εισήλθαμε στη Νέα Υόρκη και πήγαμε κατευθείαν στο ‘Σημείο Μηδέν’. Εκεί, εισπνέοντας τον καπνό και τη σκόνη από τα συντρίμμια των γιγαντιαίων κτιρίων και αντικρίζοντας τον τεράστιο όγκο των ερειπίων που έθαβε χιλιάδες ανθρώπους, γονατίσαμε και προσευχηθήκαμε υπέρ αναπαύσεως της ψυχής των νεκρών, υπέρ παρηγορίας των οικογενειών των και υπέρ υπερβάσεως αυτής της πολύ μεγάλης καταστροφής, η οποία είμασταν πλέον βέβαιοι ότι θα είχε πολύ μεγάλες επιπτώσεις στη ζωή, τόσον της Αμερικής, όσον και ολοκλήρου του κόσμου. - Σεβασμιώτατε, όπως έδειξαν όλες οι πληροφορίες, είσαστε ο πρώτος ιεράρχης που τόλμησε να επισκεφθεί το ‘Σημείο Μηδέν’ σε τόσο μικρό χρονικό διάστημα από την ώρα της καταστροφής, κάτι που χαιρετίστηκε ιδιαίτερα από τον Τύπο αλλά και τους διασώστες, στρατιωτικούς και πολίτες. - Νομίζω πως είμαστε οι πρώτοι. Ορισμένοι ιερείς, ή οι ιερείς εκείνοι που συνδέονται με την Αστυνομία ή την Πυροσβεστική Υπηρεσία, κάποιοι τοπικοί πάστορες, μπορεί να επισκέφθηκαν το χώρο. Εγώ είδα ένα μόνο, ο οποίος ερχόταν από το σημείο των ερειπίων με τα ρούχα του καλυμμένα από σκόνη, ευρισκόμενος σε βαθύτατη κατάθλιψη. Άλλους ιερείς δεν είδα. - Σεβασμιώτατε υπάρχουν οι ιστορικές πλέον φωτογραφίες της επισκέψεώς σας στον τόπο του μαρτυρίου των χιλιάδων αθώων, όπου απεικονίζεστε ανάμεσα στα αχνιστά ακόμη ερείπια να ευλογείτε ένα γονατισμένο Εθνοφρουρό. Πείτε μας πως αντιμετώπισαν οι εργαζόμενοι, οι αστυνομικοί, οι στρατιωτικοί και όλοι διασώστες τον Ελληνορθόδοξο ιεράρχη, που ντυμένο στα μαύρα με ένα μεγάλο σταυρό στο χέρι, αψήφισε τις πιθανές επιπτώσεις στην υγεία του κι επισκέφθηκε το χώρο; - Μιλούμε για δυο διαφορετικά πράγματα, για δυο διαφορετικές ημέρες. Η ημέρα της πρώτης επισκέψεως ήταν το πρωί της
Τετάρτης 12ης Σεπτεμβρίου. Εκεί, η εντύπωση όλων όσοι μας είδαν, ήταν πολύ έντονη. Αναμεταξύ τους βρισκόταν ένας μεγάλος αριθμός δημοσιογράφων κι ανθρώπων της τηλεοράσεως, όμως πολύ κοντά, δεν τους άφησαν να πλησιάσουν. Εμείς αμέσως περάσαμε και πήγαμε κοντά. Αυτοί εξεπλάγησαν πολύ. Στη συνέχεια διαβάσαμε μια επιμνημόσυνη δέηση. Δίπλα μας ήταν μια ομάδα στρατιωτών που ετοιμαζόταν να προχωρήσει προς τα ερείπια για να αναλάβουν υπηρεσία. Μας κάλεσε λοιπόν ο επικεφαλής, εφόσον ήμασταν κληρικοί και παρόντες και μας ρώτησε ‘μπορείτε να προσευχηθείτε εδώ μαζί μας;’, πράγμα που βεβαίως το κάναμε. Προσευχηθήκαμε και στη συνέχεια τα παιδιά προχώρησαν προς το σημείο όπου βρισκόταν ο κύριος όγκος των ερειπίων, εκεί όπου θεωρούσαν ότι είχαν θαφτεί πολλοί άνθρωποι, μήπως και βρουν κάποιους επιζώντες. Εμείς μείναμε αρκετή ώρα στο σημείο εκείνο προσευχόμενοι. Όταν φύγαμε περάσαμε πάλι από την ομάδα των παρευρισκομένων δημοσιογράφων και των τηλεοπτικών ανταποκριτών όταν ένας από αυτούς με παρακάλεσε να σταθούμε για λίγο και με ρώτησε εάν κλονίστηκε η πίστη μου με αυτό που είδα εκεί. Του απάντησα ότι, επειδή έζησα τη ναζιστική γερμανική κατοχή στην Ελλάδα, με τους καθημερινούς νεκρούς, μικρούς και μεγάλους, επί τέσσερα συνεχόμενα χρόνια, είμαι αρκετά εξοικειωμένος με τραγωδίες μεγάλου μεγέθους. Επρόκειτο, του είπα, για μια πρωτοφανή τραγωδία από κάθε άποψη, αλλά ξεπεράστηκε πολύ γρήγορα. Με την ίδια πίστη, αντιμετώπισα και την τραγωδία της 11ης Σεπτεμβρίου, που όπως είπατε, αυτό θα ξεπεραστεί και θα γίνει κάτι το θετικό. Άλλωστε τους είπε, κοιτάξτε στο δρόμο δίπλα μας, τη μεγάλη σειρά των οχημάτων και των ανθρώπων που έρχονται να βοηθήσουν τους συνανθρώπους τους, με κάθε τρόπο, με κάθε δυνατό μέσο. Βιώσαμε μια τρομοκρατική έκρηξη μίσους, αλλά ταυτόχρονα και μια έκρηξη αγάπης και συμπαραστάσεως, όντως πρωτοφανή. Με τις συνθήκες αυτές, η πίστη μου δε μειώθηκε, μάλλον αυξήθηκε. Η σκηνή που αναφερθήκατε, κατά την οποία ευλογώ έναν ένστολο, έλαβε χώρα την επομένη ακριβώς εβδομάδα, όταν πλέον είχαν αρχίσει
Το «Σημείο Μηδέν» μια ημέρα μετά την τρομοκρατική επίθεση και την κατάρρευση των διδύμων πύργων (φωτογραφία αρχείου EPA).
«Την 11η Σεπτεμβρίου βιώσαμε μια τρομοκρατική έκρηξη μίσους, αλλά ταυτόχρονα και μια πρωτοφανή έκρηξη αγάπης και συμπαραστάσεως» óåë. 17 οι εργασίες απομακρύνσεως των ερειπίων και των πιθανών ανθρωπίνων σορών, κατά τη διάρκεια της προσπάθειας καθαρισμού της περιοχής. Κατά τη διάρκεια των επισκέψεών μας εκεί, όλοι, διασώστες, ένστολοι, αστυνομικοί, πυροσβέστες, στρατός/εθνοφυλακή και οι εργάτες, μας αντιμετώπισαν κάθε φορά με πολύ σεβασμό και με ιδιαίτερη τιμή, όπως η συγκεκριμένη σκηνή που αναφερθήκατε, αλλά και μετά από αυτό αμέσως, ήρθαν ορισμένοι εργάτες με τα κίτρινα κράνη που χαρακτηριστικά φορούν για προστασία, και μου ανέφεραν πως ‘εμείς εργαζόμαστε στα ανυψωτικά μηχανήματα, στους γερανούς και στις μπουλντόζες και θα επιθυμούσαμε να προσευχηθείτε για μας γιατί έχουμε την αίσθηση ότι δε σκάβουμε απλά το χώμα, τις πέτρες, σαρώνοντας σίδερα και ξύλα, αλλά και με ανθρώπινα σώματα και μέλη’. Στο σημείο εκείνο πραγματοποιήσαμε μια εκτενή δέηση υπέρ όλων των εργαζομένων στην περιοχή του ‘Σημείου Μηδέν’. - Γιατί, οι εργαζόμενοι στην ανακομιδή και καθαρισμό πλέον, γνώριζαν ότι θα έπρεπε να είναι πολύ προσεκτικοί καθώς ολόκληρη η περιοχή ήταν διάσπαρτη από ανθρώπινα μέλη. - Ακριβώς, κι εδώ θα ήθελα να προσθέσω πως όταν πήγαμε στον ίδιο χώρο κι ήρθε ο πρόεδρος Μπους από την Ουάσιγκτον είχε γεμίσει ο τόπος από κόσμο και αστυνομία, αλλά και πυροσβέστες, πρέπει να σας πω πως ποτέ δεν είδα τόσους ανθρώπους μαζεμένους να κλαίνε μαζί. Ήταν μια ανατριχιαστική και συγκινητική σκηνή. Είπα τότε στον αντιδήμαρχο της πόλης μας ‘ξέρετε στο σημείο αυτό εμείς (οι Ελληνορθόδοξοι) είχαμε μια εκκλησία η οποία καταστράφηκε και θάφτηκε κάτω από τα συντρίμμια των δυο πύργων. Θα ήταν δυνατόν να γίνουν οι εργασίες ανακομιδής, συγκέντρωσης και καθαρισμού με πολύ προσοχή, διότι υπάρχουν από κάτω θαμμένα ιερά λείψανα κι άλλα εκκλησιαστικά αντικείμενα;’ Μου απάντησε ‘θα σας ενημερώσω ως προς αυτό.’ Πέρασε περίπου μισή ώρα και πριν φτάσει ο πρόεδρος Μπους στο ‘Σημείο Μηδέν’, με πλησίασε και μου είπε ‘ο δεύτερος υπεύθυνος στη μεταφορά και μετακίνηση των μπαζών και συντριμμιών εδώ είναι δικός σας άνθρωπος και θα προσεχθεί ιδιαιτέρως όλος ο χώρος στο σημείο όπου βρισκόταν ο Άγιος Νικόλαος. Οντως, η εκσκαφή στον Αγιο Νικόλαο δεν έγινε με μπουλντόζες, αλλά με αρχαιολογικό τρόπο και μεγάλη προσοχή για την προστασία των τυχών ευρημάτων. Να φανταστείτε οι εργάτες καθάριζαν τα συντρίμμια στο σημείο εκείνο με τα χαρακτηριστικά μικρά αρχαιολογικά εργαλεία, μικρά σφυράκια και πινέλα. Δεν ανακάλυψαν τίποτα στο τέλος, αλλά η πράξη αυτή δείχνει το μεγάλο σεβασμό προς τα Ιερά και τα Οσια. - Παρόλα αυτά Σεβασμιώτατε ανακαλύφθηκαν μερικά ιερά αντικείμενα, κατεστραμμένα που σήμερα φυλάττονται σε ειδική προσθήκη στο παρεκκλήσιο του Αγίου Παύλου στην έδρα της Ιεράς Αρχιεπισκοπής Αμερικής… Σεβασμιώτατε, ένα άλλο θέμα που σας απασχόλησε, όσο βέβαια και τον Τύπο και την κοινή γνώμη, ήταν τα μνημόσυνα των συνανθρώπων μας που χάθηκαν την ημέρα εκείνη. Εσείς, ως ο κορυφαίος ιεράρχης της Αμερικής, τελώντας ξεχωριστά μνημόσυνα για τον καθένα - τις περισσότερες φορές χωρίς την παρουσία σώματος ή μελών του νεκρού ή της νεκρής, ίσως μόνο μια φωτογραφία τους - πως αντιμετωπίσατε τις οικογένειες τους; - Πρέπει να σας τονίσω ότι δεν κάναμε
μνημόσυνα, αλλά κηδείες, κανονικές κηδείες, πολλές φορές δίχως τα σώματα, διότι ήταν βέβαιο ότι οι άνθρωποι είχαν σκοτωθεί, ή με κάτι ελάχιστο που είχε βρεθεί ή κατά κάποιο τρόπο εντοπιστεί ότι ανήκε στο συγκεκριμένο άτομο. Αυτό είναι ένα στοιχείο, που έκανε την υπόθεση πολύ οδυνηρή. Οπως είπατε, κάναμε μια κηδεία και δεν είχαμε το νεκρό γιατί είχε χαθεί. Επίσης, θα ήθελα να σας τονίσω πως, παρά τον πολύ μεγάλο πόνο, οι οικογένειες των αδικοχαμένων υπήρξαν εξαιρετικά παραδείγματα ανδρείας και πίστεως, όπως και θάρρους και όχι απογνώσεως, παρά το ότι σε αρκετές περιπτώσεις επρόκειτο για νέους ανθρώπους με νέες οικογένειες με μικρά παιδιά. Ηταν πολύ οδυνηρή αυτή η κατάσταση. Αλλά οι άνθρωποι μας που έχασαν τους δικούς τους, έδειξαν πολύ μεγάλο θάρρος, και ίσως αυτό να οφείλεται στο γεγονός ότι ανήκαν σε ένα μεγάλο σύνολο ανθρώπων που βίωναν μαζί το ίδιο δράμα και ότι οι ίδιοι δεν υπήρξαν μεμονωμένες περιπτώσεις, άρα μοιράστηκαν - θα μπορούσαμε να πούμε - την καταστροφή που έπληξε και άλλους συνανθρώπους μας, ίσως ακόμη και σε μεγαλύτερο βαθμό. Εκείνο που τους επαναλαμβάναμε κάθε φορά ήταν ότι οι νεκροί μας υπήρξαν τα θύματα μιας τρομοκρατικής επιθέσεως την οποία υπέστησαν διότι ανήκαν στο συγκεκριμένο χώρο, σε αυτήν την περιοχή και γενικά σε αυτήν την πίστη. Ετσι, δεν επρόκειτο για ένα θάνατο που προήλθε από ένα ατύχημα, όπως λόγου χάριν ένα τροχαίο, αλλά ένα έγκλημα κατά της ανθρωπότητας και αθώων ανθρώπων. Ενας θάνατος που αποτελεί μείγμα κακότητας, σκοτεινότητας και αρνήσεως του Θεού, και ας οι δολοφόνοι αυτοί επικαλέστηκαν επιφανειακά το όνομα του Θεού. Επομένως δίνει ιδιαίτερα στοιχεία τιμής για όλους όσους χάθηκαν κατά τη διάρκεια της τρομοκρατικής επίθεσης της 11ης Σεπτεμβρίου. Πρέπει να σας πω επίσης ότι μεταξύ όλων αυτών που μου έκαναν μεγάλη εντύπωση και το λέω παντού και δεν πρόκειται να το ξεχάσω, ήταν το γεγονός ότι τα παιδιά αυτών που χάθηκαν είχαν μια πρωτοφανή αντιμετώπιση. Θυμάμαι σε μια από τις κηδείες που κάναμε στο Χισκβιλ στο Λονγκ Αϊλαντ, εκεί πριν από την κηδεία μου ανέφερε ο ιερέας ότι ‘ο αείμνηστος νεκρός είχε δυο παιδιά, το ένα από αυτά, ένα κοριτσάκι έξι ετών θέλει να μιλήσει’. Ρώτησα ‘είστε βέβαιος ότι το παιδάκι μπορεί σε αυτήν την ηλικία να μιλήσει για τον πατέρα του;’ Μου απάντησε πως επιμένει και μάλιστα πως έχει ετοιμάσει και γραπτό κείμενο. Απάντησα θετικά. Οπότε, στο τέλος της νεκρώσιμης ακολουθίας, την φώναξα. Ηρθε και διάβασε κάτι που είχε γράψει, πολύ συγκλονιστικό, γραμμένο από ένα παιδί που μιλούσε για το νεκρό πατέρα του, αλλά με μια βεβαιότητα ότι ο γονιός του βρίσκεται πια με το Θεό. Μάλιστα, εάν θυμάμαι καλά, το κείμενο συνοδευόταν από μια ζωγραφιά που έδειχνε μια ανθρώπινη φιγούρα που ήταν ο πατέρας της να υπερίπταται πάνω από τη γήινη σφαίρα, να φαίνονται κάτω τα σπίτια, ενώ να είναι ψηλά, στον ήλιο μαζί με το Θεό. Αυτή τη σκηνή και τον εικαστικό τρόπο απεικόνισης από το μικρό αυτό παιδί, εγώ δε μπορώ να τα ξεχάσω ποτέ. Δεν ήταν τυχαίο πως τα παιδιά μας αντέδρασαν και συνειδητοποίησαν το χαμό, αλλά και την μετάβαση των αδικοχαμένων γονιών τους κοντά στο Θεό. Πολλές φορές δε χρειαζόταν να πω πολλά πράγματα, ήταν οι ίδιοι οι άνθρωποι που έλεγαν ‘εμείς θα το αντιμετωπίσουμε’. Εκείνο που τους έλεγα ήταν ‘η εκκλησία δε θα σας αφήσει’ διότι πράγματι, με τη συλλογή των χρημάτων που είχαμε, μπορέσαμε να καλύψουμε όλες τις ανάγκες των
οικογενειών των νεκρών που είχαν μικρά παιδιά. Ανάγκες κυρίως για τα παιδιά που ήταν σε ηλίκια να κάνουν ανώτατες σπουδές κι έτσι να είναι καλυμμένο το εκπαιδευτικό μέλλον τους. Και με τη μεγάλη βοήθεια των ενοριών και των ενοριτών μας - πάνω από δυο εκατομμύρια δολάρια - μπορέσαμε να το πραγματοποιήσουμε αυτό και να καλύψουμε τροποντινά τις ανάγκες αυτών των παιδιών. ΓΙΑ ΤΟΝ ΑΓΙΟ ΝΙΚΟΛΑΟ - Σεβασμιώτατε, ας προχωρήσουμε στη ροή των γεγονότων της 11ης Σεπτεμβρίου κι ας σταθούμε στην ενιαία προσευχή που τελέσατε μαζί με τους άλλους ηγέτες των εκκλησιών στις ΗΠΑ, καλεσμένος από τον τότε πρόεδρο της χώρας, Τζωρτζ Μπους, στο Λευκό Οίκο. Πως αντιμετώπισε ο αρχηγός του «ελεύθερου κόσμου» τον Ελληνορθόδοξο ιεράρχη Αμερικής τις ημέρες εκείνες; - Ο πρόεδρος έδειξε βαθύτατα συγκλονισμένος από το γεγονός από την πρώτη στιγμή που τον είδα, την Παρασκευή 14 Σεπτεμβρίου (2001), τότε που επισκέφθηκε το «Σημείο Μηδέν». Τον είδα σχεδόν αμέσως και πάλι, όταν μας κάλεσε στην Ουάσιγκτον. Είχε καλέσει περί τους 25 ηγέτες κι επικεφαλείς των μεγάλων θρησκευτικών κοινοτήτων της Αμερικής. Συγκεντρωθήκαμε μεταξύ μας αρχικά κι ετοιμάσαμε ένα κείμενο και μετά, στο Λευκό Οίκο, κάλεσε επτά από τους 25 για μια συζήτησε 45 λεπτών στο Οβάλ Γραφείο. Μια πολύ καθαρή συζήτηση, πολύ ανοικτή, στην οποία ξεκαθάριζε ότι σαφώς γνωρίζαμε πως αυτό που συνέβη ήταν ένα πολύ μεγάλο πλήγμα και πως οι επόμενες κινήσεις μας θα ήταν αυτές που άρμοζαν σε μια αληθινή δημοκρατία και ως άρμοζε σε μια χώρα η οποία πάντα σεβόταν τους θεσμούς και τους ανθρώπους, ζώντας και νεκρούς. Στο τέλος της συζητήσεως έγινε μια προσευχή. Τότε ο πρόεδρος Μπους παρακάλεσε τον Καρδινάλιο της Βοστώνης που ήταν παρών, να κάνει εκείνος την προσευχή. Εν συνεχεία, περάσαμε σε ένα από τα διπλανά γραφεία του Οβάλ Γραφείου, όπου περίμεναν οι υπόλοιποι από τους 25 επικεφαλείς των εκκλησιών. Εκεί ο πρόεδρος παρακάλεσε να εντατικοποιήσουμε τις προσευχές μας ως εκκλησίες και τη συμβολή μας όσο αυτό είναι δυνατόν, με τι δική τους δέσμευση να κάνει ό,τι ήταν δυνατόν και στο τέλος με παρακάλεσε να κάνω εγώ την προσευχή εκεί. Κι έτσι έγινε. Βρεθήκαμε με τον πρόεδρο Μπους κι άλλες φορές, πάντοτε στο ίδιο πνεύμα και με την ίδια εκτίμηση, αγάπη κι αναγνώριση της Ορθοδόξου Εκκλησίας. Ειδικά δε ένα θέμα τόσο μεγάλο και με τη διαδικασία του επείγοντος για την Αμερική. Βέβαια εμείς, δε ξεχάσαμε ούτε ένα λεπτό πως μεταξύ των θυμάτων της τρομοκρατικής επιθέσεως της 11ης Σεπτεμβρίου ήταν κι ένα όχι ανθρώπινο, αλλά υλικό, ένα ιερό κτίσμα, ο Ιερός Ναός του Αγίου Νικολάου. Υπήρξε το μόνο θρησκευτικό οίκημα το οποίο καταστράφηκε ολοσχερώς την 11η Σεπτεμβρίου. Ο,τι υπήρχε μέσα κι έξω του ναού μας, έγιναν σκόνη στην κυριολεξία. Ηταν ένας μικρός και ταπεινός ναός, ο οποίος ήδη βρισκόταν εκεί από τον περασμένο αιώνα (τον 19ο) αλλά χρησιμοποιήθηκε ως εκκλησία τον 20ο από μια μικρή μεν, αλλά πολύ ζωντανή κοινότητα και επιπλέον είχε το πλεονέκτημα ότι προσέφερε στους ανθρώπους της περιοχής - των οικονομικών και επιχειρησιακών οργανισμών - ένα χώρο ησυχίας και σιωπής και όχι μόνο για τους Ελληορθόδοξους πιστούς. Πέρασαν από τότε δέκα χρόνια, η εν γένει ανοικοδόμηση στην περιοχή του «Σημείου Μηδέν» πέρασε από πολλές αντιξοό-
τητες λόγω των αντικειμενικών δυσκολιών που υπήρχαν εκεί και είμαστε βέβαιοι ότι σύντομα θα δούμε και πάλι το ναό μας να ορθώνεται και να στέκεται και πάλι ως κέντρο, το οποίο θα προσφέρει γαλήνη, ανάταση ψυχής και δυνατότητα περισυλλογής σε κάθε άνθρωπο που θα περάσει από τη θύρα του. - Σεβασμιώτατε, εμείς ως Ορθόδοξοι χριστιανοί, με δεδομένο την τραγική εμπειρία που αποκομίσαμε την 11η Σεπτεμβρίου, πως μπορούμε να αντιμετωπίσουμε μια παρόμοια κατάσταση στο μέλλον, πως θα πρέπει να συμπεριφερθούμε, βλέποντας πόσο ρευστή και λεπτή είναι πια η ισορροπία στις ζωές μας; - Δεν υπάρχει ένα είδος εύκολης απαντήσεως. Διότι εξαρτάται από τι θα είναι, πως θα είναι το γεγονός. Είδατε συμβαίνουν τόσα πολλά και παράδοξα πράγματα και ένα πράγμα που δεν είναι καθόλου παράδοξο και τραγικό συνεχίζει ακόμη να υφίσταται χωρίς σταματημό. Κι αυτό είναι οι συνεχιζόμενες εχθροπραξίες σε ορισμένα σημεία της υδρογείου οι οποίες κάθε μέρα που περνά, κοστίζουν πολλές εκατοντάδες ανθρώπινες ζωές.
(Επάνω) Το «Σημείο Μηδέν» μια εβδομάδα μετά την τρομοκρατική επίθεση και την κατάρρευση των διδύμων πύργων (φωτογραφία αρχείου EPA). (Κάτω) Ο ιστορικός Ελληνορθόδοξος Ναός του Αγίου Νικολάου, στις αρχές του 20ού αιώνα.
ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΟΣ ΠΑΡΑΤΗΡΗΤΗΣ ORTHODOX OBSERVER
Ο Ι ΚΟΥ Μ Ε Ν Ι ΚΟ Π ΑΤ Ρ Ι Α Ρ Χ Ε Ι Ο
Τιμή στις οικογένειες των θυμάτων
ΔΗΜ. ΠΑΝΑΓΟΣ Φωτορεπορτάζ: ΝΙΚΟΛΑΟΣ ΜΑΓΓΙΝΑΣ
Συνάντηση Πρέσβη των ΗΠΑ στην Αγκυρα με τον Οικουμενικό Πατριάρχη στο Φανάρι Σε πολύ καλή ατμόσφαιρα πραγματοποιήθηκε την Τρίτη 13 Σεπτεμβρίου στο Φανάρι, συνάντηση του Πρέσβη των Ηνωμένων Πολιτειών της Αμερικής στην Άγκυρα, Φράνσις Τζ. Ριτσιαρντόνε, με τον Οικουμενικό Πατριάρχη Βαρθολομαίο. Ο Αμερικανός διπλωμάτης επισκέφθηκε τον Προκαθήμενο της Ορθοδοξίας προκειμένου να συζητήσουν για ζητήματα αμοιβαίου ενδιαφέροντος. Ο Πρέσβης Ριτσιαρντόνε, που συνοδευόταν από τη σύζυγό του και στενούς συνεργάτες του, έδειξε ιδιαίτερο ενδιαφέρον για τα ζητήματα που απασχολούν την Πρωτόθρονη Εκκλησία της Ορθοδοξίας. Είναι γνωστό άλλωστε το συνεχές ενδιαφέρον όλων των Αμερικανικών Κυβερνήσεων και της διπλωματίας των ΗΠΑ για το Οικουμενικό Πατριαρχείο και ζητήματα που σχετίζονται με τον σεβασμό μειονοτικών δικαιωμάτων και θρησκευτικών ελευθεριών. Παρόντες στη συνάντηση ήταν οι Μητροπολίτες Μεξικού Αθηναγόρας, Γαλλίας Εμμανουήλ και ο Πρωτοπρεσβύτερος του Οικουμενικού Θρόνου π. Αλέξανδρος Καρλούτσος. Αξίζει να σημειωθεί ότι ο Πρέσβης των ΗΠΑ, ο οποίος ανέλαβε καθήκοντα τον περασμένο Ιανουάριο, ξεκίνησε τη διπλωματική του καριέρα, πριν 32 χρόνια, υπηρετώντας στην Τουρκία. Αργότερα επέστρεψε και πάλι στην Τουρκία για να υπηρετήσει από άλλη θέση, στην Πρεσβεία των ΗΠΑ. Σήμερα διανύει την τρίτη περίοδο του στην Άγκυρα γεγονός που τον έχει κάνει βαθύ γνώστη της τουρκικής πραγματικότητας.
ΤΟ ΟΙΚΟΥΜΕΝΙΚΟ ΠΑΤΡΙΑΡΧΕΙΟ ΑΠΕΔΕΧΘΗ ΤΗΝ ΠΑΡΑΙΤΗΣΗ ΤΟΥ ΣΕΒΑΣΜΙΩΤΑΤΟΥ ΜΗΤΡΟΠΟΛΙΤΟΥ ΠΙΤΤΣΒΟΥΡΓΟΥ κ. ΜΑΞΙΜΟΥ ΝΕΑ ΥΟΡΚΗ – Η Αγία και Ιερά Σύνοδος του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου, κατά τη συνεδρία της στις 29 και 30 Αυγούστου 2011 απεδέχθη την παραίτηση του Σεβασμιωτάτου Μητροπολίτου Πιττσβούργου κ. Μαξίμου εκ της θέσεώς του, και συνεπώς η Μητρόπολη Πιττσβούργου βρίσκεται «εν χηρεία». Ο Σεβασμιώτατος Μητροπολίτης κ. Μάξιμος υπέβαλε γραπτώς στις 3 Αυγούστου 2011 την παραίτηση του για λόγους υγείας, στον Σεβασμιώτατο Αρχιεπίσκοπο Αμερικής κ. Δημήτριο, ως Πρόεδρο της Ιεράς Επαρχιακής Συνόδου και Έξαρχο του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου, και τον παρακάλεσε να διαβιβάσει την παραίτηση του στον Παναγιώτατο Οικουμενικό Πατριάρχη κ. Βαρθολομαίο. Ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος πληροφόρησε τους Ιεράρχες της Ιεράς Επαρχιακής Συνόδου περί της αποφάσεως του Μητροπολίτου κ. Μαξίμου, και μετά πολλής θλίψεως υπέβαλε το περί παραιτήσεως αίτημα του Μητροπολίτου στον Οικουμενικό Πατριάρχη κ. Βαρθολομαίο. Ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος, διαβιβάζων προς τον Πατριάρχη την απόφαση του Μητροπολίτου ανέφερε ότι: «Ο Σεβασμιώτατος Άγιος Πιττσβούργου υπήρξε επί τριάκοντα δύο συναπτά έτη ο Ιεράρχης, ο οποίος εποίμανε μετά αποστολικού ζήλου, πατερικής σοφίας, και θαυμαστής ποιμαντικής μερίμνης τον πιστόν λαόν της Επαρχίας αυτής της Ι. Αρχιεπισκοπής Αμερικής. Πέραν τούτου, προσέφερε αόκνως και μετά περισσής επιμελείας τας πολυτίμους
υπηρεσίας του εις την Ι. Αρχιεπισκοπή Αμερικής εν γένει, εις την Ιερά Θεολογική Σχολή του Τιμίου Σταυρού, και ιδιαιτέρως εις τους μακροχρονίους θεολογικούς διαλόγους μεταξύ των ορθοδόξων και των ετεροδόξων εν Αμερική Θεολόγων. Επί πλέον, συμμετέσχεν ενεργώς και οικοδομητικώς εις τας συνεδρίας της Ιεράς Επαρχιακής Συνόδου, συμβάλλων διά της θεολογικής και φιλολογικής αυτού γνώσεως εις την σύνταξιν αξιοσημείωτων κειμένων της ενταύθα Εκκλησίας. Βεβαίως, υπήρξε πάντοτε η καθαρά φωνή του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου εν μέσω ημών, εκπροσωπών κατά άριστον τρόπον το πνεύμα, το ήθος, και την παράδοση της Μητρός Εκκλησίας. Συνεπώς, η παραίτησίς του, την οποίαν είμαι υποχρεωμένος να υποβάλω διαβιβαστικώς, αποτελεί μεγάλην απώλειαν δι’ ημάς, και δημιουργεί κενόν το οποίον είναι όντως δυσαναπλήρωτον» Ο Σεβασμιώτατος Μητροπολίτης Ντητρόϊτ κ. Νικόλαος ονομάσθηκε Τοποτηρητής της Ιεράς Μητροπόλεως Πιττσβούργου, μέχρι της εκλογής νέου Μητροπολίτου για τη θέση αυτή. Βάσει των καθοριζομένων και των οδηγιών στο Σύνταγμα, και στους Κανονισμούς της Ιεράς Ορθοδόξου Αρχιεπισκοπής Αμερικής, ο Αρχιγραμματέας της Ιεράς Επαρχιακής Συνόδου, εξ ονόματος αυτής θα αρχίσει αμέσως τις διαδικασίες οι οποίες, με την καθοδήγηση του Αγίου Πνεύματος, οδηγούν στην εκλογή νέου Μητροπολίτου για την Ιερά Μητρόπολη Πιττσβούργου.
ΝΕΑ ΥΟΡΚΗ.- Η Ιερά Αρχιεπισκοπή Αμερικής την Κυριακή 11 Σεπτεμβρίου 2011, τίμησε για δέκατη συνεχή χρονιά τη μνήμη των θυμάτων της 11ης Σεπτεμβρίου με Αρχιερατική Θεία Λειτουργία στον Αρχιεπισκοπικό Καθεδρικό Nαό της Αγίας Τριάδος στο Μανχάταν συλλειτουργούντων των Θεοφιλέστατων Επισκόπων Τρωάδος κ. Σάββα και Φασιανής κ. Αντωνίου. Μετά τη Θεία Λειτουργία εψάλη επιμνημόσυνη δέηση για την ανάπαυση των ψυχών των θυμάτων, ενώ αναπέμφθηκε ειδική δέηση για την στήριξη και παρηγορία των οικογενειών τους και για την ανοικοδόμηση του Ναού του Αγίου Νικολάου. Ο Σεβασμιώτατος Αρχιεπίσκοπος Αμερικής κ. ∆ημήτριος στην εγκύκλιο του για την δέκατη επέτειο των πολλαπλών τρομοκρατικών επιθέσεων κάλεσε όλες τις ενορίες της επικράτειας να τελέσουν μνημόσυνα μετά το τέλος της Θείας Λειτουργίας και να ενώσουν τις προσευχές τους «μέ τίς δεήσεις ὅλων τῶν ἄλλων ἀνθρώπων ἀνά τό ἔθνος καί τόν ὑπόλοιπο κόσμο ἀνακηρύσσοντας τήν σημερινή ἡμέρα, ἡμέρα μνήμης, καθώς προσευχόμεθα γιά τήν αἰώνια μνήμη καί ἀνάπαυση τῶν ἀθώων θυμάτων τῶν βάρβαρων ἐπιθέσεων καί αὐτῶν πού ἔπεσαν ἡρωικά ἐκτελώντας τό καθῆκον τους στήν προσπάθειά τους νά γλυτώσουν καί νά σώσουν ζωές συνανθρώπων τους. Πρέπει νά συνεχίσουμε νά προσευχόμεθα γιά τίς οἰκογένειες οἱ ὁποῖες ἔχασαν ἀγαπημένα μέλη τους τήν ἡμέρα αὐτή καί νά προσφέρουμε σ’ αὐτές ὅ,τι μποροῦμε». Ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Αμερικής ∆ημήτριος μαζί με τους συγγενείς των Ελληνοαμερικανών θυμάτων των τρομοκρατικών επιθέσεων της 11ης Σεπτεμβρίου 2001, στο «Σημείο Μηδέν».
11η Σεπτεμβρίου 2001 Σελίδα 17 ἡμέρα αὐτή τοῦ μίσους, καί τήν ὁποία μέ ἀγάπη καί ἐπιμονή προσπαθοῦμε νά ἀνοικοδομήσουμε στό Σημεῖο Μηδέν. Καλοῦμε ὅλες τίς ἐνορίες τῆς Ἱερᾶς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς Ἀμερικῆς νά τελέσετε ἐπιμνημόσυνη δέηση μετά τό πέρας τῆς Θείας Λειτουργίας σήμερα, καί νά ἑνώσετε τίς προσευχές σας μέ τίς δεήσεις ὅλων τῶν ἄλλων ἀνθρώπων ἀνά τό ἔθνος καί τόν ὑπόλοιπο κόσμο ἀνακηρύσσοντας τήν σημερινή ἡμέρα, ἡμέρα μνήμης, καθώς προσευχόμεθα γιά τήν αἰώνια μνήμη καί ἀνάπαυση τῶν ἀθώων θυμάτων τῶν βάρβαρων ἐπιθέσεων καί αὐτῶν πού ἔπεσαν ἡρωικά ἐκτελώντας τό καθῆκον τους στήν προσπάθειά τους νά γλυτώσουν καί νά σώσουν ζωές συνανθρώπων τους. Πρέπει νά συνεχίσουμε νά προσευχόμεθα γιά τίς οἰκογένειες οἱ ὁποῖες ἔχασαν ἀγαπημένα μέλη τους τήν ἡμέρα αὐτή καί νά προσφέρουμε σ’ αὐτές ὅ,τι μποροῦμε. Στά χρόνια πού ἀκολούθησαν τά τραγικά συμβάντα τῆς 11ης Σεπτεμβρίου 2001, πολλοί ἀπό σᾶς προσφέρατε γενναιόδωρα γιά νά καλύψετε τίς ἀνάγκες αὐτῶν τῶν οἰκογενειῶν. Εὐχαριστοῦμε τόν Θεό γι’ αὐτή τήν ὑπερχείλιση ἀγάπης ἡ ὁποία ἀποτελεῖ γνήσια ἔκφρα-
ση τῆς πίστεως σ’ Ἐκεῖνον καί προσφορά παρηγορίας καί βοηθείας σέ τόσους πολλούς. Σ’ αὐτή τήν δεκάτη ἐπέτειο τῆς 11ης Σεπτεμβρίου 2001, καθώς μνημονεύουμε μέ πίστη καί ἀγάπη αὐτούς πού σκοτώθηκαν καί αὐτούς πού ὑπέστησαν μεγάλες ἀπώλειες, ἐπιβεβαιώνουμε τήν ἐλπίδα μας γιά τό μέλλον, συνδέοντάς την μέ τήν ἀνοικοδόμηση τῆς Ἐκκλησίας τοῦ Ἁγίου Νικολάου. Παρόλο πού δέν μποροῦμε, παρά μόνο μέ τήν μνήμη μας, νά φέρουμε πίσω αὐτούς τῶν ὁποίων ἡ ζωή τερματίσθηκε, μποροῦμε νά ἀνοικοδομήσουμε τήν Ἐκκλησία μας ὡς ὁρατό σημάδι τῆς ἀληθείας ὅτι τό μῖσος δέν μπορεῖ ποτέ νά νικήσῃ τήν ἀγάπη, καί τό καλό δέν μπορεῖ ποτέ νά ἠττηθῇ ἀπό τό κακό. Σᾶς καλῶ ὅλους νά προσευχηθῆτε θερμά γιά τά θύματα – νεκρούς ἤ ἐπιζῶντες – καί γιά τήν εὐόδωση τῶν προσπαθειῶν μας σέ σχέση μέ τήν ἀνοικοδόμηση τοῦ Ἁγίου Νικολάου. Ἀπό τά καπνίζοντα ἐρείπια αὐτῆς τῆς ἀποφράδος ἡμέρας, εἴθε ὁ Κύριος νά μᾶς δώσῃ δόξαν ἀντί σποδοῦ (Ἠσαΐας 61:3), ἔτσι ὥστε ὅλοι μας, στό νέο κτίριο τοῦ Ἁγίου Νικολάου τό ὁποῖο θά ἀνεγερθῆ στό Σημεῖο Μηδέν, νά βροῦμε παρηγορία καί γαλήνη καί νά γνωρίσουμε τήν εἰρήνην τοῦ Θεοῦ τήν ὑπερέχουσαν πάντα νοῦν (Φιλιπ. 4:7).
Μετά πατρικῆς ἐν Χριστῷ ἀγάπης,
† ὁ Ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Ἀμερικῆς ∆ημήτριος
ΑΡΧΙΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΙΚΗ ΕΓΚΥΚΛΙΟΣ Η Συναυλία στην Αγία Ειρήνη Παγκόσμια Ἡμέρα Ὑψώσεως τοῦ Τιμίου καί Ζωοποιοῦ Σταυροῦ Πρός τούς Σεβασµιωτάτους καί Θεοφιλεστάτους Ἀρχιερεῖς, τούς Εὐλαβεστάτους Ἱερεῖς καί ∆ιακόνους, τούς Μοναχούς καί Μοναχές, τούς Προέδρους καί Μέλη τῶν Κοινοτικῶν Συµβουλίων, τά Ἡµερήσια καί Ἀπογευµατινά Σχολεῖα, τίς Φιλοπτώχους Ἀδελφότητες, τήν Νεολαία, τίς Ἑλληνορθόδοξες Ὀργανώσεις καί ὁλόκληρο τό Χριστεπώνυµον πλήρωµα τῆς Ἱερᾶς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς Ἀµερικῆς.
Προσφιλεῖς Ἀδελφοί καί Ἀδελφές ἐν Χριστῷ, Ὁ ἐτήσιος ἑορτασμός τῆς μεγάλης αὐτῆς Ἑορτῆς τῆς Ὑψώσεως τοῦ Τιμίου καί Ζωοποιοῦ Σταυροῦ ἀποτελεῖ εὐλογημένη εὐκαιρία νά διακηρύξουμε τήν προσφορά τῶν ἀδιαλείπτων προσευχῶν μας καί τῆς σταθερᾶς ὑποστηρίξεώς μας πρός τήν Ἑλληνορθόδοξη Θεολογική Σχολή τοῦ Τιμίου Σταυροῦ καί πρός αὐτούς οἱ ὁποῖοι ἐργάζονται καί φοιτοῦν σ’ αὐτήν. Ἡ ὑποστήριξή μας τοῦ Τιμίου Σταυροῦ εἶναι σημαντική γιά τήν πνευματική εὐημερία τῆς Ἐκκλησίας μας καί τούς πιστούς τῆς Ἀμερικῆς καί πέραν αὐτῆς. Ἡ Θεολογική Σχολή μας εἶναι χῶρος ὅπου οἱ ἡγέτες τῶν ἐνοριῶν καί διακονιῶν μας διδάσκονται καί διαμορφώνονται μέσα ἀπό τή λατρεία, τήν διακονία καί τήν ἐνασχόληση μέ τούς πνευματικούς θησαυρούς καί τά μέσα τῆς Ὀρθοδόξου Πίστεως. Εἶναι χῶρος ὅπου ἡ κλήση γιά διακονία στή βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐξερευνᾶται, κατανοεῖται καί γίνεται ἀποδεκτή. Εἶναι ἐπίσης χῶρος διαλόγου, πνευματικῶν συμποσίων καί θεολογικῶν συνεδρίων τά ὁποῖα ἀσχολοῦνται μέ θέματα θεμελιώδη καί σύγχρονα μέ τρόπον ὁ ὁποῖος ἁρμόζει στήν Ἑλληνορθόδοξη κληρονομιά μας καί στήν ἔμφασή της στίς δυνατότητες τῆς διανοίας, στό δυναμικό τῆς ἀνθρωπίνης ἱκανότητος καί στή δύναμη τῆς ψυχῆς στήν κοινωνία μέ τόν Θεό. Ἡ ἀναγκαιότητα καί ἡ ἀποστολή αὐτῆς τῆς ἱερᾶς διακονίας τοῦ Τιμίου Σταυροῦ ἀποτελοῦν καί τόν λόγο γιά τόν ὁποῖο ὀφείλουμε νά μήν ἀμφιταλαντευόμεθα στό θέμα τῆς ὑποστηρίξεώς του. Σ’ αὐτή τήν ἱερά Ἑορτή τῆς Ὑψώσεως τοῦ Τιμίου Σταυροῦ, σᾶς παρακαλῶ νά προσευχηθῆτε γιά τήν Θεολογική μας Σχολή καθώς καί γιά τούς φοιτητές, προσωπικό καί διδάσκοντες οἱ ὁποῖοι ὑπηρετοῦν ἐκεῖ μέ τόση πίστη. Σᾶς παρακαλῶ, ἐπίσης, νά συνεχίσετε τήν οἰκονομική γενναιόδωρη συνεισφορά σας πρός τήν Σχολή καί τό Ἑλληνικό Κολλέγιο, καθώς καί τήν προσφορά δωρεῶν, ὑποτροφιῶν καί χορηγιῶν στούς φοιτητές Θεολογίας καί σέ αὐτούς οἱ ὁποῖοι προετοιμάζονται γιά τήν ἱερή ἀποστολή τῆς ἱερωσύνης. ∆ιά τῆς προσφορᾶς προσευχῆς καί ποικίλων μέσων, συνεχίζετε τό ἔργο τῆς οἰκοδομήσεως τῆς Ἐκκλησίας τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐπί τῇ βάσει τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου τῆς ἀληθείας καί ἀγάπης, καί καθοδηγεῖτε ὅλους τούς ἀνθρώπους στό Σταυρό τοῦ Κυρίου καί στήν ὁδό τῆς αἰωνίας ζωῆς καί τῆς εἰρήνης.
Μέ πατρική ἀγάπη ἐν Αὐτῷ,
† ὁ Ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Ἀμερικῆς ∆ημήτριος Η ΕΟΡΤΗ ΤΗΣ ΠΑΓΚΟΣΜΙΟΥ ΥΨΩΣΕΩΣ ΤΟΥ ΤΙΜΙΟΥ ΣΤΑΥΡΟΥ ΣΤΟ ΦΑΝΑΡΙ Με κατάνυξη και παραδοσιακή μεγαλοπρέπεια εορτάστηκε η Παγκόσμιος Ύψωσις του Τιμίου Σταυρού στον Πάνσεπτο Πατριαρχικό Ναό του Αγίου Γεωργίου, στο Φανάρι. Χοροστάτησε ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος και συγχοροστάτησαν Συνοδικοί και άλλοι Αρχιερείς από την Πόλη και το εξωτερικό. Τη Θεία Λειτουργία τέλεσε, κατά την τάξη, ο Αρχιγραμματεύς αρχιμ. Βαρθολομαίος και ο Υπογραμματεύς διάκονος Ιωακείμ. Στην τελετή της Υψώσεως ο Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος διένειμε άνθη και βασιλικό στους Ιεράρχες, στους κληρικούς της Πατριαρχικής Αυλής, στον Έξαρχο του Παναγίου Τάφου στην Πόλη αρχιμ. Νεκτάριο, στον Πρόξενο Νικόλαο Σαπουντζή, στους Άρχοντες Οφφικιάλους και στον πιστό
ôïõ Óôáýñïõ Ç. Ðáðáãåñìáíïý
Οι συναυλίες της Αρχιεπισκοπικής Χορωδίας Νέων της Ιεράς Αρχιεπισκοπής Αμερικής τον περασμένο Ιούλιο στην Αγία Ειρήνη στην Κωνσταντινούπολη, στο Προεδρικό Μέγαρο της Κυπριακής ∆ημοκρατίας στη Λευκωσία και στο μικρό αμφιθέατρο του Ιονικού Χωριού άφησαν τις καλύτερες εντυπώσεις στα ακροατήρια που είχαν την τύχη να τις παρακολουθήσουν. Κύρια χαρακτηριστικά ήταν η αρτιότητα του μουσικού προγράμματος, η νεανική φρεσκάδα και ο ενθουσιασμός των νέων παιδιών της Χορωδίας. Οι παραστάσεις αυτές απέδειξαν συνάμα, με διαφορετικό τρόπο στην κάθε περίπτωση, την ζωντάνια της νεολαίας της Ιεράς Αρχιεπισκοπής Αμερικής αλλά και την αφοσίωσή της στις παραδόσεις και στα ιδεώδη Εκκλησίας μας, της Ορθοδοξίας και του Ελληνισμού. Αξίζει να αναφερθεί ότι η περιοδεία, της οποίας ηγήθη ο Σεβασμιώτατος Αρχιεπίσκοπος Αμερικής κ. ∆ημήτριος, πραγματοποιήθηκε με την ευγενή χορηγία του κυρίου ∆ημητρίου και της κυρίας Γεωργίας Καλοειδή και άλλων χορηγών, κύριος μεταξύ των οποίων είναι ο πρόεδρος του ∆.Σ. της Χορωδίας Πανίκος Παπανικολάου, ο οποίος πρωτοστατεί και στηρίζει την Χορωδία από ιδρύσεως της εδώ και δέκα χρόνια. Η μουσική αυτή περιοδεία ήταν καθομολογουμένως, ένα άριστο δείγμα της ικμάδας του ελληνορθόδοξου φρονήματος, του υψηλού επιπέδου και των δυνατοτήτων της Ομογένειας στην Αμερική. Είναι χαρακτηριστικό αυτό που τόνισε ο Παναγιώτατος Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης κ. Βαρθολομαίος στο τέλος της πρώτης συναυλίας εκφράζοντας τον έπαινο και την ευαρέσκειά του: «Η μουσική είναι το λεξιλόγιο της αγάπης, είναι ο τρόπος με τον οποίο η καρδιά επικοινωνεί με το ∆ημιουργό», είπε. ∆εν μπορεί παρά να ένιωσε ρίγη συγκινήσεως ο ακροατής που βρέθηκε στον ιστορικό ναό της Αγίας Ειρήνης στις 2 Ιουλίου 2011, στον ίδιο Ναό όπου το 381 μ.Χ. συγκροτήθηκε επί Θεοδοσίου του Μεγάλου η Β΄ Οικουμενική Σύνοδος, εκεί όπου ίσως για πρώτη φορά μετά από αιώνες ακούστηκε ο ύμνος στην Υπεραγία Θεοτόκο «Τη Υπερμάχω Στρατηγώ τα νικητήρια...», από τις αγγελικές φωνές 37 νέων παιδιών γεννημένων και μεγαλωμένων στην Αμερική. Κι αυτή είναι η άλλη, η διαφορετική και η σημαντική διάσταση. ∆εν ήταν απλά μια συναυλία, ούτε μόνο μια καλλιτεχνική προσφορά της νεολαίας της Ομογένειας της Αμερικής προς τιμήν του Παναγιωτάτου Οικουμενικού Πατριάρχου κ. Βαρθολομαίου επί τη συμπληρώσει 20 ετών της Πατριαρχίας του, ήταν ύμνος και προσευχή και δοξολογία.
Στόν Πατριάρχη Βαρθολομαῖο Ὁ ὕμνος τῆς Εἰρήνης ἀπό φωνές ἀγγελικές ἀνέβαινε ὡσεί κλῖμαξ Ἰωάννου τοῦ Σιναΐτου στήν κόγχη τῆς Ἁγίας Εἰρήνης μέ τόν μονάζοντα Σταυρό πού ψηφαριθμοῦσε βυζαντινούς αἰῶνες πάλης ὑπέρ τῶν ἱερῶν Εἰκόνων. Καί ὁ «ΟΙΚΟΔΟΜΩΝ» Κύριος Κατέβαινε ἀπό τό θρόνο Του ὡσεί αὔρα λεπτή νά θεραπεύσει τίς πληγές μας καί νά οἰκοδομήσει οἶκον ἐν ᾦ ζήσεται ἡ ψυχή ἡμῶν. «Τῇ ὑπερμάχῳ» ἔψαλλαν οἱ νήπιες φωνές Καί ἡ «Στρατηγός» Μέ ἕνα ἀνεπαίσθητο μειδίαμα ἐθώπευε τά ὄνειρά μας μεταποιῶντας τό κάλλος τό ἄρρητο σέ Τέχνη. Ὁ προκαθήμενος τῆς Ἀγάπης ἐν ὑπομονῇ προσκόμιζε τή Ρωμηοσύνη γιά νά μεταλάβει ἡ ὑπό τόν οὐρανόν τοῦ ποτηρίου τῆς ζωῆς. Καί κάπου ἐκεῖ Στό τελευταῖο σκαλοπάτι τοῦ Συνθρόνου ἡ ἀθέατη μορφή τοῦ Γρηγορίου χαμογελοῦσε ἐπ’ ἐλπίδι στό διάδοχό του Βαρθολομαῖο τόν ἁπλοῦν! Στάθης Ἀρταῖος, Πόλη, 2 Ἰουλίου 2011
λαό. Συμμετείχαν προσκυνητές από την Πόλη, την Ελλάδα και άλλες χώρες. (Φωτορεπορτάζ: Νικόλαος Μαγγίνας)
Και οι άλλες δύο συναυλίες που ακολούθησαν δεν υστέρησαν στο παραμικρό, είχαν η κάθε μια το δικό της χρώμα και ξεχωριστή σημασία και οι αναγνώστες του «Ορθοδόξου Παρατηρητή» είχαν την ευκαιρία να διαβάσουν τα λεπτομερή ρεπορτάζ που δημοσιεύθηκαν στο προηγούμενο φύλλο . Ο Παναγιώτατος Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης κ. Βαρθολομαίος δι’ επιστολής του προς τον Αρχιεπίσκοπο ∆ημήτριο εξέφρασε τις ευχαριστίες και τη συγκίνησή του για την διοργάνωση της συναυλίας στην Αγία Ειρήνη και μεταξύ άλλων ανέφερε: «Συνεκίνησεν ὅμως καί ὅλους ὅσοι εἶχον τήν μοναδικήν εὐκαιρίαν νά παρακολουθήσουν τό ἄκουσμα καί θέαμα ἐκεῖνο, ἐν οἷς καί ὁ ὁμογάλακτος ἐκ Χάλκης ἀδελφός κύριος Εὐστάθιος Γιαννῆς, ὁ ὁποίος ἀπετύπωσε τάς ἐντυπώσεις καί τά συναισθήματά του εἰς ποίημα, ὅπερ συναποστέλλομεν ὑμῖν...» Το ποίημα αυτό το οποίο ο συγγραφέας του αφιέρωσε στον Οικουμενικό Πατριάρχη Βαρθολομαίο δημοσιεύουμε παρακάτω ως επίλογο.
Και δε σταματούν με αποτέλεσμα να προσφέρονται εκατόμβες θυσιών από πλευρά ανθρώπων, όπως είπαμε ακόμη και σε καθημερινό επίπεδο. Για την Εκκλησία, είναι ένας κόσμος που δεν έχει απαλλαγεί από την αμαρτία, δεν έχει απαλλαγεί από το Κακό. Οσο υπάρχουν το Κακό και η αμαρτία, είναι ενδεχόμενο, εάν όχι βέβαιο, ότι θα συμβαίνουν μεμονωμένα ή και μαζικά εγκλήματα, πράξεις αποτροπιαστικές. Είναι αποδοχή της ανθρώπινης κατάστασης, του «περιορισμένου» στοιχείου που έχει ο άνθρωπος. Εάν θέλετε, αποδοχή ότι ο άνθρωπος δεν είναι ον παντοδύναμο, υφί-
σταται περιορισμούς που πολλές φορές δε θέλει να παραδεχθεί, όπως ο πόνος, η αγωνία, η ενοχή κι ο θάνατος. Αυτά είναι μόνιμα στοιχεία στη ζωή των ανθρώπων, οι λεγόμενες «οριακές καταστάσεις» και μέσα σε αυτές πλέον, υπάρχουν οι αποτροπιαστικές μορφές, όπως τα ειδικά ή μαζικά εγκλήματα, η απάνθρωπη εκμετάλλευση των ανθρώπων, και άλλα. Αλλά πάντοτε, ο άνθρωπος της Πίστεως, έχει τη βεβαιότητα κι ακούει πάντοτε τη φωνή του Κυρίου Του, που λέει «αλλά θαρσείτε, εγώ νενίκηκα τον κόσμον» (Ιωαν. 16,33), που σημαίνει «εγώ νίκησα τον κόσμο» με την έννοια της αμαρτίας και της φθοράς «και είστε μαζί μου».
Ο ΟΙΚΟΥΜΕΝΙΚΟΣ ΠΑΤΡΙΑΡΧΗΣ ΕΞΕΦΡΑΣΕ ΤΗΝ ΙΚΑΝΟΠΟΙΗΣΗ ΤΟΥ ΓΙΑ ΤΗΝ ΕΠΙΣΤΡΟΦΗ ΤΩΝ ΠΕΡΙΟΥΣΙΩΝ ΣΤΙΣ ΚΟΙΝΟΤΗΤΕΣ Ρεπορτάζ - φωτογραφίες: Νικόλαος Μαγγίνας Ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος χοροστάτησε στη Θ. Λειτουργία που τελέστηκε στον Ι. Ναό Παναγίας της Σούδας Εγρίκαπου, επί τη εορτή της Καταθέσεως της Τιμίας Ζώνης της Υπεραγίας Θεοτόκου. Συμπροσευχόμενοι παρέστησαν ιεράρχες του Οικουμενικού Θρόνου - μέλη της Αγίας και Ιεράς Συνόδου που συνεδρίασε στο Φανάρι, ο Επίσκοπος Απαμείας Ισαάκ του Πατριαρχείου Αντιοχείας και ο Επόπτης της Περιφερείας Φαναρίου - Κερατίου Κόλπου Επίσκοπος Συνάδων Διονύσιος. Μετά την Θ. Λειτουργία ακολούθησε δεξίωσις στην Κοινοτική Αίθουσα, κατά την οποία μίλησε ο Πατριάρχης, και προσκύνημα του Πατριάρχου και των Συνοδικών στο Αγίασμα, που βρίσκεται κάτω από το Ιερό Βήμα της εκκλησίας. Στην ομιλία του ο Πατριάρχης είπε, μεταξύ άλλων: «Εφόσον η Τουρκία είναι Κράτος δικαίου, πρέπει όλα να γίνονται εν δικαιοσύνη και όχι εν παρανομία και αδικία». Ο Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος εξέφρασε την ικανοποίησή του για το πρόσφατο διάταγμα της τουρκικής κυβέρνησης που προβλέπει την επιστροφή εκατοντάδων παρανόμως αφαιρεθέντων ακινήτων στα μειονοτικά ευαγή ιδρύματα και εξέφρασε την ελπίδα του ότι θα υπάρξουν και άλλες αποφάσεις της Κυβερνήσεως, οι οποίες θα αποκαθιστούν το δίκαιο και τη νομιμότητα. «Φέτος πανηγυρίζουμε μέσα σε μια ατμόσφαιρα ιδιαιτέρας χαράς και ικανοποιήσεως λόγω των προσφάτων εξελίξεων και εννοώ το καινούργιο διάταγμα το οποίο εξέδωκε η κυβέρνηση της Τουρκίας δια του οποίου επιστρέφονται στις μειονότητες, όχι μόνο στην ρωμηοσύνη αλλά σε όλες τις μειονότητες, τα αδίκως καταπατηθέντα περιουσιακά των στοιχεία, τα οποία ενώ εδηλώθησαν το 1936, ότι ανήκουν εις τα επιμέρους Βακούφια της Ομογενείας αργότερα καταπατήθηκαν, αφαιρέθηκαν από αυτή, κατά τρόπο τελείως άδικο και παράνομο», τόνισε ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης και συνέχισε: «Αλλά ο λαός μας λέει «κάλλιο αργά παρά ποτέ». Έστω και αργά, ήρθησαν όλες οι ισχύσασες τις τελευταίες δεκαετίες εις βάρος μας διατάξεις, επιστρέφονται αυτά τα ακίνητα, οι ενδιαφερόμενες και δικαιούχες κοινότητες μπορούν εντός δωδεκαμήνου να προσφύγουν και να επανεγγράψουν επ’ ονοματί των αυτά τα ακίνητα. Μεταξύ αυτών είναι και τα Κοιμητήρια όπου αναπαύονται οι πρόγονοί μας, οι πατέρες μας, και τα οποία τις τελευταίες δεκαετίες, παρά τις προβλέψεις της Συνθήκης της Λωζάνης, είχαν καταχωρηθεί και κατακυρωθεί επ’ ονόματι των επιμέρους Δήμων της Πόλης. Και αυτά τα Κοιμητήρια των πατέρων μας επιστρέφονται τώρα εις τας δικαιούχους Κοινότητας». Ακολούθως ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης αναφέρθηκε στη συζήτηση που είχε με τον Πρωθυπουργό Ερντογάν για το σημαντικό αυτό ζήτημα. «Είμεθα ευτυχείς δια αυτάς τας εξελίξεις και περιμένουμε και άλλες, όπως είπα την Κυριακή το βράδυ στον κύριο Πρωθυπουργό, που είχαμε την συνεστίαση με όλα τα μειονοτικά βακούφια, όταν είπε ότι αυτή είναι μια αρχή».
ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΟΣ ΠΑΡΑΤΗΡΗΤΗΣ ORTHODOX OBSERVER
ΠΑΤΡΙΑΡΧΙΚO MHNYMA ΓΙΑ ΤΗΝ ΗΜΕΡΑ ΠΡΟΣΤΑΣΙΑΣ ΤΟΥ ΠΕΡΙΒΑΛΛΟΝΤΟΣ +ΒΑΡΘΟΛΟΜΑΙΟΣ ΕΛΕΩ ΘΕΟΥ ΑΡΧΙΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΟΣ ΚΩΝΣΤΑΝΤΙΝΟΥΠΟΛΕΩΣ ΝΕΑΣ ΡΩΜΗΣ ΚΑΙ ΟΙΚΟΥΜΕΝΙΚΟΣ ΠΑΤΡΙΑΡΧΗΣ ΠΑΝΤΙ Τῼ ΠΛΗΡΩΜΑΤΙ ΤΗΣ ΕΚΚΛΗΣΙΑΣ ΧΑΡΙΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΙΡΗΝΗΝ ΠΑΡΑ ΤΟΥ ∆ΗΜΙΟΥΡΓΟΥ ΠΑΣΗΣ ΤΗΣ ΚΤΙΣΕΩΣ ΚΥΡΙΟΥ ΚΑΙ ΘΕΟΥ ΚΑΙ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ ΗΜΩΝ ΙΗΣΟΥ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ Τέκνα ἐν Κυρίῳ ἀγαπητά, Ἡ Χάρις τοῦ Θεοῦ καταξιώνει ἡμᾶς σήμερον ὅπως ἐναρξώμεθα ἑνὸς εἰσέτι ἐκκλησιαστικοῦ ἔτους, ἑνὸς εἰσέτι ἑορτολογικοῦ κύκλου, ἐντὸς τῶν εὐλογημένων εὐκαιριῶν τοῦ ὁποίου καλούμεθα νὰ καταβάλλωμεν ἀγῶνα πνευματικὸν διὰ νὰ ἀξιοποιήσωμεν καλλίτερον τὴν δοθεῖσαν ἡμῖν δυνατότητα τοῦ γενέσθαι «καθ’ ὁμοίωσιν» Θεοῦ ὥστε νὰ καταστῶμεν καὶ ἡμεῖς ἅγιοι Αὐτοῦ. Ἡ σημερινὴ ὅμως ἡμέρα, ἡ 1η Σεπτεμβρίου, ἡ πρώτη τοῦ νέου ἐκκλησιαστικοῦ ἔτους, εἶναι ἀφιερωμένη, πρωτοβουλίᾳ τοῦ Οἰκουμενικοῦ Πατριαρχείου, καὶ εἰς τὴν προσευχὴν διὰ τὸ φυσικὸν περιβάλλον. Ἡ δὲ πρωτόβουλος αὕτη ἀπόφασις οὐδόλως τυγχάνει ἄσχετος πρὸς τὴν ἀνωτέρω σημειολογίαν τῆς σημερινῆς ἡμέρας, καθὼς ὁ πνευματικὸς ἀγὼν ὁ ὁποῖος ἐπιφέρει τὴν καλὴν ἀλλοίωσιν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου συμβάλλει καὶ εἰς τὴν βελτίωσιν τῶν σχέσεών του πρὸς τὸ περιβάλλον καὶ εἰς τὴν καλλιέργειαν τῆς εὐαισθησίας τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ὑπὲρ τῆς προστασίας καὶ διαφυλάξεως αὐτοῦ. ∆οξολογοῦμεν, λοιπόν, σήμερον τὸ ἅγιον ὄνομα τοῦ Θεοῦ, διότι ἐχάρισεν εἰς τὴν ἀνθρωπότητα καὶ διατηρεῖ καὶ συνέχει τὴν φύσιν, ὡς τὸ καταλληλότατον περιβάλλον διὰ τὴν ἐν αὐτῷ ὑγιεινὴν ἀνάπτυξιν τοῦ σώματος καὶ τοῦ πνεύματος τοῦ ἀνθρώπου. Ταυτοχρόνως δὲν δυνάμεθα ὅμως νὰ παρασιωπήσωμεν καὶ τὸ γεγονός, ὅτι ὁ ἄνθρωπος δὲν τιμᾷ πρεπόντως τὴν δωρεὰν ταύτην τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ καταστρέφει τὸ περιβάλλον, ἐκ πλεονεξίας ἢ ἐξ ἄλλων ἐγωϊστικῶν ἐπιδιώξεων. Τὸ περιβάλλον ἡμῶν ἀποτελεῖται, ὡς γνωστόν, ἐκ τοῦ ἐδάφους, τῶν ὑδάτων, τοῦ ἡλίου, τοῦ ἀέρος ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐκ τῆς πανίδος καὶ τῆς χλωρίδος. Ὁ ἄνθρωπος δύναται νὰ ἐκμεταλλεύηται πρὸς ἴδιον ὄφελος τὴν φύσιν μέχρις ὅμως ἑνὸς ὁρίου, ὥστε νὰ διασφαλίζηται ἡ ἀειφορία, ἤτοι ἡ δυνατότης ἀναπαραγωγῆς τῶν καταναλωθέντων ἐνεργειακῶν πόρων ἀλλὰ καὶ τῶν ἐμβίων, ἀλόγων, κτισμάτων. Ἄλλωστε, ἡ καλῶς ἐννοουμένη ἐκμετάλλευσις τῆς φύσεως ἀποτελεῖ καὶ ἐντολὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ πρὸς τὸν ἄνθρωπον, πρὸ καὶ μετὰ τὴν πτῶσιν αὐτοῦ. Ἡ ὑπέρβασις ὅμως τοῦ ὁρίου τούτου, ἥτις δυστυχῶς ἀποτελεῖ φαινόμενον τῶν δύο τελευταίων αἰώνων εἰς τήν ἱστορίαν τοῦ ἀνθρωπίνου γένους, καταστρέφει τὴν ἁρμονίαν τῶν φυσικῶν συνισταμένων τοῦ περιβάλλοντος καὶ ὁδηγεῖ εἰς τὸν κορεσμὸν καὶ τὴν νέκρωσιν τῆς δημιουργίας, ἀλλὰ καὶ αὐτοῦ τούτου τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, ὁ ὁποῖος δὲν δύναται νὰ ἐπιβιώσῃ ἐντὸς ἀπερρυθμισμένων εἰς βαθμὸν μὴ ἀναστρέψιμον οἰκοσυστημάτων. Ἀποτέλεσμα δὲ τοῦ φαινομένου τούτου εἶναι ἡ ἐμφάνισις καὶ ἐξάπλωσις ἀσθενειῶν προκαλουμένων ὑπὸ τοῦ, ἀνθρωπίνῃ εὐθύνῃ, μολυσμοῦ τῶν διατροφικῶν ἀγαθῶν. Εἰς τὰς ἡμέρας μας, ὀρθῶς μὲν τονίζεται ἡ μεγάλη σημασία τῶν δασῶν καὶ ἐν γένει τῆς χλωρίδος διὰ τὴν ἀειφορίαν τοῦ γηΐνου οἰκοσυστήματος ὡς καὶ τὴν διασφάλισιν τῶν ὑδατίνων πόρων, ἀλλὰ δὲν πρέπει νὰ ὑποτιμᾶται καὶ ἡ μεγάλη συμβολὴ τῶν ζῴων εἰς τὴν εὔρυθμον λειτουργίαν αὐτοῦ. Τὰ ζῷα ἀνέκαθεν ὑπῆρξαν φίλοι τοῦ ἀνθρώπου καὶ οἱ ὑπηρέται τῶν ἀνθρωπίνων ἀναγκῶν καθὼς παρεῖχον καὶ παρέχουν εἰς αὐτὸν τροφήν, ἔνδυσιν, μεταφορικὸν ἔργον ἀλλὰ καὶ προστασίαν καὶ συντροφικότητα. Στενοτάτη εἶναι ἡ σχέσις τοῦ ἀνθρώπου μὲ τὰ ζῷα, ὡς καταδεικνύεται ἐκ τοῦ γεγονότος ὅτι αὐτὰ ἐπλάσθησαν τὴν ἰδίαν ἡμέραν μὲ αὐτόν (Γεν. 1, 24-31) ἢ καὶ ἐκ τῆς δοθείσης ὑπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐντολῆς εἰς τὸν Νῶε ὅπως διασώσῃ ἕν ζεῦγος ἐξ ἑκάστου εἴδους ἀπὸ τὸν ἐπικείμενον κατακλυσμόν (Γεν. 6, 19). Τυγχάνει χαρακτηριστικὸν τὸ γεγονὸς ὅτι ὁ Θεὸς ἐπιδεικνύει ἰδιαιτέραν μέριμναν διὰ τὴν διάσωσιν τοῦ ζωϊκοῦ βασιλείου. Εἰς τοὺς βίους τῶν Ἁγίων ἀναφέρονται πολλαὶ διηγήσεις διὰ τὰς ἀρίστας σχέσεις μεταξὺ Ἁγίων καὶ ἀγρίων ζῴων, τὰ ὁποῖα ὑπὸ ἄλλας συνθήκας δὲν διατηροῦν φιλικὰς σχέσεις πρὸς τὸν ἄνθρωπον. Βεβαίως αὐτὸ δὲν ὀφείλεται εἰς τὴν κακὴν φύσιν των, ἀλλὰ εἰς τὴν ἀντίστασιν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου πρὸς τὴν Χάριν τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ τὴν συνεπακόλουθον συγκρουσιακὴν σχέσιν αὐτοῦ μετὰ τῶν στοιχείων καὶ τῶν ἀλόγων ἐμβίων ὄντων τῆς φύσεως. Ἄλλωστε, συνέπεια τῆς διαταράξεως τῆς σχέσεως τῶν πρωτοπλάστων πρός τὸν ∆ημιουργόν των καὶ Θεὸν ἦτο καὶ ἡ διατάραξις τῶν σχέσεων αὐτῶν μετὰ τοῦ περιβάλλοντος: «ἐπικατάρατος ἡ γῆ ἐν τοῖς ἔργοις σου· ἐν λύπαις φάγῃ αὐτὴν πάσας τὰς ἡμέρας τῆς ζωῆς σου· ἀκάνθας καί τριβόλους ἀνατελεῖ σοι, καὶ φάγῃ τὸν χόρτον τοῦ ἀγροῦ. Ἐν ἱδρῶτι τοῦ προσώπου σου φάγῃ τὸν ἄρτον σου ἕως τοῦ ἀποστρέψαι σε εἰς τὴν γῆν, ἐξ ἧς ἐλήμφθης·» (Γεν. 3, 17-19) Ἡ εἰρήνευσις τοῦ ἀνθρώπου μετὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ συνεπάγεται καὶ τὴν εἰρήνευσιν αὐτοῦ μετὰ τῶν στοιχείων τῆς φύσεως. Εἶναι φανερόν, κατόπιν τούτων, ὅτι ἡ ἀγαθὴ σχέσις τοῦ ἀνθρώπου πρὸς τὸ περιβάλλον ἀναπτύσσεται ὅταν παραλλήλως ἀναπτύσσηται ἀγαθὴ σχέσις αὐτοῦ πρὸς τὸν Θεόν. Τυγχάνει γνωστὴ ἡ ἀφήγησις τοῦ Συναξαριστοῦ περὶ τῆς ἐμπειρίας τοῦ Μεγάλου Ἀντωνίου, ὁ ὁποῖος εἰς ἡλικίαν ἐνενήκοντα ἐτῶν ἀπεφάσισε, καθοδηγηθείς ὑπό Ἀγγέλου Κυρίου, νὰ πορευθῇ ἐνδότερον τῆς ἐρήμου πρὸς ἀναζήτησιν καὶ ἄλλου ἀναχωρητοῦ, τοῦ Ὁσίου Παύλου τοῦ Θηβαίου, ἵνα λάβῃ παρ’ αὐτοῦ ὠφέλειαν πνευματικήν. Πορευθεὶς ἐπὶ τριήμερον εἰς ἀναζήτησιν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἰχνηλατήσας σημεῖα θηρίων ἀγρίων συνήντησε λέοντα, ὁ ὁποῖος ὑπεκλίθη ἤρεμος ἔμπροσθέν του καὶ ποιήσας μεταβολὴν ὡδήγησε τὸν Μέγαν Ἀντώνιον εἰς τὸ σπήλαιον τοῦ Ὁσίου Παύλου, ἔνθα εὗρεν αὐτὸν διακονούμενον ὑπὸ θηρίων. Κόραξ ἐκόμιζεν αὐτῷ τὸν ἐπιούσιον ἄρτον! Τὴν ἡμέραν μάλιστα τῆς ἐπισκέψεως τοῦ Μεγάλου Ἀντωνίου ἐκόμισεν εἰς αὐτὸν διπλῆν μερίδα μεριμνήσας καὶ διὰ τὸν ἐπισκέπτην αὐτοῦ! Οἱ Ἅγιοι οὗτοι εἶχον ἀναπτύξει ἀγαθὴν σχέσιν μετὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ, διὸ καὶ εἶχον φιλικὰς σχέσεις πρὸς πάντα τὰ ζῷα τῆς φύσεως. Ἡ δημιουργία αὐτῆς τῆς ἀγαθῆς σχέσεως πρὸς τὸν Θεὸν πρέπει νὰ προτάσσηται ὡς τὸ κύριον μέλημά μας, καὶ ὑπηρέτης αὐτῆς τῆς προοπτικῆς πρέπει νὰ εἶναι ἡ ἀγαθὴ σχέσις μας πρὸς τὸ ζωϊκόν, τὸ φυτικὸν καὶ τὸ ἄψυχον περιβάλλον μας. Ὑπὸ τὴν προοπτικὴν αὐτὴν ἡ ζωοφιλία δὲν θὰ ἀποτελῇ στεῖραν κοινωνικὴν ἐκδήλωσιν συμπαθείας πρὸς τὰ προσφιλῆ μας ζῷα, πολλάκις συνοδευομένην δυστυχῶς καὶ ὑπὸ ἀναλγησίας διὰ τὸν πάσχοντα συνάνθρωπον, τὴν εἰκόνα τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἀλλὰ θὰ εἶναι ἀποτέλεσμα τῆς ἀγαθῆς σχέσεώς μας πρὸς τὸν ∆ημιουργὸν τοῦ παντός. Εἴθε ὁ ∆ημιουργός τοῦ καλοῦ λίαν σύμπαντος καὶ τοῦ καλοῦ λίαν γηΐνου οἰκοσυστήματος νὰ ἐμπνεύσῃ ὅλους ἡμᾶς νὰ συμπεριφερώμεθα εὐσπλάχνως πρὸς ἅπαντα τὰ στοιχεῖα τῆς φύσεως, μὲ καρδίαν ἐλεήμονα ὑπὲρ πάντων αὐτῶν, ἀνθρώπων, ζῴων καὶ φυτῶν, ὡς καὶ ὁ Ἀββᾶς Ἰσαὰκ ὁ Σύρος λέγει, ἀπαντῶν εἰς τὴν ἐρώτησιν: “Τί ἐστι καρδία ἐλεήμων;”. “Καρδία ἐλεήμων ἐστί, καῦσις καρδίας ὑπὲρ πάσης τῆς κτίσεως, ὑπὲρ τῶν ἀνθρώπων, καὶ τῶν ὀρνέων, καὶ τῶν ζῴων, καὶ ὑπὲρ παντὸς κτίσματος. Καὶ ἐκ τῆς μνήμης αὐτῶν, καὶ τῆς θεωρίας αὐτῶν ρέουσιν οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ δάκρυα. Ἐκ τῆς πολλῆς καὶ σφοδρᾶς ἐλεημοσύνης τῆς συνεχούσης τὴν καρδίαν, καὶ ἐκ τῆς πολλῆς καρτερίας σμικρύνεται ἡ καρδία αὐτοῦ, καὶ οὐ δύναται βαστάξαι, ἢ ἀκοῦσαι, ἢ ἰδεῖν βλάβην τινά, ἢ λύπην μικρὰν ἐν τῇ κτίσει γενομένην” (Ἀββᾶ Ἰσαὰκ τοῦ Σύρου, Ἅπαντα τὰ εὑρεθέντα σχετικά, Λόγος ΠΑ’). ∆ιὰ τῆς τοιαύτης εὐσπλαχνίας ἡμῶν πρὸς ἅπασαν τὴν κτίσιν θὰ τιμήσωμεν τὸ θεόσδοτον ἀξίωμα ἡμῶν ὡς ἀρχηγῶν τῆς Κτίσεως, ἐνδιαφερομένων μετὰ πατρικῆς στοργῆς ὑπὲρ πάντων τῶν στοιχείων αὐτῆς, τὰ ὁποῖα οὕτω θὰ μᾶς ὑπακούουν αἰσθανόμενα τὴν ἀγαθοεργὸν διάθεσίν μας, καὶ θὰ πειθαρχοῦν εἰς τὴν ἐπιτέλεσιν τῆς φιλανθρώπου καὶ ὑπηρετικῆς τῶν ἀναγκῶν μας ἀποστολῆς των.
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Stewardship & Evangelism
The Adult Catechumen:
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Ways of the Lord
The_latest_book_by_His_Eminence_ Archbishop_Demetrios_of_America__ includes_his_Keynote_Addresses_from_ from his_first_Clergy-Laity_Congress_in_ Philadelphia_in_July_2000_through_his_ his address_in_Washington,_DC_in_July_ 2008._Also_included_are_addresses_ given_in_Athens,_Greece,_Cyprus,_ Fordham_University_and_Brookline,_ MA_plus_others. In_compiling_this_book_Archbishop_ Demetrios_writes_in_the_Prologue_ of_Ways_of_the_Lord,_“_Sharing_the_ Gospel_with_those_who_do_not_know_ know it_can_be_at_times_an_uncomplicated_ task_as_we_know_from_the_long_ history_of_Christianity._Frequently,_ however,_and_especially_in_our_days,_ the_very_same_task_seems_to_require_ more_elaborate,_methodical_and_ sophisticated_approaches.
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The adult inquirer has begun the journey to Orthodox Christianity long before entering the doors of our parish. It may begin with a sense of emptiness or a feeling that there exists something more than they are finding in their current faith tradition. Others may come to the Orthodox Church from a faith tradition that has disappointed them in some way. Increasingly, inquirers are coming to the Orthodox Church through intermarriage, a phenomenon seen by many as our greatest opportunity for outreach. As the visible presence of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, each parish is called to witness to those within and those outside the community of believers. If we believe that in Orthodoxy we have the fullness of the Truth, then we have the great responsibility to share it with all people. Bringing people to Christ and strengthening their faith is a personto-person process. FIRST IMPRESSIONS In the early days of the Church, pagans became Christians not because of what they read in the Bible – there was no Bible to read. People became Christians because of what they experienced in the Christian community. People will come through the doors of our parish for a variety of reasons. Their first impression is critical to their decision to come back. Will we be ready for them? We need to ask ourselves, if ours was the only Orthodox Church a person ever visited, or if I were the only Orthodox Christian that a person ever met, would that person want to become Orthodox? Outreach will require that we remind cradle Orthodox of the missionary nature of the Church, teaching them to welcome inquirers and converts, and to see them as a positive addition to our parish and our faith. Those who choose to become Orthodox will grow to appreciate our historical and ancient Christian roots and will inspire others as they embrace the Orthodox Christian faith. Because the Orthodox Christian worship experience is so unique – it fills the five senses – it may seem foreign to the inquirer. It is important that our parishes be ready for visitors. Remember that Zacchaeus was converted merely by Christ’s acceptance of him. Reaching out to those who enter our doors with a sincere handshake, greeting and a welcoming smile could be the most important missionary work we do. Ushers, greeters and all parishioners should be reminded of the importance of reaching out and making our visitors welcome. Friendliness can have eternal implications. CLOSED COMMUNION: AN OPPORTUNITY? Inquirers innocently approaching the chalice may cause some awkwardness or embarrassment. This problem may be seen as an opportunity, if, prior to saying, “With the fear of God, with faith and
with love draw near,” a friendly word of instruction is offered. This could be phrased as follows, “We welcome all visitors and guests who are with us today. We remind you that in the Orthodox Christian Church, Holy Communion is offered only to baptized or chrismated (confirmed) Orthodox Christians. All visitors and guests are welcome to come forward at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy to receive the antidoron which is bread that has been blessed.” At this time, the priest may invite those that are interested to attend Orthodox education/catechism classes at the church or to meet with him to discuss becoming full members of the Orthodox Christian Church. This information could also be included in the Sunday and mailed bulletin or newsletter. RESPECT FOR OTHER FAITH TRADITIONS In reaching out to inquirers, it is helpful to find those aspects of faith that we share. One Jewish inquirer meeting with the priest to find if she would be able to reconcile her faith with that of her Greek Orthodox fiance was visibly moved when the priest turned to his bookshelf and took down a copy of the Tanakh (Sacred Writings of Judaism). She gradually came to accept that these sacred writings, which make up what we call the Old Testament, are the foundation upon which Christianity rests. Over a year later she was baptized into the Greek Orthodox Church. In all discussions, we must show respect for the individual inquirers and their faith, culture and tradition. Though they may choose to become Orthodox Christians, their faith, culture and tradition are an integral part of who they are. They will also have family and friends who remain faithful to their previous traditions. We bring others to Orthodoxy, not by criticizing their faith tradition, but by respecting that which is good in it, and pointing out those aspects of faith that we share. EDUCATION: PARISHIONERS AND INQUIRERS A good priest once asked “Doesn’t renewal have to come first before we can evangelize others? Don’t we have to be infected with Christ before we can be contagious?” This is why education is the key to bringing others to Orthodoxy – education of faithful Orthodox and education of the inquirer. Many Orthodox faithful preparing to intermarry are unable to explain aspects of the faith to their prospective spouse. Because those who were raised in the Orthodox Church are so familiar with the Traditions of the Church, it is often difficult to explain them. This requires basic educational materials, well-crafted sermons, Orthodoxy classes and more, leading to a more personal participation in worship, a more personal faith and ongoing development toward theosis. Many of the actions we take to reach out to inactive Orthodox
to page 35
Dr. Harry J. Psomiades NEW YORK – Harry J. Psomiades, Ph.D., founder and longtime director of the Center for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies at Queens College, died Aug. 13 after a long battle with cancer. He was born in Boston and earned a B.A. degree at Boston University and a doctorate in public law and government at Columbia University. He founded the Center for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies in 1974. A prolific author, he wrote numerous books and scholarly articles relating to Hellenism and Orthodoxy, including two books on the Ecumenical Patriarchate: The Ecumenical Patriarchate Under the Turkish Republic: The First Ten Years (1964), and The Ecumenical Patriarchate in Captivity: Problems and Prospects (1978). At the time of his death he had completed his latest book about Fridtjof Nansen, the League of Nation’s first commissioner for refugees, Nansen and the Greek Refugee Question 1922–1924. He was a longtime member of Annunciation Church in Manhattan, where his funeral took place on Aug. 16. Bishop Savas of Troas officiated at the funeral in the absence of Archbishop Demetrios, who was accompanying Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to the monastery of Panagia Soumela in the Pontos region of Asia Minor, home of his parents, John and Kyriaki Psomiades. Bishop Savas recalled that Psomiades was a strong supporter of Pontian Hellenism and the Asia Minor Greeks and strived for the recognition of the Pontian genocide by the United States. Psomiades also spent 38 years in the U.S. Army, both on active duty and the reserves, rising to the rank of colonel. He was the recipient of a Legion of Merit award and the Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster. Burial was in Boston.
Obituaries Archon James Pihos ORLANDO, Fla. -- James (Jim) William Pihos, Archon Skevophylax, 86, died May 13 after a lengthy illness. Pihos was one of three children born to Greek immigrants William and Stavroula (Stella) Pihos, in Orlando. He graduated from Orlando High School and Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration in 1947 and served his country in the U.S. Army. Pihos was blessed with an excellent singing voice that allowed him to pursue his dream of performing for several years. In 1958, he opened a gift shop and hair salon before meeting Ray Kroc, founder of McDonalds. Pihos was one of the original investors in the McDonalds restaurants and opened the first franchise in the Milwaukee area. Over the years, he expanded the number of stores he owned to 31, making him the largest McDonalds franchise owner in the Midwest. His stores won many awards from the corporation for excellence in decor, service and beyond. He was an innovator in direct mailings and marketing for the corporation and was president of the local advertising co–op for many years. He sold his business in 1996 and permanently retired to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Pihos’ philanthropic endeavors included many schools and social groups, which he supported through numerous donations, tuitions and foundations. He was instrumental in establishing the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern Wisconsin and served as the board chairman from its inception in 1983 through 1986 and as senior chairman from 1987 until his death. Pihos was dedicated to his church and community. He was appointment as
an Archon of Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle in 1997. The James W. Pihos Cultural Center was dedicated in 2004 at Annunciation Church in Milwaukee to honor the love and stewardship he showed to the Annunciation community over many years.
Demetrius Dukas BOWIE, Md. -- Demetrius (James) Dukas, a Byzantine iconographer who devoted his life to decorating churches with mosaics and paintings, died at his home June 15, in Bowie. He was 83. Dukas decorated many Greek Orthodox churches throughout the U.S, including St. Sophia Cathedral in Washington. He spent more than 20 years decorating St. Sophia where his crowning achievement was a 1,400 square foot dome 79 feet above the cathedral floor and 30 feet across. The mosaic dome illustrates Isaiah’s Vision of the Lord with cherubs encircling the vision. Dukas also decorated St. George Church in Lynn, Mass., Annunciation Church in Mobile, Ala., Holy Cross School of Theology, St. Demetrius Church in Baltimore, St. Mary’s Church in Minneapolis, Church of the Archangels in Stamford, Conn. Dukas was born on July 2, 1927 in Lynn, Mass. to Amos and Julia Dukas. Dukas showed an interest in art at an early age and began drawing portraits at just nine years old. He had a keen interest in Byzantine art and was drawn to icons because he felt they were used to help people with prayer and reflection. Dukas was deeply religious and said, “I feel like God is moving my hand when I paint.”
Mike Henry Mike Henry, 47, a member of the Board of Trustees of Leadership 100, died Sunday, July 31. Archbishop Demetrios officiated at the funeral on Aug. 4 at St. Demetrios Church in Rocky River Ohio, assisted by Frs. Nicholas Triantafilou, and James Doukas, among other clergy. He leaves his wife, Sofia, also a member of Leadership 100, and a son, Michael, and daughter, Effie. Henry served as national membership chairman and chairman of National Leadership 100 Sunday. He developed a sophisticated marketing membership program for Leadership 100 as well as for the Archdiocese and Hellenic College/Holy Cross School of Theology. He also served on the Board of IOCC and other church-affiliated groups Henry spent his career becoming an expert in consumer marketing, merchandising and product development. Over the past 15 years, he had successfully created and grown leading consumer insights companies primarily focused on markets which receive the highest levels of disposable consumer income. This focus led to engagements with some of the largest supply chains and consumer marketers in the world. In 1997, Henry founded Equitec, the first and largest retail optimization analytics firm in the US. He served as CEO of this rapidly growing company. Equitec was acquired by Acxiom Corporation, the world’s largest database supplier in 2007. He continued to hold a variety of other leadership positions including CEO and Founder of Vistrio, the nations leading travel consumer information supplier, and was a partner in 2M Ventures, Eclypse Limited and Nautical Cross. Henry was a frequent guest professor of marketing and customer relationship management at the Max M. Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University in Columbus and at Case Western Reserve Weatherhead School of Business in Cleveland.
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Orthodoxy in Washington Reaching the ‘Least Among Us’ by Andrew Manatos
Few people in Washington these days are described as “saints.” Yet, many Democrats like Vice President Joe Biden and many Republicans like House Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Ileana Ros–Lehtinen view one of our fellow Orthodox Christians, Andrew A. Athens, that way. They agree with former House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Congressman Ben Gilman, who nicknamed him “Saint Andrew.” Andy Athens, former lay head of the Archdiocesan Council, president of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad, CEO of Metron Steel and founder of “hellenicare,” appears to have taken to heart the biblical words in Matthew 25:41-45, “Whatever you did not do for one of the least among you, you did not do for me.” On a trip to Tsalka, Georgia in 1997, Andy Athens witnessed “the least among us” – people living in deplorable conditions with little or no medical care available to them. There were little children with life threatening diseases whose fathers were among the 70 percent unemployed. He felt he had to do something to help them, and shortly after the trip, he founded the organization that today is hellenicare. Three million of the least among us, Orthodox Christians living in Georgia, Armenia and the Ukraine, have received or secured for their sick children, top medical care because of the hellenicare clinics Andy Athens brought to them. The lead doctor from America for the clinics is his trusted brother in medical philanthropy, Dr. Charlie Kanakis. According to professional estimates, hellenicare has saved over 5,000 lives.
hellenicare has provided $135 million worth of medical care and other supplies to the communities it services, as well as championed the advancement of medical care in these countries. For example, Andy Athens brought open–heart surgery to the country of Georgia. Circumstances were so primitive that his doctors had to carry the operating table closer to the window so that the surgeons could better see the patient on whom they were operating. The depth of Andy Athens’ Christian concern for his fellow–Orthodox is apparent. He is often overcome with tears when describing their plight. The transformation of a shy, disfigured Georgian boy into a happy and healthy child is but one of hundreds of such touching stories Andy tells. As he turns 90 years old this November, Andy Athens is preparing to share with others the immense pleasure a Christian experiences when dramatically improving the life of a needy, worthy, struggling person. He is arranging the administration of his clinics so that we too can reach our helping hand directly to these most worthy “least among us.” Many believe that the love of God at the base of Orthodox Christianity shows through Andy Athens’ crusade for these least among us. And, it speaks well for the integrity of America that our nation’s top officials, to a person, stop what they are doing to recognize and appreciate what has been done by this man Chairman Gilman nicknamed “Saint Andrew.” Andrew Manatos is a member of the Archdiocesan Council and its communications committee, and president of Manatos and Manatos in Washington.
Universal Exaltation of the Holy Cross from first page the spiritual treasures and resources of our Orthodox Faith. It is a place where the calling to service in the kingdom of God is explored, understood, and accepted. It is also a place of dialog, symposia, and theological convocations which address foundational and contemporary issues in manner fitting our Greek Orthodox heritage and its emphasis on the capabilities of the mind, the potential of human ability, and the power of the soul in communion with God. The necessity and mission of this sacred ministry of Holy Cross is why we must never waver in our support. On this holy Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, I ask you to offer your earnest prayers for Holy Cross and for the students, staff, and faculty who serve so faithfully. I also ask you to continue your generous contributions to the School and Hellenic College, as well as your gifts, scholarships, and assistance to seminarians and students preparing for sacred vocations. Through your offerings of prayers and resources, you will continue the work of building the Church of Christ on the foundation of the Gospel of truth and love and of leading all people to the Cross of the Lord and to the way of eternal life and peace. With paternal love in Him,
† Archbishop DEMETRIOS of America
PA R ISH PROFIL E
A Little House of Worship on the Prairie P A R I S H
Name: Assumption Greek Orthodox Church Location: Bayard, Neb. Metropolis of Denver Size: about 105 persons Founded: 1925 Clergy: Fr. (Lewis) Elias Warren (Ph.D. in German from Ohio State University; Graduate Theological Foundation, Indiana, D.Min. in pastoral counseling) E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.assumption.ne.goarch.org Noteworthy: The only Greek Orthodox Church in Western Nebraska. ASSUMPTION GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH BAYARD, Neb. – Western Nebraska’s Panhandle might be the last place you would expect to find Greek Orthodox Christians but, sure enough, there exists a hearty handful of them in the region’s small towns. This is an area of miles and miles of gently rolling prairie, planted with wheat, corn, hay and sugar beets as far as the eye can see, and thousands of cattle congregating in herds. In fact, raising cattle is the occupation of the largest family of the parish; and three women parishioners also are in the cattle business. “I have to say the ladies are rather amazing!” commented Fr. Elias, the parish priest since 2004, about these “cattlewomen.” Bayard itself (population about 1,300) is a farming community of about 500 households. The priest described it as “a dying town,” but added, “The parish itself is not dying.” The first Greeks who settled in the area chose the community for the church site because of its central location in relation to other small towns and villages where the scattered members lived, including Sidney, Alliance, Bridgeport, Gering and Scottsbluff, the largest city in the area with about 15,000 residents. Fr. Elias said that the region is sometimes referred to as “the Nile Valley” because the North Platte River, the area’s major body of water, flows through it. As for the region’s Christian characteristics, there is a Roman Catholic and Lutheran presence, and other Protestant groups, including a number of “Bible churches.” According to information Fr. Elias, the Greeks relocated to western Nebraska from Omaha in the early 1900s, but originally came from various parts of Greece, passing through Ellis Island. Unlike the vast majority of the early immigrants who settled in the East to work in factories and textile mills, or who established their own businesses in major cities, a small number of Greek families came to Nebraska to farm and ranch. About that time, considerable antiHellenic sentiment existed in various places in the U.S., including Omaha, where riots directed against the immigrants in 1909 resulted in a lynching, which may have influenced their decision to head further west. There is no open hostility now, though some anti–Orthodox Christian sentiment (and anti–Catholic) does exist.
“They wonder if we’re not a cult,” said Fr. Elias about the attitude of some of the Protestant groups. He explained that in an advertisement he places in a local newspaper for the annual Greek festival held in August, the ad describes Assumption as “a Christian, multi-ethnic church.” He related the recent experience of a convert to the faith who went to a local Christian book store to order an Orthodox Study Bible and was told, “You know what that has on the front of it, don’t you?” (referring to the icon of Christ). “There’s that kind of attitude and it doesn’t make it easy,” he said. Fr. Elias himself, a native of Texas City, Texas, originally was Episcopalian and served as an Episcopal priest for 25 years, 18 of them in Bayard before becoming Greek Orthodox. His presbytera, RoseLee (maiden name Chrysoulis), is Greek American and grew up in Dallas’ Holy Trinity Church where she was a former choir director. Fr. Elias switched to the Greek Orthodox faith after becoming disenchanted with the Episcopal Church’s direction and became ordained in 2004 as an Orthodox deacon in Bayard. His ordination to the priesthood took place shortly afterward at Assumption Cathedral in Denver. “As I said to a young man from China whom I had the honor of baptizing: ‘Why did I choose Orthodoxy? Truth and beauty,’” was Fr. Elias’ reply. He estimates that about 60 percent of his parishioners are born Greek Orthodox, with the rest coming from other Christian churches. Economically they aren’t just farming and ranching any more. Their diverse occupations include security guard, piano and voice teacher, college instructor, newspaper reporter, radiology technician, social services director, garage owner, florist, sewing and knitting store owner and a florist. Extensive details of the parish’s history are lacking, but Fr. Elias noted that Greeks came to the Panhandle area and as far as Torrington, Wyo., and founded the church in May 1925. They completed the building of the existing church the following year with the help of donations from Orthodox Christians in the Dakotas, Wyoming and eastern Nebraska. The first priest who served the community at the time, Fr. John Arvaliotis, presumably came from Greece, Fr. Elias noted. Many priests followed, who served for brief periods.
The oldest living parishioner, Mary G. Chikos, a member of one of the founding families, remembers the first liturgy held at the church in 1925, the priest said. With such a small number of members, there are few church ministries. The Sunday school is small, with six students. There is no Greek school, but Greek is used in the services by the choir that alternates between English and Greek every other Sunday. Fr. Elias said several of the teen-age
boys and girls are leaving to go away to school, but there are some expectant mothers, and the number of babies in the community will soon increase. Other ministries include a Bible study, which the priest holds in the fall after coffee hour and support of local food pantries. There is a small Philoptochos chapter and an active AHEPA chapter that meets in conjunction with the Cheyenne, Wyo., chapter, alternating meeting locations between the two locations. The parish is supported by the stewardship program, with the Greek festival also providing a source of income. The festival is held the second weekend in August and features Greek dancing and a complete lamb dinner on Sunday. “People still like to keep up some Greek traditions, Fr. Elias said. Each year, the event draws about 600 persons. The priest also does outreach work in the greater community. “I’m a teacher and I love to teach to those born into Orthodoxy and to non-Orthodox.” This includes lectures at public libraries in various communities and to other groups, including the Roman Catholics. “My goal is to build this congregation,” he said. In 2005-06 the parish launched a renovation program, resulting in the remodeling of the church interior, the installation of a new iconostasis and the acquisition of the first bishop’s throne. In 2008, the church hall, an old army barracks, was remodeled and attached to the church building. — Compiled by Jim Golding
PEOPLE AHEPA Elects New Officers MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Delegates at the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association’s (AHEPA) 89th annual Supreme Convention elected Dr. John Grossomanides Jr., of Westerly, R.I., as supreme president on July 23. Dr. Grossomanides, a senior clinical pharmacist and a member of Holy Trinity Church in Norwich, Conn., is a 27–year AHEPA member with the Rose of New England Chapter 110 in Norwich. He has served AHEPA in numerous leadership positions including supreme vice president and supreme secretary and all district and chapter-level offices. As supreme president, Dr. Grossomanides’ responsibilities include serving as chief executive officer and principal spokesman of the entire AHEPA domain, which includes the United States, Canada, Greece, and Cyprus. He also is a past president of the Rhode Island Pharmacists Association and earned both his undergraduate and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees from the University of Rhode Island. Dr. Grossomanides is engaged to Anna–Helene Panagakos of Brooklyn, N.Y., who was elected grand secretary of the Daughters of Penelope. AHEPA Leadership for 2011-12 The Supreme Lodge also includes: Supreme Vice President Anthony Kouzounis, Houston; Canadian President George Vassilas, Montreal, Quebec; Supreme Secretary Phillip T. Frangos, East Lansing, Mich.; Supreme Treasurer Andrew C. Zachariades, Brick, N.J.; Supreme Counselor George Loucas, Brecksville, Ohio; and Supreme Ath-
Archbishop Demetrios with Dr. Grossomanides.
letic Director Spiro Siaggas, Atlanta. The eight supreme governors are: Region I–Sandy Papadopoulos, Atlanta; Region II–Dr. Peter Nickolas, Baltimore; Region III–James Kokotas, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Region IV–Nicholas Nikas, Old Greenwich, Conn.; Region V–Dr. Mark Zigoras, Cincinnati; Region VI–Louis G. Atsavas, Lake Forest, Ill.; Region VII–Nick Dixie, Dallas; and Region VIII–Alex Christy, Portland, Ore. Immediate Past President Nicholas A. Karacostas, Bayside, N.Y., and Lee J. Millas, Trenton, N.J., were elected to the board of trustees. Karacostas is board chairman. Other board officers are: Vice Chairman John Galanis, Elm Grove, Wis.; and Secretary Constantine Highland, Shirley, N.Y. Vasilios Albanos, Ph.D., Darien, Ill., was re-elected to the Board of Auditors. AHEPA Family Elections Nicky Stamoulis, Seminole, Fla. was elected Daughters of Penelope grand president; Manolis Sfinarolakis, Woodbury, Conn., Sons of Pericles supreme president; and Marianthe Kolokithas, Charleston, S.C., Maids of Athena grand president.
Visiting Director Encourages Young Greek Farmers
BALTIMORE – Four years since wildfires devastated much of southern Greece, young Greek farmers committed to restoring their land received words of encouragement from visiting International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) Executive Director Constantine Triantafilou. More than 200 Greek farmers and family members from the Prefecture of Ileia recently gathered in the courtyard of the local farming resource center to hear Triantafilou praise their ongoing efforts to restore farms and revive agricultural activity following the 2007 wildfires that devastated Greece. The IOCC director also delivered welcome financial support for the 193 young Greek farming families as part of a long-term recovery program generously funded by the Archdiocese. Farmers up to age 40 received direct financial assistance in order to purchase seed and equipment, invest in modern facilities and techniques, and to sustain their families while they toiled to make their farms fertile again. IOCC program consultant, Despina Katsivelaki, says the boost of support could not have come at a better time as Greece struggles to save its economy. “It has been proven again and again that a helping hand not only provides temporary relief but, most importantly, raises the morale of those who are ready to quit trying.” The massive wildfires that swept through southern Greece in 2007 left more
than 667,000 acres of farmland, homes and protected forests in ashes. The Prefecture of Ileia was hardest hit, with 44 people killed and large numbers of animals and farms destroyed. The wildfires made already difficult agricultural conditions even worse. Coupled with the economic crisis in Greece, many people, especially young farmers with families, were forced to leave the area to find alternative sources of income. To stem the tide of migration by young farmers, IOCC partnered with a local economic development agency to implement a long-term recovery program. Through the support of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the Pancretan Association of America, IOCC also constructed the Peloponnese’s first soil laboratory to help farmers analyze the condition of their soil and water in order to determine what crops to cultivate and what kinds of fertilizers to use. Ms. Katsivelaki says these measures over the past three years have helped preserve the future of family farms in Greece. “It is critical to keep young people involved in agriculture and livestock farming,” she said. “The aid to the neediest young farmers came at the right time, allowing them to catch their breath and giving them a boost for continuing their farm business. It will help them to cover the basic and most urgent needs of their families while the free soil tests enable them determine best cultivation practices.”
A Day in the Life... by James Hargrave
MWANZA, Kenya.– I recently attended our yearly Archdiocesan youth seminar. This is a three–week event bringing together young people (ages 15- 65) from a particular vicarage (deanery) of the Holy Archdiocese of Mwanza for fellowship, shared liturgical life, participation in the sacramental life of the Church, education on a variety of topics including agriculture, health, etc. and two weeks of Christian education provided by teachers from the Finnish Orthodox Mission and from OCMC. Caring for 100-plus young people and 10 foreigners, on a bare hillside in rural Africa, with minimal infrastructure (providing them with food and shelter, making sure that they are comfortable enough to keep going, looking after health care needs) is no joke. It’s serious business. It’s very tough. It’s exhausting, frustrating, difficult, terrifying... and exhilarating. Things are going very, very, very, very well. Archdiocesan leadership is working very hard to plan and manage the seminar well. But as hard as we try to plan, plans fail. And some of the best things are totally unplanned. I’d like to tell you about something that happened yesterday.
Yesterday was the team’s afternoon off. An excursion for the team was arranged through a local tour company and I had the privilege of joining them. Our first stop was a mountain on the Kamachuma Plateau, where we climbed to the top to visit some caves and see a spectacular view stretching to Rwanda. On the way up the mountain, our guide took a wrong turn and asked directions from a local coffee farmer. The farmer guided us back to the path and, as we were departing, asked who we were. We told him. This elderly farmer followed behind us, up a steep rocky slope, all the way to the top of the mountain. He caught up with us in the caves wearing clothes in tatters, barefoot with thickly calloused feet. I exchanged greetings with him, and told him a bit more about the team and about the youth seminar over the hills in Ibale. “I am an Orthodox Christian,” the old peasant told me. “I am a catechist.” This coffee farmer was brought to Christ in 1977 by Fr. Sosthenes Kiyonga, one of the early missionary priests in this area. His name is Apolinario, and he has been a catechist for 17 years in the parish
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SF Camp Encourages Youth to ‘Disconnect to Reconnect’ by Kristen Bruskas
DUNLAP, Calif.– Technology surrounds youth. Competing for their time are e-mail, Facebook, iPods, YouTube, Twitter, cell phones and more. This year’s Metropolis of San Francisco Summer Camp at St. Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center focused on the theme “Disconnect to Reconnect” and encouraged youth to take a critical look at the influences in their lives and be challenged to disconnect from negative pressures while reconnecting with God. Two key components integrated into the program were the need for silence, and the Jesus Prayer as part of their daily lives. Four one-week sessions took place from July 10-Aug. 6 and attracted more than 300 youth. Throughout each camp session, the young people disconnected from the constant distractions of technology and received opportunities to redirect their attention and fill those gaps with Christ. Campers gathered as a group to offer thanksgiving for each day at Orthros and Vespers. Cabins also participated in morning and evening prayers in small group settings. Not only did campers take more time for prayer throughout the week, they concluded each evening with a story on the life of a saint. “Summer Camp is a unique experience for our youth to be immersed in a safe and nurturing Orthodox environment where they can grow closer to God and deepen their faith. Through a variety of activities and programs, the campers were empowered to live a life in Christ while being surrounded by secular influences once they return home,” stated Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco.
Campers from one of the sessions at St. Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center.
Daily activities also included Orthodox Life, arts and crafts, canoeing, archery, aquatics, Byzantine chant, and nature hiking. Summer Camp was led by Michael Pappas, St. Nicholas Ranch director; Fr. Niko Bekris, metropolis youth director; assisted by Michelle Hawe and Yianni Smyrni, program coordinators; and Michael State, Orthodox Life. Twenty-six young adults, including seminarians from Holy Cross School of
Theology, served as camp counselors and activity directors throughout the fourweek program. Campers attended Divine Liturgy at the adjacent Monastery of the Theotokos the Life-Giving Spring, where each received a prayer rope to assist in continuing daily prayer ritual after returning home. Recognizing the severe economic struggles many families face today, the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund offered scholarships to
children in need to help them attend Summer Camp. “We are grateful to Leadership 100 for their vision to support our youth so that they could participate and reap the social and spiritual benefits of a summer camping programs,” said Metropolitan Gerasimos. In addition, all campers received the Orthodox Youth Bible provided by the Archdiocese, Faith: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism, and the American Bible Society.
Metropolis of NJ Holds 2011 Camp Good Shepherd by George Tomczewski
WESTFIELD, N.J. – Camp Good Shepherd, the official summer camp of the Metropolis of New Jersey, attracted a record number of campers for the seventh consecutive year. Since the program’s relocation within the metropolis, Camp Good Shepherd has grown from 17 campers in 2005 to more than 270 campers this year. The three-week summer camp sessions took place July 10-16 for JOY and July 16-23 and July 24-30 for GOYA at Linwood MacDonald YMCA Center in Branchville, N.J. More than 300 campers, counselors and clergy from throughout the metropolis attended the camp. Beautiful weather and optimistic spirits joined forces to create a most memorable camping experience for all, to the point at which most campers left saying they could not wait till next year’s camp. Campers participated in activities that included swimming, canoeing, hiking, wall climbing, archery, soccer, dodge ball, arts and crafts, Greek dancing and a newly installed zip line that sent the campers soaring across the lake. Metropolis clergy led daily Orthodox Life sessions. Counselors, including many seminarians from Hellenic College-Holy Cross School of Theology, led discus-
Young campers of the New Jersey Metropolis with Metropolitan Evangelos and other clergy and counselors.
sions during their “sounding boards” and evening devotionals. Campers participated in daily Orthros and Vespers services and the Divine Liturgy celebrated each Thursday. Children also could meet with clergy for confession that was offered each week. The clergy’s presence also provided a unique opportunity for our young people to receive guidance about their concerns, issues they face, and spiritual direction. Also each Thursday, campers and staff welcomed Metropolitan Evangelos along with their parents, siblings and friends for a family barbeque night held
in their honor. Campers had the opportunity to speak with the metropolitan to tell him about their fun experiences. Metropolitan Evangelos thanked camp Director Fr. John Theodosion of St. Andrew Church in Randolph, N.J. and assistant camp Director Fr. Anastasios Bourantas of St. George Church in Media, Pa. Camp highlights included dance nights, campfires, carnivals, karaoke and game nights. Ice cream treats and souvlakia offered by the Metropolitan, were some of the special treats that enhanced their camp experience. Metropolitan Evangelos greets a young camper.
by Fr. Steve Dalber
If asked “Why do you go to church?” many Orthodox Christians would probably be seriously baffled. This isn’t a question that has been asked or pondered upon by most. The reason for this response, or lack of response, lies in the fact that most Orthodox Christians take their faith for granted. They rely on generations of being told to “believe and don’t question.” While grandparents deserve a great deal of credit for keeping children and grandchildren in the faith, to “believe and don’t question” is fundamentally not Orthodox thinking. Faith is not enough. As disciples of Christ we are directed to a much higher calling. The Church was created by our Lord as a vessel of salvation. By accepting Christ we are brought into this vessel through baptism. We belong to the Church because we have chosen to be saved. We willingly accept the wonderful gift of eternal life. What has been forgotten though, is that this gift comes with responsibilities. If we use the analogy of the Church as a sailing ship, we must understand that it is not a cruise ship where we come aboard
Church Ministry The Journey to Salvation Is Not a Cruise and receive all the luxuries and benefits, while relaxing and patiently awaiting our destination. The Church is a working ship. By accepting passage on it we accept to be co-workers with the rest of the crew. Our Lord said to make disciples of all nations. Disciples are not tourists they are workers. Jesus Christ as the Captain has given His crew directions. This ship has a specific mission. Its purpose is not to simply wander aimlessly in the ocean being tossed and directed by the whims of the sea until His second coming. The responsibility of every Christian is to know and work towards this mission with all their talents and abilities. This mission has been given to the Church through the Apostles with very clear instructions. This mission is a non-negotiable order. It is not a suggestion. Those who have accepted salvation
A New Year of Philanthropy from page 7 versity of love and multitudinous virtue they offer. Enormous energy and immense time are necessary to fulfill any of these precious examples of Philoptochos’ good works. Philoptochos efforts convey joy through shared experiences. The new ecclesiastic year will once again bring unique challenges with sometimes turbulent waves. With the new year we are also presented the opportunity to renew our commitment, to coordinate our forces and most importantly to strengthen our relationship with the Lord by responding to His call. Last year the inspired 2010 National Philoptochos delegates overwhelmingly endorsed the establishment of the Center of Philanthropy. The National Board with their time, talent and treasure, despite current
global economic, political and social crises, strives to complete its fundraising ensuring Philoptochos’ bright future. To date, and although much more is required through your efforts, the committees have been successful in reaching the $1.3 million mark. Philoptochos is an inclusive organization. Your input is welcomed and necessary. The Philoptochos Center of Philanthropy is for all persons and for all time. With your participation the Center will become a reality for all generations to Come and See in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Plan to attend the 13th Children’s Medical Fund Luncheon to take place at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich in Old Greenwich, Conn., on Dec. 3. Organizers of this biennial event,
The Hollywood Virus from page 15 industry when possible jobs are posted on their website. With social and cultural events, this ministry provides support and fellowship for those new to L.A. Spiritual church support is at the heart of it all. It is the key to surviving in the narcissistic world of Entertainment. I encourage seminar participants to make Jesus Christ their “main Hollywood Agent” in their struggle to “make it” in the industry. I tell them when all else fails, the best position to find relief is on their knees, in prayer and worship. No elixir is more powerful to soothe the pain of heart and soul than Con-
fession and Holy Communion and an active participation in the life of the church. We encourage them to inhale the fragrance of the Holy Spirit who brings inner peace, joy and validation of the value of our personhood as loved children of God. We remind them that healthy work is possible in Hollywood but that fame, glamour and tinseled glitz are ultimately fleeting, and that they should seek first the kingdom of God and all else will be taken care of in “God’s time.” It is a message that resonates for many of these talented children of God. And they are indeed talented. A connection to God mitigates the effect of the Hollywood Virus. Some do disappear behind the avenues of neon lights and
September 11 • Ten years later from page 11 and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15). • In the conversation we should rely on the sources of one another’s Tradition that form the basis of our commitments. For example, read the Koran before making claims about what it says to a Muslim. And expect your Muslim dialogue partner to read the Bible, before making claims to you. Read the texts of prayers and spiritual writings together. Tell the stories of your experience as an Orthodox Christian and allow your dialogue partners to tell their
stories as well. • There are still survivors among us. We can talk about their experiences from that day, support them and show that we care about them and their families. • Our nation went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq after the attacks in an effort to defeat the perpetrators and to defeat extremism, terrorists and those who supported them. These wars have been controversial in our political life and have challenged us to consider what the Orthodox Christian Faith says about war and violence. Over the last decade, there is a good chance
have accepted the task of continuing and working towards the fulfillment of our Lord’s ministry. They have accepted to be fellow workers towards this effort. They have been made stewards of not only the Church, but of its ministry as well. When a young man asked “What must I do to be saved?” our Lord’s response was “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt.2: 37-39) A critical aspect of being members of the Church and expressing our love to God and to each other is through the frequent participation in the Eucharistic feast: the Divine Liturgy. But just showing up is not enough. We must receive which offers hope for a better life to ill and medically fragile children, guarantee to provide an unforgettable experience. Please support the CMF Luncheon through your attendance and through your generous sponsorship. Finally, please mark your calendar for the important 2012 National Philoptochos Biennial Convention at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa in Phoenix, on July 1-4, 2012. May the Lord bless our nation and our servicemen and women protecting our lives and freedoms. As we begin this blessed new ecclesiastic year, please pray for peace in the world. Keep in your prayers the victims, their families and their loved ones on the 10–year anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 tragedy. With love in Christ, Aphrodite Skeadas suggestive billboards of Sunset Boulevard and somehow manage to make a life for themselves. Many succeed and find productive work in Hollywood and establish long–term careers. But for many, once it has taken hold, the Hollywood Virus can keep people in its grip for decades often only cured by the onset of wrinkles and the blemishes of age. And with that evidence of age, comes the realization that not all of our dreams come true. But with the Grace of God, dreams can change and life can be redirected and when we are on “God’s path,” in “God’s time,” dreams can indeed come true. Fr. Bakas is dean of St. Sophia Cathedral, Los Angeles and a faculty member of Loyola Marymount University School of Theology. that someone you know has served in the military as part of those campaigns. Maybe someone you know was lost or wounded in those places. How do you as an individual and we as a community show support and concern? What do we as a Church think about war and violence, rules of warfare, military service, and the many issues that military conflict raises? • The destruction of the St. Nicholas Church at the World Trade Center has become a rallying point for the Orthodox communities in America. How can you support the effort to see that the church is rebuilt? Visit www.goarch.org/special/september11/ stnicholaschurch/stnicholas.
communion. Our Lord has assembled us as a Eucharistic community first and foremost. We cannot be united in mission if we aren’t first united in body. We are the living body of Jesus Christ. He is the Head and we are its members. We are united for one purpose; that is to continue Christ’s ministry, in this world and throughout time. (We are) “His body, which is the church…” ( Col.1:24) “And He is the head of the body…” ( Col.1:18) “This is my body which is given to you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19) “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:54) Salvation is the greatest gift ever offered by God to His creatures. Attaining salvation should be the first priority of every human being. This is our primary goal as Orthodox Christians. We strive to save ourselves because we love ourselves. If we are to love others as ourselves then shouldn’t we also strive for their salvation? Isn’t this in fact “The Good News” that we have been commissioned to proclaim? Isn’t this the reason that we are baptized and baptize others into the Church, so that we and they too can be saved? “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matt 28:19-20) When Jesus ascended into the heavens he didn’t leave a “boss” of the Church. He left a team. He left many disciples not just one. He decentralized His own worldly authority and gave it to the Church the Body of believers beginning with the Apostles past and present. Bishops are selected to oversee the mission. They were not given authority to change the mission or even to modify the mission. The mission is non-negotiable for all Christians. Only those who work towards the fulfillment of His continuing ministry are given the authority and the blessing to do so. This authority is not given by men but by God Himself, not only to clergy but to laity as well. The Church must be a servant, just as Christ was a servant, a slave to all mankind in its effort to fulfill the Will of the Father; which is the salvation of all humanity. The Church was established to serve mankind, just as our Lord was incarnate to serve mankind and bring it to salvation. A servant is not greater than his master. The Church is not greater than its Creator. Nor can the Church’s ministry be anything different than the ministry of the One who created her. Our Lord has given us very specific instructions and these instructions are non-negotiable. “And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all.” (Mark 10:44) Ministry, Ministry, Ministry! Every Christian who has accepted salvation has also accepted the responsibility of working in the ministry of the Church. The clergy have been called apart and given the grace and blessing to perform the specific sacramental functions of the church, but all Christians, clergy and laity alike have been called to serve in our Lord’s ministry. If this is not what the Church is doing then we have entered into serious error. Everything that we do as a Church should be in direct support of Christ’s ministry of salvation. If we build buildings they should be to support ministry. Any event sponsored by the Church should be ministry or in support of ministry. Ministry should not be limited by the budget. The budget should be driven by ministry. Fr. Steve Dalber serves the parish of St. Nektarios in Charlotte, N.C.
Bassett Family Donates Infirmary to Boston Camp CONTOOCOOK, N.H. – Following the Divine Liturgy at the St. Methodios Faith & Heritage Center on July 17, with more than 175 campers and their parents present, Metropolitan Methodios of Boston dedicated a new infirmary building, the gift of Peter and Stephan Basset and their families in honor of their parents Angelo and Aliki Bassett. Metropolitan Methodios spoke of the great legacy of faith that Angelo and Aliki passed on to their children and grandchildren. Following the door-opening ceremonies, Peter Bassett offered the following remarks on behalf of his family: “Your Eminence, thank you for the opportunity today to dedicate this gift in the name of the parents of Stephan and myself. “Campers, you all are here in part to celebrate your faith and heritage. This makes you smart – you are learning that in our heterogeneous society, your faith and heritage are an important part of the foundation of your well being , and a powerful source of your ability to contribute to your personal growth and to your society. “It is this lesson that Angelo and Aliki Bassett taught their children and grandchildren. The pride with which they spoke of their faith and heritage to all in our diverse society, informed in a powerfully positive way those of different
Former Dow CEO Makes Major Donation to Hamptons Church
Members of the Bassett family at the dedication of the new infirmary at the St. Methodios Center.
backgrounds, and engendered respect for our traditions and us as a people. “And Angelo and Aliki Bassett did more than speak. Their leadership role in the pioneering efforts to build a new generation of Greek Orthodox churches, to strengthen our Metropolis and Archdiocese, and develop sustaining organizations serving our community taught us a great lesson about life itself. “Our faith and heritage far outlast the objects our economic success can buy. When we lead our lives in accordance with the principals of our faith, the true
gift of our journey, so evident to all, is the joy with which we relish the challenges of each day. This is how we bounce back from adversity – from the constancy and optimism of or our world view, we see new opportunities and have the reserve strength to seize them. And this is how we share our great successes– in the spirit of helping others. “In some small way, Angelo and Aliki Bassett would be grateful if, as you pass by this small but nurturing space, you keep in mind these principals in the hope that they will serve you well in your journey too.”
Philanthropic Group Honors Arthur Koumantzelis BOSTON -- The Alpha Omega Council, comprised of leading Americans of Hellenic ancestry, recently awarded its 29th annual Lifetime Achievement Award to Arthur G. Koumantzelis, an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Hellenic College trustee. Koumantzelis was honored for his achievements in business and philanthropy. Alpha Omega Council President Nicholas F. Kourtis presented the award. Masters of ceremonies were former Gov. Michael S. Dukakis and Anna Christopher Bross, media relations director for National Public Radio. Mr. Koumantzelis’ long and distinguished career has included: senior partner at Ernst & Young, CFO of Cumberland Farms and CEO of Gainsborough Investments, a
venture capital firm. In addition to the Hellenic College board, he serves on the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lowell and the Immigrant Learning Center boards. He also was as a trustee and long-recognized supporter of Bentley University in Waltham, Mass. Each year the Council, which promotes and supports religious, charitable, scientific, literary and educational activities, and aids the poor and needy, recognizes those who have excelled in their professions or fields of endeavor. Since its founding in 1976, the Council has raised and donated more than $1.5 million to charitable causes. Also honoring Mr. Koumantzelis were Dr. Robert H. Minetti, vice presi-
dent emeritus of Bentley University; Lily Haseotes Bentas, Cumberland Gulf Group of Companies board chairman; Metropolitan Methodios of Boston, Congressman John Sarbanes (D–Maryland), Greek Consul General in Boston Elias Fotopoulos, Diane Portnoy, founder and CEO of The Immigrant Learning Center in Malden, Mass.; and Nancy Agris Savage, director of the Agris Memorial Journalism Scholarship Program. The program also included the awarding of six Peter Agris Memorial Scholarships to journalism students across the nation. The scholarships are given in memory of Peter Agris, founder and publisher of the Hellenic Chronicle, which was published for 50 years in Boston.
St. Catherine’s Vision Launches 2nd Volume on Women Saints by Marilyn Rouvelas
St. Catherine’s Vision, a group of women Orthodox theological school graduates, recently celebrated the release of Encountering Women of Faith, Vol. II, at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary’s summer conference, “Women Disciples of the Lord.” The new volume follows Encountering Women of Faith Vol. I, which is going into its third printing. Volume Two tells the stories of 11 women saints in separate chapters written by 10 women who graduated from or studied at Orthodox theological schools. Each chapter uses a three-part format: a well-researched history of the saint and her service to God and community, a candid consideration by each author on
how the saint’s witness touched her own life, and “Reflection and Discussion Questions” suitable for the individual reader and/or group discussion. With this format, we meet real women of the past who are relevant to real women and men of today – all of whom seek ways to live meaningful lives as they grow closer to God in image and love. For example, author Nikki Stournaras writes about St. Anna the Prophetess who waited for the Messiah for 84 years, fasting and praying in the Temple in Jerusalem. Her patience was rewarded when she was blessed with being present at the Presentation of our Lord, when the Theotokos and Joseph brought him to the temple 40 days after his birth. While we might consider St. Anna’s life extreme, Ms. Stournaras explains that the example
of piety and silence may be helpful for us today. She writes: “My mind is filled with noise pollution. I jump to conclusions. I rush…St. Anna was a woman who knew how to wait for God through silence... she directs me to remain vigilant and aware that Christ is in our midst.” This book connects the reader with many more examples relating to the lives of the 10 saints (Christina of Tyre, Thekla, Juliana, Perpetua, Felicitas, Anna, Paula, Poplia, Mother Maria Skobtsova, Mary of Egypt and others). The authors – Susan Arida, Hilary Chala, Julia C. Curtright, Kyriaki Karidoyanes FitzGerald (editor), Barbara K. Harris, Valerie Karras, Eleni Simmons, Nikki Stournaras, Stefanie Yova Yazge, and Val-
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SOUTHAMPTON, NY -- Dr. Bill Stavropoulos, former CEO and chairman of Dow Chemical Company, and founding president of the Michigan Baseball Foundation, and his wife, Linda, have made a major donation toward the construction of a new sanctuary, cultural center, and community hall at the Church of the Hamptons on Long Island. Born and raised in nearby Bridgehampton, Dr. Stavropoulos’ family has maintained a tradition of community leadership and church stewardship. The Stavropoulos family, who owns and for many years operated Bridgehampton’s Candy Kitchen, was instrumental in the establishment of the 34-year-old parish. The parish’s new home will house the Stavropoulos/Theofel Atrium. The atrium will be among the central gathering places for the growing community, and will have about 1,160 square feet of floor space. The Atrium’s 22–foot ceiling will be crafted to resemble the interior of a domed church, mirroring the architecture of the new sanctuary, and will display the icon of Christ currently in the existing sanctuary dome. While Bill and Linda Stavropoulos now live in Midland, Mich. and Naples, Fla., they have remained devoted members of the church, located on St. Andrews Road in Southampton. Dr. Stavropoulos’ brother George, former Southampton Town supervisor, served as the church’s parish council president and was the executive chairman of the church’s building committee before he passed away in 2002. Stavropoulos’ donation comes in the dual context of his family’s longstanding tradition of community and church leadership, as well as his remarkable and deeply personal commitment to the Greek Orthodox faith and philanthropy in the broader community. Dr. Stavropoulos gives to countless other charities, and has received many awards and distinctions, including the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. As a member of The Order of St. Andrew, Stavropoulos is also an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Boston Cathedral Receives Major Gift from Condakes Family BOSTON – The family of the late Archon and Archdiocesan Council member Leo (Leonidas) Condakes has offered two major donations to Annunciation Cathedral of New England. Mr. Condakes passed away in 2009. Mrs. Evanthea Condakes has donated $100,000 in memory of her late husband to help establish a museum of Church artwork as part of the current renovations to the cathedral’s upper hall. Concurrently her son, Peter Leo Condakes, pledged $50,000 to renovate the dean’s office. The Condakeses were major benefactors of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and members of Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund. Additionally, both were recipients of the Ellis Island Medal Mrs. Condakes served as Philoptochos Society national president from 1998-2002, and Leo Condakes was an Archon and a member of the Archdiocesan Council and Hellenic College trustees executive board.
The Upbringing of Children According to the Holy Fathers
CrossRoad Summer Institute Concludes Two Sessions
by Fr. Hector Firoglanis
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). If someone told you that you would have no problems with your children if you raised them a certain way, would you be interested in learning more? Who wouldn’t? For parents, the upbringing of children is the most important and sacred duty in life. And if we carry out that duty according to the teachings of the Church Fathers, God will help us to raise up Christian children who will be a joy to behold.
Our Number One Priority to Our Children: Raising Them Close to God
Of course, as Orthodox Christian parents, we all want to raise children who will grow to become good, responsible and faithful Orthodox Christians. That is why most of us have our children baptized, bring them to church on Sundays, take them to Sunday school, and have them receive holy communion regularly. Many of us might think that is the extent of our parental responsibility for raising up a child close to God, but is it? While it’s a good start, the Fathers of the Church say that it’s not enough. They say that the spiritual well-being of our children should take priority over their material needs, their secular education and their preparation for worldly success, as St. John Chrysostom explains: “We are so concerned with our children’s schooling [and worldly success]; if only we were equally zealous in bringing them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord… This, then, is our task: to educate both ourselves and our children in godliness; otherwise what answer will we have before Christ’s judgment seat?” (St. John Chrysostom, On Marriage and Family Life, SVS Press, 1986, p.67, 71). A recurring theme in the writings of the Fathers is that the upbringing of our children in godliness is the most important task of parents, a 24/7 job. It is a responsibility with eternal implications which requires our utmost personal discipline, vigilance, effort, and dependence on God’s grace.
The Example of the Parents
On a pilgrimage to the Monastery of St. Arsenios the Cappadocian my wife and I made when we lived in Greece for a year, we sat down to speak with Fr. Theoklytos, a very gentle, humble and surprisingly humorous elder of the monastery. Although we did not yet have children at the time, my wife asked the elder how we could be good parents if, God willing, we were to have children one day. The Elder paused, then looked up at us with his gentle and disarming gaze and said, “To raise good children, you need to love each other.” We will never forget the simplicity and conviction with which he answered a question we thought would require a complicated answer. The Elder’s simple response reinforced a foundational teaching of the Church regarding child rearing: If husband and wife truly love each other, as the Fathers of the Church teach, then the children will have an ideal model of how to love God and their fellow man.
St. John Chrysostom, in a more general sense, speaks about the centrality of the parents’ example for molding multiple facets of the child’s development: “For generally the children acquire the character of their parents, are formed in the mold of their parents’ temperament, love the same things their parents love, talk in the same fashion, and work for the same ends” (St. John Chrysostom, On Marriage and Family Life, SVS Press, 1986, p. 64). In addition to the good example of parents, the Fathers speak about the active intervention of parents required to direct and mold the will of the child.
Molding the Will of the Child
What most of us will discover when we view our child-rearing methods through an Orthodox Patristic perspective are that we are faced with the risk of allowing the child to develop a powerful self-will. A strong self-will, which develops very early in life in the absence of proper parental direction, renders spiritual growth much more difficult. What does this mean? It means that later in life it will be very challenging--in some instances impossible –- to get the self–willed child to voluntarily be attentive during church services, to fast, to respect parental authority, and to grow in the image and likeness of Christ as a kind, gentle and forgiving child of God. The words of St. Theophan the Recluse impress upon us the importance of molding the will of a child: “The will of the parents should be imprinted upon each step – of course in a general way. Without this, the behavior of the child can easily become corrupted.” (St. Theophan the Recluse, Raising Them Right, Conciliar Press, 1989, p. 34). Without getting angry when the child tests his limits and without putting excessive pressure on the child, parents can do much good for the child’s soul by setting clear and pronounced boundaries around the child’s self will. Of course, the parents need to consistently maintain and remind the child of those boundaries in a loving and gentle way. By molding and directing the will of a child, especially at the early stages of development, the parent is teaching the child that he is not the center of the world. Only as such will a child learn later in life to do the will of God (to obey His commandments) and to put the needs of others before his own.
Our Ultimate Purpose
The successful upbringing of children is in no way disconnected from our ultimate purpose as Orthodox Christians, which is the process of deification, or to become like God–to become saints. It may sound like a lofty and unrealistic goal, but it is nevertheless our ultimate purpose, and if we at least orient ourselves towards that goal, we’ll be on the right track towards becoming the parents God wants us to be. The Orthodox Way according to the Church Fathers is a difficult path which requires continuous effort, prayer, self-sacrifice and repentance. Christ Himself said that “The gate is
BROOKLINE, Mass.– Hellenic College experienced another busy summer as the Office of Vocation & Ministry (OVM) welcomed 60 high school juniors and seniors from 29 states, Canada and the Bahamas to its CrossRoad Summer Institute. Since 2004, CrossRoad has inspired hundreds of Orthodox youth to mature in their faith, explore their strengths, serve others, and discover their gifts and talents to serve the Church and society. The two sessions of the 2011 Summer Institute, directed by Mary Long, combined the best in faculty instruction and an enthusiastic staff of graduate students at Hellenic College-Holy Cross with a beautiful campus overlooking Boston, and the city of Boston itself. Students visited historic Faneuil Hall, which dates from colonial times; the New England shore at Manchester-by-the-Sea, and cruised Boston harbor on a Duck Tour (amphibious vehicles carrying tourists to various parts of the city on land and water). They also found the program’s unique elements the most valuable: the daily classes with theological faculty, evening visits to attend vespers at neighboring Orthodox parishes in the Boston area, and putting their learning into practice by participating in two service activities in the last stage of the program. CrossRoad draws its name in part from the metaphorical crossroad that high school seniors and graduates find themselves as they prepare to pursue further studies and careers. “College-bound students experience a paradoxical mix of eagerness and apprehension as they face the future—CrossRoad helps them discern how Christ calls us all to act in the present, and from this vantage point, their own future becomes clearer,” said Hellenic College Dean Demetrios Katos.
narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matt. 7:13). Being a good parent and raising virtuous, loving Christian children is also hard, especially in today’s world. In order to make our job as parents a little easier, we can begin by repenting, orienting our lives towards Christ, and making ourselves a little more Christ–like. As a contemporary elder of the Church, Elder Porphyrios, says, “Become saints and you will have no problems with your children” (Wounded By Love, p. 198). Prioritizing our children’s spiritual well-being over their worldly success, offering them a Christ-like example of love and harmony within the home, molding the child’s self–will, and striving continuously to become like Christ--to become saints: This is a brief glimpse into raising our children according the teachings of the Fathers and Holy Elders of the Church. It is a difficult path, but it is the surest way we have of raising children who will grow to love God and their fellow man, and who will be a joy for all of us to behold. Fr. Firoglanis is the assistant priest at Annunciation Church in Lancaster, Pa. He and his Presbytera, Katerina, also served in Albania as OCMC long-term missionaries. Visit www.goarch.org/archdiocese/departments/family/observer
CrossRoad participants Peter Somi of Worcester, Mass., and Katherine Katsivalis of Oak Lawn, Ill., agree. “My purpose in life is clearer now, my calling is to love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength and my neighbor as myself,” says Peter. Katherine, commented, “CrossRoad is the perfect name for this program because all of us are at a point in our lives where we are experiencing change—this program really helped us to see our choices, and with the help of CrossRoad, I trust that I can make the right decisions that will have [put] me on a path to doing God’s will.” Paulina Kordonis of Charleston, S.C., said, “My life is forever changed—the experiences I’ve had and the lessons I’ve learned will be things that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.” Dr. Katos added, “Hellenic College is very proud of the service CrossRoad provides to the Church. The OVM staff has done an incredible job in developing a stellar program.” After the 10-day session, CrossRoad participants leave the campus with lifelong friendships, a deeper understanding of their faith, and a strong desire to participate actively in the Church. CrossRoad is funded by grants from the Lilly Endowment Inc., the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund, and the Virginia H. Farah Foundation, and through the support of several benefactors from the Orthodox community. The Office of Vocation and Ministry is led by Director Ann Mitsakos Bezzerides, Ph.D., and Development Coordinator Stephanie Callas Skedros. For further updates and information and to download an application for CrossRoad 2012, visit the CrossRoad website at crossroad.hchc.edu.
2nd Volume on Women Saints Launched from page 29 erie Zahirsky – collaborated on the book through a series of retreats and e-mails. The St. Catherine’s Vision members study how people of God contribute to building up the Body of Christ through education, spiritual renewal and Orthodox unity. (www.orthodoxwomen.org) In the spirit of Christian outreach and Orthodox unity, the “birthday party” for the book was appropriately celebrated at the summer conference. (www.svots.edu) Women attending the June conference from the areas of theological studies, education, chaplaincy, prison ministry, hospice, pastoral counseling, spiritual direction, philanthropy, publications and missions made presentations and networked, thus providing a contemporary encounter among Orthodox women of faith. Encountering Orthodox Women of Faith, The St. Catherine’s Vision Collection, Volume II, edited by Kyriaki Karidoyanes FitzGerald. Brookline, MA: Holy Cross Orthodox Press 2011. (www. holycrossbookstore.com) Marilyn Rouvelas is the author of “A Guide to Greek Traditions and Customs in America” and a consultant to St. Catherine’s Vision.
Our Spiritual Inheritance by Sylvia Leontaritis
I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve heard parents discussing the difficult task of raising children right in a world gone wrong. How do we raise children with strong morals and values, when the world is drowning in immorality? How do we teach them to set themselves apart from that which is wrong? One of the most important things we, as parents, can do for our children is offer them positive role models. And as most of us will agree, that can be a very daunting task nowadays. Now that school is back is session, this is especially important because our children are being exposed to things they aren’t normally exposed to in their Orthodox homes. I recently spoke with a group of teen and ‘tween-aged girls on the subject of role models. I asked them to answer a prompt without thinking too much about the answer, to simply give the first answer that popped into their mind. The prompt was: Name three famous sisters. A few of them giggled and looked around at each other but no one would answer. So I fished some more, “C’mon, you
RESOURCES FOR FAMILIES A Pocketful of Seeds, by Sylvia Leontaritis. This children’s book is about a young boy separated from his family who crosses paths with a holy monk and decides to accompany him on a mission from God to a distant land. Along the way seeds are planted, and he learns lessons in faith, forgiveness and following his heart. Available at www.orthodoxmom.com. Daniel and the Lion, by Claire Brandenburg. A modern American boy named Daniel faces his own “lion” (fear) as a mischievous bully harasses him at school. This book is for preschool and elementary aged children, and it helps them understand how by praying for the intercessions of saints, they answer our prayers and are truly there beside us.
Published by Conciliar Press www.orthodoxchristianchildren.com – “Inspiring the Church’s Future Generation.” This site has excellent resources both for children and for parents. www.orthodoxchildrensbooks.com – This site by Potamitis Publishing offers many books with beautiful illustrations that are both captivating and educational. For children of all ages.
know who I’m talking about. We usually see them in pictures together.” Then one brave soul blurted out, “The Kardashians?” It wasn’t the answer I was hoping for but it was the one I expected. The answer I was looking for were Saints Faith, Hope and Agapi; three young sisters who gave up their lives for our Lord Jesus Christ. The majority of them were familiar with the girls’ mother, St. Sophia, but none of them had ever heard of her three daughters. Try it on your children. Ask them how many cartoon characters they can name. Then ask how many saints they can name. Two? Eight? A dozen if you’re lucky. And we can blame no one but ourselves for this. We expect our children to stay in the church and understand our traditions and always do the right thing, and, and, and, but how can we expect all of this if we’re not teaching them? Why aren’t we passing these treasures on to our children? Why are we filling their heads with imaginary kingdoms but not filling their hearts with zeal for a reallife kingdom? It’s so easy to overlook teaching them about the importance of saints in our lives. We forget to remind them to look up to them and ask for their intercessions. They’re only children, we say. And yes, they are children. But then again, so were Faith, Hope and Agapi. The eldest sister was only 12; the youngest was 9. When their mother, St. Sophia called them together before they were to appear before the emperor, she tried to strengthen their spirits by saying, “My beloved daughters, the greatest joys of my earthly life…Our trials may be great– eventually leading to our deaths. The path we are about to take ends in defeat and death for those who do not know Christ. For those of us who know Him, it ends in victory and eternal life…Remember, my darlings, physical pain lasts momentarily; the Kingdom of God lasts forever.” And do you know how those precious souls
responded? Instead of hiding in fear, like I surely would have, they in turn tried to strengthen and soothe her spirit. “Don’t be afraid, dearest Mother, we will remember your words and pray that our Lord will keep all of us strong so that we may enter His kingdom together.” And then they prayed together. How many of us pray with our children on a daily basis? How can we expect them to follow Christ as He instructed (Matthew 16:24) if they are not armed with prayer? Sometimes we rationalize these things in our minds. But SHE was a saint, I am not! How can I have that kind of strength? But saints are not born, they’re created. She was not born a saint, she was born a typical human being like all of us. The only difference is she chose to follow Christ. One of the many benefits of being Orthodox is the rich spiritual inheritance we’ve been given; the lives of the saints. We have all the answers we need on how to live a holy life in a sinful world. We can all do what she did. We just have to want it bad enough. We spend so much time making sure our children “fit in” (and fit in to what exactly?), when we should be spending that time teaching them how to stand out. Each and every one of our children should be a light. They should carry the light of Christ inside of them for all to see. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16.) Teach your children to love, not fight. To give rather than take. To show compassion and humility instead of passing judgment on others. If we, as Orthodox Christians don’t do this, who will? Opportunities to teach these things present themselves every day! We need to be teaching them these things in both our words and actions. Now that we have begun a new school and ecclesiastical year, let’s start anew. Here are a few simple suggestions:
PRAYER OF PARENTS FOR THEIR CHILDREN Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, for the sake of the prayers of Thy Most Pure Mother, hearken unto me, Thine unworthy servant (name). O Lord, govern in mercy my children, Thy servants (names). Have mercy on them and save them, for Thy name’s sake. O Lord, forgive them all their transgressions, voluntary and involuntary that they may be perfected before Thee. O Lord, set them on the true path of Thy commandments and enlighten their minds with the Light of Christ unto salvation of their souls and the healing of their bodies. Bless them, O Lord, at home, at school, in their journeys and in every place of Thy dominion. Preserve and shelter them from flying bullets, arrows, the sword, poison and fire, from mortal wounds and sudden death. Guard them, O Lord, from all visible and invisible enemies, and from all danger, evil and misfortune. Heal them, O Lord, from all sickness, deliver them from every impurity and lighten their spiritual sufferings. Amen. (Excerpt from the Akathist to the Mother of God, Nurturer of Children)
• Begin and end each day by reading prayers together as a family. • Teach your children of spiritual warfare. St. Kosmas Aitolos said, “Life is spiritual warfare, and if you’re not fighting you’re losing.” • Teach them how to use a prayer rope and pray the Jesus Prayer. • Teach them to live a God-pleasing life just as their patron saints and the Theotokos did. Remind them they are soldiers for Christ. Arm them every single day. My children look forward to being “armed for battle” every morning. I make the sign of the cross with holy oil on their foreheads; their armor. I give them each a piece of antidoro (take an extra piece on Sunday and cut into small pieces for the rest of the week) and a sip of holy water; their strength. And we double check to make sure they have their weapons; their cross and prayer rope. Then we leave for school and I have the peace of mind knowing that God and His holy Mother and all the saints are surrounding my children with their protection. “A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him, saying, ‘You are mad; you are not like us.’” ~ St. Anthony the Great As time goes on, society is leading us further and further away from God. Which means our responsibility as Orthodox Christian parents has become even greater. It is our children who will carry Christ’s light into the future. Are they ready? Have we prepared them? Sylvia Leontaritis is the author of the children’s book, A Pocketful of Seeds. Her work has appeared in The Handmaiden journal, the Orthodox Christian Radio Network and Ancient Faith Radio. She is a member of the Orthodox Speakers Bureau. She lives on a small farm with her husband, Niko, and their three sons, Angelo, Panteleimon and Nektarios. Their family attends services at the two monasteries nearby their home. Visit her on her blog, Adventures of an Orthodox Mom, at www.orthodoxmom.com.
Archbishop Demetrios of AmericA the first DecADe 1999-2009
his beautifully produced book presents a full spectrum of the activities in the life of the Greek Orthodox Church in America from the years 1999-2009, the first ten years of Archiepiscopal Ministry of Archbishop Demetrios of America. The 368-page hard cover book contains 537 photographs, all taken by the Official Photographer of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Dimitrios Panagos, and masterfully compiled & edited by Revekka Papadopoulou. Chapters include: Biography, Enthronement, Archpastoral Ministry, Education & Youth, Ecumenical Patriarchate, Official trips, Welcoming Visitors, At the Nation’s Capital, Omogeneia & Cultural Events, Sep. 11-2001, Ecumenical Relations & SCOBA, 40th Anniversary of Episcopacy, and Honors & Degrees.
“A must for every Greek Orthodox parish & home in America.” To order your copy of this book ($75 per copy + $10 S&H) please call 212-774-0244, or email email@example.com, or complete this order form and mail it to: GOTelecom, 8 East 79th Street, New York, NY 10075. All proceeds to benefit “Archbishop demetrios benevolent fund.”
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Agape Grants Assist Ministries in Eight Countries by Michelle DeAngelis
The Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) has received grants from the Agape Canister Program to assist nine projects in eight countries. These include: a youth camp in Albania, the Protection of the Theotokos Family Center, the St. Dimitrie Program in Romania, the St. Thomas House Orphanage in Indonesia, Youth Outreach in Kenya, Youth Day Camps in Kosovo, medical supplies in Uganda and Tanzania; and a Youth Camp in Guatemala. These projects are administered by OCMC missionaries, mission priests, and mission teams under the guidance of each respective hierarch. OCMC 2010 Uganda Healthcare Team member Sue Nelson writes, “The last two mission trips that I participated in resulted in frustration over not having the most effective malaria medicine to offer, due to cost and availability and being somewhat misguided and ignorant of the full impact that malaria has on its victims. Medical missions are so expensive primarily because of the cost of the medications needed. Our Team applied for and received a grant from the Agape Program. We are most thankful for the Agape Program to provide this money to purchase medications.”
The Agape Program has, again in 2011, awarded the Uganda Medical Team a grant to purchase medicines. Last year the team ministered to nearly 4,000 Ugandans and will do the same again this year. For over 20 years, the Agape Canister Program has served as a philanthropic and development program of the OCMC that is dedicated to meeting the needs of children, families, and communities where Christ’s Church is newly planted and beginning to grow. Today, nearly 200 active Agape Canister Partners oversee about 1,000 plastic Agape canisters placed in offices, restaurants, parishes, and businesses throughout the United States and Canada. New Agape partners willing to take responsibility for one or more canisters in their community are always in need. For more information about this program of international Orthodox missions or to become involved in the Agape Canister Program, call 1-877-GO-FORTH or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) is the official missions agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America dedicated to fulfilling Christ’s last command to make disciples of all nations.
PAOI Southern California Auxiliary to Celebrate 20th Anniversary LOS ANGELES – The Southern California Auxiliary of the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute (PAOI) will celebrate its 20th anniversary on Nov.5, at Town and Gown on the University of Southern California campus. The event will honor Chris W. and Joan Caras and Harry and Agopie Pappas. Chris W. Caras and Harry Pappas, both natives of Los Angeles, served together on the St. Sophia Cathedral parish council in the early 1950’s and are Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate as well as members of Leadership 100. They will be recognized for their contributions to their churches and local communities. Another highlight of the event will
be the premiere presentation of the PAOI ICON COLLECTION. The exhibit and reception will be followed by dinner and a production of “Music and Memories.” The Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute (PAOI) is an inter–Orthodox endeavor, representing the diversity of Orthodoxy in America. The Institute is an integral part of the Graduate Theological Union (GTU), an interfaith consortium of theological schools and institutes based in Berkeley, Calif. It offers a two-year Master of Arts degree in Orthodox Christian Studies. For information and reservations, please call Chris Haidos at 310.832.1459 or Roz Halikis at 310.378.5672.
Archdiocese Commemorates 9/11 from page 3 Ministry of Foreign Affairs and others. He said the church would be a “monument to faith and human decisiveness.” Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s post-9/11 activities at reconciliation “Partiarch Bartholomew was really
a pioneer in the situation resulting from Sept. 11,” the Archbishop said. From a “very creative three-day meeting” of world religious leaders he organized in Brussels, to his personal visits to with government and religious leaders in Iran, Libya, countries in the Persian Gulf area and the Far East, “the Patriarch didn’t stop promoting reconciliation.”
An Airline Executive’s Recollection from page 9 measures in place. This effort required extensive coordination with Federal and local officials. Nevertheless, travel by air dropped substantially causing most U.S. airlines to ground planes and furlough thousands of workers. Only Alaska and Southwest had no layoffs. Now 10 years later, despite the hassles with airport security or likely because of them, we have a safe and vibrant air transportation system. At the same time, we
pray for all those who lost their lives in the attacks, and especially that St. Nicholas can soon be rebuilt to again serve as a center of Orthodoxy in lower Manhattan. Clifford Argue is now a retired vice president of Alaska Airlines and a member of St. Demetrios Church in Seattle. He serves as chairman of the Archdiocesan Council Communications Committee and is a member of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center Board (and former president).
The Ecclesiastical New Year
Resolutions for the Orthodox Christian When we think of New Year’s Resolutions, we often think of the goals that we create with a spirit of renewal and new energy. We have hope for changes in our lives… for the better! So what kinds of resolutions can we make as we begin another New Year in the life of the Church? Here are a few things to consider and discuss: 1) Show and give LOVE more freely “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” – (Matthew 22:37–40). RESOLUTION: Show love through your actions and your words. Remember to say kind things to people rather than hurtful or mean things. Always respect others, regardless of who they are, what they
THE PLANNER 2011-2012 Is Now Available Use The Planner to keep track of all your schedules. Keep a daily focus on Christ with Scriptural readings, fast days, prayers, saints of the day, and inspiration from the Fathers. The Planner follows the Ecclesiastical (church) year beginning in September and ending in August. Spiral-bound planners are available right now! Pick up your copy today at Orthodox Marketplace (www.orthodoxmarketplace.com) OR download the digital version of The Planner at http://www. goarch.org/chapel/planner.
look like, or where they come from. Go out of your way to make someone feel better, especially if others have been unkind. What are some other ways we can show LOVE this new ecclesiastical year? 2) Remember to FORGIVE, rather than react or keep grudges “Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’” – (Matthew 18:21–22). RESOLUTION: As they say, two wrongs do NOT make a right. Try not to react so quickly if someone makes you angry or upset. Don’t keep grudges. A grudge can only make us react poorly or say something that we might regret later. If forgiveness is too difficult, talk to your parish priest. He can help you put things into perspective. What other ways can we practice and understand forgiveness this new ecclesiastical year? 3) Don’t spread or be a part of gossip “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” – (Ephesians 4:29). RESOLUTION: From magazines to television shows, gossip is what people want to hear (but don’t want to be the subject of). Be the role model among your friends and stop gossip. Never talk about
or spread things that are mean, embarrassing, or untrue. Or, if someone tries to share gossip with you, tell them “Hey, I’m really not interested in that. Sorry.” What other ways can we prevent GOSSIP this new ecclesiastical year? 4) Think beyond yourself… serve others “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be the slave to all. For even the son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” RESOLUTION: Make a real effort to serve and help others, not for recognition or glory. Get involved in service projects with school and the church youth group. This might mean serve on student council, volunteer at a soup kitchen, raise money for a charity, etc. Serving others can even happen at home. Take on a few extra chores or help with chores that aren’t even yours. Sacrifice your time and talents to make someone else’s life easier or happier. What other ways can we give of ourselves and SERVE this new ecclesiastical year? Consider the following things and create your own resolutions. Chat with your friends and family and work together to really start the new ecclesiastical year on the right foot! • Strengthening Prayer Life • Understand and Practice Fasting • Giving Thanks • Showing Mercy • Being Modest • Stopping Inappropriate Language • Respecting Ourselves and our Bodies Originally published on Sept. 6, 2009 in the Youth Worker Pulse, the official ListServ of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries.
FOR YOUTH WORKERS AND PARENTS • Don’t forget to sign up for the YOUTH WORKER PULSE! This is the weekly listserv of the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries. Subscribers will receive valuable tips, tools, and resources for creating a successful and transformative youth ministry experience. Sign up today at www.youth.goarch.org. • Are you on FACEBOOK? If you are a member of Facebook, you can visit us on our GOYA and Young Adult Ministries fan pages! These fan pages have information about GOYA and Young Adult Ministries events from throughout the Archdiocese. Also, fans are connecting and talking about different issues regarding faith and life! Just search for GOYA – Greek Orthodox Youth of America or Greek Orthodox National Young Adult Ministries and BECOME A FAN TODAY!! • THE LADDER is the official blog of the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries. You can find helpful short articles and reflections about a variety of topics. You can also enjoy special features, such as our “Into the Desert 40-Lenten Challenge” and the “Young Adult Pilgrimage” travel blog.”
Don’t Forget the College Students Just because they are out of sight shouldn’t mean they are out of mind! In this new ecclesiastical year, we must make sure college students are staying connected to the Church and to Christ. The mission of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) is to support fellowships on college campuses, whose members experience and witness to the Orthodox Christian Church through community life, prayer, service to others and study of the Faith. The national headquarters, now located on the Hellenic College/Holy Cross School of Theology campus in Brookline, Mass., supports 300 local university chapters across the U.S. and Canada. In addition, they provide regional training, annual conferences, and domestic/international service projects. So don’t forget those college students during this back-to-school time! Visit www.ocf.net for more information, including a list of chapters, resources, and a calendar of events. GET THEM CONNECTED TODAY!
TOP FIVE “MUST-HAVES” FOR YOUR BACK-TO-SCHOOL SURVIVAL KIT
5 Prayer Rope: Prayer ropes are a great way to help remember to pray. They also help us focus when there are so many things on our mind! 4 Prayer Book: Sometimes we just need help putting together the right words. Prayer books are great because they offer us guidance on how to pray. Plus there are prayers for all kinds of occasions, like Before Study or In Times of Need. 3 Icon: Icons are beautiful ways to keep Christ, the Theotokos, and the Saints with us at all times. Consider keeping an icon in your backpack or placing an icon or two in your locker. 2 Bible: Instead of picking up the latest gossip magazine or getting sucked into your MP3 player, why not pick up the Bible? As you’re waiting for the bus or sitting bored in homeroom, take a few minutes and read the Epistle and Gospel reading of the day! 1 GOD: Never forget that God is always with us. BUT we should not just leave God in Church on Sundays. Do we make Him a priority in our minds and hearts? Make sure to include God in the way you make decisions, in the way you treat others, and in the way you deal with difficult situations. He will guide, guard, and protect us!
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Fanari Camp a Beacon of Hope for Children with Special Needs by Toni Poteres
Christ said whoever believes in him should pick up his cross and follow him. This year at Fanari Camp, the Metropolis of Chicago’s annual youth camp, almost 400 campers did just that, as the Metropolis has embraced a new ministry. “Pick Up Your Cross and Follow Me” is a ministry for youth with special needs and their families. The aim is the inclusion of these children and of their families as well as providing an environment in which they feel comfortable and can learn about our faith. Three campers participated in Pick Up Your Cross and Follow Me at Fanari. A day program was run for them that interacted with all Fanari campers, counselors, staff, and clergy. From an ’80s theme dance to saying emotional goodbyes, these campers were able to see what it is like to participate in the Metropolis camping program, something they had never been able to do before. They were able to participate in Fanari camp worships, be with fellow campers, and make friends. Parents of the campers were invited to experience camp with their child.
Two of the campers had siblings participating and they were very excited to join them. The presence that these three campers brought was indescribable. Seeing how Fanari campers went out of their way to make three children with special needs feel welcome brought their parents to tears. The entire camp participated in preparing awareness ribbons for Inclusion Awareness Month which the Metropolis honors throughout October. Fanari and Pick Up Your Cross and Follow Me helped make purple ribbons, the color that represents special needs, and wore those ribbons the entire day. It was amazing to see almost 500 campers and staff celebrating a cause and welcoming families that they had just met hours before. Pick Up Your Cross and Follow Me is growing and constantly looking for more participants and volunteers for next major event, a day camp at St. Iakovos Retreat Center with the theme, “Follow The Yellow Brick Road to Christ” on Oct. 29. For more information or camper applications, contact the Metropolis of Chicago Youth Office at: (312) 337-4130 or visit: www.chicago.goarch.org
A Day in the Life... from page 26 area led by Fr. Ignatios Simba, a compatriot of Fr. Kiyonga and another lion of the faith. Apolinario invited the team to his house to meet his wife Maria, and some of their children and grandchildren. He led a short prayer service, and then the team sang the “Lord have mercy” of the Holy Cross in Finnish, Greek, English and Kiswahili. Apolinario and Maria took all of our names, and promised to remember us in their daily prayers. We took their names and the names of their children and grandchildren, with the same commitment to prayer. Fr. Kiyonga passed away several years ago. One of his sons, Anastasios Kiyonga, is the church musician for the Archdiocese of Mwanza and is one of the leaders at our youth seminar. His work has been very helpful and valuable to the team this year and in past years. Some of you may have heard a certain missionary say, “You can’t make
this stuff up!” You really can’t. The team’s work has been very valuable. We have been working very hard to help them see our life here in ways that make sense to them, that are neither overly bewildering nor overly protective. One of the weaknesses of this sort of event is that it is indeed an event. The team is not witnessing the ordinary life of the Church because the team’s very presence among us is extraordinary. But then, there on the mountain, God sent our guide on the wrong path so that we could share in the everyday life, just for a moment, of a rural Orthodox Christian peasant family who have born witness to, and participated in, the historic missionary life of our Church. The Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) is the official missions agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America dedicated to fulfilling Christ’s last command to make disciples of all nations.
Senior citizens of St. Katherine’s Parish writing class.
Calif. Parish Seniors Write Memoirs by Constance M. Constant
REDONDO BEACH, Calif. – A group of 20 St. Katherine’s parish senior citizens ages 66-89 have been writing their memoirs after taking a class offered by the parish Greek school director, George Vassilakis and his wife, Argie. The group met at church twice a month from January through late May to attend the “Writing Your Life Story” class. Although some were experienced writers, most had little to no experience prior to the class. “My wife and I took a similar course at USC last fall, called Guided Autobiography,” said Mr. Vassilakis. “It was such a great experience we wanted to bring the concept to our parish at St. Katherine.” “The purpose of this class was not to teach writing,” says Argie. “But to inspire remembrances and provide the opportunity to write them down. We encourage students to write the way they speak and write what they know.” All participants live in the South Bay area of Los Angeles County, and most have Greek roots, yet their birthplaces are spread all over the globe, from Bolivia to Athens, Greece; the islands of Cyprus, Crete and Ikaria, to Washington state, Mississippi, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Utah, Illinois and California. Parishioners who have known each other for decades were brought closer together in Christian fellowship by listening to each other’s life stories: personal accounts
The Adult Catechumen: Practical Ideas for Parish Ministry from page 22 Christians and inquirers are also effective in revitalizing the faith of our active Orthodox. MENTORING NON-ORTHODOX INQUIRERS Fr. Charles Joanides of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Department of Interfaith Marriage (www.Interfaith.goarch.org) suggests that one method we can employ in our churches to welcome and integrate inquirers is to develop a mentoring program to help the non-Orthodox become more comfortable with the “...religious traditions, cultural idiosyncrasies and social life of our communities.” Fr. Charles describes mentors as resource persons who assume the
responsibility of providing information to the non-Orthodox partner regarding any number of different questions and concerns of a religious, cultural or social nature. “You Shall be my Witnesses” (Acts 1:8)
Forty days after His Resurrection, at the time of His Ascension, Jesus gathered His disciples with Him and promised that they would soon receive the Holy Spirit. He called upon them to be His witnesses. This same calling is directed to each one of us. The front lines of Jesus’ army today are faithful men and women who live ordinary lives in the world, attending school, making a living, raising families, participating in the daily life of our society.
“…and the Lord added to their number daily…” (Acts 2:47) In Acts 2 we read, “The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” If we do the work of ministry, reflecting the light and the love of Christ, others will come. God will place you in situations to share your faith. As He called upon His disciples on the day of His Ascension, He has also called upon each one of us to be His witnesses “…in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Fr Kordaris serves as director of the Archdiocese Department of Stewardship, Outreach & Evangelism and as pastor of St. George Church in New York.
that one does not necessarily share at coffee hour on Sunday. True stories, rich with American, Greek and Cypriot history, written down and read aloud recalled silently escaping the island of Ikaria in a rowboat as Nazi soldiers approached; a time when a high school valedictorian was not allowed by her father to go to college because she was female; the tragedy of losing a GI buddy in the Battle of the Bulge; growing up Greek American in Brooklyn, N.Y., during the Great Depression; school days in Britishdominated Cyprus in the 1950s; and life in golden California during the 1930s and 40s, to name a few. One assignment inspired thoughts on spiritual growth. Another encouraged writing about the one event, happy or sad, that changed their lives forever.
Online Museum Expands Collection SEATTLE – The Greek-American Historical Museum of Washington State “virtual museum” continues to add new material to its collection with six new exhibits posted, bringing the total to 10 since going online in April. Six more exhibits are being processed.The news and events section has more information as well. The present emphasis is on older Greek citizens to capture the experiences of those who first came to the state. “We are always looking for new ideas: names of people for interviews, unique items for the collection, other possible exhibit materials or news and events,” noted John Nicon, museum treasurer and co-founder. He added, “This has been an exciting project thus far and promises to get only better and better. We are encouraged by the feedback and are working diligently to keep the ‘Museum without Walls’ interesting and updated.” The museum is a non-profit corporation registered in the state of Washington. Donations to the museum may be tax deductible under the Code.Officers are President - John T. John, Vice President Taso Lagos, Secretary - Mary Dallas-Smith, and Treasurer - John Nicon. Other board members are Joann Nicon, Helen Georges, Thalia Denos and Straton Spyropoulos. Web administrator is Ted Maroutsos. Visit www.greeksinwashington.org or directly at the e-mail email@example.com
Metropolis of Chicago Junior Olympics Marks 30 Year PALOS HILLS, Ill. â€“ Nearly 2,000 youngsters ages 7-18 representing 33 parishes participated in the 30th annual Metropolis of Chicago Junior Olympics at Sts. Constantine and Helen Church on Memorial Day weekend. Parishes from Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota were all represented during this Christian athletic fellowship event. More than 150 volunteers assisted in organizing and conducting the event. Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago officially began the Olympics with prayer and his blessings. The ceremonies featured many of the traditions of the ancient Olympic games, an archery exhibition commemorating veterans for Memorial Day, and ending with the lighting of the torch accented by fireworks and music and balloons. Participants competed in basketball, volleyball, swimming, soccer, tennis, softball, track and field, 10K run, chess, checkers, backgammon, bowling, wrestling, table tennis and more. About 800 medals were awarded. After the Sunday Divine Liturgy four scholarships were awarded. Recipients were: Anthony Argires and Katherine Katsivalis of Sts. Constantine and Helen Church, Palos Hills; Fotini Karas of St. Sophia Church, Elgin, Ill., and George Sotos of St. Nectarios Church, Palatine, Ill. They
each received $500 awards. For more information and to view pictures, visit www.stconstantinehelen.org/jrolympics.
Participating Parishes The following parishes took part in the Chicago Youth Olympics. Illinois: All Saints, Joliet; Ascension of Our Lord, Lincolnshire; Assumption, Chicago; Holy Apostles, Westchester; Holy Cross, Justice; Holy Trinity, Chicago; St. Andrew, Chicago; St. Athanasios, Aurora; St. Basil, Chicago; St. Demetrios, Chicago; St. Demetrios, Elmhurst; St. Demetrios, Libertyville; St. Haralambos, Niles; St. John the Baptist, Des Plaines; St. Nectarios, Palatine; St. Nicholas, Oak Lawn; St. Sophia, Elgin; St. Spyridon, Palos Heights; Sts. Constantine & Helen, Palos Hills; Sts. Peter & Paul, Glenview. Indiana: St. George, Schererville; St. Iakovos, Valparaiso; Sts. Constantine & Helen, Merrillville. Missouri: Assumption, Town & Country; St. Nicholas, St. Louis. Wisconsin: St. Spyridon, Sheboygan; Sts. Constantine & Helen, Wauwatosa.